I have my wallet.dat files encrypted, stored on a computer which in turn is encrypted. All storage devices where the files are backed up to are also encrypted. I strongly doubt that any human could ever guess the passphrases, even for the storage disks, then find the wallet.dats and then also decrypt those.

(And if they did, they would also find a bunch of embarrassing stuff which I wouldn't want them to ever see.)

There is no way that I would ever put any of these phrases on a piece of paper. That would violate the entire point of this "as-secure-as-possible" setup.

If I die tomorrow, my "loved ones" (let's just assume that I have some...) would never be able to get any use of my coins. They would just know that I had them and that they exist wrapped inside insane layers of security, and can likely never be retrieved even if they hire some company and entirely ignore my "dead man's privacy".

It is unthinkable for me to let some third party hold my coins "for safe keeping". It's also unthinkable to give them the decryption phrases, because then they could:

  1. Have an incentive to murder me and take the money. (You never know...)
  2. Have no bad intentions, but leak it by accident or coincidence to a third party which then murders me or just steals one of the disks and grabs the coins.
  3. See all my personal files and stuff after I die from natural causes and they use their given-by-me sheet of passphrases to get to the wallet files. This would be awkward.

Maybe you say that I should keep them on separate USB sticks and disks which I've spraypainted orange and put a Bitcoin symbol on. Sure. That's actually something I've thought about. However, I have no money to buy a bunch of new disks; even the ones I have are worryingly old by now, safe for one USB stick which I bought recently for the sheer purpose of having a slightly newer storage device after not buying any new ones for so long.

Also, those dedicated storage devices will only protect against my smallest concern, which is pretty nonsensical to begin with since I'll be dead anyway. And also, they will add the problem of really screaming to whatever threat entity sees them that I have Bitcoins on them, whereas my existing devices are cryptically (no pun intended) and generically labeled.

Maybe there is a way I could set up a "smart contract" which runs perpetually and is able to send all my BTC to a given receive address (which I've very carefully set up for my family members and taught them extremely well to keep secure and backed up and how to use it) when I die, by polling some kind of government API daily to see if my status is "dead" or "alive" or something. But then what happens if that API has a bug in it, or somebody in the government learns about this and decides to mess with me by declaring me officially dead for one day just to trick the smart contract and cause me to lose all my coins? Plus, the entire thing about "smart contracts" seems to be some kind of fantasy and doesn't really exist in reality. At least, I've never found any way to use them or seen anyone using them other than talking about how it's a thing.

What can possibly be done so that I don't risk anything by doing it, yet allow my "loved ones" to get my coins when I die?

1 Answer 1


This is what safe deposit boxes are for. Write your passphrase on a piece of paper and put it in a safe deposit box at a bank that will allow only you (with proper identification) to access the safe deposit box, until you die, whereupon access will be available to whoever you've designated through proper legal documents.

If you are worried that some bank employee will break into the safe deposit boxes, then put half your passphrase in a box at one bank and the other half in a box at a different bank.

I'm sure you can imagine ways this can still go wrong, but unless I'm missing something, they are all extremely unlikely.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.