More and more airports force you to decrypt your data, they will also dump your stuff keeping a backup. This could happen in just about any border you try to cross. It is only safe to expect this to get more common.

The question: how do you keep your wallet.dat file safe?

-Full disk encryption: A big problem since you are prompted with a password right at the start when you turn the laptop on, no way out.

-Hiding it in some obscure file somewhere: Forensics have tools to find headers that match encrypted volumes made by popular encryption programs, so I don't think it would fly. Also realize that they do data dumps so your stuff would be there for them to find eventually.

-Putting your encrypted wallet file somewhere on the net: Where, and why would you trust this anyway? you don't control the servers. If you have to pay for the service, you have already linked yourself to the file. If it's free, you still can't trust these services, for instance these famous "end to end encryption email services". Who says they cannot access the data or that a database leak wouldn't happen? Plus the general not so nice feel of knowing a backup of your file is somewhere and even temporarily, once you delete it you don't really know if it was really deleted. Any encrypted file now is like a treasure for crackers since Bitcoin is a thing. Of course if we assume Bitcoin private keys are safe then a strong 64 character password should be impossible to bruteforce, but you must be able to remember this password on your mind, and im not so sure that you can generate a 64 character password strong enough that you can remember it while being safe from bruteforce.

Anyway, im looking for your ideas. Also because I only trust Bitcoin Core I do not store coins in Electrum so the "12 character password seed" is not a thing. HW wallets are just big signs that say "look, this dude has coins there" so it's pretty pointless. Im really out of ideas in how to try to move around borders while storing coins in the Core wallet format so please let me know your ideas. Cheers.

1 Answer 1


More and more airports force you to decrypt your data, they will also dump your stuff keeping a backup. This could happen in just about any border you try to cross. It is only safe to expect this to get more common.

  1. Carry less data
  2. Don't lie
  3. Be confident
  4. Let them investigate if they find anything suspicious
  5. Keep two mobile phones. One for travelling and other with better opsec.

The question: how do you keep your wallet.dat file safe?

I will share one of the ways to backup your keys for travelling however I am not sure about its security so don't use it. Consider it for informational and educational purpose only:

  1. Dump all wallet keys using dumpwallet RPC
  2. Convert each key with associated information to hex


cPWMB2oQZ4sDCuro6bz76fj5qms5txopLfwXBUCvK7dyUSFfcn6R 2020-09-10T12:01:06Z reserve=1 # addr=bcrt1qqq99sewwxvukhd3nl08d50uarula9dc2mwdnc2 hdkeypath=m/0'/0'/707'
  1. Convert hex to english words using a script like https://gist.github.com/grubles/69762512cd4e954722c03a0df1bc44ac. Change the words and use your own list which is similar to the words that you normally use in chats or content that you save on your phone in docs etc.
flatfoot drumbeat eightball dreadful crowfoot checkup gremlin drunken enlist choking hockey crumpled crucial indulge highchair gremlin christmas flagpole keyboard clamshell christmas framework geiger chopper hamlet goggles hockey chopper indoors island gremlin guidance drainage framework involve endorse crowfoot edict crucial inverse dragnet clamshell flytrap jawbone edict dwelling cubic framework flatfoot goldfish christmas dupont bison checkup chairlift checkup chairlift button chairlift classroom button chatter chairlift eating chatter checkup cleanup chairlift chatter cleanup chairlift christmas enlist bison highchair fracture hockey fracture highchair inverse fracture commence chatter bison blowtorch bison fallout flytrap flytrap highchair commence flagpole flatfoot highchair indoors chatter hamlet hamlet hamlet classroom classroom hockey fracture involve involve island inverse indulge glitter frighten flytrap chisel goldfish glucose chairlift classic flytrap chopper chairlift indulge fallout highchair indulge glucose fallout classroom flytrap flatfoot checkup goggles involve flytrap goldfish flatfoot checkup bison frighten flytrap glitter fracture jawbone guidance fallout indoors frighten commence goggles cement chairlift brackish cement chairlift brackish cement clamshell chairlift clamshell brackish
  1. Convert these words in to emojis by creating your own software that can encode words to emojis and decode back to words. Related project: https://github.com/stepansnigirev/emoji-wallet
๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ’๐ŸŽˆ๐Ÿ’ง๐Ÿต๐Ÿ–•๐Ÿš„๐Ÿšˆ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿšฐ๐Ÿคฐ๐Ÿ‘ฅ๐Ÿ‘—
  1. Using these emojis depends on individual and in some cases you might even print it on your t-shirt and nobody would guess its the private key for one of your bitcoin address.
  • But what if your wallet has many addresses, and also you need to carry your entire transaction history, name for each address etc. I don't see it viable unless you've got the actual file.
    – walamagic
    Jul 27, 2021 at 3:57

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