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Suppose I have a certain number of bitcoins kept in cold storage. Is there way to prove that I control those coins, or any coins totalling a certain amount, to another party without transferring them?

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You can sign a message with your private key. But you would have to reveal your public key so that the signature is verified. But that kind of defeats the purpose of cold storage. You can just as well send a small amount from that address to the other party.

  • The point is to keep the cold storage cold. Why would it defeat the purpose of cold storage? And public keys aren't already public? – user3875 Dec 4 '13 at 0:36
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    An address that have not sent any bitcoins does not expose its public keys. The address itself is just a hash of the public key. So cold storage puts an additional layer of security. If by cold storage you just mean something you want to leave alone, then you can do what I first said and sign a message with your keys. – Felipe Voloch Dec 4 '13 at 0:42
  • Yes, the threat model for cold storage would be attacks on network-connect computers, not factoring. – user3875 Dec 4 '13 at 0:48
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    Factoring has nothing to do with Bitcoin. Bitcoin uses ECDSA, not RSA. – Felipe Voloch Dec 4 '13 at 0:57
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    Right, sorry. The point was the threat was attacks on computers not on crypto. Thanks for your reply. – user3875 Dec 4 '13 at 1:59

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