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Author Topic: Idea: Portable Bitcoin  (Read 3836 times)
Sabunir
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January 24, 2010, 10:48:30 PM
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It occurred to me: Bitcoin is supposed to be about anonymity. Couldn't one further protect their anonymity if they could use Bitcoin from any random computer, not just their own? In other words, why not make Bitcoin a Portable App?

At the moment, the Bitcoin wallet resides in %appdata%\Bitcoin. For a Portable Bitcoin, it'd need to be saved on the flash drive.

This would raise additional security concerns, naturally. Most notably, what if the random computer tried to copy your wallet from the flash drive? The wallet would need to be encrypted. So it would be a good idea if wallet encryption was added, and the user had to enter the wallet's password to access it. Bitcoin would also have to be careful not to store the plaintext wallet in memory, in case the random computer was spying on its memory.

What do you think?
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The Madhatter
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January 24, 2010, 11:31:48 PM
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You are much better off with a secured laptop/netbook. That way you can be sure that there aren't any trojans (keyloggers/wallet theft-type bugs). Take the laptop/netbook to your favorite coffeeshops/schools/etc and spend away! Tongue

Cheers!
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January 25, 2010, 10:36:57 PM
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Nothing is ever really secure, especially not a laptop that is connected to unencrypted wLANs regularly Tongue

For ie. online banking, I use a virtual machine running inside another vM which is functioning as a firewall. The firewall only permits connections to my banks ip through https. Note that the https part is important to protect against MITM attacks (think about that when you use public WiFi).


OT: use the -datadir switch with bitcoin.exe to choose the location of wallet.dat. Use truecrypt for your flash-drive.

Sabunir
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January 26, 2010, 02:54:39 AM
 #4

I believe I understand. Can the -datadir path be relative? That is, if the wallet.dat file is in the same directory as bitcoin.exe, would one execute "bitcoin.exe -datadir ./"?
riX
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January 26, 2010, 01:00:50 PM
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An absolute path is required, at least under windows. You can do something like bitcoin.exe -datadir="%cd%"

Here is my current batch file for starting bitcoin:
Code:
@echo off

set known-peer-address=mybox.myserver.se

for /f "tokens=1,2*" %%a in ( 'nslookup %known-peer-address%' ) do (
if [%%a]==[Address:] set address=%%b
)

start bitcoin.exe -addnode=%address% -gen -datadir="%cd%\data"

Something similar could be done more elegant in linux.

ksd5
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July 12, 2010, 07:40:36 PM
 #6

I would really appreciate a portable version of Bitcoin. I could just place the whole application into a TrueCrypt container.
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July 12, 2010, 08:09:55 PM
 #7

Quote
Bitcoin would also have to be careful not to store the plaintext wallet in memory, in case the random computer was spying on its memory.

You need to store the wallet in memory to access it. If the computer you're using is compromised, then there's nothing that BitCoin can do to make you secure.

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lachesis
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July 12, 2010, 09:44:21 PM
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Allowing -datadir to be relative is a good idea, though. It should be a relatively simple addition to the code.

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July 13, 2010, 12:35:17 AM
 #9

KeePass is another example of a portable program that can just be dumped on a USB and utilized from the get go.

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Xunie
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July 13, 2010, 12:16:03 PM
 #10

An absolute path is required, at least under windows. You can do something like bitcoin.exe -datadir="%cd%"

Here is my current batch file for starting bitcoin:
Code:
@echo off

set known-peer-address=mybox.myserver.se

for /f "tokens=1,2*" %%a in ( 'nslookup %known-peer-address%' ) do (
if [%%a]==[Address:] set address=%%b
)

start bitcoin.exe -addnode=%address% -gen -datadir="%cd%\data"

Something similar could be done more elegant in linux.

As demonstrated here by riX, it is possible to run Bitcoin standalone or "portable", on a USB thumb drive.
It is possible to have that USB thumb drive encrypted. Ofcourse it doesn't have to be a thumb drive but can be an external harddrive too!

It just requires some batch scripting, maybe we should release a batchscript with it called "standalone.bat" which will use -datadir=./.bitcoin and thus search for it on the USB thumb drive?

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