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Author Topic: Generating a paper wallet securely  (Read 365 times)
RapTarX
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November 03, 2019, 05:08:09 PM
Merited by The Pharmacist (2)
 #1

I'm considering creating a paper wallet for long time BTC holding. So far, I have known it's risky to generate a paper wallet while I'm connected to internet. Hacker may get access to my private key.
How can I generate a paper wallet in off line, provided that I am using Windows and not thinking of using any other platform like ubunto, I'm not much of a tech guy.
Please suggest me a safe way. I will bury the paper for next 5 years at least, till the 2024 halving.

Sorry if I have posted the topic in wrong section.

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November 03, 2019, 05:22:39 PM
 #2

Depends on how paranoid you want to be.
You say you are not a tech guy, but are you good enough to remove a drive from a PC and put in a new one.
Or, at least remove and destroy the drive?

You could get a copy of the paper wallet generator on an online PC and put it on a USB stick.
Bring it to a PC that is not online (no wi-fi no wired network connected)

Run the app
Generate wallet.
Print wallet.

Destroy both the usb stick and drive in the PC.

Done.

The above method is overkill, but just about foolproof.

If you have some more ability, then running DBAN to wipe the drive is just about as good.

You can also get some hardware wallets and do it that way.

https://opendime.com/

It generates an address. And until you punch the hole nobody in any way get to the private key.

-Dave

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November 03, 2019, 05:42:00 PM
 #3

I've already written a tutorial about this here:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5190702

only part1 would be relevant for you.

But since you want to keep the BTC on the paper wallet for a longer period of time and in my tutorial the btc don't remain on the paper wallet very long because they are given away immediately,
it is recommended to use a pc that is not connected to the internet or any other computer or network.
A fully air-gapped pc would be physically completely separated from other networks.

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November 03, 2019, 05:57:18 PM
 #4

If you are not a tech guy...
The easiest way, However not the cheapest, is to use an old computer.

Get this old computerand format it.
Then disable all the network in bios.

Never connect it again in the internet

Download Electrum  in a pen drive and insert it in the computer.

If you want to print, get the oldest printer you can find (without any wireless or whatever)

Too much risks... Much cheaper just to buy a hardware wallet imo

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November 03, 2019, 06:37:31 PM
 #5

That depends on your threat model and how secure you think is secure enough for you.

At least, IMO you need to be able to do these :
1. Obtain original Windows intaller and printer driver (which don't need internet connection)
2. Remove all Wi-Fi receiver and Ethernet cable
3. An USB drive with necessary software to generate paper wallet (remove after you copy it)


I'd recommend hardware wallet over paper wallet for beginner or non-tech people though

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November 04, 2019, 05:30:26 AM
 #6

How can I generate a paper wallet in off line, provided that I am using Windows and not thinking of using any other platform like ubunto, I'm not much of a tech guy.

you don't need to be a "tech guy" to use Linux. it is different and you may have a hard time at first but to create a paper wallet, only knowing a handful of basic things would be more than enough to help you achieve a higher security.
do it a couple of times as a test and see how things work. you can even create a testnet paper wallet and receive then spend coins using that for no cost.

additionally if you want to avoid complications and take the easy route then you shouldn't be creating a paper wallet in first place because it is not easy and requires a lot of effort and you to be "tech guy". so as others said buy a hardware wallet instead.

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November 04, 2019, 07:27:25 AM
 #7

Depends on how paranoid you want to be.
You say you are not a tech guy, but are you good enough to remove a drive from a PC and put in a new one.
Or, at least remove and destroy the drive?

You could get a copy of the paper wallet generator on an online PC and put it on a USB stick.
Bring it to a PC that is not online (no wi-fi no wired network connected)

Run the app
Generate wallet.
Print wallet.

Destroy both the usb stick and drive in the PC.

Done.

The above method is overkill, but just about foolproof.

If you have some more ability, then running DBAN to wipe the drive is just about as good.

