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Author Topic: Lost private key years ago...  (Read 1074 times)
lozzauk
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August 14, 2017, 12:39:36 PM
 #1

Hi bitcointalk

Well, this has been quite a rough ride for me lately. I had some bitcoin back in April 2010 (when it was $0.003!) mined a block, got sent a few from a friend when we were speculating that this 'might catch on'

Well little did I know how much he was right.
This leads me to a slight problem.

7 years have past in which I have forgotten all about the bitcoins and then I hear the news about the fork.  Do buy back in at the low and still hold them now but this is a tiny fraction of what I did have.

Enter frantic HEX dumps of all the flashdisks and hard drives that I have that may have sometime contained the file.  Seems I do not have it, but did seem to find the following, but the data is very fragmented.

Wallet address which I checked on the block explorer and it matches my recollection of the payment value.
A set of very fragmented transaction ID's that match those on block explorer.

And a possible private key.
The private key I have extracted as HEX and now have it as ASCII.  How many characters should it be?
I have 39 bytes of ASCII which seems a bit too long as that's 312 bits.

Is there a way I can rolling window these keys and see if any of them are correct? 

Thanks!!
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Make sure you back up your wallet regularly! With Bitcoin-Qt, it needs to be backed up at least as often as every 100 transactions (both sends and receipts) or new addresses.
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August 14, 2017, 12:52:56 PM
 #2

you can try this https://www.bitaddress.org/ do it offline preferably
save the page locally or download zipfile from github (link at the left bottom corner of that page)
pick wallet details tab and you can try any format of private key there
if it is valid and show your exact bitcoin address then congrats... that's your key

lozzauk
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August 14, 2017, 01:01:15 PM
 #3

Thanks.
How many bits/bytes is a private key?  256?
The random private key it generated was  -snip- (I don't plan to use this wallet!)
what encoding is that?  My ASCII string looks nothing like that.
lozzauk
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August 14, 2017, 01:11:26 PM
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Just read how long they should be.

Public Key (130 characters [0-9A-F]):
Public Key (compressed, 66 characters [0-9A-F]):

Private Key WIF
51 characters base58, starts with a '5'
Private Key WIF Compressed
52 characters base58, starts with a 'K' or 'L'


Private Key Hexadecimal Format (64 characters [0-9A-F]):
Private Key Base64 (44 characters):

The public key it gave me was 34 characters? This matches the length of mine.
The private key it gave seems to be 'WIF compressed'

Anyone know what format the bitcoin wallet of 2010 will have used? Was it just ASCII?
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August 14, 2017, 02:01:36 PM
 #5

back then you probably use bitcoin-qt (??) and I think you would start with wallet seed
if somehow you can remember the seed you can simple use it again to restore your wallet
but if you still have an intact uncorrupted wallet.dat unlocked unencryted,
you might be able to just download new version bitcoin core and use that wallet file

lets wait for more experience bitcointalk member to share their views
but meanwhile if you have wallet file, make sure you make backup double triple copies of it

lozzauk
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August 14, 2017, 02:28:27 PM
 #6

That's the problem. I don't have the file, just recovered bits that seem to have been overwritten.
I've pretty much written it off - but it's 600BTC so not easy to do!

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August 14, 2017, 02:37:40 PM
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That's the problem. I don't have the file, just recovered bits that seem to have been overwritten.
I've pretty much written it off - but it's 600BTC so not easy to do!



You may have better luck with a data recovery company. Its not cheap but it could be very worth it if they can recover your wallet.dat file.

BTC tip jar: 18EKpbrcXxbpzAZv3T58ccGcVis7W7JR9w
LTC tip jar: Lgp8ERykAgx6Q8NdMqpi5vnVoUMD2hYn2a
RVRovin
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August 14, 2017, 04:26:04 PM
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Worth paying the money to have the experts work on this, if you figure this out you may have enough to retire!
lozzauk
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August 14, 2017, 09:53:22 PM
 #9

One of my collegues had the thought that as I said it was on my dropbox at one stage that was sync'd to my old laptop (which is hopefully still in work storage!) we can look on there.

My dropbox account isn't live anymore Sad

And yes, I'm pretty mortified as this the one
https://blockchain.info/address/1FXavuV1rjJicYau2md7pa22Q3P4HEcMLN

Around $2 worth in 2010.
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August 14, 2017, 09:59:22 PM
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Worth paying the money to have the experts work on this, if you figure this out you may have enough to retire!

You think?  Thats over 2 million at 3500/ coin.

BTC: 1PYSBbuKM3kW19xe9TXJQfq64rPhd8XorF
Staked and Verified: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=996318.msg17102755#msg17102755
lozzauk
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August 14, 2017, 10:05:58 PM
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I'm in the UK, same place as someone through 7,500BTC out with the garbage a few years back.
I also have a memory stick it was definitely on but there's not a single HEX block on there, so chances of data recovery on that is slim.

