Pass phrases vs. paper wallets – where is my private key_ _ bitcoin price of bitcoin

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How to get a private key

How to safely store your private key

First, a clarification

A wallet is not a single private key

Bitcoin does not work that way

Every transaction requires one or more new private keys

Your wallet is the collection of all the private keys you have ever used to receive bitcoin

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The whole purpose of deterministic wallets requires you to keep all the keys together in the same wallet forever

Then you never have to worry about losing your money because you forgot to backup your wallet

Lose your wallet, type in your seed phrase, and there’s your wallet again

Don’t like to trust a third party to use their algorithm to generate my private key

Not sure this matters. I had the impression they’re all using the same technique

My objection to deterministic wallets is that the entire key set is potentially exposed to theft if a thief discovers the seed phrase

A patient thief does not have to steal the funds from the wallet immediately, because the seed phrase gives him access to all future keys as well as prior keys – wait until there is one or more keys with substantial value before stealing

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So …

You want to look after your keys yourself

You are confident you know how to backup your keys

Use a non-deterministic wallet

Bitcoin core has an option to disable the deterministic algorithm,

See the documentation of that wallet

Electrum has an option to use a separate wallet file – not the default deterministic one

Electrum has another option to import keys into a wallet file

This is my preference:

• use electrum

• ignore the default deterministic wallet completely

• make your own keys – a private key is nothing more than a string of 256 random bits

• import the keys into an alternative electrum wallet file

• tell electrum to only use your non-deterministic wallet

• make multiple (encrypted) backups on DVD-RW of all your private keys

• store the backups in separate places

• make fresh backups whenever you add more keys to your wallet

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There are plenty of tools for dumping (exporting all the private keys from) any wallet,

Deterministic or not

It’s easy to do, but discouraged – for above reason

You choose:

Deterministic is more secure because backups are trivial, just write down those 12 seed words somewhere

Non-deterministic is more secure because you can control your keys and their backups however you like, the keys are not all mathematically linked back to a single seed

Choose deterministic, and guard your seed phrase securely

Choose non-deterministic, and keep a robust backup strategy

Or choose a combination:

Deterministic for day-to-day small-value transactions

Non-deterministic with a carefully designed backup process for high-value keys

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