Securing Bitcoin with “Paper Wallets” : Bitcoin Cold Storage on a Budget

Bitcoin Cold Storage: Securely Make Your Own Paper Wallet

bitcoin paper wallet

Our draft bitcoin paper wallet.

Creating a paper wallet is necessary for taking full accountability of one’s bitcoins. A bitcoin wallet does not contain bitcoin, rather it contains the keys used to send money from the account, as well as the public address for checking the balance and depositing bitcoin. A paper wallet is cold storage, since the keys were never seen by internet connected devices, hence “cold” storage. Thus, this is the most secure way to prevent keyloggers, hijackers, hackers, and any other thieve could reach withdraw your bitcoin. Thus, a paper wallet is the safest way to store one’s bitcoin because:

Positives of Bitcoin Paper Wallets

  • Keys are safe away from a computer that is connected to the internet
  • Allows the owner the ability to share the wallet with someone (as a gift)
  • Not accessible by a third party (most bitcoin exist on an exchange)
  • Keeping a physical item safe (the paper wallet) is much easier than keeping one’s computer safe
  • Possible to make several copies of the same paper wallet

Negatives of Bitcoin Paper Wallets

  • As always, bitcoin private keys are not recoverable, DO NOT LOOSE YOUR PAPER WALLET
  • If not made safely, the private keys could be exposed, USE RELIABLE GENERATORS OFFLINE

“A paper wallet is a way to store Bitcoins that involves printing the Bitcoin addresses and private keys directly on a piece of paper. When done properly, paper wallets are one of the safest ways possible to store Bitcoins.”

-bitcoin wiki

Making Your Own Bitcoin Paper Wallet (Most Secure Method)

  1. Get a copy of Ubuntu’s Live Boot CD at http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop . Burn it to a DVD using the Windows 7 ISO burning tool or a freeware tool like http://www.imgburn.com/index.php?act=download
  2. Download Canton Becker’s Bitcoin Wallet Generator place the .ZIP file on a USB flash drive (optional security: format before transfer). https://github.com/cantonbecker/bitcoinpaperwallet
  3. Boot up Ubuntu, turn off network adapters, then plugin your USB drive.
    bitcoin paper wallet

    Moving files to Ubuntu desktop.

  4. When the flash drive explorer window pops up,double click onthebitcoin paper wallet ZIP (bitcoinpaperwallet-master), then drag all the files onto the desktop.
    Offline bitcoin wallet

    Generating the wallet and private keys through random movement

  5. Double click on “generate-wallet.html” to open the generator webpage make sure WIFI is disabled in upper right of Ubuntu.
    bitcoin paper wallet generate

    After the mouse wiggling this page will appear, click “print front” to continue.

  6. Follow on screen instructions (move the mouse or type gibberish), then click “Print Front”.
    BIP38 Wallet Encryption Bitcoin Paper Wallet

    Enabling BIP38 Wallet Encryption

  7. (Recommended, but optional) Enable BIP38 encryption, choose a strong passphrase that is memorable and WRITE IT DOWN, store it somewhere safe away from the paper wallet itself (in case the wallet is stolen).
  8. Now plug in your printer (laser recommended for better durability) and click print to print the front, use Landscape printing under the settings to ensure the correct scale and alignment with the back. Make sure to mark with an arrow the direction the paper is loaded.
  9. Once the front is printed, click “Print Back” to load the back, adjust your settings (Denomination and message), then load the paper with the arrow on the opposite side it was before.
    **It might take several times to get the wallet to print with the correct alignment, be sure to destroy any unused copies if you intend on using the paper wallet as cold storage.**
  10. Fold correctly and store in a safe with tamper evident securities, or sell on ebay/marketplace, or give to your friends!

 

Making a bitcoin paper wallet isn’t that difficult, and there are many ways to do it. This tutorial demonstrates how the cryptocrooks make their paper wallets. I created these directions for the most secure and cheapest way to store your bitcoin on cold storage. It is secure because it is created from a fresh operating system without internet access to prevent unknown variables from gaining access to the power of the private keys created.

There are many extra security measures one could take (if you’re paranoid this method wasn’t enough) found at the bottom of the creator’s page. This is only one way anyone could do this at home with minimum expenditures and supplies. There are many companies that offer more durable means to this type of bitcoin paper wallet. As paper is not the most durable storage, I will be covering other cold storage products in our next post.

Here is a video of the bitcoin paper wallet creation process sped up, get hyped about security! 

 

Michael

We believe Bitcoin has importance past it's monetary value. Decentralized systems have applications beyond economic theory. Keep following us, even if everything we write doesn't interest you our plan is to keep you interested. The future is now!

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