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Author Topic: Say I want to put 100 coins into a usb...  (Read 3486 times)
clonedone
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June 14, 2011, 01:06:34 PM
 #1

and I want to put that usb into a vault or something to be reopened in the future.
I am a nub when it comes to the wallet.dat file. Im not sure, even after reading a lot of posts, about how it works.
If i were to save my wallet.dat file into a USB, then delete/uninstall the bitcoin client from my computer and then 10 years from now, drag and drop that wallet.dat file into a new bitcoin client(to replace the current wallet.dat file which has 0 coins), will it load up my 100 coins normally?

also would I need to protect the wallet.dat file in the USB? i dont think i would need to, since no one is gonna use that USB if i put it into a bank vault or something right?

I feel like im missing something important here about the wallet file that i am failing to understand.

a step by step guide would be most appreciated.

especially about the protection, i dont see why anyone would need it if they just save the wallet file into a usb and lock up that usb somewhere

also, i would use TWO USBs not one, incase one of the files get corrupted. both USB would have the same wallet.dat file

yes this would be a savings account, not checkings

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Rob P.
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June 14, 2011, 01:48:19 PM
 #2

and I want to put that usb into a vault or something to be reopened in the future.
I am a nub when it comes to the wallet.dat file. Im not sure, even after reading a lot of posts, about how it works.
If i were to save my wallet.dat file into a USB, then delete/uninstall the bitcoin client from my computer and then 10 years from now, drag and drop that wallet.dat file into a new bitcoin client(to replace the current wallet.dat file which has 0 coins), will it load up my 100 coins normally?

Yes, but you would then have destroyed any addresses that were in the first wallet.dat file you overwrote.  If you don't care, then yes, that would work.

also would I need to protect the wallet.dat file in the USB? i dont think i would need to, since no one is gonna use that USB if i put it into a bank vault or something right?

In theory, you'd want to make a TrueCrypt drive on the USB stick and put the wallet.dat file into that.  Otherwise, anyone who has physical possession of the USB Key would have the ability to access the coins.  However, that may be your intent (for instance in the case of inheritance of Bitcoins to pass down to your children).  Otherwise, you don't need to protect it in any way.  However, you also have to hope that in 100 years we still have USB ports you can use.  Tried using a 5 1/4" floppy disk recently?  Or even a 3.5" floppy?

You may be better suited to write your wallet.dat file in QR Code to a piece of paper and store it in the vault, possibly with a copy of the QR Reading program source.  Smiley

a step by step guide would be most appreciated.

Assuming you already have the Bitcoin program loaded:
1)  Backup the current wallet.dat (Wallet 1) file.
2)  Delete the wallet.dat file from the disk.
3)  Open Bitcoin (it will create a new wallet.dat)
4)  Note the address created automatically
5)  For kicks, let it run until it has the full block chain
6)  Close Bitcoin
7)  Backup this wallet.dat (Wallet 2)
Cool  Delete wallet.dat from the disk
9)  Restore Wallet 1 back to your disk
10)  Open Bitcoin, let it update the block chain.
11)  Send 100 coins from one of your standard addresses to the address in Step 4
12)  Wait for it to be confirmed
13)  Close Bitcoin
14)  Re-backup Wallet 1
15)  Delete Wallet 1 from disk
16)  Restore Wallet 2 (technically these steps are optional, as the blockchain will have the transaction, but you probably want to see your balance)
17)  Open Bitcoin and let it update the block chain.  You should now see 100 coins as your balance
18)  Close Bitcoin
19)  Backup Wallet 2 to your USB Stick (or write it via QR Code, or whatever you want to do)
20)  Delete Wallet 2 from your disk
21)  Restore Wallet 1
22)  Run Bitcoin, you'll see your balance is updated to -100 coins. 

You now have a 100 coin wallet.dat file backed up and off the network.  You can also verify all of your transactions in the block chain using Block Explorer:  http://blockexplorer.com/

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clonedone
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June 14, 2011, 01:56:02 PM
 #3

and I want to put that usb into a vault or something to be reopened in the future.
I am a nub when it comes to the wallet.dat file. Im not sure, even after reading a lot of posts, about how it works.
If i were to save my wallet.dat file into a USB, then delete/uninstall the bitcoin client from my computer and then 10 years from now, drag and drop that wallet.dat file into a new bitcoin client(to replace the current wallet.dat file which has 0 coins), will it load up my 100 coins normally?