You can also get some hardware wallets and do it that way.

https://opendime.com/

It generates an address. And until you punch the hole nobody in any way get to the private key.

-Dave


after that you also need to wipe printer cache Grin

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November 04, 2019, 11:06:49 AM
 #8

But I always remember a few messages from people here, if you want to store your bitcoin in large quantities, then choose a wallet that you believe is safe and never store it in one wallet because if you lose then all your bitcoins will be lost.

I think you're mixing up wallets and addresses. Wallets are clients such as Bitcoin Core and Electrum, while an address can be generated by any wallet. It's not necessarily so that people are recommended to use different wallets to 'store' their coins, but more so that people should spread their coins amongst various addresses.

Important factor is that whenever you download a client, you have to make sure it's from the main source only, and to verify the signatures provided. Unfortunately, most newbies and even some people who've been here for a long time don't verify the signatures, either because they don't know that it's important, or they don't know how to do so.

With all that in mind, it once again points out the importance of hardware wallets as these tools provide easy and safe storage without requiring too much knowledge to use.

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November 04, 2019, 05:07:13 PM
 #9

after that you also need to wipe printer cache Grin
As bitmover says, you want to use the oldest printer you can get your hands on, definitely one without WiFi capabilities. Older printers have very limited amounts of RAM, which will be cleared of all data within a few minutes of losing power. Newer printers, however, have their own hard drives which will often store a record of the last x number of documents printed and allow you to print them again, so as you say, if using a newer device you either have to wipe the printer's memory or destroy it.

You could do the whole thing without a printer at all, for example by downloading https://iancoleman.io/bip39/, running it offline, flipping a coin 256 times, entering the entropy, writing down the seed phrase and treating that as your paper wallet, and either (carefully!) copying the address by hand or transferring it on a USB stick to a live device to transfer coins to.

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November 04, 2019, 06:19:22 PM
 #10

As bitmover says, you want to use the oldest printer you can get your hands on, definitely one without WiFi capabilities. Older printers have very limited amounts of RAM, which will be cleared of all data within a few minutes of losing power. Newer printers, however, have their own hard drives which will often store a record of the last x number of documents printed and allow you to print them again, so as you say, if using a newer device you either have to wipe the printer's memory or destroy it.

Using one without wireless connection should be good enough. But there's no guarantee old printer don't have non-volatile memory, unless you managed to find technical specification of your printer.

You could do the whole thing without a printer at all, for example by downloading https://iancoleman.io/bip39/, running it offline, flipping a coin 256 times, entering the entropy, writing down the seed phrase and treating that as your paper wallet, and either (carefully!) copying the address by hand or transferring it on a USB stick to a live device to transfer coins to.

Clever idea, but i wouldn't call it paper wallet since paper wallet usually have QR code which contain your private key.

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November 04, 2019, 09:25:56 PM
 #11


You could do the whole thing without a printer at all, for example by downloading https://iancoleman.io/bip39/, running it offline, flipping a coin 256 times, entering the entropy, writing down the seed phrase and treating that as your paper wallet, and either (carefully!) copying the address by hand or transferring it on a USB stick to a live device to transfer coins to.

I always thought like this. A seed in a piece of paper is a paper wallet

Imo there is no need to use a printer or even to copy paste addresses. You could just take a picture of the public addresses qr codes . When you want to spend, you just insert your seed in Electrum or any other software.

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November 04, 2019, 09:42:09 PM
 #12

Clever idea, but i wouldn't call it paper wallet since paper wallet usually have QR code which contain your private key.
Is there a "formal" definition? I would call any set up where the means to spend the bitcoin are solely stored on a piece of paper a "paper wallet". Doesn't really make much difference if the information is stored as a seed, a seed phrase, a private key, a QR code - it all leads to the same end result: Import to an electronic wallet and spend the coins.

You could just take a picture of the public addresses qr codes
Of course. I forgot that iancoleman.io will also generate QR codes for you, although I guess you could also have downloaded a second site such as bitaddress.org and plugged the private key you generated from iancoleman.io in there. You are of course right that using QR codes is the best option for avoiding errors and also avoiding accidentally spreading malware via USB drives or other removable media.

