How To Store Bitcoin On USB Stick
Learn how to store bitcoins on a USB stick.
Storing bitcoins on a USB stick is not as straight forward as storing regular data. Bitcoin private keys are secret codes and storing them on a regular USB stick leaves them at risk of theft if someone were to physically discover the USB.
Luckily, entrepreneurs have created unique solutions that allow Bitcoin users to store coins on USB sticks or similar devices. The rest of this post will run through your options for storing bitcoins on these devices.
The Ledger Nano is a smartcard based Bitcoin hardware wallet. It stores Bitcoin private keys and signs transactions in its secure environment. It is not a traditional USB stick, but rather requires a software wallet to provide an interface to interact with the wallet’s keys.
The Nano costs about $30 and is a portable, secure solution for storing bitcoins on a USB device.
The Ledger HW.1 is a dimmed down version of the Ledger Nano. It costs about $17.
The OpenDime is a new Bitcoin hardware device that was released in April 2016. It calls itself the “First Bitcoin Bearer Bond”.
The OpenDime is unique because it stores just a single private key. It acts like a read-only USB device and contains just one address. It is meant to be passed along and used as cash.
The main downside to OpenDime is that it contains just a single address. Because address re-use is harmful to privacy, users who plan to transaction often should look for other alternatives.
Encrypted USB Stick
One creative option is to create a Bitcoin paper wallet. Instead of printing the paper wallet’s private keys, they can be saved on an encrypted USB stick.
You can read this guide and follow steps 1-5 to create a secure paper wallet. Instead of printing in step 6, just save to an encrypted USB. Just make sure this is done on an offline computer!
An encrypted USB stick like the Kingston Digital DataTraveler 4000 sells for $28 on Amazon.
Transcript - How To Store Bitcoin On USB Stick
Hello and welcome to my video where I’m going to show you how to create a simple and secure USB Bitcoin wallet. We’re going to create this USB Bitcoin wallet using MultiBit. MultiBit is a free open source program that’s available for Mac, PC and Linux and we’re going to create this wallet offline which is very important since malware and or potential hackers would need to access your computer through the Internet in order to steal your money. So, by doing all this offline we can really lower the chances of getting hacked. Now I want to make a quick side note. I am using a PC running Windows, but if you need instructions for a Mac or Linux there’s a link in the video description for that. So, let’s get started.
The very first thing we’re going to do is download the MultiBit wallet. And we can do that just simply by going to multibit.org. Please take note of the https. That’s for secure connections and we can download the MultiBit wallet from the right hand side. I’ve already done that. Here it is. The next thing we’re going to do is we’re going to plug in our USB drives. So, I have my USB drive I’m going to plug it in right now. After we plug in our USB drive we’re going to run the installer. And we’re going to install MultiBit. We’re going to go through this wizard here, next, next, accept the terms, next. But instead of installing it in C program files we’re going to click on browse and we’re going to install it in our USB drive. So, here’s my USB drive, USB Disk E. I’ll just click on that as you can see it’s completely empty yours should be too. I don’t recommend using this USB drive for anything else but this. And we’re going to just click on save and we’re going to click on next. The directory already exist that’s okay. We can click on yes. Keep everything the same, next. And that should be it. It’s finished, next and we can click on done.
Now here’s a little shortcut that popped up. It’s kind of irrelevant, we could click on it. I’m going to just delete it. And I’m going to manually navigate to my USB disk and here’s mine. Just click on my computer USB Disk E and here is our MultiBit installation. Now there’s one quick thing that we need to do in order to run MultiBit locally on this USB and that’s right click anywhere in this folder. Click on new, text document and we’re going to delete everything, even the TXT part and we’re going to type this in multibit.properties. And I made a typo. No, I didn’t. MultiBit properties. Click on enter and we’re going to get a little dialog box “are you sure you want to change it”. I’m going to click on yes. And that’s going to allow us to run MultiBit locally.
So now that we’ve done that let’s go ahead and run MultiBit. And that’s going to be this exe file here. We can just double click on that and that’s going to launch MultiBit. Now MultiBit is going to attempt to sync with the network and I’m connected to the Internet right now and I think it’s a good idea to sync MultiBit with the network. Let it completely sync and once it’s completed syncing it’s going to say online, synchronized with network. Now we’re going to close MultiBit and we’re going to unplug our USB drive from our computer safely. And we do that by clicking on this little white arrow, right clicking on the USB and we’re going to eject the USB storage device. Now it’s safe to remove this USB storage device I’m going to unplug it.
Now I’m going to disconnect from the internet and I can do that just by unplugging the cable or turning the switch on my laptop from my wireless card from on to off. You can also right click on the network icon down here in the bottom right, right click, open network and sharing centers, change adapter settings. And we can right click on our wireless adapter or our local area connection and we can click on disable and that’s going to disconnect us from the Internet. Now it’s important that we disconnect ourselves from the internet before we restart our computer. Often there are programs that will start with your computer and connect to the Internet immediately. So, we don’t want that to happen before we can disconnect. So, we’re going to disconnect from the Internet. Now let’s restart our computer and when we do we’ll still be disconnected from the Internet.