Yes, but you would then have destroyed any addresses that were in the first wallet.dat file you overwrote.  If you don't care, then yes, that would work.

also would I need to protect the wallet.dat file in the USB? i dont think i would need to, since no one is gonna use that USB if i put it into a bank vault or something right?

In theory, you'd want to make a TrueCrypt drive on the USB stick and put the wallet.dat file into that.  Otherwise, anyone who has physical possession of the USB Key would have the ability to access the coins.  However, that may be your intent (for instance in the case of inheritance of Bitcoins to pass down to your children).  Otherwise, you don't need to protect it in any way.  However, you also have to hope that in 100 years we still have USB ports you can use.  Tried using a 5 1/4" floppy disk recently?  Or even a 3.5" floppy?

You may be better suited to write your wallet.dat file in QR Code to a piece of paper and store it in the vault, possibly with a copy of the QR Reading program source.  Smiley

a step by step guide would be most appreciated.

Assuming you already have the Bitcoin program loaded:
1)  Backup the current wallet.dat (Wallet 1) file.
2)  Delete the wallet.dat file from the disk.
3)  Open Bitcoin (it will create a new wallet.dat)
4)  Note the address created automatically
5)  For kicks, let it run until it has the full block chain
6)  Close Bitcoin
7)  Backup this wallet.dat (Wallet 2)
Cool  Delete wallet.dat from the disk
9)  Restore Wallet 1 back to your disk
10)  Open Bitcoin, let it update the block chain.
11)  Send 100 coins from one of your standard addresses to the address in Step 4
12)  Wait for it to be confirmed
13)  Close Bitcoin
14)  Re-backup Wallet 1
15)  Delete Wallet 1 from disk
16)  Restore Wallet 2 (technically these steps are optional, as the blockchain will have the transaction, but you probably want to see your balance)
17)  Open Bitcoin and let it update the block chain.  You should now see 100 coins as your balance
18)  Close Bitcoin
19)  Backup Wallet 2 to your USB Stick (or write it via QR Code, or whatever you want to do)
20)  Delete Wallet 2 from your disk
21)  Restore Wallet 1
22)  Run Bitcoin, you'll see your balance is updated to -100 coins.  

You now have a 100 coin wallet.dat file backed up and off the network.  You can also verify all of your transactions in the block chain using Block Explorer:  http://blockexplorer.com/


you are freaking awesome
I got a question though
what is QR code? lol i dont understand how you can physically write the wallet.dat file down.

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June 14, 2011, 02:02:52 PM
 #4

Quote
In theory, you'd want to make a TrueCrypt drive on the USB stick and put the wallet.dat file into that.
Quote

And in practice you may want to not do that - too simple - but use an IronKey (hardware encryption) and put the key on a separaet note in a spearate deposit, possibly engraved on a small metal plate. Do NOT activate the self destruct on the Ironkey Wink

USB drives normall are not long term storage safe - Ironkeys are.
Rob P.
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June 14, 2011, 02:05:07 PM
 #5

I got a question though
what is QR code? lol i dont understand how you can physically write the wallet.dat file down.

Those weird 2D "barcodes":  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code

Software for Windows:  http://www.touchupsoft.com/xrenqrcode/

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clonedone
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June 14, 2011, 02:06:51 PM
 #6

Quote
In theory, you'd want to make a TrueCrypt drive on the USB stick and put the wallet.dat file into that.
Quote

And in practice you may want to not do that - too simple - but use an IronKey (hardware encryption) and put the key on a separaet note in a spearate deposit, possibly engraved on a small metal plate. Do NOT activate the self destruct on the Ironkey Wink

USB drives normall are not long term storage safe - Ironkeys are.

your assuming that someone is out to steal my usb right?
but I am not worried about my USB being stolen since i am not carrying it around and I do have a safe place for it that is not around me, and will not be found by anybody.

clonedone
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June 14, 2011, 02:07:16 PM
 #7

I got a question though
what is QR code? lol i dont understand how you can physically write the wallet.dat file down.

Those weird 2D "barcodes":  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code

Software for Windows:  http://www.touchupsoft.com/xrenqrcode/

oh thats badass lol thanks alot man

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June 14, 2011, 04:17:57 PM
 #8

nice tip, in recent events of damn hackers its good to back up your files.

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tomcollins
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June 14, 2011, 04:28:14 PM
 #9

nice tip, in recent events of damn hackers its good to back up your files.

Backing up doesn't stop hackers.

In fact, it might make it easier.

