Talk:Paper Wallet (Single Key)

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Rewritten page to have a detailed discussion of the flaws of paper wallets and remove any pro-paper-wallet sentiment

I think the bitcoin community has reached the point of fully rejecting paper wallets by now. cantonbecker who made has sold it and become a big blocker, pointbiz seems to have become more interested in altcoins. I just wanted to save a link to this thread where luke-jr had similar ideas nearly 4 years ago, but a fuss was kicked up on reddit. Belcher (talk) 12:33, 26 October 2018 (UTC)

Soon after this page was rewritten, I posted it to reddit's bitcoin community. The resulting discussion was lively and interesting, here is a link: Belcher (talk) 22:48, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

Running paper wallets off of live websites

Let's never recommend this to users. It is ALWAYS a bad idea to run HTML/JS off of a live website. It does not matter whether you disconnect from the Internet after loading up the HTML -- the code you have loaded may already have been tampered with. At the moment, virtually all HTML/JS based wallet generators allow downloading from github with easy checksumming, so let's always recommend downloading the ZIP file and running entirely offline after verifying signatures.

Canton (talk) 22:51, 20 January 2014 (GMT)

Nearly all, (and certainly all new,) web-based services which generate keys on behalf of the user should be removed. The fact they remain currently, simply indicates that no one person can make the entire wiki completely internally consistent at all times. Midnightmagic (talk) 07:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Self Promotion

As guy, I admit to it! :) But I also think there should be some good guidelines considering the most recent edits to this page:

1) When listing services, let's alphabetize them, or put them in chronological order (oldest and most venerable to newest). shouldn't get pushed to the end of the list just because pointbiz doesn't actively monitor this page.

2) When discussing general topics (like entropy) it's inappropriate to link out to a particular websites. The only time you should link to an external website is from the references section, or when the link clearly indicates you're going to be sent to an external website.

Canton (talk) 22:51, 20 January 2014 (GMT)

No, #1 is a bad idea. It should remain random, except when the list itself is in alphabetical order, because otherwise scammers will just build their "service" with a bunch of AA's in the beginning and game it. #2 is a bad idea because this wiki is not meant to be exhaustive in terms of topics it covers; few if any actual cryptographers actively edit these pages. If there is a high-quality off-wiki link that explains the process, thing, or idea more succinctly or provides a superior explanation than what the editor can provide, then it should definitely be linked regardless of its location. Midnightmagic (talk) 07:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Paper wallets a bad idea - why?

Recently the article was changed to add a 'why' tag to the idea that 'storing Bitcoin' on a paper wallet is a generally perceived to be a bad idea. I have to agree with that tag. I actually find the opposite when reading about the best way to store one's private keys. Perhaps it should be expanded instead to a Pros / Cons section? The 'Printer Security' section would then be merged into the Cons section. TheRealSteve (talk) 14:26, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

I don't know why this is so discouraged either. If anything, I think this page should be shortened and merged into the paper wallet page under a new section to prevent confusion. New users may not know what an ECDSA private key is, even if they have theirs on paper. Taras (talk) 14:31, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
I added that tag, because I think it's poor form (in general) to say: "This is a bad thing to do" and not offer any explanation. People who have the knowlegde to say that, also should be able to explain it.
Judging from the history the two were separated to differentiate between HD paper wallets (although I would call those "Paper backups" and Single key "paper wallets". One reason given is that a single key on a paper is not a wallet. I think it's debatable if a HD seed printed on paper makes that paper a wallet. For proper wallet functionality you'll need some way to sign and send a tx, so anything "paper" is not a proper wallet, IMHO. But of course nobody thinks of a wallet that can sign txs etc., if they say "paper wallet" to begin with.
I support merging this with paper wallet and also a pro/con section. Newar (talk) 15:04, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
I support merging and having a pro/con section as well. I think this page should be renamed back to "Paper Wallet". It's fine to have a section on other forms of paper backups (e.g. HD mnemonic paper backups) but I don't like at all how HD mnemonic paper backups are now the default destination for "Paper Wallet" since this will certainly confuse anyone who has read about paper wallets in books, articles, forums, etc.
Canton (talk) 22:05, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
If your main problem is that people won't be able to find it as ECDSA Paper Backup then the more correct terminology should win and the less-correct terminology should have been made into a redirect. Also, people, for the love of Christ, sign your comments. Midnightmagic (talk) 07:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
I've replaced the "Paper wallets are generally considered a bad idea" with an actual explanation: "Storing bitcoins on paper wallets is not safe unless very strict security precautions are undertaken during their initial preparation. (See below.) Furthermore, paper wallets should not be reused for repeated deposits (as it reduces privacy) or for multiple withdrawals (as this may reduce the underlying cryptographic security at some point in the future.) Ideally, they should be used as "deposit once, sweep once" tools."
Canton (talk) 17:30, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Paper wallets vs cold storage

