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Author Topic: Cold Storage formats and importing to spend  (Read 886 times)
deepskydiver
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May 12, 2017, 02:57:21 AM
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I've had bitcoin for 5 or so years now and periodically jump back in and find things have changed - so I'm looking for some advice please.

I'm not happy with any of the common methods I can find for cold storage. Whether open source or not they have all evolved in the time I've had bitcoin.

But mainly I don't see why we should have to rely on software or worse hardware devices which may fail - to store bitcoin.

What I currently have as my preferred completely-independent-cold-storage are the addresses and their private keys stored encrypted in multiple places. But of course each client seems to only want to import in its own format. Which evolves.. (Multibit has evolved and now orhpaned my old wallets).

I understand a wallet is better than the address:key pairs (in coping with change addresses) so I'd be happy to have a portable wallet I could put into cold storage. But .. I also want to be able to read the damned thing myself. I'm happy to be responsible for my own encryption so that I have transparency of my own bitcoin.

So I guess what I'm asking is :

1. Do any of the clients allow export and import of wallets with the keys within them in readable form?
2. Am I off-base in my thinking?
3. What clients allow you to add a public / private key directly to their wallets?

Thanks..!

(Otherwise see you again when it passes 10K) :-)
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pooya87
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May 12, 2017, 03:05:52 AM
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i don't understand what you mean by "things have changed" and "they evolved" things concerning private keys and how public key is found (the basic stuff) have not changed, i guess the only things that were added are compressed private keys and P2SH!

many clients allow you to import or at least sweep the private keys. you can download any of them and try installing in a virtual machine and test to see if you like them.
Bitcoin Core and Electrum that i have worked with allow you to do this.

if you don't want to rely on "the machines" aka code to get the private keys there are some interesting methods out there to do it offline with pen and paper Smiley
take a look: www.swansontec.com/bitcoin-dice.html

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May 12, 2017, 03:34:20 AM
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For me, electrum is all you need.  With electrum you can easily implement cold storage.  If you want to move coins in cold storage, you can create the transaction in an online watch-only wallet, sign the tx offline with a cold machine, and then broadcast the tx online.  So you never expose your private keys to an online machine!  And the wallet makes it easy.

You can also export individual private keys if you want (not sure why you'd need to).

Before bip32, I wrote a python script that created addresses and keys using electrum seed, because I wasn't sure I wanted to trust my bitcoins to a wallet code I couldn't understand.  If you search the electrum subforum its there.  I'm working on the new bip32 version of that and will publish that when I have time.

deepskydiver
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May 12, 2017, 08:30:50 AM
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Thanks - I don't want to put it on paper. Copies of that are harder to secure.

I guess I don't understand why there isn't a 'standard' wallet exportable / importable format in readable plain text.
I'll take a look at Electrum as you've both mentioned it. Does it allow plain text export and import of a wallet (or individual keys)? The wallet I setup and had noted all of the addresses in with multibit is useless now. I'll try a few clients but don't want to use anything not open source or commonly used.
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May 12, 2017, 08:54:20 AM
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Thanks - I don't want to put it on paper. Copies of that are harder to secure.

I guess I don't understand why there isn't a 'standard' wallet exportable / importable format in readable plain text.
You can export private keys, if thats what you want. Do you mean for a wallet file that can be interchanged? There is currently no such standard, you can still import and export private keys, seeds etc and some of them are interchangable.
I'll take a look at Electrum as you've both mentioned it. Does it allow plain text export and import of a wallet (or individual keys)? The wallet I setup and had noted all of the addresses in with multibit is useless now. I'll try a few clients but don't want to use anything not open source or commonly used.
You can import and export keys certainly. For importing, you need to create the wallet within Electrum that doesn't create a key.

If you want to export keys, there is an option which allows you to export the keys. Go to Wallet>Private keys>Export and it will generate a list of keys in Address:Private key format.














 

 

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jonald_fyookball
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May 12, 2017, 04:29:05 PM
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Thanks - I don't want to put it on paper. Copies of that are harder to secure.

I guess I don't understand why there isn't a 'standard' wallet exportable / importable format in readable plain text.
I'll take a look at Electrum as you've both mentioned it. Does it allow plain text export and import of a wallet (or individual keys)? The wallet I setup and had noted all of the addresses in with multibit is useless now. I'll try a few clients but don't want to use anything not open source or commonly used.

Yes you can import keys but you lose the benefit of the deterministic seed.

The nice thing about the seed is you can memorize it, and back it up in an encrypted or steganographically hidden format.

One thing about electrum seed, its not bip39 seed... but... you CAN generate a bip39 seed with another wallet and import that to electrum.
For example jaxx wallet... try it, and then import the seed back to electrum using bip39 parameter... you see it will have the same addresses.

This is the most common compatible way to do it.


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May 12, 2017, 04:32:27 PM
 #7

Thanks - I don't want to put it on paper. Copies of that are harder to secure.

I guess I don't understand why there isn't a 'standard' wallet exportable / importable format in readable plain text.
I'll take a look at Electrum as you've both mentioned it. Does it allow plain text export and import of a wallet (or individual keys)? The wallet I setup and had noted all of the addresses in with multibit is useless now. I'll try a few clients but don't want to use anything not open source or commonly used.

Yes you can import keys but you lose the benefit of the deterministic seed.

The nice thing about the seed is you can memorize it, and back it up in an encrypted or steganographically hidden format.

One thing about electrum seed, its not bip39 seed... but... you CAN generate a bip39 seed with another wallet and import that to electrum.
For example jaxx wallet... try it, and then import the seed back to electrum using bip39 parameter... you see it will have the same addresses.

This is the most common compatible way to do it.



