Be Your Own Bank!
Here’s the ingredients:
1 2.5″ SSD hard drive $75 approx.
1 external USB hard drive case $10 approx.
1 copy Ubuntu (latest version) burned to DVD
1 copy of Grub or Super Grub burned to CD (www.supergrubdisk.org)
The latest version of Armory. (https://bitcoinarmory.com)
I am available to build a limited number of these units for people. The fee for doing so will be very reasonable. If you are interested in hiring me to build you one of these then Bitmessage me at BM-2cTq5mDz36winRwrDHNGsupNe9bKyXtWAd
Ubuntu is a free, open source, very secure, pretty much virus and malware proof operating system. It is time tested and supported by a large community of enthusiastic users and developers. It will be the first layer of protection against theft of your Bitcoin. Install it as the operating system on the external hard drive and it will never be online. That means NO possibility of it being hacked through the Internet. No operating system can be made secure against someone who gets physical access of it, though, so we use Armory to add yet a couple more layers of security.
Armory is a Bitcoin wallet designed to have you operate two wallet versions to hold and store your Bitcoin. One is a read only wallet that you will have to install on your own computer connected to the Internet. It cannot spend or send Bitcoin by itself so even if it were hacked the would be thieves wouldn’t get anything. The other wallet, the offline wallet, is the only one that can authorize the online wallet to spend. You might think of one wallet being like the treasurer of a corporation that needs the CEO’s signature on every check. Armory has a number of backup options in case of mechanical failure. When you first start your offline wallet be sure to make a “paper wallet” and store it in the absolute safest storage place you have because with it you and/or anyone can recreate the wallet and gain access to it.
Armory adds yet another layer, however, because the passwords and keys are encrypted. It would take a thief considerable time to hack into the actual wallet if the wallet/hard drive was ever stolen giving you ample time to use the paper wallet to transfer the Bitcoin to a new, secure location before the thief gets them. Armory and this “cold storage” method is the absolute most secure way to store your Bitcoin. It is not meant to be the most convenient however.
This will be your 1st Bitcoin Bank!
(Goes beyond just being a wallet)
You should use this system as your bank and personal vault and use another more convenient wallet system as your everyday wallet.
I found it all quite hit or miss to get a PC to boot to an external hard drive. Something I must be doing wrong but it caused me to stumble upon a way that both insures being able to boot from the USB hard drive and also provides an extra layer of stealth protection to the wallet. Booting into SuperGrub and letting it find the operating system was the easiest solution along with the stealth benefits.
When I installed Ubuntu I selected the USB hard drive. When you do this make sure you don’t select your PC’s existing hard drive or it will be completely overwritten with the new operating system.
The free, open source software called Super Grub can detect all operating systems even if the MBR (Master Boot record) doesn’t list the operating system on the USB. In the current version of Grub it has an option to enable USB functionality and refers to it as “experimental” but it has worked flawlessly for me so far.
So after completing the installation of Ubuntu on the external hard drive I connect the USB drive, put Grub in the cd player and restart. When it boots Super Grub offers me to enable usb functionality. Select that, then return to the main menu and tell it to “detect all operating systems”. Select the new Ubuntu installation on the USB drive. It boots into what is now an offline cold storage wallet. If you try w/o grub it won’t work even if you force your PC to boot to USB.
I use a SSD hard drive over a mechanical one only because they are better able to take a bump. You will be handling it alot and it will have your Bitcoins on it. Why chance it?
The advantages of having a wallet on a external hard drive over a full computer are:
1) Cheaper if comparing new to new. Placing a sizable stash on an old computer seems risky to me. I want it on the best possible equipment.
2) Fewer points of mechanical failure. The hard drive has only one (itself) while the PC has many. A PC failure while using the External SSD only results in me having to plug it into a different PC where a mechanical failure on an Armory wallet on a PC means I have to take my stash with my life savings to a PC repair shop and hope he doesn’t steal my wallet.
3) Much more portable.
4) Stealthier. I can carry a small 2.5 inch external hard drive less conspicuously than a laptop.
5) Easier and better storage options. I can fit a small hard drive in a small safe where I might not have a big enough safe for a laptop.
The advantage of this over a proprietary system such as the Trevor is that it is built upon the Ubuntu operating system with its longer track record, development teams and well established support structure.
First, install the solid state hard drive in your USB hard drive enclosure.
Set the Bios of your computer to boot to CD. (usually F12 key)
Insert the Ubuntu install CD into the CD drive, boot the machine, select “Install” and install it on the USB, solid state drive
After installation, rebooting, testing, updating etc install Armory on the SSD as the offline wallet (no block chain needed). Note: if you are super paranoid about hackers you might skip the update process and install Armory from a CD
Safely remove the USB hard drive from the computer and reboot into the original operating system
Install Armory again, this time as the Online version (it will take a LONG time – over a day probably because of the size of the blockchain)
After the Online Armory is installed, insert the USB SSD drive and again boot to it*. Export a “read only” copy of the wallet onto a thumb drive or sd card and also make a paper wallet copy of the wallet.
Safely remove the USB hard drive, reboot to the original operating system, start Armory and import the read only wallet
Transfer a small amount of test Bitcoin to the wallet address of the offline wallet (which shares the same address as the read only wallet)
Test and confirm the wallet, external USB SSD hard drive is operating correctly and your test Bitcoin balance is accurate. If you have thoroughly tested then you now have the most secure way to store Bitcoin. Transfer your Bitcoin to it and sleep better.
Store the USB, SSD hard drive in a secure place such as a safe, safety deposit box etc. along with the paper wallet (separate locations is best)
You now have a secure, offline wallet and an online read only version. In essence you have your own, secure Bitcoin Bank. Enjoy!
* Troubleshooting tip – If your PC can’t find or boot to the USB hard drive then download and burn a copy of Super Grub. Place it in your cd drive and boot to CD. Tell it to enable USB suport (experimental), then tell it to find and detect all operating systems. Your new USB operating system should be there to select from.