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Author Topic: Generating a paper wallet securely  (Read 741 times)
Dabs
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November 08, 2019, 02:02:17 PM
Last edit: November 08, 2019, 02:26:16 PM by Dabs
 #21

Paper wallet = also other materials like wood, plastic, metal, bricks, stone. The intention being that it is not in any electronic form but it some physical form, either hand written or printed or engraved or stamped.

If you get a sharpie (or other permanent marker) and write legibly on some thick card, I would consider that a "paper wallet".

If you need to print it, I'd recommend a laser printer not an inkjet. Laser printed stuff last longer and don't smear or smudge when exposed to moisture or water.


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.

Depending on how much it cost, I wouldn't go that far. It can still be cleaned and erased. I'd actually reformat the thing first because used computers usually have loads of bloatware installed. If you have the time, I'd erase the drive first, repartition, reformat, install OS offline, probably run full disk encryption too while you're at it.

Dice is a little bit more fun and cheaper. But old hardware is fun to tinker with too.

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November 08, 2019, 03:36:27 PM
 #22

On a side note. I have used and do use Revlar paper for paper wallets among other things:

https://relyco.com/products/durable-papers/revlar-waterproof-paper/

From their marketing:

Quote
REVLAR paper is waterproof, tear-proof, durable, impervious to grease and chemicals, weatherproof and specifically designed to withstand high/low temperature fluctuations. It is an extremely tough product; some have even called it “virtually indestructible” after running it through various durability tests. Yet, it can still be scored, punched or die-cut, which makes it versatile.

I do have some of their laser printer paper.

If you are US based and want to send me shipping I'll get you 2 or 3 pieces.
 
If you want it in a flat envelope that has a piece of cardboard in it to keep it rigid it's $4.06 to ship
If you want it in a flat envelope that is not rigid I can get it to you for $1.25 but if USPS bends it and leaves a crease don't complain to me.

It's Friday, Monday is a postal holiday so anyone who wants some please get to me before Tuesday.

PM me and I'll get back to you with a payment address.
Not going to fill out customs paperwork so US only.

Just cleaning up and figure some people might want some.
Laser only. You try to use an inkjet it's going to be a blurry mess.

-Dave



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November 08, 2019, 04:20:31 PM
 #23

I'm thinking it's much better to protect the paper wallet with something else, like those fire and water resistant envelopes. That you then place in a safe, which can be fire resistant as well.

And if the safe is stored in a separate location or surrounded by mud, earth, cement, or ... like you make it's own area...

I think Loyce did say children's books have lasted decades.

So I type fire envelope in amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=fire+envelope

One of the first results:
https://www.amazon.com/Fireproof-MoKo-Resistant-Valuables-Protection/dp/B076V8C5J9/
https://www.amazon.com/COLCASE-Fireproof-Non-Itchy-Resistant-Documents/dp/B074S2H4H9/



Quote
Fire proof water resistant - made of high quality silicone coated retardants-fiberglass exterior and aluminum foil interior, which can withstand temperatures as high as 1000°c (about 1832°f), so you can keep all your valuables 100 percentage safe.


So, my advice, print two or three physical hard copies of your paper wallet and stick them in that fire proof bag. No need for fancy paper, but of course you can also do that.

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November 08, 2019, 04:29:37 PM
 #24

I think Loyce did say children's books have lasted decades.
Here's an example from 1947, back when manual type writers probably used ink and had much lower quality than a modern laser printer.

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November 11, 2019, 09:32:47 AM
 #25

I just notices something strange on BitAddress paper wallet generator - I downloaded complete page on my computer desktop and it works fine. No coins were sent to generated addresses - it was just a test in case I need it later to generate some address while off-line. Then I tried to connect my two PC-s via local network - (very complicated in recent Windows 10) and noticed that the BitAddress folder on my desktop was marked as a sharing folder. I did not do this and it is strange and I do not like it.
Maybe somebody could explain this.
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November 11, 2019, 09:48:10 AM
 #26

-snip- Then I tried to connect my two PC-s via local network - (very complicated in recent Windows 10) and noticed that the BitAddress folder on my desktop was marked as a sharing folder. I did not do this and it is strange and I do not like it.
Try to make a new folder in the same directory where you created "BitAddress" folder and check if that folder is also marked as sharing folder.
If it is, then it's your desktop or the directory where it is located is the one that's shared ('coz anything in it will be shared too).

I've also downloaded the source (https://github.com/pointbiz/bitaddress.org), extracted the zip but it isn't shared.

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November 12, 2019, 10:35:53 PM
 #27

... Then I tried to connect my two PC-s via local network - (very complicated in recent Windows 10) and noticed that the BitAddress folder on my desktop was marked as a sharing folder. I did not do this and it is strange and I do not like it.
Maybe somebody could explain this.
Short Version: #windows

Long Version: Most likely, during the network setup/config, you've selected an "innocent looking" option that has had unintended consequences... Things like marking a specific network as "Private" or "Public" can do all sorts of stupid things that you neither wanted nor are informed about Undecided

This seems to be the modus operandi of Windows in general... click "allow" on something and have it do that... and other things that you probably weren't notified about Roll Eyes Undecided

Most likely, it is simply coincidence that your "BitAddress" folder has ended up "shared" and is not the result of anything overtly nefarious.