Hey first time hearing about this Jaxx wallet. Is it safe? Have you used it extensively and do you recommend it? Thanks!

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May 12, 2017, 04:45:03 PM
 #8

Thanks - I don't want to put it on paper. Copies of that are harder to secure.

I guess I don't understand why there isn't a 'standard' wallet exportable / importable format in readable plain text.
I'll take a look at Electrum as you've both mentioned it. Does it allow plain text export and import of a wallet (or individual keys)? The wallet I setup and had noted all of the addresses in with multibit is useless now. I'll try a few clients but don't want to use anything not open source or commonly used.

Yes you can import keys but you lose the benefit of the deterministic seed.

The nice thing about the seed is you can memorize it, and back it up in an encrypted or steganographically hidden format.

One thing about electrum seed, its not bip39 seed... but... you CAN generate a bip39 seed with another wallet and import that to electrum.
For example jaxx wallet... try it, and then import the seed back to electrum using bip39 parameter... you see it will have the same addresses.

This is the most common compatible way to do it.



Hey first time hearing about this Jaxx wallet. Is it safe? Have you used it extensively and do you recommend it? Thanks!

I prefer you use electrum, although from what I've seen, Jaxx is legit.  Nice thing about Jaxx is that it supports multiple coins: ether, dash, litecoin etc

I have had over $10,000 of crypto on my jaxx and it wasn't stolen.


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May 12, 2017, 04:54:38 PM
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I have tried the Exodus wallet which seems like an alternative to Jaxx but there was no manual fee setting there and that threw me off cause sometimes you would get some ridiculous fees for small amounts. And I don't want to talk about that piece of steaming garbage MultiBit HD which bugged out on me with the surprisingly widespread wrong password failure. I have tried every suggested desktop wallet listed on the Bitcoinorg website and finally settled on BitPay. It doesn't offer much in functionality like other wallets but at least I feel more secure with it and hopefully my funds won't get locked up again because of shoddy programming lol.

By the way I just read some comments and reviews of jaxx and there is a mention that there is no manual fee option? I will play with it for awhile but I don't think it will become my main wallet though.

Edit.


There are actually 3 options for setting fees on jaxx so I was wrong Smiley The interface is pretty slick I have to say. Me likey  Cheesy I will use Jaxx to store some alt coins for my betting on DirectBet.

Thanks for the suggestion mate!  Wink

deepskydiver
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May 13, 2017, 05:08:06 AM
 #10

Bitcoin clients needs a standard wallet format.

I guess my overall frustration is that there is no way to store bitcoin independent of a specific client or cloud based hosting.
There's no shortage of formats but (as I recently found with my old multibit wallets) they can become superseded and when you're not keeping up to date in the bitcoin community you can find your storage orphaned.

As I mentioned I've got the key pairs in any case. But it's reasonable to presume that in a couple of years whatever process I use now with Electrum won't work then. And until there's a universally supported wallet format it's kind of hard to get people without any technology experience onboard. Because they're not sure what they have and its independence.

I should be able to say to my partner "Here's your bitcoin wallet - you can use it with any bitcoin client as long as you have your password". 

But I can see that doesn't seem to annoy anyone else..?
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May 13, 2017, 05:30:23 AM
 #11

the standard (universal) format that you are looking for is private keys. all the wallets understand them without any exception and this will never ever change. and as long as you have the private keys you won't need to worry about wallets changing, disappearing or wanting to use a different type of wallet.

you say "here's your key to use bitcoin, that is all you need. you can use it with any bitcoin client that allows you to import private keys (most of them) and this is like your password"
you can save it in any format you like:
WIF: 5HueCGU8rMjxEXxiPuD5BDku4MkFqeZyd4dZ1jvhTVqvbTLvyTJ
Encrypted (AES encrypted with pass "123"): +NOGmmzM6QQwoU4aX/GIe2KYsBXyWt5qEo36Gn23HCeHAZ4lY9MI4q+S/roUwf6Drd/O4JpA4b+ytzgjzvJo6w==

[above two is the normal way of doing things]

now some more fun ways (since private key is just a big number):
Hex: 0C28FCA386C7A227600B2FE50B7CAE11EC86D3BF1FBE471BE89827E19D72AA1D
Number: 5500171714335001507730457227127633683517613019341760098818554179534751705629
Binary: 1100001010001111110010100011100001101100011110100010001001110110000000001011001 0111111100101000010110111110010101110000100011110110010000110110100111011111100 0111111011111001000111000110111110100010011000001001111110000110011101011100101 010101000011101


jonald_fyookball
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May 13, 2017, 05:32:54 AM
 #12

also bip 32/ bip 39 / bip 44 are standardizing HD wallets

deepskydiver
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May 13, 2017, 06:01:42 AM
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the standard (universal) format that you are looking for is private keys.

I agree - and that's what I fall back to and the only reason I feel secure now. But if I just used that and send some bitcoin I'd lose the change still, wouldn't I..?
Which is why I thought giving someone a wallet a better bet.
pooya87
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May 13, 2017, 06:14:30 AM
 #14

the standard (universal) format that you are looking for is private keys.

I agree - and that's what I fall back to and the only reason I feel secure now. But if I just used that and send some bitcoin I'd lose the change still, wouldn't I..?
Which is why I thought giving someone a wallet a better bet.

for change you just generate a new keypair and use that, or (not recommended) send the change back to the same sending address.
and as for things like wallet or seed, these wallets all have an open source code, which means even if you don't understand it yourself, you can always find someone that does and ask them to solve your problem. for example in case in the future you had an old wallet that the new software didn't recognize. which is unlikely because these wallets are designed in a way to stay "backward-compatible".

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