I found an old bitcoin wallet! – Simon Vans-Colina – Medium

Yesterday i wasgoed searching through my email to attempt reminisce when i very first heard about (and bought) bitcoin. The very first reference ter my email wasgoed a twitter notification of a conversation i had with my good friend Hoos. (BTW buy his book, he’s clever)

I tweeted this, and wasgoed pretty much going to leave behind about it and stir on until i read my message “I keep my bitcoins on and encrypted volume hosted on EC2 and only run the client on linux”… This got mij pondering, 2012 wasgoed a long time ago, i couldn’t reminisce exactly what my setup wasgoed back then.

A bit of digging reminded mij that i used to run syncthing, or bt-sync or something, with an amazon micro example spil the “persistent server” that i could always sync to.

I’ve long since shut that system down, but i remembered that my old mac laptop wasgoed also ter that same sync group, and since i’ve done the Apple Migration Assistant dance a few times, all the old /Sync directories are right here on this machine spil well.

A few minutes digging and i found this..

Both zip files were encrypted, and none of the passwords i could guess seemed to work. I thought maybe the zip opstopping wasgoed the wrong type of encrypted but no other instruments seemed to be able to open it either.

I waterput my laptop away and did a days work.

After work i picked up guessing my password again, and boom, guessed it.

Now i had an actual wallet.dat from 2011!

I installed the bitcoin.com osx wallet app and attempted importing it. No luck, it wouldn’t let mij invoer it without coming in a passphrase and none of the ones i thought it could be would work.

By now i’d posted ter our cryptocurrency channel at work. One of my colleagues (who’s much smarter than mij) suggested that perhaps i could see what addresses were te the wallet even if i couldn’t decrypt the secret keys. A excellent idea.

Since the official app wouldn’t work, i went looking for a python library.

PyWallet wasgoed mentioned a few times.. There’s bot numerous versions (that you can pip install, and what looks like a standalone version) and numerous forks of all of them.

Getting it work involved a bunch of yak pruning, including upgrading xcode, fixing homebrew, installing bsddb3 from the homebrew formula and a bunch of other googling stackoverflow and took a few hours.

This pywallet has a web interface so i fired that up and took a look at my wallet.dat.

It imported it just fine! no need for a password. Seems this old wallet doesn’t have a passphrase which is why the fresh devices refused to open it.

PyWallet showcased that this wallet.dat had hundreds of addresses and private keys, i’ve no idea if this is normal anymore, but i checked the very first and last addresses on blockchain.informatie and they had no balance.

Dumping the entire wallet demonstrated that there had bot a few transactions including this one.

Helpfully Blockchain.informatie has tagged the recipient address spil Wikileaks, then well known donations address.

That makes sense. I got my very first everzwijn shell account from Julian Assange back ter the 90s on a server called Suburbia, and i’d met Julian at CCC before wikileaks got (ter)famous. What wasgoed 1 btc worth ter 2011? a few bucks?

I posted this ter our slack, and once again wasgoed about budge on with my life again..

The fact that there wasgoed so many addresses te the dump of the wallet made mij think i should check all of them, not just the one labeled “Default” at the top.

I wasgoed about to begin writing a program to call the blockchain.informatie api for each address when i noticed that PyWallet already had this functionality.

I ran it but wasgoed disappointed to see blockchain.informatie wasgoed rate limiting mij.

So many things can be immovable with a lazy sleep(1) strategically hacked ter place.

A few minutes straks i had a dump verkeersopstopping with all the balances. At this point i wasgoed 99% that they were all going to be 0…

I quickly less `d the opstopping and found the address my heart rate noticeably quicker than it had bot a few minutes before.

I grabbed the address and chucked it te.

I’m not a billionaire, but 0.23 bitcoins is better than a kick te the face.

At this point i still wasn’t sure if i actually had an unencrypted private key, or even how i could recover the BTC..

I attempted a few tricks to invoer the secret key, eventually i got blockchain.informatie to add the address spil a “watch only” address and then sent a transaction to my jaxx wallet, using the secret from the dump, which worked !

There it is, 0.22901 BTC found te an old wallet.

I also got the bitcoin contant, this time by making a QR code from the secret, and scanning it with the coinomi android wallet app. Too effortless.

That’s pretty much the end of my digital archaeology, i know there’s Two ether floating around on an old SSD from when i did some experiments with wise contracts.

Related movie: Mining Pool Update


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