The BitGo Keycard: How to Use It to Restore Your Wallet

Three QR-Codes of the BitGo Keycard and a sheet with a password written on it, displayed as a team.

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BitGo provides professional crypto custody solutions using various multi-key setups. In such a setup, there is generally more than one private key that must sign a transaction or can be used to restore the wallet. The advantage of this is an increase in security for self-custody, as a BitGo wallet can be configured in various ways.

In principle, it is possible to create both cold and hot wallets, and to ensure that multiple people can access the same wallet and manage it together. BitGo also offers the option to fully delegate the custody, which is mainly of interest to institutional investors and typically less relevant for private users.

They mostly prefer the self-custody solution, which is secured with the so-called BitGo Keycard and allows the wallet to be restored. Since the overall setup of BitGo is much more complex, many users have difficulty restoring it themselves. We will briefly explain what your BitGo Keycard contains and how you can use it for a successful recovery.

What Is the BitGo Keycard?

The BitGo Keycard is an essential element for restoring and preserving a backup of the BitGo wallet. It should be printed when creating the wallet and contains four different secrets that should be secured offline, of which three are keys:

  • User Key: This is the user’s private key encrypted with the chosen password.
  • Backup Key: This key is either kept by Keyternal or Coincave. The information on the keycard can be used to initiate a recovery with the companies. Alternatively, the Backup Key is found directly on the keycard.
  • BitGo Public Key: This key is used by BitGo to sign transactions.
  • Encrypted Wallet Password: This is the encrypted password for your wallet.

For each of the four secrets, there is a QR code that can be read. Essentially, it is possible to restore a wallet using the keycard without needing the help of BitGo. There is a tool specifically for this purpose that can be downloaded from GitHub (BitGo Wallet Recovery Wizard).

The Recovery Depends on the Custody Option

When creating a hot wallet with BitGo, you are essentially offered two options for securing your wallet. You can either store the backup with one of the partner companies or create a backup key yourself. In the first case, you can choose between Coincave or Keyternal.

If you decide to secure your wallet in this way you will have to contact the respective provider for a recovery and go through a process that can take several weeks to months. The conditions are also determined by the value of the wallet. If you chose to have the backup key stored by a provider, they will request the information on the keycard and, depending on the amount, may also require additional written statements before carrying out the recovery.

If you printed your keycard immediately after creating the wallet and generated the backup key yourself, all the information is available and the recovery is in your own hands. You only need your password to decrypt the encrypted information on the keycard. If you lose your password, you can use the information in the field “Encrypted Wallet Password” to have BitGo restore it.

In order to perform the recovery, you will need to download the BitGo Wallet Recovery Wizard. Once installed, you go through the following steps:

  • Select the menu item “Non BitGo Recoveries”
  • Enter the User Key and Backup Key
  • Enter the BitGo Public Key
  • Enter the receiving address for your Bitcoin

The software will create a JSON file, which includes a “transaction hex”. This string must be copied and sent to the network via a block explorer to trigger the transaction.

I Can’t Manage to Restore It – What Can I Do?

As long as the information on the keycard is complete, there is a very good chance of restoring the wallet. If the information is incomplete or if you encounter difficulties with BitGo’s software, you might need professional help.

Facing problems during the recovery? - Our wallet recovery services are here to help you! You can contact us via our contact form and describe your case to us. Our team of wallet recovery experts will get back to you within 24 hours and give you a first insight on the available recovery options. We cannot give you a blanket assurance that the recovery will be successful but we have had very good experiences with BitGo keycard cases.

If you have the keycard, we recommend making additional copies of it. After all, this document is the only way we can help you recover your coins.

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