I'm new to Bitcoin ... this is the first day I've read about it after hearing Steve Gibson's Feb 10 web cast about it. (You can find it here: http://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm
Is sounds really clever and useful. I'm rooting for it's success.
I've read the Bitcoin web sites and searched this forum but haven't found this issue addressed.
From what I've read I understand that I am responsible for safeguarding my Bitcoin wallet. That seems good and reasonable. So my questions are:
1. In the FAQ it says, "You need to make a backup of the wallet after every transaction, as the old backup file will be partially or fully invalid." After I've made a Bitcoin transaction, at what point do I know that my wallet is up to date and completely valid? How long does a transaction take and how do I know it's done?
2. If I make a large transaction and my hard drive crashes at some point during it, is there the potential for me to loose the value in that transaction? In other words, is there a possibility of a race condition between initiation of a transaction and a crash that requires me to use my backup wallet?
3. It seems likely, from what I've read that, if my disk becomes unrecoverable after a transaction has completed but before I've completed a backup of the Bitcoin wallet, that the value of that transaction is lost forever. Or is this only true when I become the new owner of a Bitcoin but not true when I transfer ownership to another?
4. Is there any commit/rollback protocol in Bitcoin to permit the whole transaction to include a Bitcoin wallet backup to be completed before committing the transaction?
Unless I'm missing something and it already has it, until the Bitcoin system integrates some kind of commit/rollback system to permit automated backup of the Bitcoin wallet, it is not a complete and robust system. Disk-mirroring would be a partial solution.