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minerX
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May 18, 2011, 10:58:00 AM
 #21

Awesome!

Also, which files can I save to have a "compact" version?  I copied all appdata & bit coin folder to my encrypted drive, but I would rather a smaller version I could upload online.    Not my main one, but a back up in case I end up losing everything.  I probably wouldn't ever update this one unless I needed to replace my main encrypted key that has the block files.

Thanks again.



If you're only doing it as a backup, you only need to back up one file: wallet.dat

However you should probably encrypt it with something like True Crypt first before uploading online.


Great.  I've got True Crypt up and running already.   I decided to make a larger encrypted file with the blocks that I'm using on my main PC and a flash drive backup.   I'll take the wallet.dat and encrypt it then distribute to a couple of places online.

And in order to restore using the wallet.dat file? I assume you simply replace any wallet.dat(fresh install) with my backup wallet.dat and then I can use the rescan feature to retrieve any transactions that were done previously? 
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There are several different types of Bitcoin clients. The most secure are full nodes like Bitcoin-Qt, but full nodes are more resource-heavy, and they must do a lengthy initial syncing process. As a result, lightweight clients with somewhat less security are commonly used.
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Alex Beckenham
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May 18, 2011, 03:18:31 PM
 #22

And in order to restore using the wallet.dat file? I assume you simply replace any wallet.dat(fresh install) with my backup wallet.dat and then I can use the rescan feature to retrieve any transactions that were done previously? 

Yep, if it's a new installation you might not even need to use -rescan.

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May 18, 2011, 03:33:05 PM
 #23

Put the encrypted pendrive inside a carrot.
Then, you can store the carrot wherever you want.  Shocked

If you don't own the private keys, you don't own the coins.
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May 18, 2011, 03:34:46 PM
 #24

Had a quick question,
I did all the true crypt and set up an image.   I put all my data/bitcoin folders inside.   I made a copy and placed one on my storage drive and one on my flash drive.
I then put my flash drive away.  Afterwards I mounted my image from the C:\ drive and received some bit coins.
If my computer crashes do I lose those bit coins?  Or can I bring out my flashdrive and it will also receive those coins?
Thanks.

the client generates 100 keypairs on setup and saves these in your wallet. whenever you get a new address, it picks a key from this key pool. this includes autogenerated 'my receiving address' AND hidden receiving addresses used to receive change.

If I send you 4btc but my only coin is worth 5btc, 1btc is sent back to me at a new 'change' address.

If it turns out that I've used all 100 of my addresses, that new 'change' address will (AFAIK) be generated on the fly. It will be saved in wallet.dat BUT at this point your original backup is out of date. So, if you actively send coins from a wallet, be aware that after some point your old backups will go out of date.
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May 19, 2011, 09:39:26 PM
 #25

Ok so just to be sure.

In i run the bitcoin clien from inside the true crypt flashdrive.. on ANY COMPUTER it will find my... "Account" and have my coins in it?

And I can send money to that wallet at any time like on monday, plug the drive in on friday and it should pick up the coins?

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May 19, 2011, 10:06:09 PM
 #26

Ok so just to be sure.

In i run the bitcoin clien from inside the true crypt flashdrive.. on ANY COMPUTER it will find my... "Account" and have my coins in it?

And I can send money to that wallet at any time like on monday, plug the drive in on friday and it should pick up the coins?

Yes and yes.
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May 20, 2011, 04:28:56 AM
 #27

Ok i just read up on the wallet.dat file So that is fairly simple.

Now obviously some server out there is making all these transactions right? So when I send money to my backup wallet some server is going to try to amke that happen for a long time. Makes me wonder how it is funded.

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May 24, 2011, 04:22:10 PM
 #28

Okay,
I am a total noob to this. I am running a Mac and through the wiki, some guy explained that putting my wallet on an encrypted disk image would be fine. 

The other issue was that he recommended putting the whole bitcoin folder in the image.... Is that overkill?
Does that folder (which resides in the Library/Application Support) get larger over time?

Thanks for all the helpful advice!
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May 24, 2011, 05:50:35 PM
 #29

The other issue was that he recommended putting the whole bitcoin folder in the image.... Is that overkill?
Does that folder (which resides in the Library/Application Support) get larger over time?

Thanks for all the helpful advice!