The term 'paper wallets' also seems to be used at times for objects made out of metal, plastic, etc. To avoid that mixup further, should the article instead be renamed 'Cold storage' or even 'Storage methods', listing the various methods (be that an offline computer which doesn't need more than 1 paragraph, or literal paper wallets, physical coins (e.g. Casascius), insert-your-method-here? TheRealSteve (talk) 14:29, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

I think since "Paper wallet" is such an ubiquitous and well known term, it should have its own page. An overview over different "Cold storage methods" would then link to that page. Or make a category "Cold storage methods" and have a page for each, but most can be summarised in a single paragraph, so I'd lean to the overview solution. Newar (talk) 15:09, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
'Cold Storage' is not sitting on paper. That is a term of art which specifies a very narrow subset of wallet storage and access and utilization which usually has nothing to do with paper.Midnightmagic (talk) 07:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Why rename Paper Wallets to "Paper ECDSA private keys"?

Why has "Paper Wallet" -- a well understood term in the bitcoin community -- been renamed to "Paper ECDSA private keys"?

It seems to me that if someone is searching for information about paper wallets, they should get information about those things everyone calls paper wallets.

While paper wallet may be a misnomer (they're not always made of paper, and they're not wallets in the truest sense) it's the commonly understood term for what you get when you carry around a ECDSA private key on a non-digital artifact (paper, wood, metal, etc.)

Renaming this page to "Paper ECDSA private keys" would be like going to wikipedia and renaming the entry for "Koala Bear" to "Koala Marsupial" since it's not truly a bear.

Canton (talk) 22:01, 26 February 2015 (UTC)Canton

I fully support reverting back to the term "Paper Wallet". I think the change to "Paper ECDSA private keys" is so ridiculously unsupported that it should be considered vandalism.
Chinawat (talk) 12:40, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Reverted Luke-Jr's moves. No consensus for such a change. Gladoscc (talk) 12:46, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
The correct move was to 1) Make 'Paper Wallets' a redirect to the more-specific and more-accurate term, and 2) not spam a six-section talk page with all mostly-related topics that share a common answer, 3) build consensus for an undo rather than unilaterally undoing one of the most prolific editors this Wiki has *without it.* Midnightmagic (talk) 07:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Luke-Jr reverted Gladoscc's reversion. I Re-reverted Luke-Jr's moves. Still no consensus for such a change. Renamed the page to Paper Wallet (Single Key) so that the terminology is more technically correct while not obfuscating it so much that someone (for example) reading the "Mastering Bitcoin" book will still be able to figure out what the section called "Paper Wallets" in Chapter 4 is about. Or so that someone who is using, or Mycelium, etc. will be able to research what "Import Paper Wallet" is talking about. I added a link to HD backups as an alternative.
Canton (talk) 17:34, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
NAK. Your commercial interest in these edits circumscribe a significant conflict of interest and thus you should not be an active participant in how consensus on this wiki is formed. Midnightmagic (talk) 23:52, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

Is there a good reason to omit from this page?

LukeJr has repeatedly removed the link to BitcoinPaperWallet with the explanation "BitcoinPaperWallet was removed because it is a website for generating private keys".

By that logic, every single service for generating paper wallets (e.g. should be removed.

I'm not clear as to what the intent here is, and I'm not eager to get into a revision battle. Can someone explain why BitcoinPaperWallet shouldn't be linked?

Canton (talk) 22:12, 26 February 2015 (UTC)Canton

It makes sense to remove bitaddress from pages discussing wallets because is not within the scope of the article, just as BitcoinPaperWallet isn't within the scope of this article because this is an article about generating paper wallets.

--Lapp0 (talk)

It is correct to remove nearly all (and certainly all new) web-based address-creation websites from this wiki. The fact that it hasn't been done yet does not prove that they are appropriate to remain here; instead, it merely describes the simple state of editors that no one editor has the full-time necessary to keep the entire Wiki internally self-consistent. I'm pretty sure that ripping out all commercial content now that Bitcoin no longer needs the PR assistance to propagate knowledge of Bitcoin to the world, might be the best course of action based on the sheer, titanic number of scammers who have listed their sites in this wiki. (Edit to change 'inclination' to 'full-time necessary' since most admins I'm aware of agree that web-based wallets in general are a bad idea.) Midnightmagic (talk) 07:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)