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Author Topic: safest way to backup and encrypt your wallet.dat  (Read 1599 times)
Bruce Wagner
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December 07, 2010, 04:21:29 PM

I apologize for posting this as a new topic.  I'm sure it's been discussed at length before.  Can someone please point me to the thread that contains the defacto "best" way to backup (in many places) safely encrypted copies of your wallet.dat file...?

In other words, HOW best should the average not-too-too-technical user:

  • backup his wallet.dat file  (or multiple wallet.dat files?)
  • encrypt it
  • distribute backup copies all over the place
  • who to give the password to  (if anyone)


Do you need to Quit the Bitcoin application before copying the file out?
Do you need to Delete the wallet.dat file that you copied out?   ...and let the app create a new one?   ...or just leave the original one there?
What will be the results of either of these actions?
What software should you use to encrypt your wallet.dat file before storing it?

I want to create a screencast How To video, for the site, and everywhere else, to teach the normal man-on-the-street user how to "back up his money file".   Smiley
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December 07, 2010, 04:27:11 PM

Sounds great,

exiting the client and copying the file would certainly do, there also is a JSON RPC call that can be used, but I wouldn't have any idea on how to do that with the GUI since I don't use it.

However, you don't need to delete the wallet you just backed up, just explain clearly that using a wallet copy is like using the original. Coins spent from a copy will "disappear" from the original wallet.

You might also want to insist on the fact that coins can be sent without any problem to an offline wallet.
So if anyone wanted to protect their funds big time they could generate an address from a wallet, store the wallet on a usb stick in a safe and send funds to that address without ever having to bring it online, (only for spending the coins of course).

Timo Y
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December 07, 2010, 04:36:48 PM

It doesn't need to be the safest, it only needs to be safe enough for the user's individual

What's "safe enough" is a matter of opinion.

The more safety you want, the more cumbersome/expensive it gets, and diminishing returns mean that at some point you reach an optimum where the expense of making things marginally safer no longer pays. That's true for many technologies, not just bitcoin.

Here is a super-safe scheme that I've proposed:

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December 07, 2010, 05:19:15 PM

check the FAQ
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