I have come up with a simple way to keep your BTC safe from all kinds of threats. It's impossible to delete, or to get hacked, and requires no skills or training to set up. Meet myPaper Bitcoin Wallet
For sale at http://casascius.com
Sample Here: http://184.108.40.206/btc/PaperWalletSample.pdf
1. Buy my Paper Bitcoin Wallet via PayPal, including your mailing address in the order. It's $5, my PayPal is mcaldwell at mc2cs.com. (Each sheet is unique, of course).
2. When you receive it, have your Bitcoins sent to any of the addresses printed on the page.
3. When ready to spend your Bitcoins, redeem exactly the same way you would a BitBill.
Q. How many addresses do I get?
A. The sheet for $5 has 9 Bitcoin addresses and their corresponding keys. For $10, you can get four sheets (36 addresses). Worldwide letter-mail postage is included.
Q. How does it work?
A. Generating addresses requires no contact with the network. An address is a public and private key. In this case, I am merely providing you both keys on a piece of paper.
Q. Do you keep a copy of my keys?
A. No. I am not keeping a copy of anything - neither the public nor private keys. Once I mail it, it's gone.
Q. Don't I have to trust you?
A. Yes, because anyone who knows the private key can spend the coins sent to the matching bitcoin address. However, anytime you send bitcoins to a website, you're trusting the owner of that website. You are also trusting them not to get hacked. I have a good reputation on the forums and on OTC, and my paper wallet is unhackable. And I am willing to hand-sign and include an actual physical fingerprint on each page I send out, as well as on the envelope. (That protects me too, in case someone else were to make paper wallets just like me). I am providing this service because I believe many people would rather trust me than trust that the Bitcoins on their computer won't get lost, hacked, stolen, corrupted, or otherwise destroyed. I promise I am not out to scam you. I am not keeping a copy of your keys.
Q. How can you be so sure they are hackproof?
A. I have followed a very specific safe procedure to produce these. I have generated these addresses into a brand new wallet using Bitcoin on a computer booted from a Linux Live CD with no internet connection
, saved the export to a flash drive using Sipa's import/export patch, formatted them into a report with Microsoft Access, and printed them on a directly-connected printer following a fresh install of Windows and Access. After production, I used Linux to overwrite the entire Windows hard drive, and then destroyed the USB flash drive with a hammer. At no point did any of this equipment ever connect to the Internet, and I keep the remaining sheets locked in a safe. Each address is sequentially numbered so I can be sure there are no duplicate pages, etc. Only one person can possibly screw it up - ME - and I promise I'm doing this right.
Q. Couldn't I just do this myself?
A. Of course. The easiest way is to install Sipa's patched version, generate a fresh wallet, use the "walletdump" RPC command to spit all the keys to a text file, and then print it. Do this with the network unplugged, and delete it when you're done, to keep the possibility of a hacker getting at it as close to zero as possible. By buying my sheet, I am saving you the hassle.
Q. Why are you taking PayPal and not BTC? We hate PayPal!
A. This is to help newcomers get up to speed. Sure, I'll take BTC, just e-mail me, but I expect many people interested in a paper wallet may not yet have BTC and are looking for a safe place to keep it.
Q. Why would anybody want a paper wallet?
A. With all the hacking lately, as well as scares and losses due to computer crashes or malfunctions, a paper wallet is a very effective way to limit one's exposure. They already exist - a BitBill is an example of a paper wallet which just happens to be designed in a way that requires you to tear apart the card to see the private key. I expect that offline paper wallets will become more common for average users as these threats become stronger, and that Bitcoin clients to come will make it easy both to import them and to easily print new ones.
Q. How do I know the balance of funds on each address?
A. Look it up on BlockExplorer.com.
Q. How do I redeem them?
A. The procedure is exactly the same for redeeming BitBills (except that you don't have to scan anything with your cell phone). Presently, you need to run a patched version of Bitcoin to import the private key. I am anticipating that at least one major exchange site will soon offer the ability to make BTC deposits by providing a private key. Be aware that until then, re-importing Bitcoins into a digital wallet is not easy enough for Grandma, so this is a better "savings" wallet than a "checking" wallet.
Q. How many times can I use each address?
A. You can use it for receiving as many times as you want, but once you divulge the private key, you can no longer be certain that you are the only person who knows it. Once you type the private key into a computer, use a new address.
EDIT: added link to info page at casascius.com, changed addresses per sheet to 9