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Author Topic: Feature Request: Printed Wallet Backups ("Bearer Bonds")  (Read 7237 times)
FlyingMoose
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November 09, 2010, 01:17:22 AM
 #1

I'd like to be able to print something out to put in my safe-deposit box in case my hard drive crashes or my house burns down or whatever.  I realize it would be a pain to type it all back in, but it would only be for emergency use.  It would also need to be kept secret or someone could steal the money.

It would be sort of like a bearer bond.

Is there some easy to do this already?
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ByteCoin
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November 09, 2010, 01:49:41 AM
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You could do this by printing out your private keys.  gavinandresen may have some python code that can parse the wallet.dat and display them.

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November 09, 2010, 02:16:26 AM
 #3

Why not put it on a couple SD chips or USB flash drives and put those in your safe deposit box?
FlyingMoose
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November 09, 2010, 02:26:59 AM
 #4

Because when they're worth $1000/BTC in 60 years when my kids are distributing my will, it's more likely that the paper will still be readable compared to a flash drive.
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November 09, 2010, 02:32:28 AM
 #5

Because when they're worth $1000/BTC in 60 years when my kids are distributing my will, it's more likely that the paper will still be readable compared to a flash drive.

Well, this has been discussed many times... we need to be able to export / import one specific address key (or key pair? whatever is needed in the wallet).

Having that, printing or typing back or qrcode scanning is a simple issue easily solved.

The problem is actually twofold. We need to be able to import/export but also to move coins to one specific address, and not have them scattered in multiple addresses, at least for this use case.
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November 09, 2010, 02:52:29 AM
 #6

Because when they're worth $1000/BTC in 60 years when my kids are distributing my will, it's more likely that the paper will still be readable compared to a flash drive.

I see. Yeah, 60 years is a stretch. I do like the idea of a paper copy, especially in a presentable certificate/book form. Getting them to and from paper shouldn't be difficult, but importing and exporting to Bitcoin is the trick unless you transfer the whole file.
Gavin Andresen
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November 09, 2010, 05:14:07 AM
 #7

If there's a c++ programmer out there looking for a good "get me feet wet" project involving Bitcoin, I think importing/exporting public/private keypairs (in one of OpenSSL's file formats) would be a really good choice.

The hard part is importing; you'd have to write code to re-scan the block chain to find transactions to/from the newly imported public/private keys, and add them to the wallet.

How often do you get the chance to work on a potentially world-changing project?
mimarob
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November 09, 2010, 12:36:14 PM
 #8

bar codes combined with printed hex numbers for backup?

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brocktice
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November 09, 2010, 03:03:07 PM
 #9

If you want serious archival, use a tape backup. It's overkill (in terms of storage space) but rated for 15 years or so.

I have a tape drive. If you send me an LTO-3 tape (about $10?) and a copy of your wallet I'll archive it for free, and send you the tape back via USPS at my expense.

OTOH, you'll want to update the backup in your safe deposit box periodically anyway.

Personally, I have a little script that automatically dumps my wallet backup, encrypts it to me with GPG, and copies it into my dropbox every hour. That's probably a better way to go.

http://media.witcoin.com/p/1608/8----This-is-nuts

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FlyingMoose
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November 09, 2010, 06:11:31 PM
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If you want serious archival, use a tape backup. It's overkill (in terms of storage space) but rated for 15 years or so.

I have a tape drive. If you send me an LTO-3 tape (about $10?) and a copy of your wallet I'll archive it for free, and send you the tape back via USPS at my expense.

OTOH, you'll want to update the backup in your safe deposit box periodically anyway.

Personally, I have a little script that automatically dumps my wallet backup, encrypts it to me with GPG, and copies it into my dropbox every hour. That's probably a better way to go.

15 years is not "serious archival", 1000 years is.  So what about 20 years?  And who's to say a tape drive will even be available? (And I'm not sending you my wallet!  Tongue )  Paper can easily last hundreds of years, and all you need is a person and a keyboard (or telepathic control or whatever they invent next) to get the data into a computer.

