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This may be a very stupid question. I was watching an interview with Nic Carter (https://youtu.be/mDyBbGCiBUU?t=1094). In it he gives Lex a present of a USB with $100 worth of Bitcoin. What is actually on this device that allows Lex to claim the $100?

My understanding of storing Bitcoin on a USB is that only your private key is on it, and all your transactions (linked to your public Bitcoin address) is on the Blockchain, which is public, and your private key along with your public Bitcoin address allows you to claim some amount of Bitcoin. So I guess this is the first part of the question, and what is on Nic's USB is the second part...

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The device that Nic gives is called an opendime. It's not a normal USB stick. The device generates a private key and a public key. At first only the public key is accessible, at this point you can only deposit to the address or lookup the current balance. In order to spend the bitcoin you need the private key, this key is only accessible after physically breaking a transistor on the device. Therefore if Lex can make sure that the transistor has not been removed he knows that Nic doesn't know the private key and has no way of spending the bitcoin after giving the device to Lex.

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Opendimes are fantastic.

But your question was about a generic flashdrive.

That could contain the wallet data file for a specific client software.

Or Seed Recovery data to use with any BIP39 compatible wallet client.

Or just a text file with a private key and an address.

All could possibly be encrypted, requiring a passphrase.

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