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Author Topic: Where are coins held while receiving wallet is offline?  (Read 1128 times)
live627
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April 22, 2013, 08:43:03 AM
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Where are coins held while receiving wallet is offline? I'm assuming they stay in the blockchain.
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April 22, 2013, 08:48:21 AM
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There is a balance of bitcoins associated with an address in your wallet. Everyone in the network knows it. It doesn't matter if your wallet is online. Everyone knows that your address has "x" bitcoins in it.
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April 22, 2013, 08:49:26 AM
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they never really leave the blockchain (that goes for all wallets), a wallet is nothing more than a key (or set of keys) needed to send those coins to wallets.

So if you copy a wallet you only copy the keys to access the coins, not the coins itself.

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April 22, 2013, 08:55:10 AM
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The blockchain is the record of every single tx ever performed (including "coinbase" tx's which is how bitcoins are created) and the balance of an address is simply the value you get when you subtract all (if any) outputs from all the inputs to it.

You wallet contains (among other things such as labels and tx's) private keys from which public keys and what you recognised as a bitcoin *address* can be derived.

Without a private key you cannot sign a tx to spend an "unspent" output for any given address (but you can actually do the tx signing offline).

So being online/offline is irrelevant to the blockchain and to the "balance" of any given address.

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April 22, 2013, 08:55:32 AM
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Where are coins held while receiving wallet is offline? I'm assuming they stay in the blockchain.

From another thread:

The way it works is confusing because the plumbing underneath is actually different from how it is presented.

Coins don't actually get held in a wallet.   The blockchain is a transaction ledger, and every full node with a blockchain has a copy of it.  The only thing in the wallet on your client essentially is the private keys that allow you to spend the funds for certain addresses.

Because people are familiar with the term wallet, since there is one in most back pockets and purses, that's what the clients try to emulate.   So the Bitcoin clients use the same concept of receiving and sending money as you have with a physical wallet for cash, but that's simply not what happens.

When you send a payment, you are simply broadcasting your permission for value to be transferred from previously received transactions to new bitcoin addresses.

When you receive a payment, that is simply the client showing a filtered view of the blockchain ledger for a specific address.

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April 22, 2013, 09:08:57 AM
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April 22, 2013, 09:20:26 AM
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Where are coins held while receiving wallet is offline? I'm assuming they stay in the blockchain.

'Coins' don't really exist.  Only transactions and private keys exist.

Metaphorically, you could say that coins are held simultaneously in the wallet AND the blockchain.

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April 22, 2013, 10:24:27 AM
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Yes, calling it a "wallet" causes this confusion all the time. Much better to call it your "keychain".

I think of it like safe deposit boxes with a public slot anyone can put money in, but to which only you have the key to take it out. So your keychain doesn't have to be accessible (ie, online) except when you want to spend the money in the box.


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