What I envision is sending, say, 1000 BTC to a wallet, and then backing that wallet up and not using it anymore.  Or not even a whole wallet, just the minimum needed to obtain that 1000BTC (do you just need the private key for the transaction?).  Sort of an "export BitCoins" function.  Maybe a base-64 encoding (a-z, A-Z, 0-9, *, #).
nelisky
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November 09, 2010, 06:26:23 PM
 #11

If there's a c++ programmer out there looking for a good "get me feet wet" project involving Bitcoin, I think importing/exporting public/private keypairs (in one of OpenSSL's file formats) would be a really good choice.

The hard part is importing; you'd have to write code to re-scan the block chain to find transactions to/from the newly imported public/private keys, and add them to the wallet.


I'm quite busy right now but this is one thing I actually want to see done sooner than later, so if you pass some good pointers my way, I'll have a look at it as soon as I have a little spare time.
Marsianin
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November 10, 2010, 12:37:51 AM
 #12

There is a nice program specifically for archiving with plain paper. It's GUI Windows program under GPL v3.
See http://www.ollydbg.de/Paperbak

BTW, does someone know a if there is a Linux port? At least a command line version that makes/parses bitmaps.
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November 10, 2010, 04:33:04 AM
 #13

What would be the best type of paper to use for this?

It could be a business opportunity for someone to supply the appropriate paper stock,ink,and printers so as to allow archiving for a long time .

http://www.archives.qld.gov.au/publications/PreservationServicesAdvices/psa_1.pdf
FlyingMoose
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November 10, 2010, 05:38:50 AM
 #14

Pretty much any laser printer is the best choice for archival purposes, and archival paper is easily available.

What would be cool is a nice pre-printed savings-bond-looking form that you could print the information on, nicer to have in your safe-deposit box than just plain white paper (although of course that would work just as well).  I bet someone could come up with something really cool-looking.  Look up the Wired Magazine stock certificate if you wanna see what I mean (there are several different versions, but you'll know it when you see it).
bitcoinex
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November 10, 2010, 09:10:59 AM
 #15

By the way, anyone in Linux successfully creates and then read the QR code? I tried to keep not ASCII-armored PGP key into QR picture by "qrencode" but after recognizing by "zbarimg" I get garbage.

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Macho
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November 10, 2010, 06:11:47 PM
 #16

The best thing is that you can still receive bitcoins on the "bond" you have in your safe without having any other copy of it Smiley

So you have nice safe "saving account" locked up you can still send money to, what a wonderful thing Cheesy

You can also check its balance, the only thing you can not do without opening the safe is withdraw money from it ...
FlyingMoose
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November 10, 2010, 06:23:24 PM
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The best thing is that you can still receive bitcoins on the "bond" you have in your safe without having any other copy of it Smiley

So you have nice safe "saving account" locked up you can still send money to, what a wonderful thing Cheesy

You can also check its balance, the only thing you can not do without opening the safe is withdraw money from it ...

I thought you need to create a new wallet if you do anything to it (like add money) because the old one them becomes invalid... ?  I know people have lost bitcoins even though they had an only slightly older copy of their wallet.
SmokeTooMuch
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November 10, 2010, 06:24:30 PM
 #18

I have a tape drive. If you send me an LTO-3 tape (about $10?) and a copy of your wallet I'll archive it for free, and send you the tape back via USPS at my expense.
Well, I guess sending you (or anyone else) my wallet.dat will never happen Smiley

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Macho
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November 11, 2010, 02:48:18 AM
 #19

I thought you need to create a new wallet if you do anything to it (like add money) because the old one them becomes invalid... ?  I know people have lost bitcoins even though they had an only slightly older copy of their wallet.

No, that happens only when you send money AFAIK

When money is sent to your account the sent balance is simply written into the block chain with the address associated with your public/private key (which is in the safe), so you can see that money was sent to you (as does anyone else who knows your address) but you can not manipulate it without your private key.
grondilu
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November 11, 2010, 03:04:05 AM
 #20

something like this maybe ?

Code:
gpg -ac $HOME/.bitcoin/wallet.dat | lp
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