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Author Topic: Do you own your private keys with Desktop Wallets?  (Read 1798 times)
elektra
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June 11, 2017, 08:58:45 PM
 #1

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?
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malami
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June 11, 2017, 09:01:03 PM
 #2

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?


Yes that backup file has the information for your private key embedded on it and usually encrypted with a password in addition. Its also possible to get the raw private key (string of letters and numbers) but depends on which wallet you use.

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elektra
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June 11, 2017, 09:09:11 PM
 #3

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?


Yes that backup file has the information for your private key embedded on it and usually encrypted with a password in addition. Its also possible to get the raw private key (string of letters and numbers) but depends on which wallet you use.
¨

But that backup file only works with that particular wallet? Or could I extract my key somehow from it to use in another wallet if I needed to?
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June 11, 2017, 09:52:53 PM
 #4

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?


Yes that backup file has the information for your private key embedded on it and usually encrypted with a password in addition. Its also possible to get the raw private key (string of letters and numbers) but depends on which wallet you use.
¨

But that backup file only works with that particular wallet? Or could I extract my key somehow from it to use in another wallet if I needed to?

Yes if its in a standard wallet format then you can use the backup file with another wallet if you needed to.

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June 11, 2017, 10:21:42 PM
 #5

Yes, you do own the private keys which is a key difference between Desktop Wallets (DW) and Web Wallets (WW) which is the main reason that people are saying the good quote which is "If you don't own the keys, you don't own the coins" this is due to the amount of "hacks" that have occurred within the entire BTC community.

Personally, I think the perfect mix between something that is  WW and  DW is something like BitGo which is giving you access to half of your keys so you're going to be the one in control though you still get the efficiency of using something that is a web wallet.
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June 11, 2017, 11:15:25 PM
 #6

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?


Yes. It doesn't even necessarily need to be desktop wallets. Even blockchain.info allows you to get your own private keys, export and import new keys into your wallet and sign messages. The only wallets that won't let you do that is the wallets that i call exchange wallets. These include coinbase, coinjar, btc.com wallet etc. They don't let you control your own keys because your wallet is essentially a claim of their total bitcoin reserves.

The seed i'm assuming you're talking about the 12 word mnemonic that you copy down when you get a new wallet. There is no need to store the private keys if you have that because the keys are derived from that mnemonic. So you're somewhat still directly in control of your own keys. Either way, using a wallet which allows you to create and control your own keys is a good habit to get into.

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June 12, 2017, 12:18:49 AM
 #7

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?


As long as you are in control of your own private keys you are good to go. You don't even need a desktop client per se. A desktop client is just a UI that makes your life easier so you don't need to create raw transactions yourself and stores your private keys for you. To see your private keys you have to export the keys first.

A paper wallet would work as well. In fact it's probably more secure than a desktop wallet because everything is offline and you don't need to worry about viruses infecting your wallet. Or, you could try a hardware wallet.

The seed you're talking about is BIP39. As long as you have that seed, you have control over your private keys as well because you can import that into any other wallet and it'll reflect your balance.

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June 12, 2017, 04:01:38 AM
 #8

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?


maybe good is not the correct word to use here. Desktop wallets are better than Web Wallets. because the wallet will be located on your desktop and chances of a hacker trying to hack an individual is less than a hacker trying to hack the website/server containing all the wallets (phishing attacks, ... to get your password to that website for example).

what is best is cold storage. where you cut all the access to your wallet from the outside world.

as as it was said, with all wallets you have private keys, they are the only thing that you need to spend funds. if you don't see them, it is by design to prevent confusion for newcomers who may not fully grasp the importance of securing their private keys and may give that to others instead of their public key.

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June 12, 2017, 03:24:25 PM
 #9

Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?)
The seed isn't your private keys.  Your seed is used to generate your private keys (in what's called a deterministic wallet), and the point is for it to be backed up easily (you just right down your seed and store it somewhere safe like a bank safety deposit box, in case you lose access to your wallet).
Quote from: elektra
, but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?
Your private key is a 128-512 bit number, typically 256.  It can be represented in several ways.

