Introduction

A paper wallet is a way of holding a private key that allows you to access funds from a single address. It can be printed for air-gapped offline storage on a device that has never been linked to the internet. As a result, they’re ideal for storing vast quantities of Absolute, but be careful not to lose the private key, as there’s no way to retrieve funds if it’s ever lost. The key must be imported or “swept” into an online wallet in order to be used, it is advised afterwards that the key is not used again. Paper wallets are extremely safe, but they are inconvenient to use on a daily basis as opposed to hardware wallets, which are also extremely secure.

Paper wallets produce a set of keys/addresses from random user and machine data, which you then print. When you turn off the unit, you will never be able to regenerate a paper wallet. You just get what you print. As a result, paper wallets are fragile and must be handled with caution because they can be damaged, lost, destroyed, or stolen. Even if you encrypt them with BIP38 (which you should), a sufficiently motivated adversary (Such as a robbery/home invasion) might get around the encryption by using proverbial or standard intimidation tactics to get you to hand over the keys.

Regardless of the above issues, paper wallets are still a very secure way of storing large amounts of Absolute.

Security

While a machine connected to the internet can produce a paper wallet, wallets that would be used to store large quantities of money should be created on an offline computer running a single-use operating system to ensure that all generated data is permanently deleted from memory until the process is complete.

Burning a live Linux CD is an easy way to do this. Ubuntu Desktop is the best option because it has the most drivers and is the easiest to use. The most safe way is to boot from a CD, which is installed read-only, but a USB stick will normally suffice. When it comes to actually producing the keys, all laptops and desktops can be used as long as all networking hardware is disabled.

Start by booting from the CD and downloading and installing your equipment (or download them ahead of time to a USB drive). Disconnect from the internet, build your keys/addresses/printouts, and shut down the device. You are the only one who has access to these addresses now.

Insurance Planning

Create a plan to pass on the appropriate data to regenerate the keys to your loved ones, regardless of which form of cold storage you want. Accidents will happen to us all at some point. Make a note of your BIP38 decryption password for your paper wallet or your brain wallet passphrase. Then write instructions on how to use it down and keep them separate with a simple procedure for accessing them when needed.

Methods

The Absolute paper wallet can be made in a variety of ways.

This guide will use https://paperabsify.me as an example since the source code is very similar. The websites mentioned here run entirely in your web browser and do not send any of the data generated to a third-party server, but the safest choice is to download the wallet generator and run it on a device with a freshly installed operating system that is not connected to the internet.

Address generation

Go to https://paper.absify.me in your web browser (or open index.html if you downloaded the wallet generator). Select your language and choose Dash as the currency if necessary. The following screen will appear:

The Absolute Paper Wallet Generator at paper.dash.org

Some random data is required to ensure the generated address and key are unique. Move our mouse around and/or type random characters into the text box until the process reaches 100% and the following screen appears:

 

Generating randomness for the Dash Paper Wallet Generator

A Absolute address and private key generated using Dash Paper Wallet Generator

Once your public address and private key (shown in Wallet Import Format or WIF) are visible on the Single Wallet tab, you should immediately click Print to print the data and store it securely. If you leave the page without somehow recording the dash address and private key, all data will be irretrievably lost, together with any funds you have sent to the address.

Encryption

The information shown on the Single Wallet tab does not have a passphrase and is not encrypted. You can print this paper wallet as it is and use it, but it is not protected from being stolen if someone finds it. You should keep it safe the same way you would jewels or cash.

If you decide that you need the additional security of a password for this address, click Paper Wallet. A different address/key pair will appear. To create an encrypted wallet, select BIP38 Encrypt? and enter a passphrase. Tick the box Hide Art? and change to 1 the field Addresses to Generate and then click on Generate. A new wallet will be generated where the private key (WIF) is encrypted using the password you specified, resulting in a BIP38 key. You now need both this BIP38 key and the password to control funds on the address, so be sure to click Print and store both safely. If you are unsure about how to use BIP38 encryption, it is highly recommended to test the workflow with a low amount of Dash before storing significant funds on an encrypted paper wallet. If you forget the password or lose the encrypted key, you will permanently lose access to your funds.

A Dash WIF address can be easily identified because it always begins with “7”. A BIP38 format encrypted key can be identified because it always begins with “6P”. See here to learn more about BIP38.

 

Encrypted paper wallet generated using Absolute Paper Wallet Generator

Sending to a paper wallet and viewing the balance

You can send Absolute to a paper wallet address in the same way as to any other Absolute address. See the documentation for your wallet if you do not know how to do this. For this example, 0.05 Absolute (minus transaction fee) has been sent to the paper wallet address. Anyone with knowledge of the public address is able to see the balance of the wallet using a block explorer, but only someone with knowledge of the private key can access the funds. You can make as many deposits and send as many coins to the same address as you’d like. Just make sure you test your wallet with small amounts first to learn how it works.

 

Viewing the balance of the paper wallet using the Absolute Block Explorer at explorer.absify.me

Spending from a paper wallet

In order to access the funds stored on the paper wallet address, you will need the following:

  • The public address
  • The private key in WIF

If you encrypted the wallet, you will additionally need the following to convert the BIP38 key into the WIF key:

  • The encrypted private key in BIP38 format
  • The passphrase you used to encrypt the key

Optional: Decrypt BIP38 key to WIF

If you encrypted your paper wallet, you will first need to decrypt the BIP38 key. You can skip this step if your private key was not encrypted.

Go to the Wallet Details tab, enter the encrypted key in the Enter Private Key field and click View Details. You will be asked to Enter BIP38 Passphrase in the field. Enter the passphrase and click Decrypt BIP38. A range of information derived from the key will appear, the information required to access the funds on the public address appears under Private Key WIF. Copy the Private Key WIF and use it in the next step.

 

Absolute Paper Wallet Generator displaying information derived from an encrypted private key

Importing the private key to your live wallet

When you are ready to spend the balance on the paper wallet, you will need to import the private key used to control the address printed on the wallet into another Dash wallet that is connected to the internet. We will use the Dash Core Wallet in this example, although Dash Electrum and mobile wallets are also supported. Open Absolute Core Wallet, click Settings and Unlock Wallet. Enter your wallet passphrase. Then click Tools and select Debug Console. The console appears. Enter the following command:

importprivkey <your private key in WIF>

Absolute Core Wallet importing a private key

This process requires rescanning the entire downloaded blockchain for transactions involving this address, and will therefore take some time. Be patient. Once the process is complete, any transactions involving the imported address will appear in your list of transactions. If you use Coin Control, you can also enable or disable the address for spending there.

 

 

Paper wallet address successfully imported into Absolute Core Wallet from WIF private key

Since the paper wallet public address still holds the funds, it can also be imported again into a second wallet if it is not destroyed. It is recommended to transfer the balance from the paper wallet to an internal wallet address or another address where you have exclusive control over the private key. This will prevent a third party from obtaining unauthorised access to the same address from the paper wallet before you do. You can then spend your balance as usual.

Once the paper wallet is empty and you are sure it will not be receiving any further deposits, you can destroy the paper.