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November 26, 2019, 02:53:52 AM
 #28

So this just came out from the ColdCard hardware wallet people More info on the device: https://coldcardwallet.com/

Their latest update allows you to generate paper wallets from their hardware device that are unrelated to your seed words

The entire blurb says:
Quote
Paper Wallets! Creates random private key (Dice feature available too), unrelated to your seed words, and saves deposit address and private key (WIF format) into a text file on MicroSD. If you have a Mk3, it will also add a QR code inside the text file, and if you provide a special PDF-like template file (example in paperwallet.pdf) then it will superimpose the QR codes into the template, and save the resulting ready-to-print PDF to MicroSD. CAUTION: Paper wallets carry MANY RISKS and should only be used for SMALL AMOUNTS.

More info on the update:

https://coldcardwallet.com/docs/upgrade

-Dave

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November 26, 2019, 03:05:25 PM
 #29

Quote
CAUTION: Paper wallets carry MANY RISKS and should only be used for SMALL AMOUNTS.

Why do they say that? Paper wallets are almost always offline cold storage. The risk is you can lose it. There is no risk of it getting stolen or hacked unless the actual paper wallet is stolen from you. Or there are risks which you can mitigate.

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November 26, 2019, 03:22:13 PM
 #30

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.

Below is a step by step way to securely generate your paper wallet...

1. Download BitAddress.org JS code from https://github.com/pointbiz/bitaddress.org.

2. Run it in an offline computer and generate Address + Private Key.

3. Copy the Address in a text file and write down the Private Key by hand in your notebook.

4. Write the Private Key from your notebook to the text file by typing and run it through BitAddress.org JS code to see whether it generates back the same Address in the text file.

5. Now remove all traces of the Private Key, save the text file with Address and wipe out the temporary cache from your browser.

6. Download Coinb.in JS code from https://github.com/OutCast3k/coinbin/ and use it to sweep fund received at the generated Address.
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November 26, 2019, 03:25:02 PM
 #31

Quote
CAUTION: Paper wallets carry MANY RISKS and should only be used for SMALL AMOUNTS.

Why do they say that? Paper wallets are almost always offline cold storage. The risk is you can lose it. There is no risk of it getting stolen or hacked unless the actual paper wallet is stolen from you. Or there are risks which you can mitigate.

it is probably because they are SELLING an alternative to paper wallets and if they tell people that you can store your bitcoins in a paper wallet in a way that could be just as safe as their product, nobody would buy it anymore!

the fact is, if you create the paper wallet correctly (offline and encrypted) then it is a lot more secure than a hardware wallet since the hardware wallet can still contain bugs that could be exploited whereas to break the encryption of your paper wallet they have to break something like AES256

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November 26, 2019, 03:54:40 PM
 #32

The "small amounts" thing is stupid, but they are right that paper wallets carry risks, because all wallets carry risks. Some, such as web wallets, carry far more risks and risks which are impossible to mitigate against (the company in question being hacked, scamming, locking your accounts, etc.) Paper wallets carry some risks, but the risks require a fair amount of technical knowledge to mitigate against, as opposed to hardware wallets, which require very little knowledge to mitigate against (keep your PIN/Passphrase/Seed secret, keep your hardware wallet physically secure, etc.)

the fact is, if you create the paper wallet correctly (offline and encrypted) then it is a lot more secure than a hardware wallet since the hardware wallet
I don't think anyone would argue that a correctly created paper wallet is insecure. The problem is that an awful lot of people create them incorrectly, and the steps needed to create them securely (clean OS, dumb printer and clearing printer memory, permanently airgapped machine, etc.) require a degree of technical knowledge which isn't required to be able to safely use a hardware wallet, for example.

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November 26, 2019, 04:11:51 PM
 #33

the fact is, if you create the paper wallet correctly (offline and encrypted) then it is a lot more secure than a hardware wallet since the hardware wallet
I don't think anyone would argue that a correctly created paper wallet is insecure. The problem is that an awful lot of people create them incorrectly, and the steps needed to create them securely (clean OS, dumb printer and clearing printer memory, permanently airgapped machine, etc.) require a degree of technical knowledge which isn't required to be able to safely use a hardware wallet, for example.

there is also a fair amount of technical knowledge required to use a hardware wallet correctly. for example the user could simply have one of the most common malwares called "clipboard hijacker" that simply changes the address he copies, in which case it doesn't matter if he uses hardware wallet, he still is going to lose money.
or he could be using a malicious software to communicate with the hardware wallet, like a malicious electrum that shows one thing in GUI but signs something else and sends bitcoins to the attackers wallet as soon as user confirms it. to mitigate that he has to know PGP and verify signature,...

"technical knowledge" is always needed and there is always a lot of ways that naive users could lose funds no matter what type of wallet they use. these were just some examples off the top of my head.

