Generate cold storage data

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The Deposit Protocol is used to transfer bitcoins into high-security cold storage. If you have previously used the Deposit Protocol to deposit funds into cold storage, and want to deposit additional funds to the same cold storage address, skip to Section IV.

By the end of this section, you will generate the following information.

  • The N private keys: These are the keys that will later be used to unlock your funds. You’ll create several private keys, depending on the multisignature withdrawal policy you chose (e.g. 4 keys for a 2-of-4 withdrawal policy).

    In this protocol, the total number of private keys you’re creating will be referred to as N.

  • The cold storage address: An alphanumeric string indicating the virtual location of your funds.
  • The redemption script: An additional key needed to access any funds deposited. There is only one redemption script for each set of private keys. A copy will be stored with each private key.

Only quarantined hardware should be used during the execution of the Deposit Protocol unless explicitly instructed otherwise.

  1. If this is not your first time working with Glacier:
    1. Use a networked computer to access the latest full release of Glacier ( not just the protocol document) at
    2. Open the protocol document (Glacier.pdf) within the ZIP file.
    3. Check the Release Notes (Appendix E) of the protocol document to see if there are any new versions of Glacier recommended.
    4. Whether or not you decide to upgrade, review the errata for the version of Glacier you are using at
  2. Execute Section VI of the Setup Protocol to prepare your quarantined workspace.
  3. Create entropy for private keys

    Creating an unguessable private key requires entropy – random data. We’ll combine two sources of entropy to generate our keys. This ensures securely random keys even if one entropy source is somehow flawed or compromised to be less-than-perfectly random.

    1. Generate dice entropy
      1. Type “DICE ENTROPY” into both Quarantined Scratchpads.
      2. Roll 62 six-sided dice, shaking the dice thoroughly each roll. 62 dice rolls corresponds to 160 bits of entropy. See the design document for details.
      3. If you are rolling multiple dice at the same time, read the dice left-to-right. This is important. Humans are horrible at generating random data and great at noticing patterns. Without a consistent heuristic like “read the dice left to right”, you may subconsciously read them in a non-random order (like tending to record lower numbers first). This can drastically undermine the randomness of the data, and could be exploited to guess your private keys.
      4. Manually enter the numbers into the Quarantined Scratchpads on both quarantined computers. Put all rolls on the same line to create one line of 62 numbers. (It’s fine to add spaces for readability.)

      Repeat this process a total of N times, so that you have a total of N lines of numbers in each Quarantined Scratchpad.

    2. Generate computer entropy
      1. Type “COMPUTER ENTROPY” into both computers’ Quarantined Scratchpads. (This is a descriptive heading to keep your notes organized and minimize risk of error.)
      2. Make sure you are in the ~/glacier folder:
        $ cd ~/glacier
      3. On the Q1 computer enter the following command. You’ll need to supply the number of keys required for your multisignature withdrawal policy (4 by default).
        $ ./ entropy --num-keys number-of-keys-here


        $ ./ entropy --num-keys 4

        Example output:

        Computer entropy #1: f8e1 39f4 8dd2 129c 689c 1cb1 1280 79fe db56 573f
        Computer entropy #2: c36b 0f66 3344 cd74 1d03 c659 0e7a 92e7 5d1a 663b
        Computer entropy #3: 6873 b3a9 f1b6 5a06 064a 6e84 7faf f61c 1ef6 5407
        Computer entropy #4: 5668 abd2 a7d9 5eb8 f7db 211d fc82 0c15 d4e4 0a04
      4. Copy-paste the N lines of entropy into the Quarantined Scratchpad.
      5. Manually enter the N lines of entropy into the Quarantined Scratchpad on the other quarantined computer.
    3. Generate new cold storage data information using your entropy

      On the Q1 computer:

      1. Run GlacierScript to generate the private keys.

        In the command below, you’ll need to specify the number of keys required by your multisignature withdrawal policy.

        $ ./ create-deposit-data -m required-keys \
        -n total-keys

        For example, for a 2-of-4 withdrawal policy:

        $ ./ create-deposit-data -m 2 -n 4
      2. GlacierScript will prompt you to enter N 62-number lines of dice entropy and N lines of computer entropy.
      3. GlacierScript will output your cold storage data:
        • N private keys
        • A cold storage address
        • A redemption script

        Example output:

        Private keys:
        Key #1: 5JAwK9bihMRFe9zw32csUUEn7N5MvLvuwXKv5qUnQVjbthZyuwQ
        Key #2: 5KC6MNFkqN665YAbb1wrveGWmygainm99wX8fSxA779UZh3yP2t
        Key #3: 5J4DNddHjUkSoG2GZAkxwqmz1T5TTVbnf7Q5ho8Eqkinbc2hvSe
        Key #4: 5K7idDARSfWLGjA926DFvVL8igZANsJsUcGo8vztmPH45iScp8K
        Cold storage address:
        Redemption script:
        QR code for cold storage address in address.png
        QR code for redemption script in redemption.png
    4. Verify the integrity of the cold storage data.
      1. On the Q2 computer, repeat step (c) above.
      2. Verify that the output of GlacierScript shown in the terminal window is identical on both computers:
        1. All private keys
        2. Cold storage address
        3. Redemption script

        For the private keys and cold storage address, verify every character. For the redemption script, it’s sufficient to check the first 8 characters, last 8 characters, and a few somewhere in the middle.

        There are attack vectors which could replace just a portion of private keys or a cold storage address, making the private keys easier to brute force, so it’s important to check them thoroughly. If we know the private keys and cold storage address are good, then the redemption script is almost certainly good as well. And if there are any errors in the redemption script, they will be caught during the test deposit & withdrawal process later in the protocol; a painstaking manual verification is not required.

      3. If there are any discrepancies, do not proceed.
        1. Check whether the entropy in both Quarantined Scratchpads matches precisely.
          1. If they are different by 1-3 characters (presumably due to transcription errors), manually tweak them to make them match. It doesn’t matter which scratchpad is tweaked.
          2. If they are different by more than 3 characters, restart the Deposit Protocol.
          3. If they are identical, restart the Deposit Protocol.
        2. Seek assistance if discrepancies persist.