The instructions at the beginning, if your machine is infected, and someone gets that new wallet file, you are screwed anyway, even if you delete it, if they grab it and save it.

More reason why unencrypted wallet files are just awful.  More and more people will create trojans to look for that file, steal them, then be on their way with your money.
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June 14, 2011, 04:38:30 PM
 #10

Quote
In theory, you'd want to make a TrueCrypt drive on the USB stick and put the wallet.dat file into that.
Quote

And in practice you may want to not do that - too simple - but use an IronKey (hardware encryption) and put the key on a separaet note in a spearate deposit, possibly engraved on a small metal plate. Do NOT activate the self destruct on the Ironkey Wink

USB drives normall are not long term storage safe - Ironkeys are.

your assuming that someone is out to steal my usb right?
but I am not worried about my USB being stolen since i am not carrying it around and I do have a safe place for it that is not around me, and will not be found by anybody.

No, not only. Ironkey is:

* Qualified for long term storage, most USB keys are not.
* No need for truecrypt. As in: it does hardware encryption, so you dont need any software in 4-5 years down the road.

The firs item is key - you dont want to find out in 5 years your usb key was not long term by accident.
clonedone
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June 14, 2011, 04:52:26 PM
 #11

nice tip, in recent events of damn hackers its good to back up your files.

Backing up doesn't stop hackers.

In fact, it might make it easier.

The instructions at the beginning, if your machine is infected, and someone gets that new wallet file, you are screwed anyway, even if you delete it, if they grab it and save it.

More reason why unencrypted wallet files are just awful.  More and more people will create trojans to look for that file, steal them, then be on their way with your money.

thats why you make a new wallet which only exists on the computer for about 2 minutes, or the new wallet on a virgin computer. if the hackers have your main wallet but didnt steal yet, then heres your chance right?

Jaime Frontero
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June 14, 2011, 05:02:21 PM
 #12

let us also keep in mind that Ironkey's founding was (according to wikipedia): "partially funded by the U.S. federal government, with a grant of US$1.4 million through the Homeland Security Research Projects Agency".

their software is a proprietary fork of open source stuff.

i dunno.  maybe it doesn't mean anything, and Ironkey is a completely neutral entity.  i have no idea.

still, there would appear to be the possibility of a conflict.  seems a tad dodgy...

me, my long-term storage research gives me a different solution.
clonedone
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June 14, 2011, 05:27:49 PM
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let us also keep in mind that Ironkey's founding was (according to wikipedia): "partially funded by the U.S. federal government, with a grant of US$1.4 million through the Homeland Security Research Projects Agency".

their software is a proprietary fork of open source stuff.

i dunno.  maybe it doesn't mean anything, and Ironkey is a completely neutral entity.  i have no idea.

still, there would appear to be the possibility of a conflict.  seems a tad dodgy...

me, my long-term storage research gives me a different solution.
and what may that be?

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June 14, 2011, 08:21:10 PM
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[/quote]

Assuming you already have the Bitcoin program loaded:
1)  Backup the current wallet.dat (Wallet 1) file.
2)  Delete the wallet.dat file from the disk.
3)  Open Bitcoin (it will create a new wallet.dat)
4)  Note the address created automatically
5)  For kicks, let it run until it has the full block chain
6)  Close Bitcoin
7)  Backup this wallet.dat (Wallet 2)
Cool  Delete wallet.dat from the disk
9)  Restore Wallet 1 back to your disk
10)  Open Bitcoin, let it update the block chain.
11)  Send 100 coins from one of your standard addresses to the address in Step 4
12)  Wait for it to be confirmed
13)  Close Bitcoin
14)  Re-backup Wallet 1
15)  Delete Wallet 1 from disk
16)  Restore Wallet 2 (technically these steps are optional, as the blockchain will have the transaction, but you probably want to see your balance)
17)  Open Bitcoin and let it update the block chain.  You should now see 100 coins as your balance
18)  Close Bitcoin
19)  Backup Wallet 2 to your USB Stick (or write it via QR Code, or whatever you want to do)
20)  Delete Wallet 2 from your disk
21)  Restore Wallet 1
22)  Run Bitcoin, you'll see your balance is updated to -100 coins. 

