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Tordl Wallet Protocols

Version: 0.4.1, Status: Ready for Review

The Tordl Wallet protocols are step-by-step guides for storing bitcoins in a secure self-managed be-your-own-bank way. There are a number of methods, each with their own trade offs. Some of the methods are able to securely store large amounts of money ($100,000+) for the long term. Following these protocols can give you the peace of mind that your funds are safe and can be accessed relatively easily when needed.

Security is something that should be done using well vetted methods, rather than rolling your own. Storing bitcoin can be error-prone and cumbersome for even tech savvy bitcoiners. The Tordl Wallet Protocols are intended to become a (hopefully well-vetted) standard anyone can use to safely and securely store and use their bitcoin.

This repository contains a number of open-source methods for backing up and storing bitcoin. These methods are built modularly out of sub-methods that can then be mixed and matched and are designed so many different products and services can refer to them as part of derived methods that are more specific to a particular product.

Note that the ratings for Loss Redundancy, Compromise Resilience, Security, etc are defined in the Properties Key.

Using Tordl

To use the Tordl Wallet Protocols, follow the instructions at Obtaining Tordl.

Holistic Wallet Protocols

These are holistic protocols that, when followed completely, are intended to allow coins to be used safely, secure from theft, and resilient to loss or damage. This is where you should start from; choose a single wallet or a tiered wallet.

Single Wallets

Each protocol in this section defines a protocol for setting up a single wallet and defines its properties. These can be thought of as a single "account".

  • Basic Wallet
    • Good for small amounts (< $500).
    • Loss Redundancy: inaccessible/none, Compromise Resilience: brute-force/single.
    • Note: This protocol does not protect against memory loss or death.
    • Requires at least 1 storage location.
  • 2-of-3 Multisig Wallet Protocol
    • Good for medium amounts (< $20,000).
    • Loss Redundancy: none/single, Compromise Resilience: single/double.
    • Requires at least 2 storage locations.
  • Redundancy-focused 3-of-5 Multisig Wallet Protocol
    • Good for large amounts (> $20,000).
    • Loss Redundancy: single/double, Compromise Resilience: single/double.
    • Requires at least 3 storage locations.
  • Security-focused 3-of-5 Multisig Wallet Protocol
    • Good for large amounts (> $20,000).
    • Loss Redundancy: none/single, Compromise Resilience: double/triple.
    • Resilient to the $5 wrench attack.
    • Requires at least 3 storage locations.

Tiered Wallets

These multi-wallet setups are made to maximize both security and convenience by using convenience-wallets to store small amounts for frequent transactions and more secure but less-frequently-used wallets to store large amounts.

Wallet Methods

These are methods describing the creation and use of a type of wallet. Each of these protocols document 5 major actions a good wallet needs to perform: creation, receiving, sending, maintenance, and recovery.

Wallet Host Devices

These are methods that can hold a wallet containing a single seed, and can serve as a single wallet or a piece of a multi-signature wallet.

Seed Backup Methods

These methods are for backing up a seed (which should usually be passphrase-protected).

Storage Locations

  • Home Safe. Cost: ~$30, Security: 5/10, Durability: 7/10, Effort: 3/10
  • Safe Deposit Box. Cost: ~$30, Security: 5/10, Durability: 5/10, Effort: 7/10
  • On your person. Cost: $0, Security: 3/10, Durability: 3/10, Effort: variable

Passphrase Methods

These methods are protocols for creation of memorable passphrases that satisfy the "something you know" in the three factors of authentication. These methods are intended to contain the steps to create a strong password, keep it secure once you have created it, and ensure it is remembered.

See also

Similar Projects


Please feel free to propose additional methods using github issues or as pull requests. Also feel free to use github issues as a forum for discussion of anything in this repository. If you'd like to be a co-owner of this repo, please send a message via github issues.

The process for adding a method or significant change to this repo:

  1. Create a github issue proposing the change, and let any discussion that needs to happen, happen.
  2. A pull request can be created at any time, but it's recommended to wait to do that work until consensus on the issue has been reached.
  3. After at least 2 weeks, if consensus has been reached, a pull request may be accepted into the repo.


All information in this repository is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, establish any attorney-client relationship, or create any responsibility on the writers of this repository whatsoever.

Release Notes

  • v0.4.1
    • Errata: None.
    • Upgrade Guidance: No changes needed.
    • Other Changes:
      • Improved recovery steps
      • Releases will now contain html rather than markdown files.
  • v0.4.0 - First Release
    • Errata: N/A
    • Upgrade Guidance: N/A
    • Other Changes: N/A


This repository documents various methods for securely backing up and storing bitcoins.







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