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So far I've just been using Bitcoin-Qt for win7 and the regular android bitcoin wallet from andreas. But now I want to store my bitcoins in a safe place and I'm not sure which wallet client I should go with as there seems to be a bunch on the market now. Electrum, Bitcoin-QT, Armory, Blockchain.info, Mycelium (android), Trezor, and others.

I just want to store my bitcoins in a safe place where even if *I never update the client app * I can still send/receive my bitcoins in the future even if the code changes or what not. Obviously there is always the worst case scenario if one day one of the client developers decided to be malicious and write code that sends everyone's bitcoins to their own address.

I think I'm going to just get a separate phone just to store the bitcoins instead of having to get an entire separate laptop to store it. Its just im afraid one day if the apps get outdated and the developer stops supporting it, would that affect the btc I have stored on there?

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From this description, rather than choosing the best client to use, you should simply export your private keys to a wallet file. At any point in the future, you can load your wallet file into any almost any client and access your bitcoins.

Not all clients currently allow you to do this, notably the Bitcoin Wallet app on Android by Andreas Schildbach. In this case, you should send your coins to another address created with Electrum, Bitcoin-QT, Armory or Blockchain.info as all of these allow you to export your private keys. There are other apps/web apps that allow you to expot you wallet, these are just the ones that you mentioned that I know can do it.

Once you export you wallet containing your private keys, you can keep it on any device. You don't necessarily need to buy a new laptop or even a phone. A simple USB key could work and you could load the keys from it onto any computer any time you needed to spend your funds.

Alternatively, you don't even need a client application. It's possible to generate a public/private key pair outside of applications connected to the block chain. And any bitcoin sent to the public address will be available using the private key. But, I wouldn't recommend this unless you really know what you're doing. If you don't do this in a cryptographically secure manner, someone else could generate the same public/private key pair and access your bitcoin.

Update: The Bitcoin Wallet app on Android by Andreas Schildbach does, in fact, have an export option.

  • so all .wallet files are universal regardless of the program? so the android app by Andreas cannot export to .wallet? I see they have their own export option, so thats proprietary to only his app? – Patoshi パトシ Aug 28 '13 at 15:04
  • Actually, let me add a few caveats to that -- wallet files should be universal, but there are a lot of changing standards, so make sure your wallet files work in a new client before deleting everything from your old one. Secondly, you're right, that Bitcoin client does have a way to export files, but I haven't checked the format, so use the same advice as above when moving exported data between applications. – John Henry Aug 28 '13 at 15:43

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