On a magnetic disk is there any chance of recovery after an overwrite? I had a look and most of the "recovery experts" seem to be just using recovery software.  I'm at least going down into the individual sectors, but it's only what the OS can read obviously....
PromethiumX
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August 14, 2017, 11:59:47 PM
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Take a look at GetDataBack, https://www.runtime.org/ I've used it with great success many times.
THis will do a non destructive search of your drive and enable the use of earlier file allocation tables.
Ensure any restoration is sent to a secondary device.

BitcoinBarrel
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August 15, 2017, 01:42:47 AM
 #13

I really hope you get your BTCs back, it will be a miracle. But think of it like this... if you had your 600 BTC this whole time you probably would have sold it at $10 or even $100/BTC. It would have been very tough to keep these coins through all the years. So if you do recover them, it will be some good fortune. I definitely agree with hiring some experts, but be careful what you tell them because they may try to scam you for the BTC.



        ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄
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 ███████████████████████
▐███████████████████████
▐███████████████████████
▐███████████████████████
▐███████████████████████
 ██████████████████████▀
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  ▀██████████████████
    ▀▀████████████▀▀
.
.....
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lozzauk
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August 15, 2017, 10:38:30 AM
 #14

Hi All

Thanks. I suspect if I had have kept this more in my mind and therefore the key safer I would have cashed out much sooner.

I'm turning all my drives over to a friend I haven't seen in about ten years. He runs a PC forensics business and has done successfully for a number of years and became aware of my plight. Said he wants an interesting project if he can help. As it was on magnetic storage at one stage we may have some luck but I still doubt it.  So I will not be using them again to minimise any further possible loss or corruption.

It's still going to take a miracle.  

Do we know what the main bitcoin client of early 2010 file stucture and private key delimiters as he will need them.
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August 15, 2017, 09:08:21 PM
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Hi All

Thanks. I suspect if I had have kept this more in my mind and therefore the key safer I would have cashed out much sooner.

I'm turning all my drives over to a friend I haven't seen in about ten years. He runs a PC forensics business and has done successfully for a number of years and became aware of my plight. Said he wants an interesting project if he can help. As it was on magnetic storage at one stage we may have some luck but I still doubt it.  So I will not be using them again to minimise any further possible loss or corruption.

It's still going to take a miracle.  

Do we know what the main bitcoin client of early 2010 file stucture and private key delimiters as he will need them.


Have a look at following wiki. Maybe it helps.
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Private_key

You have some chances if data is not overridden by new data. Some recovery tools produce good results but data must be unchanged. Maybe instead of hiring experts, you may want to buy full versions of trusted recovery programs and use them on your own. If you tell anyone that you had 600 btc on a disk and ask them to recover, then chances are high that they will say we couldn't find anything but they can run away with your funds if they can succesfully recover your private key.
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August 17, 2017, 03:07:55 PM
 #16

Hope you get it back one day!

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August 19, 2017, 04:16:56 AM
 #17

Do we know what the main bitcoin client of early 2010 file stucture and private key delimiters as he will need them.

https://bitcoin.org/en/version-history it was something before 0.3 and since the compressed keys were introduced in 0.6 IIRC, your keys must be uncompressed. meaning in WIF (Wallet Import Format) they should start with 5 (5H, 5J, 5K). this is Base58 which are alphanumeric characters excluding 0OIl [1]

if it contains +, =, / then it is base64 [2]

if it contains numbers from 0 to 9 and letters from A to F then it is base 16 or hexadecimal [3]

you can use each of these above 3 in https://www.bitaddress.org last tab called "Wallet Details" to get your private key, pubkey and address.
if it is not one of these (unless i forgot something) it probably is either not a private key or it is encrypted and you need a password.

[1] https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Base58Check_encoding
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base64
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexadecimal

kiddikoddi
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August 19, 2017, 01:25:38 PM
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Hey paragon is pretty solid recovery software, but if you have overwritten it many times then chances decrease, these pro recovery companies dont do anything more than a software can do also i would never trust them to recover a 600btc wallet lol
But i am a tech savy and if u need any help just lmk
I am good with encryption and data recovery but kinda busy at the moment but i can help you when im done
Donate_Me
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August 20, 2017, 11:13:46 AM
 #19

you can easy recover them.

try to answer this questions :

1-You have any old email address or account with uploaded those files ?
2-is there the Hard disk still alive ? i mean from that time the hard disk is work ? 2010 till 2014 ? 2015 ? or now ?
3-there is some method for back files from that day you attach the hard disk till the time the hard disk is work.


P.S : i can help you about this problem,i can share information and you Must do it yorself to recover it.
i help someone with this problem in year 2016 about 151 BTC.
after recovery done and he find the info and import in wallet we found a backup in old email address.
so its why i asking you the FIRST Question.


I Hope you can back it.
its 600 , there is wallet with 25.000 BTC lost in this forum ...
BitPACK
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August 20, 2017, 11:46:34 PM
 #20

i hope you can recovery back. please write your result here. we are waiting your result.

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