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Author Topic: Wallet backup - New to Bitcoin Core  (Read 171 times)
defa1
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February 13, 2019, 09:31:22 PM
Merited by bones261 (2), vapourminer (1), LoyceV (1), HeRetiK (1)
 #1

Hello everyone,

I'm glad to say that I finally started running my own full node. I am experimenting with it and I have a question about my wallet. As soon as I set up my node I encrypted my wallet and backed it up to an external HDD. No I wonder how often I have to back up the wallet.dat file? I just received my first transaction, should I make a new back up.

What I find odd is that in the bottom right corner of my I can see that "HD key generation is enabled".
It was my understanding that HD wallets basically mean you write down a recovery seed and you can always restore your wallet using that seed. Does this mean that my initial wallet back up after downloading Core is sufficient and that I don't have to do a backup every week or so?

Thanks!
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February 13, 2019, 10:28:33 PM
Merited by Foxpup (5), bones261 (3), vapourminer (1), LFC_Bitcoin (1), LoyceV (1), HeRetiK (1)
 #2

What I find odd is that in the bottom right corner of my I can see that "HD key generation is enabled".
It was my understanding that HD wallets basically mean you write down a recovery seed and you can always restore your wallet using that seed. Does this mean that my initial wallet back up after downloading Core is sufficient and that I don't have to do a backup every week or so?
HD wallets do not necessarily have a recovery seed or mnemonic for you to write down or remember. It just means that all of the private keys are derived from a single random number. All you need to do is protect that and have that random number in order to regenerate all of your private keys and thus access your Bitcoin again. Some wallets will represent this random number as a string of words for you to remember, hence a recovery mnemonic. However Bitcoin Core does not do this. That random number is stored in the wallet.dat file. So you just need to protect and backup that wallet.dat file in order to be able to access your private keys.

As for how frequently to backup, it depends on how many transactions you are doing and how important it is for you to know what those transactions were for. In terms of private keys and access to your Bitcoin, backing up once and having the same backup duplicated in multiple places is probably enough. But once you restore, you will lose any metadata that you had for your transactions. So you would lose things like address labels and transaction comments which may be important to you. If you want to keep those, then you should backup periodically. How frequently is up to you.

Also, you should make a backup if you ever happen to give out more than 1000 addresses. This is because Bitcoin Core's lookahead keypool is 1000 addresses. If you happen to give out 1000 addresses but don't receive Bitcoin at any of them, but on the 1001st address you give out you do receive Bitcoin, when you restore from your backup, the lookahead keypool won't be large enough to see that 1001st address and add that transaction to your wallet. So at a minimum, you should backup every 1000 addresses given out. But that's a lot of addresses and you probably won't give out that many addresses so quickly.

defa1
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February 14, 2019, 05:01:06 PM
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Alright, thanks a lot!

Just wondering, let's say I do 1 backup and then receive bitcoin in 1200 different addresses, then my main wallet.dat file gets lost. If I use that 1 backup file I made way back then there is absolutely no way to recover coins send to the addresses after the 1000th address. Is that correct?
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February 14, 2019, 05:06:16 PM
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Alright, thanks a lot!

Just wondering, let's say I do 1 backup and then receive bitcoin in 1200 different addresses, then my main wallet.dat file gets lost. If I use that 1 backup file I made way back then there is absolutely no way to recover coins send to the addresses after the 1000th address. Is that correct?
I don’t think so.

If I understood correctly, Core just wouldn’t automatically check for transactions past the 1000 addresses, but since they are derivated from your random number stored in the file, you could manually generate them (through the console) until the address comes through.

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February 14, 2019, 06:41:52 PM
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If I understood correctly, Core just wouldn’t automatically check for transactions past the 1000 unfunded addresses
I've added one word to your quote.
It's quite unlikely to give out more than 1000 addresses without ever receiving funds.

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February 14, 2019, 07:48:34 PM
Merited by LoyceV (2), vapourminer (1)
 #6

Just wondering, let's say I do 1 backup and then receive bitcoin in 1200 different addresses, then my main wallet.dat file gets lost. If I use that 1 backup file I made way back then there is absolutely no way to recover coins send to the addresses after the 1000th address. Is that correct?
No, it is not correct.

If you receive bitcoin in 1200 different addresses, when you recover using the backup, it will find all the transactions in the first 1000, then start generating "new" addresses which, because of the nature of HD wallets, will be identical to the original 200 "missing" addresses... and thus it will find all 1200 bitcoin addresses... it will then top up the keypool again with more addresses until it has 1000 unused.

As TryNinja and LoyceV have indicated, even if you didn't receive any coins on the first 1000 addresses... you will still be able to recover the funds received, by manually forcing the wallet to generate the "missing" addresses. Again, because of the nature of HD wallets, it will always generate the same group of addresses as it always starts from the same starting point and follows the same path when generating the keypool.


In short, you will be able to recover ALL your funds. What you will not be able to recover will be any custom labels that you manually added to addresses after the backup was taken (as the backup will not contain these labels).

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February 21, 2019, 01:07:25 PM
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hi everyone,

please i am trying to download a bitcoin wallet on my android phone, any advice on which one to download, as i can see different bitcoin wallet, dont know which one to use.

kindly help a sister
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February 21, 2019, 02:05:07 PM
Merited by vapourminer (1)
 #8

hi everyone,

please i am trying to download a bitcoin wallet on my android phone, any advice on which one to download, as i can see different bitcoin wallet, dont know which one to use.

kindly help a sister

Here's a good overview of available Bitcoin Wallets:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1631151.0

Out of those I currently would recommend Electrum or Mycelium, however the other suggestions in the thread above should be fine as well.

Just be sure to backup (ie. write down) the seed phrase that you are presented with when setting up a wallet. You'll need this in case you ever lose your phone or need to switch to a different wallet for whatever reason. Also be aware that anyone with access to this seed phrase can potentially steal your coins, so keep it safe.

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