Okay, now that we’ve plugged in our USB back into our computer we’re going to navigate to our USB drive. So, here’s my USB drive right here. Once again we’re just going to double click on the multibit.exe file. That’s going to launch MultiBit. Now it’s not going to be able to connect to the network, but that’s okay. We can still create a new wallet. So, let’s click on new wallet and we’re going to create a new wallet. Let’s call this my USB wallet. And I’m not going to save this in my documents and I’m not going to save this on my computer. I’m going to save it in my USB drive because that’s what I’m going to be removing.
So let’s make sure that we click on our USB drive where we installed MultiBit. Click on save. Now it’s going to generate a new wallet for us. Now that we’ve created a new wallet we need to password protect it. So, let’s do that by clicking on file, add a password. And we can just type in a password here. Now this is the most important part of the tutorial because the password is the only way somebody could hack and get the coins. So, it’s up to you to use a password that has never been used for anything else before and is at least ten characters long and it contains uppercase and lowercase letters. It contains numbers and symbols.
So just to give you an idea this is an example of a strong password. So, you’re going to want to write that password down because if you lose the password you’re going to lose all the money in your wallet. There is no forgot password link or anything like that. There’s no way to get the money back. That’s just the way Bitcoin works. So, make sure you write the password down and keep that safe. After we add a password, we can click on add password to wallet and it’ll change this icon here to a lock. And so now we’ve got a password and we’ve encrypted our wallet. So, even if somebody were to get one of our USBs and get our private keys to our wallet they still can’t get the funds because they don’t know the pass phrase. And so that’s why we want to make it as difficult as possible to guess, to hack and we don’t want to store it with the USB drive. So we’ve added a password. Now let’s click on the request tab and let’s create a few new public addresses.
So we’ll need to enter in our password to do this and let’s create five receiving addresses. These are public addresses. Click on create new and it’s going to generate five new addresses for us. Click on cancel. So, these addresses here – this is how you could send money to the wallet. That’s the only thing that these addresses could be used for and you could click on one of these addresses and you could go over here and click on this magnifying glass and you could take this QR code and you could put it anywhere. You could put it on a website and you could say “hey, we’re accepting donations” or “we’re accepting payments” and what have you and people can use this QR code to send money to the wallet.
So now that we have some addresses we’re going to close MultiBit and I’m going to actually safely eject my USB drive. Right click, eject. And now I have my wallet on my USB drive in my hand. It’s in my hand right now and I made it offline. And so I could now send money using any of those public addresses that I just created to the USB stick that’s in my hand. This USB stick doesn’t need to actually be anywhere for me to receive the funds. So, let’s just do a little test. Let’s take it a step further. Let’s pretend that somebody or ourselves wanted to send money into this wallet. So, I’m going to send 50 cents into the USB stick that’s in my hand. And so we’re going to check that. Okay. So, I’ve just sent 50 cents to my USB Bitcoin wallet using one of those public addresses that we created. And now let’s go ahead and pretend that we want to send the money now out of our USB wallet. So, we’re going to need to connect to the Internet to do this. So, let’s just say this is even a completely different computer and this is a week or month later.
So we’re on a different computer and this computer that we’re on is going to have Internet so let’s re-enable the Internet here. Okay. We’ve re-enabled the Internet and now let’s reconnect our USB Bitcoin wallet. There we go. Okay. So, now it’s time to retrieve the funds from our wallet and we’re going to send them out of the wallet. And we can do that by opening up the USB. There it is right there. Here’s the shortcut multibit.exe, we’re going to just launch that. And because we’re connected to the Internet we’re going to be able to synchronize to the network. And you can see that the money is already in here. So, the second that we’re able to connect to the Internet the money will appear in our wallet and that’s really all we need to do. Now we can just simply send the 50 cents to another address and we can do that just by pasting a Bitcoin address in this field and then clicking on send and that’s how we would send the money out of the wallet.
Now there’s also something that you could do is check the contents of the wallet. So, let’s just say you have – you’re not sure how much money is in the wallet. You know, people or yourself have been sending money to the USB wallet and you’re not sure how much is in it. You could always just take one of your addresses and you could just copy it and you can head over to blockchain.info. Once again please take note of the https and just take your public addresses and you can paste them or type them and we can just search and we can see how many transactions and for how much.
So you can see that no transactions have been made with the address that I just punched in. But I have six. So, which address did I just use? Well, you know, to be honest I don’t remember so if I wanted to I could just simply copy each of these until I find the one that I just used which is this one. And you can see that it just had one transaction, total received 50 cents. So, this is a way to check how much money is in your USB Bitcoin wallet without having to plug in your wallet and sync to the internet. So, I just wanted to point that out. I created six addresses right here. You could use one. But that’s how you could check the balance of your wallet without actually needing the USB device.
So also I just wanted to make one final note. You should back up your USB drive so that if anything happens to it you have a second or third or even a fourth backup copy of your USB drive that you can fall back on and use to recover your funds. So, to do that you would just simply plug your USB drive into your computer and you would just copy the contents, right click, copy and then you would paste them into a fresh second USB drive. So, I just wanted to point that out and it’s very important to do that as well. Okay. That’s how you create a USB Bitcoin wallet and that’s fairly secure and we made it offline. So, I hope you enjoyed the video. I hope you are able to follow along. If you have any questions or comments like always please feel free to leave a comment. And yes, thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you in the next video.