The BTC core wallet lets me choose my own passphrase with 12-16 words. The latest would be late January, early February 2009. What wallet was I using? I can't find a reference online. Everyone says that passphrases weren't used until 2013. I am trying to get my wallet back. I now remember my passphrase.

  • 3
    Are you sure about that? The whole "wallet recovery words" system did not exist in 2009. Jan 31, 2019 at 4:05
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    Moreover, no version of Bitcoin Core has ever had a recovery phase. The earliest was 2011 with Blockchain.info.
    – Claris
    Jan 31, 2019 at 4:06

2 Answers 2


Do not confuse passphrases with recovery words. A passphrase is used to decrypt a wallet file. Without an encrypted wallet file, a passphrase is useless.


I believe the only possible answer for this time (assuming you mean 2009, no wallets existed before then with recovery mnemonics) is that the wallet was blockchain.info. Different to now, at the time it used a "recovery mnemonic", which was an encoding of your password rather than the keys in your wallet. Unfortunately if this is the case you need to also know either the 'wallet identifier' (looks like fbb4b1dd-1b30-4cc2-b745-b586e4f3cb57), or the original wallet.json.aes file.

  • 1
    According to Wikipedia, blockchain.info didn't start until 2011. Bitcoin itself only started in January 2009, so if the dates are right, GPHM was an extremely early adopter. Jan 31, 2019 at 7:20
  • Yes. I assume they misremember.
    – Claris
    Jan 31, 2019 at 7:46

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