Yeah, the folder will grow in size as you download new blocks and create new addresses. I don't really see an advantage in having the whole folder inside the encrypted volume so I just put the wallet.dat file and symlink to it. Makes for easier backup.

Btw, anyone knows by how much does wallet.dat grow with every new address past the default pool of 100?
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May 24, 2011, 05:57:12 PM
 #30

No, this is far too complex and misses a key step to be really secure.

1. Install bitcoin on a computer.
2. Disconnect computer from the internet
3. Start bitcoin and generate a new address. This will be your savings address.
4. copy and paste the savings address to a text file
5. Dump the wallet from bitcoin, gpg encrypt or put on a truecrypt volume
6. copy the address-in-text-file and encrypted wallet to another computer, dropbox, s3, send to friends, etc.
7. shred (using a file shredder, like 'shred' in linux) the original wallet.dat file
8. Now save by sending coins always to that savings address.

Note, when you want to access your coins this will introduce some risk. To do this even better generate a set of new addresses and distribute between them. Then when retrieving coins you only risk a subset at a time.

http://media.witcoin.com/p/1608/8----This-is-nuts

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May 24, 2011, 06:09:00 PM
 #31

7. shred (using a file shredder, like 'shred' in linux) the original wallet.dat file

Wow thanks, I had totally overlooked this essential step.
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May 24, 2011, 06:23:41 PM
 #32

7. shred (using a file shredder, like 'shred' in linux) the original wallet.dat file

Wow thanks, I had totally overlooked this essential step.

Actually to me the most important step is generating the addresses after the machine is disconnected from the net, but yeah if you're going to reconnect it later, shred the file.

http://media.witcoin.com/p/1608/8----This-is-nuts

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May 25, 2011, 01:04:20 PM
 #33

Just to make sure.. from my knowledge.... This would work but you would have to update the client before you hit 1 hundred transactions because of your keypool right?

So assuming thats true. If I update the flashdrive every few transactions, If i leave alone the back up it would still be behind right?

If say i send 100 transactions to the backup wallet, then open my flashdrive and update. then I send another transaction to it and open the older back up stored somewhere else, id be missing the last transaction right?

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May 25, 2011, 01:06:14 PM
 #34

Just to make sure.. from my knowledge.... This would work but you would have to update the client before you hit 1 hundred transactions because of your keypool right?

Nope, all the transactions are going to the same key.

So assuming thats true. If I update the flashdrive every few transactions, If i leave alone the back up it would still be behind right?

Well the backup has nothing to do with it. The flash drive is only to transfer the encrypted wallet to somewhere you can safely store backups, and to transfer the address so you can copy/paste it instead of trying to retype it and maybe sending thousands of BTC to the wrong address. Smiley

If say i send 100 transactions to the backup wallet, then open my flashdrive and update. then I send another transaction to it and open the older back up stored somewhere else, id be missing the last transaction right?

No.

http://media.witcoin.com/p/1608/8----This-is-nuts

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May 25, 2011, 02:23:28 PM
 #35

Just to make sure.. from my knowledge.... This would work but you would have to update the client before you hit 1 hundred transactions because of your keypool right?

So assuming thats true. If I update the flashdrive every few transactions, If i leave alone the back up it would still be behind right?

If say i send 100 transactions to the backup wallet, then open my flashdrive and update. then I send another transaction to it and open the older back up stored somewhere else, id be missing the last transaction right?

I think you are a referring to the common reminder that a backup of wallet.dat needs to be refreshed regularly because the backup contains a limited number of "future keys" as configured by the keypool.  That is true, but the client only uses up one of those keys when you manually create a new address or when you send money to someone else.  Since in this case, you've created a special wallet.dat for the purposes of only ever having 1 address and generally only receiving money, the backup doesn't need to be refreshed often as keys will not get used up.  Now, if you start to "withdrawl" money from your "savings account", you'll start using keys from the keypool and you should start re-backing up the wallet.

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May 27, 2011, 10:48:00 AM
 #36

@Vladimir, it's possible to have a savings wallet that has NEVER been online, but how do you securely SPEND from such a wallet?