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June 12, 2017, 03:35:04 PM
 #10

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?


private key are inside the wallet.dat file, if you want to save just your private key, you need to use the command line in the debug windows, this is dumpprivatekey "your address"
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June 12, 2017, 03:43:20 PM
 #11

Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?)
The seed isn't your private keys.  Your seed is used to generate your private keys (in what's called a deterministic wallet), and the point is for it to be backed up easily (you just right down your seed and store it somewhere safe like a bank safety deposit box, in case you lose access to your wallet).
Quote from: elektra
, but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?
Your private key is a 128-512 bit number, typically 256.  It can be represented in several ways.

Seed and private keys are different. Private keys will be in a particular format and will be in hexadecimal but the seed is combination of words which is encrypted. By backing up and producing the seed you can have that wallet and its contents.
Try making a wallet in www.myetherwallet.com, you will see the difference.

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June 12, 2017, 03:45:09 PM
 #12

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?


I am using electrum desktop wallet and private key are not seen in address bar, you have to get the private key from the menu for the particular address from the main column. And this is the benefit of desktop wallet that you are in control of your wallet and you can show any where the proof of your are the owner through this private key.

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elektra
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June 22, 2017, 10:28:09 AM
 #13

But how do I get my private key on a wallet that does not show it? Often I can only backup a .bat file. Can I somehow extract my private key from that if I would ever need to? And if so, do I need to know something more, like my public key etc?

Also if I encrypt the wallet with a password, will I need this password also if I need to extract the private keys in the future?
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June 22, 2017, 10:39:32 AM
 #14

If you have a meaningful amount of cash, use a hardware wallet and secure the seed. Not expensive and so much safer. And you're in control
elektra
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June 25, 2017, 08:30:10 AM
 #15

If you have a meaningful amount of cash, use a hardware wallet and secure the seed. Not expensive and so much safer. And you're in control

Very few coins support a hardware wallet.
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June 25, 2017, 08:59:54 AM
 #16

If you have a meaningful amount of cash, use a hardware wallet and secure the seed. Not expensive and so much safer. And you're in control

Very few coins support a hardware wallet.

that is because very few people are planning on keeping any altcoins for long. and even fewer of them are planning to withdraw them from their exchanges!
you can still make a paper wallet from many altcoins though. there are open source projects like bitaddress.org which work with multiple altcoins.














 

 

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hajimasan
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June 25, 2017, 09:10:42 AM
 #17

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?

No , that is backup of the data of your wallet of history transaction and that confirms that you are the owner of your wallet and in that case if you will lost something and that data will help you to recover your account easily .
Here private key is a different concept of the ownership .
Since I didn't tried any Bitcoin core like wallet but I used price key in blockchain and mysellium wallet to import and export address .
The private key has about 32 (I am not sure but may be 64 :/ )character .
if you own the private key then you have that wallet and can easily handle in any private key supporting wallet .
procedure to find the private key in blockchain is to go in the settings and go address and then in import and export keys and then if you want export the private key then click at that address in export and if you want import any key then press to import and then paste your private key .
This is really a cool technique to handle your money safely outside the blockchain wallet .

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June 27, 2017, 09:45:08 PM
 #18

As we know few coins supporting a hardware wallet.Because one of famous are supporting while other is not even don't take interest.If having meaningful amount of cash use a hardware wallets to secure the seed and it is not on that much price where other wallets are.
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June 27, 2017, 10:20:50 PM
 #19

From what I have heard Desktop Wallets are supposed to be good because "you are in control of your own keys". But I have never seen a private key when I have downloaded a desktop wallet. Sometimes you get to make a seed, which I think is the same thing (?) , but often you only get to backup a file. Is that file your private key then?

Most desktop wallets give you access to your private key as far as I know but don't show it to you unless you decide to do an export of your private key yourself probably for security reasons as they are not to be toyed with. Getting into the hands of a wrong person can render your account being taken away from you. For example, using exodus wallet, you can export your private key by entering the developer mode which is quick and easy but you will never be able to view it unless you do that.
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June 28, 2017, 01:32:01 AM
 #20

Yes, the backup file has your private key encrypted with a password. The fact that you own these private keys means that you fully own these coins. On the other hand, websites like Coinbase and CoinJar, don't let you control your own keys. Your Bitcoin is basically part of their funds. In this way, it is similar to a bank.

Moreover, the seed is not your private key. The seed is used to create your private keys. It can be used as a backup for your wallet too. Let's say you can't access your wallet; using you seed you can reach your wallet again.
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