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Author Topic: What is the safest way to import paper wallets?  (Read 2183 times)
Sword Smith
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March 19, 2013, 09:54:00 PM
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Dear fellow BTC users

I have some BTCs lying around on paper wallets. These private addresses have never touched a computer that has touched the internet - totally cold wallets. When I want to transfer them to, say, another cold wallet, how would I proceed to do that in the safest possible way consistent with the safety steps I have already taken?

I would also like to know what the safest way to import wallet.dat files which also have never been in contact with the Internet. I made one of those back when I was a Bitcoin noob which I probably still am to some degree.

Hoping for your help guys!

Regards,
Sword Smith

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Stephen Gornick
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March 20, 2013, 04:04:41 AM
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When I want to transfer them to, say, another cold wallet, how would I proceed to do that in the safest possible way consistent with the safety steps I have already taken?

You could try creating a raw transaction and bringing the signed hex string result over to any machine and push it to the network.  You would first need form the network the transaction hash, index and amount that funded your paper wallet.  
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Raw_Transactions
 - https://blockchain.info/pushtx
(That is both powerful and dangerous -- you could easily typo and end up sending the wrong amount to the miner in fees, for example)

A safer way is to use Amory and do so offline:
 - http://bitcoinarmory.com/using-offline-wallets-in-armory/
 
I would also like to know what the safest way to import wallet.dat files which also have never been in contact with the Internet.

Well, with an offline Bitcoin-Qt you could do a raw transaction (by finding out all the unspent transaction outputs) -- again, risky.  

Or you could ... from an offline system run Bitcoin-Qt and export the private keys, and then import them into Armory offline (and create a spend transaction from there).

Sorry there aren't more user-friendly methods for securely redeeming paper wallets/private keys.  But Armory does have a lot of fans.

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April 22, 2013, 02:09:17 PM
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There is got to be some a more friendly way to use paper wallets...

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April 22, 2013, 02:13:29 PM
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The easiest way I know is to make a throwaway Blockchain.info wallet, import it, and send the funds onward.

Blockchain.info allows scanning of QR codes through the webcam.  Anyone can do it.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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April 22, 2013, 02:17:42 PM
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The easiest way I know is to make a throwaway Blockchain.info wallet, import it, and send the funds onward.

Blockchain.info allows scanning of QR codes through the webcam.  Anyone can do it.

This is the easiest way, but far from the safest way. While blockchain.info does not ever get your key in regular use if a hacker modified its javascript it could get your private key.

That being said I feel safe using blockchain.info with a plugin that warns me when the javascript changes.
Sword Smith
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April 22, 2013, 02:58:18 PM
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Dear fellow BTC users

I have some BTCs lying around on paper wallets. These private addresses have never touched a computer that has touched the internet - totally cold wallets. When I want to transfer them to, say, another cold wallet, how would I proceed to do that in the safest possible way consistent with the safety steps I have already taken?

I would also like to know what the safest way to import wallet.dat files which also have never been in contact with the Internet. I made one of those back when I was a Bitcoin noob which I probably still am to some degree.

Hoping for your help guys!

Regards,
Sword Smith
FYI, I ended up installing Armory on an offline (cold) computer and then I imported the private keys into Armory. When you send money from this wallet through an offline transaction, you have to be careful not to delete the Armory wallet into which you imported your private keys before you are 100 % sure that there are no funds left on the addresses contained in this Armory wallet (no, I did not loose any BTCs but I was a bit surprised at how it worked when I only transferred a part of the money sotred on my cold wallet).

Regarding the wallet.dat file, I said a Hail Mary and imported onto an online computer with bitcoin-qt installed since Armory seemed to be unable to support the importation of wallet.dat files - it seems Armory can only import its own kind of wallet files (and private keys) which is a place where improvements can and should be made. After importing the file to my online computer, I sent it to another cold wallet but now I feel confident that I know how to deal with cold wallets.

I can really recommend installing Armory! it is a great program which is easy to use and it has a ton of nice functions, the most important one being the possibilities of importing private keys easily and making offline transactions where you sign your transaction on an offline computer. Install Armory today!

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