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Author Topic: Retrieving bitcoin from 2013 wallet.dat  (Read 1169 times)
caen44
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November 05, 2017, 02:05:15 AM
 #1

Hi All,

I acquired a few bitcoin back in 2012. I was using whatever version of the official bitcoin client was at this time. I did a lot of fiddling around with this bitcoin between different wallets, etc. Then I got busy and forgot about it for a few years.

I now realize that I should prepare to figure out how to sell this bitcoin. However it is currently might be worth A LOT of dollars (although I don't know how many bitcoin I have in these) so I don't want to screw this up.

What I have is:
1. A couple of unencrypted wallet.dat files (unencrypted by bitcoin, I've encrypted the files themselves with another app and stored them all over the place). I'm pretty sure they are intact.
2. JSON format dumps from pywallet for the file that I believe has the least (~2 BTC) bitcoin balance. I can presumably decrypt the other wallet.dat files and dump their contents with pywallet when I am confident in what I am doing.

The JSON format dump from one wallet.dat has what appears to be hundreds of addresses "addr" with associated info for "compressed", "hexsec", "private", "pubkey", "reserve", "sec" and "secret". Googling didn't really help me understand this much, but I did gather that the "sec" data is the unencrypted private key if it starts with 5.

Now I have no idea what to do to next get access to the bitcoin safely.

-Can I convert the wallet.dat file to a modern wallet file, preferably for a lightweight wallet like electrum?
-Will the newest official bitcoin wallet work read the old wallet.dat file?
-Can I import the JSON file into some sort of modern wallet file?
-Can I do any of these steps on an offline computer to ensure that if I make a screwup I can just start over?

Another concern I have is retaining access to the bitcoin cash version of these bitcoin as well as both versions from the upcoming fork.

-Will I loose access to bitcoin cash and the new forks depending on how I try to recover these old bitcoin files?

Any advice is hugely appreciated. I imagine that there are man others in the same boat as me.

Thank you so much.
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November 05, 2017, 03:17:22 AM
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-Can I convert the wallet.dat file to a modern wallet file, preferably for a lightweight wallet like electrum?
I dont know about converting but you can import your private key to another wallet like electrum
-Will the newest official bitcoin wallet work read the old wallet.dat file?
Yes
-Can I import the JSON file into some sort of modern wallet file?
Dont know a lot about json, maybe blockchain backup wallet? I do research and multibit maybe accept it so answer is yes.
-Can I do any of these steps on an offline computer to ensure that if I make a screwup I can just start over?
idk about this. Maybe you just need download the wallet and open it, after that disconnect your connection and import it.

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November 05, 2017, 04:32:13 AM
 #3

-Can I convert the wallet.dat file to a modern wallet file, preferably for a lightweight wallet like electrum?
No, the best you could do is dump the privkeys and import or sweep them into another wallet.


Quote
-Will the newest official bitcoin wallet work read the old wallet.dat file?
Yes, but you'll need the blockchain fully downloaded and sync'd to be able to spend the coins from the wallet.


Quote
-Can I import the JSON file into some sort of modern wallet file?
Probably not.


Quote
-Can I do any of these steps on an offline computer to ensure that if I make a screwup I can just start over?
Yes... and it goes without saying that you should also use COPIES of the wallet files... do NOT work on the original files.


Quote
Another concern I have is retaining access to the bitcoin cash version of these bitcoin as well as both versions from the upcoming fork.
-Will I loose access to bitcoin cash and the new forks depending on how I try to recover these old bitcoin files?
No, you will NOT lose access to BCH, as long as you have the original wallets and/or access to the original private keys... you'll be fine.

Best of luck with your BTC recover, seems like you've got quite a happy little stash if your "smallest" balance is ~2BTC! Wink Shocked

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November 05, 2017, 12:24:21 PM
 #4

As long as your files are intact and you have every password you need your bitcoins are safe.
First you should copy them 2 times. From now on you have to work with a copy of your files.
You have different options to get your coins into a new wallet (to be able to directly access them).
You could either

  • 1. Download bitcoin core wallet and import your wallet.dat. This needs a lot of HD space and takes time to synchronize.
  • 2. Export your private keys from wallet.dat with (i think):
Code:
dumpprivkey [public key]
  • And import them into a lightweith wallet (e.g. electrum)
  • or 3. You download a tool which will scan your files for private keys and dump them into a new wallet.dat containing (most, dont know if all) your keys0/li]
    • You should definetly make sure to download the right tools from github (look at source code)

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November 05, 2017, 02:08:11 PM
 #5

yes you can if you have wallet address and private key you can transfer in other wallet...or just try to import in etherdelta exchange and withdraw to another wallet..

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caen44
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November 05, 2017, 10:48:46 PM
 #6

Thanks everyone for the replies.

Pywallet seems to dump the private keys and associated addresses, so I should be OK. I found that they is a --dumpbalance flag, but it seems to timeout or not work on most of the addresses. Looks like there is about 100 or so addresses per file, so I could eventually enter them all into a web tool to check their balance. I don't want to download the entire 140GB blockchain file if at all possible, but that might be the easiest way.  Years ago I remember it took weeks to get the much smaller blockchain download because it was so slow through the peer to peer network.

Is there an easier way to download most of the blockchain file at once now? I have a 100MBPS internet connection and lots of space on an external drive, so I could go that way.

It is all rather stressful now that I realize that a screw up would be tens of thousands of dollars worth of mistakes.

Thanks again!
jackg
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November 05, 2017, 11:06:04 PM
 #7

Thanks everyone for the replies.

Pywallet seems to dump the private keys and associated addresses, so I should be OK. I found that they is a --dumpbalance flag, but it seems to timeout or not work on most of the addresses. Looks like there is about 100 or so addresses per file, so I could eventually enter them all into a web tool to check their balance. I don't want to download the entire 140GB blockchain file if at all possible, but that might be the easiest way.  Years ago I remember it took weeks to get the much smaller blockchain download because it was so slow through the peer to peer network.

Is there an easier way to download most of the blockchain file at once now? I have a 100MBPS internet connection and lots of space on an external drive, so I could go that way.

It is all rather stressful now that I realize that a screw up would be tens of thousands of dollars worth of mistakes.

Thanks again!

Electrum is probably a good option for you (from: electrum.org/#download). You don't need the entire blockchain with that and it should take up nor more than a few hundred MB of hdd space. In this wallet you can import either your private or public keys and be able to check the balances.

Your limitation with the main bitcoin client software (bitcoin core) is the hard dive speed. Internet isn't normally an issue anymore the lag gets caused by the hard drive. Once you get a few hours through the blockchian download, the software will also tell you how long you have got left and a percentage is also displayed at the start so you can see how long it actually should take.

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November 07, 2017, 12:10:26 AM
 #8

Hi All,

I acquired a few bitcoin back in 2012. I was using whatever version of the official bitcoin client was at this time. I did a lot of fiddling around with this bitcoin between different wallets, etc. Then I got busy and forgot about it for a few years.

I now realize that I should prepare to figure out how to sell this bitcoin....
Any advice is hugely appreciated. I imagine that there are man others in the same boat as me.

Thank you so much.

Count your self lucky.

There is another option, which is DO NOT SELL.

This has a gigantic advantage which is that you don't have to work to retrieve the coins right away.

Definitely a problem to mull over with ... not a couple beers, but a couple dozen six packs.

Smiley
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