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Author Topic: Is the HD wallet format backwards compatible?  (Read 456 times)
pereira4
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August 19, 2017, 02:20:24 PM
 #1

Every since BIP32 was introduced (https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0032.mediawiki) Core has HD support (since 0.13.0 I think)

I never bothered to switch to the new format because I was too lazy to send all of my BTC into a new wallet.dat (I got too many addresses)

Now that im going to need to do this in order to safely access my BCH, I was wondering: Does the post-0.13.0 wallet.dat file become incompatible with older clients? or with any other nakamoto-consensus following clients like Bitcoin Knots, TRB etc?

Also does the HD format have any risks compared to the original format of the wallet.dat? Im a pretty paranoid guy when it comes to any updates specially when it comes to changing the wallet.dat format...

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achow101
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August 19, 2017, 05:53:27 PM
 #2

Now that im going to need to do this in order to safely access my BCH, I was wondering: Does the post-0.13.0 wallet.dat file become incompatible with older clients?
Yes. If your wallet is an HD wallet (wallet files used in 0.13.0+ are not automatically upgraded to be HD so an old wallet used in 0.13.0+ can still be used in previous versions) it will not work on older versions of Bitcoin Core. Those versions will tell you that the wallet file is too new for it and it will fail to start.

or with any other nakamoto-consensus following clients like Bitcoin Knots, TRB etc?
Consensus has nothing to do with this. If the wallet software is based off of Bitcoin Core 0.13.0+, then it should be able to use the HD wallets.

Also does the HD format have any risks compared to the original format of the wallet.dat? Im a pretty paranoid guy when it comes to any updates specially when it comes to changing the wallet.dat format...
The wallet format itself is not different. All that changed was that a new key-value pair was added to mark a private key as the master HD key. Everything else is the same. The version number is also bumped to make it so that older wallet versions know that they don't support that wallet.

pereira4
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August 23, 2017, 03:31:22 PM
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Oh man, I have been trying to sync this thing for a couple of days now. Im at %60, with %0.80 hourly increase on average.... so it's going to take me a couple days more.

Can I at least turn the computer off for a while and continue where I left at? Im worried that if I launch the client again with the -reindex-chainstate options.


Consensus has nothing to do with this. If the wallet software is based off of Bitcoin Core 0.13.0+, then it should be able to use the HD wallets.

Well, I would like to be able to run older software if I choose to. The paranoid in me feels like it's not a good idea to lose compatibility with older clients. Who knows if you ever need to go back for some reason?
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August 23, 2017, 08:02:10 PM
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Can I at least turn the computer off for a while and continue where I left at? Im worried that if I launch the client again with the -reindex-chainstate options.
Yes. When you relaunch it, be sure that you do not have --reindex or --reindex-chainstate in your command as those will cause it to restart the reindex. When you start it again without those options, it will pick up where it left off.

Well, I would like to be able to run older software if I choose to. The paranoid in me feels like it's not a good idea to lose compatibility with older clients. Who knows if you ever need to go back for some reason?
Unfortunately you can't. Older versions of Bitcoin Core do not know what to do with the HD wallets, so they will refuse to start with one.

pereira4
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August 24, 2017, 02:39:48 PM
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Yes. When you relaunch it, be sure that you do not have --reindex or --reindex-chainstate in your command as those will cause it to restart the reindex. When you start it again without those options, it will pick up where it left off.

Well thanks for that, I knew that I did the right thing.. I was about to close my computer and run it again later, I just wanted to hive my poor laptop some breathing, it has been working 4 days in a row now and it's summer, im still at 70%...


Unfortunately you can't. Older versions of Bitcoin Core do not know what to do with the HD wallets, so they will refuse to start with one.


On that case, I guess I can always download pre-0.13.0 Bitcoin Core and generate a new wallet.dat file there to still stay with the old wallet format.

I just don't see any positives going into a format that's not backwards compatible. HD wallet doesn't seem that important, it's not like you can save a seed and generate the wallet like you do with Electrum, so I don't see it as being a "must have". You need to keep making backups everytime you create new addresses, but that forces you keep making said backups and stay alert and keep an eye on your wallet files.
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