In my earlier guide on the best Bitcoin wallets, I talked a little about Bitcoin paper wallets.
When you are storing your bitcoins for a longer-term, using a paper wallet ensures maximum safety. In this tutorial, you will learn how you can make a Bitcoin paper wallet.
I am assuming that you already have a software wallet, and you want to secure your bitcoins offline. If you don’t have a software wallet, do read my previous article on making a Bitcoin wallet.
2021 update: As technology has evolved, I recommend you to use a hardware wallet over a paper wallet. Something like Ledger Nano X or Safepal is equally secure, and make it easier to access your Bitcoin.
- DIY Tutorial: How To Create A Bitcoin Paper Wallet
- What if I don’t include the BIP38 encryption option while making a Bitcoin paper wallet?
- How To Use Your Paper Wallet and Load It With Bitcoins.
- Pros & Cons of Bitcoin Paper Wallets
DIY Tutorial: How To Create A Bitcoin Paper Wallet
First of all, you need the following:
- Internet access.
- Printer with ink.
- A smartphone with a QR code reader.
- A software Bitcoin wallet with bitcoins in it.
- USB stick (optional).
Once you have procured the above things, you are ready to make a paper wallet.
Step 1: Connect your internet. Go to https://www.bitaddress.org in your web browser.
Step 2: Save the web page to your local desktop.
Step 3: Locate the web page download on your desktop.
Step 4: Disconnect your internet.
Step 5: Stay disconnected from the internet and open the downloaded HTML file.
Step 6: Hover your mouse here and there on the local web screen to create a safe degree of randomness.
Step 7: Keep hovering here and there on the screen until the percentage number completes to 100%.
Step 8: Automatically, as soon as 100% of randomness is achieved, you will get the below screen.
Step 9: Click on the Paper Wallet option next to Single Wallet.
Step 10: Three public addresses will be generated with three private keys.
Step 11: If you wish to get only one paper wallet, change the Addresses to generate and Addresses per page to 1 and click Generate.
Step 12: Click Print to get a printable file. Now, print this file using your printer.
Step 13: After printing, with scissors cut out the main portion and keep it somewhere for your records.
Your paper wallet is now ready to use.
You saw how we were away from the internet and safely created a bitcoin address and a private key? That’s why it’s safe.
What if I include the BIP38 encryption option?
This is an additional security feature; you can call it a two-stage verification process.
Using this option, you can encrypt your private keys based on the passphrase you used. It is like making a password protected with a password.
Now, even if someone gets to your paper wallet and steals your private key, he/she cannot use it because the private key will only be unlocked using the passphrase.
When you spend bitcoins with a key encrypted with BIP38 encryption, the software wallet prompts you to enter the passphrase to unlock the private key, and only then can someone use it. But if you forget the passphrase, it is almost impossible to get your private keys back, and you won’t be able to use those bitcoins.
Here’s how you can make a normal Bitcoin wallet encrypted with BIP38:
Step 1: Click the box to enable BIP38 encryption, enter a passphrase, and click Generate.
What if I don’t include the BIP38 encryption option while making a Bitcoin paper wallet?
Nothing will happen. You can make one without using BIP38 encryption also, but once your Bitcoin paper wallet is lost or taken by someone, or your private keys are exposed accidently to someone, then that person can use your bitcoins.
So this extra encryption is recommended while making paper wallets.
How To Use Your Paper Wallet and Load It With Bitcoins.
- Use the below Bitcoin address QR code to transfer bitcoins onto this address from your software wallet.
- Once the QR code is scanned, transfer bitcoins to the address.
- Once bitcoins are transferred to this address and you receive your confirmations, your Bitcoin wallet is loaded. On the right side of the paper wallet, you can see your private keys.
- In below image, you can see in the center a field called “Bitcoin Amount”. You can write the amount with which you loaded your bitcoins here and keep that info safe somewhere.
- It is a good idea to have multiple copies of this printed wallet as a backup in case you lose it.
Pros & Cons of Bitcoin Paper Wallets
- Can be used as gift cards once you load it up with bitcoins.
- Easy to carry around (like a paper currency note).
- Bitcoins can be lost only when someone physically steals your paper wallet.
- Easy to create.
- Easy to store.
- Bitcoins can be spent without using your software wallet.
- Practically free to setup
- Paper has limited durability and life.
- If someone steals your paper wallet and it is not BIP38 encrypted, you will lose your bitcoins.
- You can accidently expose your printed private key.
I would really recommend you to use paper wallets if you have bitcoins in significant amount and have no intention in near future to spend it.They are safe and cheap than software or hardware wallets in aspects like they can’t be hacked and are secure against malware or viruses.You own your private keys, unlike 3rd party software wallet services.It is even easy for a non tech savvy person to store or spend bitcoins with paper wallets.
How To Get Bitcoins Out Of Your Paper Wallet To Spend?
- Scan/enter the wallet/bitcoin address from your software wallet to wherever you intend to send/spend your bitcoins.
- Scan the private key on the right side of the paper wallet using your Bitcoin software wallet.
- Click Send, and your bitcoins will be transferred to your chosen bitcoin address.
And that’s it!
I hope you like this detailed tutorial on creating and using a Bitcoin paper wallet.
In an upcoming article, I will provide a detailed video of this, and I will also be covering what to do in case you want to import your keys onto a software wallet and destroy your paper wallet.
Until that time, stay tuned at CoinSutra and keep sharing the Bitcoin revolution!
38 thoughts on “How To Make A Bitcoin Paper Wallet & How To Spend Bitcoins”
Great post sir it is one of the best post of bitcoin thanks for sharing.
