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After recovering a wallet.dat file, and replacing the default wallet.dat file Bitcoin-Core created after a fresh install, should I be seeing the amount of BTC in the wallet even before a full sync?

Can I view wallet contents in an offline environment, without an online blockchain sync?

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1.) no, you need to have at least the transactions up to the point in time, where you stored the wallet.dat file. Without sync there is no blockchain, then there is no data, from which core can read the amount.

2.) no. without blockchain data, there is no "database" to collect the amounts for the address.

There might be a work around for you: try to extract the bitcoin address from the wallet (or the bitcoin app shows you the address), and enter it into blockchain.info. They have a blockchain and the web-api, and can show all amounts, that were collected on a bitcoin address.

  • Thank you! I will try to extract the address and check online, will update with more info soon. – Charles Aug 15 '17 at 4:26
  • On blockchain.info there are 0 transactions. Is it possible the wallet does contain BTC that were mined (not sent/received)? Or is mining also considered a transaction? – Charles Aug 15 '17 at 22:09
  • Wallets don't contain values (BTC). Wallets contain keys, which form your address, which is used to look up values in the blockchain ("UTXOs" is the keyword here). A wallet can create several addresses, you need to make sure, you chose the right ones. It is possible, that mining created BTCs. Mining would then create a coinbase transaction to your wallet address, and via this address you may find the BTCs. – pebwindkraft Aug 16 '17 at 6:35
  • Thank you for the clarification, I might just have to go ahead and sync once to make sure. – Charles Aug 17 '17 at 7:11

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