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May have found an old wallet from 2013 – need help – reward offered.

Hey all,

Bit of a story, bear with me here – in 2013 I had a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 which held several bitcoins that I mined using a single budget spec AMD card over several months, if I recall correctly, bitcoin was barely worth $20ea at the time and there were not many places in which they could be used, I remember at the time you could maybe buy alpaca socks and cheap novelty items from not well-known places online.

The coins were held on my phone using this app https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.schildbach.wallet&hl=en_AU&gl=US

I’m quite sure at the time it may have only been available to download from the developer’s site and not in the Google play store(?)

In late 2013 I stupidly wiped my phone as I was doing something for work at the time as my phone was playing up, it was only after the fact that I realized what I had done, I don’t ever remember making a backup via the app of my wallet either, not even sure that feature was available then, could be wrong – the app is quite different to what it was back then.

Anyway, yesterday I managed to recover data off an old 2011 macbook which I had at the time using recovery software as it does not pickup when plugged into a computer, its clicks and wines so not a healthy drive, I scoured the entire contents of the drive and came across a folder titled “phone backup – 2013”

Don’t even remember doing this at the time so was amazed to find it, I manically when through each folder looking for any sort of evidence or files indicating my old wallet, tried doing all search terms like “wallet.dat” “backup” “coin” “cyrpto” “phrase” “string” “key” “bitcoin-wallet”… pretty much any and all things related i could think of, though nothing came of it. The only evidence I can find in the folders are old home-screen screenshots of my wallet showing the balance and transactions/public key, so this confirms that my wallet had to be there at some point.

I downloaded the electrum wallet on my current macbook and imported the “public” key which still shows the current balance still intact, there are 3.7 bitcoins – (watch only wallet).

Right now, i’m trying to wrap my head around if there is any sort of possibility i can restore the wallet, in my head, I’m thinking there must be a way in which i can have an android emulator where I can replace the core files using the ones i recovered, though I can’t seem to find anything like this, I tried bluestacks though i can’t seem to replace the emualted folders using my own. – The APK for the bitcoin wallet is amongst the file structure as well.

I tried contacting the devloper in hopes that he can tell me where the core files of the wallet are stored, though have yet to get a response.

Does anyone here know if such a thing is possible? Right now i’m more than willing to give someone a few thou if they are able to help me successfully recover them.

I’ve looked into bitcoin recovery services online though most state I need a password, I was never given the option to create a password or seed phrase at the time of using the wallet, the features did not exist according to old reviews from the store, i’m hoping that maybe theres a private key hidden away amongst the android app/data folder.

Thanks in advance.

– I’ve posted this in 2 subs so far and it’s getting auto removed since i’m new, my account is older than 60 days yet it’s still happening, I barely use reddit or have time to farm karma…. if this happens again can someone recommend to me a forum i can ask instead of here, i’m supposed to be working right now lol and this is frustrating.

– edit: sorry i’ve used the same phrase “at the time” a heap, i’m at work so trying to type as fast as i can in secret since i’d get busted if anyone sees me on my phone.



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27 Comments

  1. I had this EXACT wallet and lost my wallet and recoverred it. Took me 4 years.

    You must have saved a backup at one point. SAFETY-> Back up wallet. Find that back up. It should be in /storage/emulated/0/Download/

    Or maybe you emailed the file to yourself? Or maybe you saved it in google drive, drop box.

    If you find this file, you can figure out the password using a python script.

    Once you figure out the wallet backup password all your history will appear and get updated to the current state.

    The feeling you get when it finally works is heaven.

  2. I have the same app on my phone. I checked the “safety notes” link in the app.

    It says to use the in-app backup feature rather than a backup of the phone’s contents.

    I’m guessing that means the private key isn’t easily accessible from a simple file based backup (although there is hope if the app source code is available).

    Do you recall if you ever used the backup feature within the app and might’ve put the backup somewhere?

    Failing that, working out where the app stored the private key, whether you have that file, and how it was encrypted (if at all) are your best bet, I would think.

