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Author Topic: Electrum vs Multibit (or other) for cold storage fork ready wallet?  (Read 1906 times)
Mikcik
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June 06, 2017, 12:08:54 PM
 #1

Hello

Which wallet is the better for cold storage of BTC? Electrum or Multibit? (or some other).

1) Cold storage in my case- wallets will be crated on an already offline computer running windows (later linux, i dont have the time to figure linux out now, so i will just use my old windows PC, that is no longer connected to the internet for this, linux later in few months). Wallets created on this old windows 7 computer not connected to internet and stored on this computer + on several usb flashdiscs + probably on some external HDDs.
2) I do not intend to use/spent the BTC at all or not often. Maybe few times a year when i will try to sell when the price is higher or in buble and than buy back later when its low. Besides this, no using BTC (so i don need "ease of use" like trezor).
3) I want my cold storage/wallet to be fork ready, so once (if) the chain split happens i will have a way to acces coincs on both chains (and move them, sell them etc.)

With this in mind, what wallet would you recommend me? Electrum or Multibit...? (or some other wallet like armory etc. (but i dont want to download the blockchain)

(Do not recommend me trezor or such, im not that stupid - i know they exist i just dont want to buy one now)

Thank you a lot for your recommendations :-)!

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June 07, 2017, 02:31:29 PM
 #2

Nobody has advice which one of these...??  Shocked

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June 07, 2017, 02:50:01 PM
 #3

Both are pretty secure as long as your computer is not compromised.  So it's more about personal security than anything else.

That said, have a look at the Multibit and Electrum subforums.  You'll notice that Multibit's threads are a sea of complaints about bugs, while Electrum is not.
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June 07, 2017, 03:56:32 PM
 #4

If you want to do the two computer thing for cold storage Electrum already supports that. This is the recommended way. You have to use a USB key to shuttle transactions back and forth to sign. OTOH it is a lot easier just buying a hardware wallet and using it with Electrum.

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June 07, 2017, 04:03:39 PM
 #5

While using Electrum for cold storage using an offline computer works fine you do have to dedicate a laptop to the Electrum wallet and that computer can never again be connected to the net.

That's why more convenient hardware wallets like Ledger Nano S and Trezor have pretty much replaced using Electrum or Armory for cold storage. As the price of bitcoin increases so will the malware trying to steal your bitcoin.
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June 07, 2017, 05:35:40 PM
 #6

I am using electrum myself and as it give you full access to your private keys, I think they are safer for cold storage and also during possible hard forks. If you have privatkey of your bitcoin address you can access your coins in both chain if there will be any hard fork.

But if you like to create your address in offline environment than just download bitaddress.org github file and run it in offline environment. Save those private key and bitcoin pairs. Send any amount of bitcoin in them and if you want to send them out, you can import those private keys in your electrum wallet (this needs to be connected to internet). You can send back the remaining bitcoins to your another bitcoin address which was created offline.

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June 07, 2017, 07:12:12 PM
 #7

I am using electrum myself and as it give you full access to your private keys, I think they are safer for cold storage and also during possible hard forks. If you have privatkey of your bitcoin address you can access your coins in both chain if there will be any hard fork.

But if you like to create your address in offline environment than just download bitaddress.org github file and run it in offline environment. Save those private key and bitcoin pairs. Send any amount of bitcoin in them and if you want to send them out, you can import those private keys in your electrum wallet (this needs to be connected to internet). You can send back the remaining bitcoins to your another bitcoin address which was created offline.

Yeah i already decided to go with electrum. Just downloaded it to my online computer and looking at it. Later i will instal it to my offline computer aswell (will use usb flash stick to transfer the instalation files to the offline comp.) I have few questions:

1) There are some desktop wallets that dont give you full acess to your private keys :-O? I thought all dekstop wallets do this...?
2) In the electrum wallet if i want to display/save/print etc. simply acces directly my BTC private keys i have to click: Wallet ---> Private Keys----> Export . Then enter my password. Then it displays me 2 columns. On the left there are Public Keys (or adresses)? And on the right there are Private Keys, correct?
3) These are the original BTC public key and private key and can be solely imported to any BTC wallet (even the original). These are the main files i have to protect (or save/backup)?
4) Why did electrum (at least in my case) automaticaly generated 26 (or 27?) Public Keys and corresponding private keys? Thats one thing i do not understand, why not just one?

Thank you for your experienced advice! :-)

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June 07, 2017, 07:49:34 PM
 #8

If you are going to use an online/offline computer pair for cold storage with Electrum do it the way the developer intended. Your main wallet is on the offline computer that never connects to the net. You create a watching only wallet on the online computer. When it is time to make a transaction you do so on the online computer, take the transaction to the offline computer on a USB drive, sign it using the wallet on offline computer, take it back to online computer and broadcast. This is the way we did cold storage before hardware wallets were introduced in 2014 by Trezor. For most people it is too much trouble when a hardware wallet is much more convenient. There are some privacy benefits to this approach but only when you run your own Electrum server, or use Bitcoin Armory instead.

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June 07, 2017, 08:27:56 PM
 #9

Thank you, but could someone answer the questions if someone has the time and is willing to help :-) (thank you)

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June 08, 2017, 08:06:16 AM
 #10

1) There are some desktop wallets that dont give you full acess to your private keys :-O? I thought all dekstop wallets do this...?
2) In the electrum wallet if i want to display/save/print etc. simply acces directly my BTC private keys i have to click: Wallet ---> Private Keys----> Export . Then enter my password. Then it displays me 2 columns. On the left there are Public Keys (or adresses)? And on the right there are Private Keys, correct?
3) These are the original BTC public key and private key and can be solely imported to any BTC wallet (even the original). These are the main files i have to protect (or save/backup)?
4) Why did electrum (at least in my case) automaticaly generated 26 (or 27?) Public Keys and corresponding private keys? Thats one thing i do not understand, why not just one?