Great post! I would like to know if I can generate paperwallet for other cryptocurrencies as well, like ETH, XRP, etc.
You can get cold storage or paper wallet option from my this post for several currencies including ETH and XRP.
Good post on paper wallets.
Can you please tell me how to transfer the coins from any paper wallet to online wallet like blockchain.info?
There is an option to import paper wallet but I do not know how to spend that wallet.
And which online wallet do you recommend?
Coinbase and blockchain.info support your need. The way to transfer coins from paper wallet to online wallet is called “import”.In Blockchain.info – Settings -> Addresses -> Import Bitcoin Address– Put your address here and click Import.
Now your paper wallet’s public address is imported here and under more options tab you can use “spend” option to spend your coins by putting the private keys.
Hope this helps:)
Sudhir, does this mean that you don’t actually “load” coins from the paper wallet, but the software wallet has access to it and can spend a little at a time? How do you know the balance of the paper wallet after making a few transactions?
First question, please pardon I couldn’t understand.
Second question, you can install a wallet tracker and put your public address on it. It will keep showing your real-time balance.
thank you for your advice !
Perhaps in your instructions how to spend the funds from a paper wallet you could add that if you spend part of the paper wallet value the remaining balance/change has to be transferred to a new wallet, otherwise you lose that change. See this post:
Many thanks, I was thinking to update the same. Thanks for the reminder.
Can a paper wallet store other crypto coins apart from bitcoin or do i need to seperately create other paper wallets
You need to create other paper wallets.
Great post guys. Just printed out my HODL wallet and will be saving all the BTC I can get in that piggybank! 🙂 thanks for the guide.
Last 5 days I was studying CryptoC. Created a wallet bought som milliBTC.
My wallet is on my desktop and I am wondering if this desktop dies ?
How do I recover my wallet on a new functioning desktop.
I have this recovery phrase with 12 words, but still ?
Btw. Your page seems to be great stuff. Better then my last 5 days reading. Thx.
@Felix Glad to know that you appreciate the work.
Regarding your question as long as you have the 12 words you can restore/recover your same wallet with the same account balance in another device in case your laptop/desktop dies with these 12 words.
Thanks a lot Sudhir!! Crypto community loves you for all the info tou share to us 🙂
Sir can you please make a tutorial or explain step by step procedure of how to transfer btc from paper wallet to online wallet.
full procedure to transfer from paper wallet to online wallets like zebpay etc.
sure but Zebpay doesn’t support paper wallet, I believe.
wow!!! unbelieavable , thank u
Hi GREAT POST!! VERY DETAILED AND INFORMATIVE. One question, if I have an online wallet and their site crashes, how would i retrieve my bitcoins, if i did not write them down on my paper wallet?
You need to have private keys or seed words on paper otherwise there is no way you can recover them.
How can I link my public address with an online wallet?
Will be publishing an APP that lets you do so soon. But if you are in a hurry then you can use this wallet tracker that I use personally. Never put private keys anywhere.
it’s simple I made a paper wallet on a site that generated the key and then I poured some money to see if my wallet was good, my btc or other money I stock them on the Blockchain with this system. It’s best with the wallet ledger both are good. I did it on this site https://www.paperwalletcrypto.com/
How does change work with this? I read that If I send only partial balance of paper wallet BTC the rest will be lost because they are automatically sent to another “change address” which I do not have access to.
Also how do software wallets avoid this problem?
What is the way to manually make this work without relying on software wallets.
Some services allow you to specify the change address and nowadays HD wallets are used in softwares so you need not worry about that.
But if are sweeping a paper wallet I would recommend you to sweep the whole amount in a software or hardware wallet.
Hi Sudhir Khatwani,
Thank you very much for this explanation, but I don’t understand the two following sentances from your part “How To Get Bitcoins Out Of Your Paper Wallet To Spend?” which are “Scan/enter the wallet/bitcoin address from your software wallet to wherever you intend to send/spend your bitcoins.
Scan the private key on the right side of the paper wallet using your Bitcoin software wallet.”
Do you mind that there is a possibility in a software wallet
– to write a new public address where you want to send your bitcoins,
– to write also your private key of your paper wallet, and
– to click on “send”
in order to get your bitcoins to the new public address?
Yes, you can send/import or sweep your paper wallets funds in a software wallet by scanning your paper wallet keys.
Read this for more clarity.
Simply explained and accurate.
Good luck to all of us and take care.
Keep coming !!
Hi Mr. KHATWANI,
What about altcoins’ paper wallets ? could we produce safe ones?
for some, you can make- https://coinsutra.com/cold-storage-cryptocurrency/
I’m a newbie. Just read your article and now I’m a little confused about the exporting part of the paper wallet. Is the software wallet which you made the paper wallet with [imported] is the only option you have for exporting as well? or is it possible to use another software wallet account after for example 5 years of making the paper wallet?
I couldn’t understand your question. This software script you can use anytime after 5 years also in an offline environment.
Hi, How does the blockchain know that the private key generated is to unlock the public key generated when the software is generating them offine?
How can I have confidence that when the time comes the private key will work, because if I do a small test transaction I would then need to move to a new paper wallet anyway?
Private Key to Address. A private key, which is just a number such as 42, can be transformed mathematically into a public key. A public key is then transformed into an address. Each step is irreversible.
And this is done and regulated by Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm, which runs in the background of offline generators also. And Bitcoin protocol is based on this algorithm only and hence BItcoin’s blockchain able to identify addresses.
I have 3 paper wallets with BTC in them. I have recently bought a new ledger nano S. I want to send the BTC from the paper wallet to the ledger nano S. How do I do this please without exposing my paper private keys to the internet?
Nice post I never know about paper wallet, you wrote a superb article on this