    Sorry if a lot of this is obvious, just figured I’d share the thought process if I was in same boat.

  3. The current source mentions a few filenames:

    >wallet-protobuf

    >key-backup-base58

    >key-backup-protobuf

    >bitcoin-wallet-backup

    Any of those in your backup?

    edit: Source code from around 2013 also mentions a file just called “wallet”

  4. Also, just thought I’d add.

    I still have the original phone, the only problem is that it has been wiped twice since then and was used by one of my family members.

    Barely get it to turn on with a new battery, was thinking of using something like photorec though I know the chances of this would be incredibly slim if not impossible since i know photorec will spit out thousands of uncategorized files lol with random long file names.

  5. Do you still have the phone?

    I work in Law enforcement digital forensics investigations

    A physical extraction may be able to recover the deleted files, I have had decent luck with extracting and recovering phone data from wiped handset.

    I’m thinking if any artefacts may be available to confirm the private key a recovery should be straight forward.

    ​

    Its likely you have already seen this but >

    [https://github.com/bitcoin-wallet/bitcoin-wallet/blob/ce4644cf81d11be07f01e2d65a648e6e2911b256/wallet/README.recover.md](https://github.com/bitcoin-wallet/bitcoin-wallet/blob/ce4644cf81d11be07f01e2d65a648e6e2911b256/wallet/README.recover.md)

    This may explain why you have a backup on your mac also.

  6. **I’ll do it.**

    If you don’t find a professional who can take your case, or don’t want to risk giving your data to them, contact me here.

    I’m better than a pro because I won’t ask to see your wallet, I’ll tell you exactly what to do publicly right here, where everybody can tell you if I ask anything suspicious. I’ll post the code on github for the world to see and check.

    And I’ll ask the same fee as a pro who will ask to see your files: 20%. Let’s make that 19. You only pay if we find the keys. I’m at your mercy, you could literally not tell me the script works, I’m counting on you to be honest and not screw me out of my reward.

    The plan: I’d write a script that bruteforces through the raw data and tries every position of combination and length so check if it’s a valid key **You’d run it**, I would never have access to any data. If that doesn’t work, we move on to more complex steps, until it stops being worth it.

    I have already done this btw, a few years back, though what I recovered was worth a bit under $1k at the time…

  7. looking at the releases around 2013 you see this being mentioned on the github page for that wallet:

    Your wallet and your private keys are stored in app internal storage:

    /data/data/de.schildbach.wallet/files/wallet-protobuf

    if you don’t have that folder backed up, changes are very slim you can recover much…

  8. I just found a comment i posted in 2014 on a youtube video with a bitcoin address on it that had 3k on it. found an old back up file that was backed up from the Schildbach wallet which had that address on it. Downloaded the wallet, imported the backup file, it took 2 days to redownload the blockchain and was able to transfer the 3k off it lol. Glad i seen that youtube comment.

  9. The name of the backup file for the Schildbach wallet is chosen by you when you make the backup, or the app might give a default name like bitcoin-wallet-backup-yyyy-mm-dd-hh-mm, where yyyy-mm-dd-hh-mm is date and time

    The current version of the app can open an old version wallet
    https://github.com/bitcoin-wallet/bitcoin-wallet/blob/master/wallet/README.recover.md

    > I was never given the option to create a password

    That’s not true, but if you didn’t bother with a password, it’s much easier to recover the wallet

    > where the core files of the wallet are stored

    /data/schildbach.de
    It’s a hidden directory, needs a root explorer to access it directly

    > public key
    > private key

    You’re saying you used a Bitcoin wallet in 2013 and aren’t aware that wallets have thousands of keys, thousands of addresses

    > seed phrase

    The 2013 version of the wallet didn’t have a seed phrase. Not that it matters, because the current version does not expose the seed words to the user, does not support recovery using the seed phrase. Seed phrase and passphrase are unrelated

    The Schildbach app clearly advises making a backup and use a passphrase. If you didn’t make an in-app backup and you forgot your passphrase, failed to make any notes, then you abandoned your Bitcoin in 2013. Why worry about it now?