Thank you for your experienced advice! :-)
1. Yes, there are desktop wallets that don't provide "easy" access to private keys... MultiBit HD is one of these
2. Yes, Addresses + Private Keys
3. If you are using Electrum... why not create an HD wallet with a 12 word seed? Then there is no need to backup any wallet files... Your wallet can be completed restored at any time using just the seed. So, you just need to write down your 12 word seed and then save it in a very safe and secure place. A lot of folks recommend laminating it and storing it in a safety deposit box etc.
4. Electrum (and a lot of wallets) will automatically generate a "key pool" in advance. I forget the original reason that wallets do this...

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June 08, 2017, 08:15:39 AM
 #11

I prefer the other way around: I generate a pair of address+private key with a paper wallet generator or a vanity generator and I can use it for cold storage.
The private key can be imported in any wallet and while you have the private key your funds cannot be lost.

Of course, this method should not be used for every day use wallets because it (arguably) decreases their security. But that's not a concern for your use case.

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June 08, 2017, 11:23:36 AM
 #12

Again, thank you for reply, especially HCP.

1) Last thing i dont fully understant is the 3) So the adresses and private keys electrum displays to me according to that described "clicking" are the original BTC adresses (in their original "format") which can be imported to practically all wallets, the full original including, correct?

2) I dont understand the 12 keywords and how it functions... So these are the only things (when we get to the core of the thing) that i might remember? The core "fall-back" option, that will always 100 % generate me with full confidence my wallet file containing the the 26 (or 27) adresses+private keys...?
If yes, than wow, how does this program do it...? I mean the 26 private keys that is a LOT of characters... how can they be safely "coded and then decoded" from just 12 english words...? Im scared of that... looks almost like magic to me :-D... (?)

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June 09, 2017, 12:00:30 AM
 #13

Electrum, when using the 12 word seed (aka "wallet words") to generate a wallet, creates what is known as a Hierarchical Deterministic (or "HD") wallet. Essentially it uses mathematical "magic" to reproduce the same addresses and keys from a given starting point.

I like to try and explain it like a very very very large number of hallways, that all have a very very very large number of doors. Behind each numbered door is a room containing a collection of addresses/keys. You basically go to the hallway that is set based on the "Derivation Path" that your wallet uses. The 12 word seed tells you which door to go to in the hallway. So, if your seed decoded to #12, you'd go to door number 12 and behind that door is the room with your collection of addresses and keys.

So, when you come to restore, the wallet picks the hallway based on the derivation path and then your seed puts you at the same door in the hallway as last time and you get the same addresses/keys Smiley

The "derivation path" (for picking the hallway) is a specific value that an HD wallet uses, some use "standard" or common values with other wallets, so you can take a seed from one wallet and use it in another and you end up in the same hallway at the same door. Some wallets use unique derivation paths, so they're incompatible with other wallets. This means that even though you can put the same seed in and it still says start at Door #12, because you are in a different hallway, you end up at a different room and get different addresses. This is one little "gotcha" that a lot of people overlook and causes issues if they try and use their Electrum seed in another wallet like MultiBit HD (or vice versa).

As for the coded/decoded part... Basically, addresses and keys are really just very very VERY big numbers... the jumble of letters/numbers that you see is just a slightly more compact and user friendly way of recording them (with some checksum functionality thrown in to help catch typos)... The method for converting from the underlying number to the letters/numbers is well publicised and repeatable... It may be a bit more complicated, but like simple maths, given the same input, the conversion/generation process will generate the same output. ie. 2+2=4 and will always equal 4 Smiley

Hopefully, that helps explain some of the "magic" Wink

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June 09, 2017, 10:17:42 PM
 #14

Thank you, thats helpful.

And lets say that i save only the 12 word seed AND the instalation package of the (version) of electrum wallet the seed was created on. All this on an offline computer.

I do not touch the wallet etc. for 10 years... After 10 years i will need the "money" (BTC) so i will instal electrum wallet from that old instalation package i saved 10 years ago.. I will not download new version of electrum wallet. Or lets say that in 10 years there isnt any electrum wallet beeing developed anymore... I will instal the 10 years old instalation file ("old" celectru mwallet) on whatever PC i have (offline PC). and i will try to "import" the 12 word seed on this offline computer...

Will the electrum wallet still be able to "reconstruct" the BTC adresses and private keys in this special case?

(all of this assuming the BTC "protocol" stays the same/compatible with the "old one" BTC from 10 years ago... )

Will it be possible to get the private keys from the 12 seed even in this special case...?

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June 10, 2017, 05:04:01 AM
 #15

Assuming you have a computer in 10 years that can run Electrum from today... then sure... the maths doesn't change. Your seed will still decode to exactly the same start point, and (assuming you're using the matching version of Electrum) it will still be using the same "Derivation Path", so you end up in the same hallway, at the same door... and get the same addresses/keys. Smiley

Whether or not that version of Electrum will be able to sync to the network and update the balance is another story... but it will still be able to generate the keys and you could just import those into something else... (assuming, like you said, that BTC is still the same Wink )

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June 11, 2017, 12:18:18 AM
 #16

thank you that was helpful :-).

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Your everyday crypto
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