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November 05, 2019, 05:18:22 PM
 #13

Clever idea, but i wouldn't call it paper wallet since paper wallet usually have QR code which contain your private key.
Is there a "formal" definition? I would call any set up where the means to spend the bitcoin are solely stored on a piece of paper a "paper wallet". Doesn't really make much difference if the information is stored as a seed, a seed phrase, a private key, a QR code - it all leads to the same end result: Import to an electronic wallet and spend the coins.

It's true that there aren't any formal definition of paper wallet, but it doesn't change the fact that almost all paper wallet have QR Code,

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November 05, 2019, 05:54:34 PM
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It's true that there aren't any formal definition of paper wallet, but it doesn't change the fact that almost all paper wallet have QR Code,
Not true. Only those that are generated by programs and wallet software usually have QR codes but many paper wallets are generated by copying the seed or private key. So to say that almost all paper wallets have a QR code would be inaccurate without any statistics to back it up it would be safer to assume that only a small amount of paper wallets have QR codes unless they are commercially developed.
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November 05, 2019, 06:00:49 PM
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Not true. Only those that are generated by programs and wallet software usually have QR codes but many paper wallets are generated by copying the seed or private key. So to say that almost all paper wallets have a QR code would be inaccurate without any statistics to back it up it would be safer to assume that only a small amount of paper wallets have QR codes unless they are commercially developed.

I get the point, but from what i've seen,
1. People usually assume paper wallet always have QR code
2. Paper which contain seed/private key text (whether it's printed or written by hand), usually isn't called paper wallet.

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November 06, 2019, 06:32:28 AM
 #16

There's no way you can generate a paper wallet offline.
The only way is to use an old computer, generate the paper wallet and print it on an old printer that has no access to Wi-Fi. Or why not get an Hardware wallet and store all your funds there and bury the wallet seeds. Since Y'all trust hardware wallets alot.

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November 06, 2019, 07:03:22 AM
 #17

There's no way you can generate a paper wallet offline. -snip-
Uhh, the next sentence in your post is defined as "offline".

Quote from: Krislaw
Or why not get an Hardware wallet and store all your funds there and bury the wallet seeds. Since Y'all trust hardware wallets alot.
The one you suggested to bury can be used as the paper wallet, you can throw away the hardware wallet after.
The point is, paper wallets can only be used exclusively for cold storage, no outgoing transactions until you decided to.
Hardware wallets are mainly "hot wallet" where you can spend your bitcoins without exposing your keys to the net (some use it for cold storage though).

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November 06, 2019, 08:16:31 PM
 #18

There's no way you can generate a paper wallet offline.
The only way is to use an old computer, generate the paper wallet and print it on an old printer that has no access to Wi-Fi. Or why not get an Hardware wallet and store all your funds there and bury the wallet seeds. Since Y'all trust hardware wallets alot.
......

Ok ignoring the second half of your post which clearly explains a offline wallet but it is possible to generate a wallet using Bitcoin core on a offline computer and transfer the private key to a piece of paper. Generating a paper wallet should only be done offline so saying that it cant be generated offline is just false.

 
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November 07, 2019, 04:57:18 PM
 #19

My tried and tested way to do this was to buy a old second hand computer and printer and to use that to create loads of paper wallets and then

to physically destroy it after you are done with it. We have a lot of Pawn shops in town, where they sell old second hand computers and printers

and I pick up these computers for just a few dollars. A lot less than what people are paying for hardware wallets. Just copy the scripts from the

Github page and run it offline.  Wink

 
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November 07, 2019, 06:15:06 PM
 #20

A fully air-gapped pc would be physically completely separated from other networks.
For the truely paranoid (which is what you should be when creating private keys!), you may want to disconnect your speakers too. See Black Hat Researcher Shows Why Air Gaps Won't Protect Your Data.

And close your curtains Tongue

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