I know that there are many duplicates of this but I'm hoping that the way in which I word this explains and helps not just me, but others as well.

In any of the coin wallet bitcoin and the alt coins, when I run a backup I see a wallet.dat file being created.

  1. Does this wallet contain all the necessary information like private keys etc... in order to say encrypt this file and store it on a google drive , dropbox etc.. ?
  2. If my hard drive takes a dive etc.. , CAN I simply take that wallet.dat file , and on another computer decrypt it and restore my information based on my coin currency?
  3. If I do the encryption within the wallet, is the wallet.dat called something else?

I understand the exchanges , buying, trading , selling, mining... I'm just not versed in the backup with my information... private keys etc... thanks in advance.

2 Answers 2

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. No. Note that that the software's encryption encrypts only the private keys, not transaction and address book information, so to protect your privacy you may want to add encrypting the file itself.
  • Ok, so say I have multiple addresses, I should shutdown the wallet and encrypt and backup the wallet.dat , then If I had a hard drive failure, would I be able to recover all my crypto coins ? If I add another address after i did a backup, I would still have all the coins that i can restore onto another machine based on the wallet.dat file right? I just would not have the transaction information or would that include a coin transfer incoming as well that i would lose ? Jan 16, 2014 at 19:29
  • I hope that is clear above. So all addresses are in the wallet.dat correct? If I create a new address it won't be in the backup i gather, but would i lose coins sent to that address in the case of a needed restoration of the wallet.dat file ? thx Jan 16, 2014 at 19:31
  • 2
    @TomStickel: The wallet file has a keypool with 100 addresses (the default in bitcoin-qt, can vary by alt or configuration). So if you have a backup of wallet.dat it will contain your next 100 addresses. But if you've generated more than 100 addresses since the backup you can lose your coins. So if you use your wallet frequently, you should also update your backup frequently. Jan 16, 2014 at 22:07

1 Yes if you use that wallet only to keep coins but you don't use it to pay.

2 Same as answer nº 1

3 No.

Trying to keep transactions difficult to trace, whenever you transfer bitcoins a second transaction is placed. That transaction moves a small amount to a new address created in your wallet. I don't remember how many "wallets" within your wallet are kept (I think 20 but not sure). After that, new wallets are created as old ones are emptied. So if you have a wallet with quite a few transactions and you check your balance in blockchain.info you will see that a few coins are lost. Well they are not really lost they are in those wallets.

If you use your wallet a lot, you better do backups often, or you will end with missing coins.

I hope i've been able to make myself clear, but if you have any question just ask.

  • Yes, thank you. Hasn't blockchain.info been hacked before? Jan 17, 2014 at 1:43
  • Blockchain.info is a web page, it only displays the information gathered from the Bitcoin's blockchain, and no, that blockchain can't be hacked (except the 51% attack)
    – YoMismo
    Jan 17, 2014 at 7:26
  • 51% is really impossible. The people in a pool wanting to destroy their bitcoin and others is such not likely to happen. Jan 19, 2014 at 10:04
  • Impossible whenever the hash power is distributed, but when the time comes that all the coins have been mined and having as a reward only the transactions fees, how many miners will continue? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
    – YoMismo
    Jan 20, 2014 at 7:44
  • I'm betting that is will never happen, too many people watching this, involved. I have been listening to this God of Bitcoin. Andreas rules them all. letstalkbitcoin.com/author/andreas/#.Ut2fVBDn-Co Jan 20, 2014 at 22:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.