Some years ago (2017) I must have found a way to 'serialise' my wallet, because I stored the following in my password manager:

  • Name: "Bitcoin wallet"
  • Password: (typical generated password)
  • Generation seed: (BIP39 mnemonic)
  • Receiving address: (typical bitcoin address)
  • Notes: (looks like base64 data, about 3000 characters in length)

I vaguely remember having the Bitcoin-Qt client installed.


What method did I use to serialise (or export, or back-up) my wallet in 2017?

Extra information

What I tried so far:

  • Copied the data to text file
  • Ran bitcoin-cli importwallet "/path/to/file.txt" (via Bitcoin-Qt's console). Got the error "Only legacy wallets are supported by this command (code -4)".
  • Decoded the text file using cat /path/to/file.txt > base64 -d > /path/to/file.dat and ran bitcoin-cli importwallet "/path/to/file.dat". Got the error "Only legacy wallets are supported by this command (code -4)".
  • In Bitcoin-Qt selected File, Restore Wallet..., and selected the .dat file. Got "Wallet file verification failed. Failed to load database path '~/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/wallets/Test'. Data is not in recognized format."
  • Ran file /path/to/file.dat and got file.dat: data (I was hoping it would be identified as Berkeley DB, since I read here that wallet.dat files are BerkeleyDB database files).
  • Checked the links in the answer to this question about the 'wallet export' format, but it looks like that is just a way to encode a private key, which would not result in the kind of data I have stored in my password manager.

What I did not do yet:

  • Install the version of Bitcoin-Qt current in 2017, and attempt to restore the .dat file.
  • 2
    Does your "generation seed" use only words from the BIP 39 list ? Commented Jun 14 at 12:15
  • 2
    Bitcoin Core has never had support for mnemonic seed phrases which likely indicates that this is not a Bitcoin Core wallet that you are trying to recover.
    – Murch
    Commented Jun 14 at 12:51
  • @Murch Thanks for sharing that information. I was using OS X at the time, I thought I used Bitcoin Core, but I'll look at some other contemporary clients to see if they look familiar. Commented Jun 14 at 19:09
  • @RedGrittyBrick Yes, thank you for asking! I've updated my question, and I'll look into what that is exactly. Commented Jun 14 at 19:16


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