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November 26, 2019, 04:37:21 PM
 #34

for example the user could simply have one of the most common malwares called "clipboard hijacker" that simply changes the address he copies
This is mitigated simply by checking the address on the screen with the address on the wallet screen. It requires zero technical knowledge.

or he could be using a malicious software to communicate with the hardware wallet, like a malicious electrum that shows one thing in GUI but signs something else
As above. No knowledge of PGP, signatures, or the methods behind them is required. Just looking and comparing is enough.

there is always a lot of ways that naive users could lose funds no matter what type of wallet they use.
Agreed, and it is impossible to completely protect against user error, but my point is it is far easier to slip up when creating a paper wallet than it is to slip up when using a hardware wallet.

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November 26, 2019, 05:46:37 PM
 #35

Social engineering still works. User error. Human error. The 8th layer as some would joke. Problem occurs between chair and keyboard. One delta ten tango.

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November 26, 2019, 09:54:13 PM
 #36

You can't really separate implementing "best security practices" on your local machine and having paper wallets. The paper wallets themselves could be highly secure but when your PC is infected with all kinds of malware listening in, the whole effort is wasted. Because one of these days, you will broadcast a signed transaction using whatever device you have.


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November 26, 2019, 09:57:12 PM
 #37

At a guess the paper wallets are not secure is their get out of jail free card.
You have a coldcard, you generate a paper wallet that somehow gets compromised (the how really does not matter), they can say so sorry but you were warned.

As for is it better to use their method to do it or the way that CounterEntropy posted or some other way is probably about the same.

Is it easier? That is kind of an interesting question. If you are already using the coldcard to generate transactions offline and moving the SD card from it to your PC, then you probably are somewhat tech savvy. So doing it this way or that way may or may not matter.

It's kind of a loop. If you don't know what you are doing, paper wallets are not good because you stand a larger chance of messing up and generating it online or with some other security issue. If you do know what you are doing then you don't need the coldcard.

I just thought it was a neat feature and figured I would post about it here. Did not think it would generate the discussion it did.

-Dave

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November 27, 2019, 04:06:55 AM
 #38

I just thought it was a neat feature and figured I would post about it here.
Unsure as to the usefulness of this feature... so I'm not sure I'd classify it as "neat"... it is definitely unique tho, I'll give them that! Wink It's also nice to see innovation in a somewhat "same same" space.


Quote
Did not think it would generate the discussion it did.
Most things posted here regarding hardware wallets or paper wallets will generate a "discussion". There are some very "polarised" views on both... and your post is about BOTH Lips sealed Tongue

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November 27, 2019, 12:34:21 PM
Merited by HCP (10), o_e_l_e_o (1), DireWolfM14 (1)
 #39

Most things posted here regarding hardware wallets or paper wallets will generate a "discussion". There are some very "polarised" views on both... and your post is about BOTH Lips sealed Tongue

I aim to please :-)

I actually don't like most hardware wallets, but since I am a tech nerd I do know how to keep my systems & funds fairly secure.
I like the cold card and do use one, but mostly to stay on top of their features so I can show others who are not tech savvy.

Same with paper wallets. I do have a few I have on archival paper, in a fire proof safe.
They were generated on a laptop that I installed a new drive in before installing a clean OS, and had a copy of the wallet generator on a CD that I copied it from.
Plugged into an old HP 6 printer that had the stock drivers included in the OS.
When I was done generating the wallets I ran DBAN on the drive.

Full disclosure:
It's just a question of risk. I have funds in 3 separate hot wallets that I use for spending, but they are also unrelated to each other.

I have a full node on a PC at my house the hardware is on is worth more then the amount in the wallet
I have Electrum on my laptop with 2 wallets 1 wallet connected to the coldcard 1 just local
And I know that it's bad but I have Coinomi on my phone. I have a ton of alts on there and it's just about the only thing that does it in one place.

So, as I said above I know what *I* am getting myself into and the risks of each. We should be helping others learn that too.

-Dave

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November 27, 2019, 08:00:31 PM
Merited by LoyceV (1), bitmover (1)
 #40

So, as I said above I know what *I* am getting myself into and the risks of each. We should be helping others learn that too.
This is probably one of the best attitudes I have seen on this forum in a long time... To often, in too many parts of this forum, people dig their heels in and start arguing about fairly irrelevant stuff. I've even probably been guilty of this on some occasions!

It's a bit like ProgrammingLanguageA vs. ProgrammingLanguageB... there isn't a "one size fits all" approach to this stuff. For some people... blockchain.com or Exodus or Coinomi or Coinbase or Binance wallets make the best fit...

For others, nothing short of a paper wallet crafted using dice and a 486 laptop running a Linux live OS in a Faraday cage will suffice... and then everything else in between.

The first step, is to identify what your needs/goals and use cases are and then find the solution that best matches those, while making sure that you understand the risks of your chosen solution and how to mitigate them. Even hardware wallets and paper wallets can be "useless" if you do something dumb like putting your seed words or private keys in an email draft folder protected by SIM based 2FA Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

I think people should spend more time "playing" on TestNet... get a feel for how things work, experiment and learn... play with paper wallets... try manually creating transactions and learn how it all works. Personally, I think it's fun and you're not going to lose anything of value except a little bit of your time. Wink

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