Since you are willing to assume (modest) advances in software by the time you want to withdraw savings, I suggest:

1. Get a trustworthy live CD system with VAPORWARE A [1] that creates a Bitcoin key pair and displays its Bitcoin address without having to download the block chain.
1a. Alternatively, the system just needs an "openssl" program that supports "openssl ecparam -name secp256k1 -genkey" and "openssl ec -pubout", and you can do some base-58 math to get the address.
1b. Alternatively, for better security, learn to do cryptography on a pocket calculator, an abacus, by writing numbers in sand, or in your head, and dispense with computers in what follows.  Wink

2. Boot a trustworthy machine from the CD in a secure, non-networked location, and run Vaporware A to generate a key pair in PEM format (or a more compact form such as Sipa's).
2a. For added security, use a system without any writable media.

3. (Optional: requires remembering a pass phrase) encrypt the key pair with "gpg -c" or similar.

4. Copy the key pair and address from your terminal to a piece of paper.  You'd better generate and copy a checksum of the key pair to make sure you get it right later.
4a. Alternatively, if you trust your printer, attach it and print out the key pair.
4b. Alternatively, you could print it as a QR code, if your vaporware supports this.

5. Shut down the live CD machine.

6. Send your BTC to the new address.  Use some vaporware (a trusted block explorer) to make sure it arrives.

7. Go about your business until you want to spend the BTC.

8. Using Block Explorer or a similar tool, find the transaction out-point (transaction hash + output number) of each coin you want to spend.

9. Use VAPORWARE B to create a file containing the parts of the block chain needed to verify those transactions to your address.  (This could be the entire chain or just the block headers, Merkle tree stubs, and the transactions in question as described in Satoshi's paper.)

10. Copy the verification data to media such as a thumb drive.
10a. Alternatively, for a little extra security, prepare for several long nights of typing it in (assuming it is just the headers and Merkle stubs).

11. Boot a trustworthy live CD with VAPORWARE C on your secure, non-networked machine.

12. Using the verification data and out-points as input, run Vaporware C to sign a transaction.  This program will prompt for the key pair you generated in Step 2, as well as an amount and recipient address.
12a. If you worry about anonymity, you will have another secure key pair ready to receive the change.

13. Vaporware C displays a graph of network hash rate (or difficulty) over time.  Make sure it looks about right and there are no big, unfamiliar dips.  Cf. http://bitcoin.sipa.be/speed-ever.png.  This helps Vaporware C trust that the outputs obtained in Step 8 are in the amounts you think they are, so you do not accidentally give some lucky miner a huge transaction fee.
13a. If you don't care about this possibility, you don't need Vaporware B or the verification data from Steps 9-10.
13b. [Edit] I think, actually, the raw transactions and their hashes would suffice.

14. Copy the transaction signature to the thumb drive, paper, or similar.

15. Shut down the secure system.

16. Using VAPORWARE D on a regular, networked system, enter and upload the signed transaction to spend the coins.

17. Wait for the network to confirm the transaction.

18. Relax!

Note, you would want to test these procedures a few dozen times before entrusting your savings to them.

[1] Vaporware A, early alpha version: https://github.com/jtobey/bitcoin/raw/importkey/contrib/genkey.py

Can a change to the best-chain criteria protect against 51% to 90+% attacks without a hard fork?
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May 27, 2011, 03:28:01 PM
 #37


Oooh, I was thinking of trying to do something like this by violently hacking it out of the client code. I'll have a look at this instead, thanks!

http://media.witcoin.com/p/1608/8----This-is-nuts

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ben-abuya
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May 27, 2011, 04:13:08 PM
 #38

I just want to point out that in many cases, the risk of losing the passwords/private keys, or screwing up one of the many steps, is orders of magnitude greater than some smart bitcoin trojan keylogger being on your linux box. Losing the password is a very real risk.

http://lamassubtc.com/
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May 27, 2011, 04:14:12 PM
 #39

I just want to point out that in many cases, the risk of losing the passwords/private keys, or screwing up one of the many steps, is orders of magnitude greater than some smart bitcoin trojan keylogger being on your linux box. Losing the password is a very real risk.

Eh, maybe if you're not used to using GNUPG. If I lose my key and password I'll have bigger problems than my bitcoin wallet.

http://media.witcoin.com/p/1608/8----This-is-nuts

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May 27, 2011, 06:45:10 PM
 #40

splitting the key - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_sharing
might be one way to spread that risk, or start a tontine,
if you're that worried about amnesia.
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