  10. You said you backed up the phone on a Mac, was it an iPhone?

    Typically you can do a full restore of an iPhone from a backup, as in restore the phone to exactly how it was when you did the backup. It would have all the apps, data, folders etc.

    Those backups are usually done through itunes. Usually when you go to restore through itunes it only shows the latest back-up however there are usually an archive of past backups only they are hidden. I’ve included a link that may help show the hidden backups.

    If you are able to find these backups, make sure to make a copy of each of them to an external drive before attempting to start a restore just in case.

    I use android now so not sure how up to date this link is for your needs but I used to work on Macs and iPhone backups a ton when I was an iPhone user.

    Best of luck to you!

    [How to locate iPhone backups on Mac](https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204215)

  11. Have a wallet on old laptop from 2014. What was spare change on there is now worth $600. Have seedphrase. One of these days I will move to new wallet right now laptop sits on shelf…

    Good luck getting your coins back. I’m sure someone on here can help.

  12. I’ve managed to recover the private keys using a hot wallet from complete android filesystem backup by following [the first answer](https://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/29586/how-do-i-extract-my-private-keys-from-a-protobuf-wallet).

    If you don’t find a proper encrypted backup file that’s mentioned in the question part and can be imported using the app (it should have a date in the file name), look for

    /data/data/de.schildbach.wallet/files/wallet-protobuf

    and use a wallet-tool.

    Schieldbachs wallet was a good piece of software back then, but the insistence on the non-standard derivation paths, hiding the seed phrase from user, combined with protobuf for storing the data at rest is causing so much pain.

  13. UPDATE:

    Hey everyone, thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post, I really do greatly appreciate it.

    Unfortunately, I think it’s safe to say that the backup I have of my phone may not be a full backup. I have tried looking for anything that resembles “/data/data/de.schildbach.wallet/files/x”

    The “data” folder I have access to does not go as far as the above line.

    I have also tried looking at the recovered data on a windows PC in order to view “hidden” files.

    Here are some images of what I have access to and other related stuff –
    https://imgur.com/a/4o5JzOH

    Instead of answering everyone individually, I’ll just post some quick-fire responses here.

    – I’ve already scoured every single one of my emails, backups, cloud hosting sites, computers, and even my Wife’s emails for any sort of info or data related to my wallet to no avail, I had literally gone through over 11,000 emails dating back to the email account creation dates, I’ve actually done this several times these past few years whenever bitcoin went up lol.

    – I was quite young at the time of wiping my phone, pretty much a kid then, and my understanding of bitcoin/wallets and such was naive, even though I was mining them it was not hard to set up, I did not even think bitcoin would be like this it was just a bit of fun. – in the same vain If I still have access to those coins it’s more than likely I would have spent them on something stupid wayyyy before bitcoin shot up like crazy.

    – I don’t recall having a SD card back then, I remember being content with the phone’s internal storage.

    – I tried to power on my old phone last night, It’s pretty much dead-dead – at this point, I’ll leave the phone as-is for now since I’d most likely have to spend some money to get it repaired. 2 wipes and a good year of use by my family member back then would most likely have overwritten the original data 🙁

    – Also thank you to those who have reached out to me via DM even though I haven’t responded or accepted the messages I do acknowledge them in a positive way. I’m just playing it safe as suggested by many here not to accept or respond to them no matter the intent.

    Unless someone can suggest any more ways to search then that would be appreciated again, though I do understand my chances right now are pretty much ZERO. Going forward the next thing I can hope for is for consumer tech to advance enough (quantum era) where I can retrieve the bitcoins straight from the heat expense from the hardware at that exact point in time (am kinda joking here lol) though I’m sure at that point in the future we probably won’t even have a need for money.

  14. If you know the wallet, go to blockchain.info, sign up, log in, go to settings and then addresses. From here you’re able to import whatever address was your wallet if you have the info for it

What do you think?

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