bitcoin Inheritance protocol

passing on your private-keys after death

Feb 12, 2018 · 3 min read

Here’s a simple, non-technical solution to passing on your bitcoin (the “private-keys”) after death. This protocol simultaneously incentivizes the security of your Keys from a wrench-attack during life.

the surprise & anger of boy giving BTC

It’s an auspicious coincidence that it’s the same people that (1) you want to pass on your BTC to after death, and (2) you would trust to secure your private-keys during life.

It’s even more auspicious considering that, with this protocol, your loved ones are incentivized for taking on the danger of securing your private-keys.

contrary to Hodler belief, a bitcoin inheritance protocol can actually increase the security of your BTC.

First, organize who gets what.

Familiarize yourself with the counter Wrench-Attack protocol (CWAP).

Follow the same procedure, but simply create a unique passphrase-protected wallet for each Heir. Give all Heirs the same “first 12 seed-words” (for redundancy) AND their own unique passphrase which corresponds to their unique wallet. This wallet holds their inheritance.

You store “the last 12 seed-words” & all of the pass-phrases (or none, IF inheritance is much more important than security).

sample letter — crash-course intro for signatories

girl contemplating her BTC legacy

when you die,…

How will your half of the private-keys (“the last 12 seed-words”) be dispersed, after your death? The options here range considerably…

  • Consider legality.
  • How technical are the people executing your protocol?

Find a balance between — the security of your Keys during life, and the importance of your Inheritance, after death.

Implement a “key-distribution for Death” protocol that is most suitable for you.

some ideas —

You could tell all/some/one of your Heirs where a copy of your seed-words are hidden.

You could have back-up copies, at a friend’s house, in a safe. You could even give them the safe’s combo.

You could have lawyers execute a will.

or, less formally — give instructions to your local friends.

You could even make a treasure map ; )

Summary —

  • You die.
  • Your 12 words (somehow) get distributed to your heirs.
  • Their unique pass-phrases unlocks their unique wallets.

while no security or protocol is perfect, I hope this simple guide gives you some ideas…

Improve your physical safety during life,

and extend your legacy after death…

BTC king hugging his joyful heir

cool links & about me

i’m @keyMonkey on Mastodon

i’m @oceans4all on twitter


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