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Matt Corallo b6b039d84e Add Wallet Encryption section to README 12 years ago
README Add Wallet Encryption section to README 12 years ago


Bitcoin 0.3.24 BETA

Copyright (c) 2009-2011 Bitcoin Developers
Distributed under the MIT/X11 software license, see the accompanying
file license.txt or
This product includes software developed by the OpenSSL Project for use in
the OpenSSL Toolkit ( This product includes
cryptographic software written by Eric Young (

Bitcoin is a free open source peer-to-peer electronic cash system that is
completely decentralized, without the need for a central server or trusted
parties. Users hold the crypto keys to their own money and transact directly
with each other, with the help of a P2P network to check for double-spending.

Unpack the files into a directory and run:
bin/32/bitcoin (GUI, 32-bit)
bin/32/bitcoind (headless, 32-bit)
bin/64/bitcoin (GUI, 64-bit)
bin/64/bitcoind (headless, 64-bit)

Wallet Encryption
Bitcoin supports native wallet encryption so that people who steal your wallet
file don't automatically get access to all of your Bitcoins. In order to enable
this feature, chose "Encrypt Wallet" from the Options menu. You will be prompted
to enter a passphrase, which will be used as the key to encrypt your wallet and
will be needed every time you wish to send Bitcoins. If you lose this passphrase,
you will lose access to spend all of the bitcoins in your wallet, no one, not even
the Bitcoin developers can recover your Bitcoins. This means you are responsible
for your own security, store your password in a secure location and do not forget

Remember that the encryption built into bitcoin only encrypts the actual keys
which are required to send your bitcoins, not the full wallet. This means that
someone who steals your wallet file will be able to see all the addresses which
belong to you, as well as the relevant transactions, you are only protected from
someone spending your coins.

It is recommended that you backup your wallet file before you encrypt your wallet.
To do this, close the Bitcoin client and copy the wallet.dat file from ~/.bitcoin/
on Linux, /Users/(user name)/Application Support/Bitcoin/ on Mac OSX, and
%APPDATA%/Bitcoin/ on Windows (that is /Users/(user name)/AppData/Roaming/Bitcoin on
Windows Vista and 7 and /Documents and Settings/(user name)/Application Data/Bitcoin
on Windows XP). Once you have copied that file to a safe location, reopen the
Bitcoin client and Encrypt your wallet. If everything goes fine, delete the backup
and enjoy your encrypted wallet. Note that once you encrypt your wallet, you will
never be able to go back to a version of the Bitcoin client older than 0.4.

Keep in mind that you are always responsible for you own security. All it takes is a
slightly more advanced wallet-stealing trojan which installs a keylogger to steal
your wallet passphrase as you enter it in addition to your wallet file and you have
lost all your Bitcoins. Wallet encryption cannot keep you safe if you do not practice
good security, such as running up-to-date antivirus software, only entering your
wallet passphrase in the Bitcoin client and using the same passphrase only as your
wallet passphrase.

See the documentation at the bitcoin wiki:

... for help and more information.