You now have a 100 coin wallet.dat file backed up and off the network.  You can also verify all of your transactions in the block chain using Block Explorer:  http://blockexplorer.com/

[/quote]


Am I lazy, or is this too complicated ?
I mean, c'mon, do we really expect that my 50 year old uncle will do this,
or even read this recipe somewhere, to be able to go through this guide ?
This is crazy, I am not a coder, so I DEMAND that this be simplified,
and do not care how you do it Smiley
but this should be 3 mouse clicks and maybe one or two password entering type of job...
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June 14, 2011, 09:06:38 PM
 #15

Assuming you already have the Bitcoin program loaded:
1)  Backup the current wallet.dat (Wallet 1) file.
2)  Delete the wallet.dat file from the disk.
3)  Open Bitcoin (it will create a new wallet.dat)
4)  Note the address created automatically
5)  For kicks, let it run until it has the full block chain
6)  Close Bitcoin
7)  Backup this wallet.dat (Wallet 2)
Cool  Delete wallet.dat from the disk
9)  Restore Wallet 1 back to your disk
10)  Open Bitcoin, let it update the block chain.
11)  Send 100 coins from one of your standard addresses to the address in Step 4
12)  Wait for it to be confirmed
13)  Close Bitcoin
14)  Re-backup Wallet 1
15)  Delete Wallet 1 from disk
16)  Restore Wallet 2 (technically these steps are optional, as the blockchain will have the transaction, but you probably want to see your balance)
17)  Open Bitcoin and let it update the block chain.  You should now see 100 coins as your balance
18)  Close Bitcoin
19)  Backup Wallet 2 to your USB Stick (or write it via QR Code, or whatever you want to do)
20)  Delete Wallet 2 from your disk
21)  Restore Wallet 1
22)  Run Bitcoin, you'll see your balance is updated to -100 coins. 

You now have a 100 coin wallet.dat file backed up and off the network.  You can also verify all of your transactions in the block chain using Block Explorer:  http://blockexplorer.com/


Only steps 1-11 are required here. Once the bitcoins have been sent then they will simply arrive automatically if/when a client with the private keys contained in Wallet 2 ever sees the block chain.

Will

clonedone
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June 14, 2011, 11:09:19 PM
 #16

hey when you delete the wallet.dat file, and restart bitcoin client, it makes a new wallet.dat file, but it dosent need to load the block chain again, is that normal?

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June 15, 2011, 12:29:39 AM
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Yes that is normal

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June 15, 2011, 11:49:25 AM
 #18

Wouldn't it be safer this way ?

01 install client on an offline computer (thereby creating a wallet.dat)
02 create a few bitcoin addresses (up to 100) and print them out
03 close bitcoin client
04 copy the wallet.dat to usb and several other media (QR printout, CDR, HDD, etc)
05 delete  / shred the whole hdd (and reinstall OS) on the offline computer before next online session
06 use generated bitcoin addresses to receive and/or send yourself bitcoins (of course it's crucial that you do not make any mistakes when entering the addresses !)

All you have to do when you want to retrieve your bitcoins: you just have to download the client and replace the wallet.dat with the one which you stored away before (and then you have to wait a pretty long time till the block chain is downloaded - when I did it yesterday, it took me almost four hours!!!).

This way the private key will never have been exposed to online attacks until time of retrieval.

Or am I missing someting?

PS You can check your transactions on bitcoin explorer (so there is no need "to see" your balance in your client), right?

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clonedone
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June 15, 2011, 12:25:51 PM
 #19

Wouldn't it be safer this way ?

01 install client on an offline computer (thereby creating a wallet.dat)
02 create a few bitcoin addresses (up to 100) and print them out
03 close bitcoin client
04 copy the wallet.dat to usb and several other media (QR printout, CDR, HDD, etc)
05 delete  / shred the whole hdd (and reinstall OS) on the offline computer before next online session
06 use generated bitcoin addresses to receive and/or send yourself bitcoins (of course it's crucial that you do not make any mistakes when entering the addresses !)

All you have to do when you want to retrieve your bitcoins: you just have to download the client and replace the wallet.dat with the one which you stored away before (and then you have to wait a pretty long time till the block chain is downloaded - when I did it yesterday, it took me almost four hours!!!).

This way the private key will never have been exposed to online attacks until time of retrieval.

Or am I missing someting?

PS You can check your transactions on bitcoin explorer (so there is no need "to see" your balance in your client), right?

yeah u can do that

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June 16, 2011, 12:35:46 AM
 #20

Only steps 1-11 are required here. Once the bitcoins have been sent then they will simply arrive automatically if/when a client with the private keys contained in Wallet 2 ever sees the block chain.

Yep, but it's reassuring for the user to see the balance in their wallet before "packing it away".  You're right, technically you can quit as soon as you've sent the coins.

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