Ethereum Presale Wallet - What Was It and How Did It Work?

Ethereum Co-founder Vitalik Buterin executing the ethereum presale

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When it comes to blockchain projects, many of them will initially start with a presale of the cryptocurrency as a means of funding and getting investors interested in the project even before it gets released.

It is a method that is still utilized by some of the latest projects that are launching today, and which played a major role in the launch of Ethereum back in 2014 as well.

Let’s go over what the Ethereum Presale Wallet actually was and how you can recover it, assuming you participated in the presale at the time.

Ethereum Presale Wallet - What Is It and How Did It Actually Work?

The Ethereum presale was the opportunity for backers and investors to get early access to the Ether (ETH) cryptocurrency, the native cryptocurrency behind the Ethereum blockchain that we use today.

This sale occurred on July 22, 2014, and was an extreme success. The sale was originally announced by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin through an announcement on the Ethereum Foundation blog.

In the blog post titled: “Launching the Ether Sale" Buterin wrote, “The price of ether is initially set to a discounted price of 2000 ETH per BTC and will stay this way for 14 days before linearly declining to a final rate of 1337 ETH per BTC. The sale will last 42 days, concluding at 23:59 Zug time September 2.”.

Anyone who wanted to participate in the sale had to safeguard their wallet file and password in order to regain access to their ETH balance at a later point in time, i.e. until after the blockchain launch and mining of the Genesis block. If someone forgot their password to this wallet, they would need to engage in the process of password recovery today in order to reclaim their crypto.

How Did People Participate in the Presale

Now that we have a basic level of understanding as to what the presale actually was, here is what each participant in the presale had to do in order to gain access to it.

You had to initially go to, where at the time the page worked and looked a bit differently. Each user was given the opportunity to essentially buy Ethereum (ETH) directly from the page.

Users had to first click on “I have read and fully understand the Terms and Conditions of the Ethereum Genesis Sale”.

Then, they had the following options available, split across numerous steps:

  1. Each user needs to enter the amount to purchase in either Bitcoin or Ether.
  2. All of the users were required to enter a valid email address to which the wallet backup would be emailed to. Afterwards, each user had to enter a password, which was required to encrypt and access their wallet.
  3. Once the aforementioned steps were completed, the website told the users to move their mouse around the screen to generate a random wallet, and once they were done, they would be moved to the next screen. Then the user needed to ensure that they remembered their password and re-enter it, after which they would click on “Next Step”. Here, users were prompted to essentially click a “Download” button, where they would get their wallet. The instructions here told each user to save the file they would download somewhere safe and make backup copies as they would need the file later on.
  4. In the final step, the users would receive a Bitcoin address to send the payment to. They would, use their Bitcoin (BTC) wallet, to send the equivalent amount of Bitcoin required to buy Ethereum (ETH) at the time, to that specific address. After the payment went through, each user would receive a confirmation page, where they could re-download the wallet. This download was in the form of a .json file containing the private key to the wallet and encrypted by the user’s password.

Once the Ethereum blockchain went live users could import the file into their wallet, and the ETH balance would reflect their presale purchase.

What Are the Problems With Recovering These Wallets

The process of recovering an Ethereum presale wallet is essentially a guessing game, and users might run out of ideas prior to accessing their presale wallet. This is where it is recommended for users to seek help.

The only way to recover your Ethereum presale wallet is by having the wallet file and the password. This means that the original file is required, and if you changed your hard drive, solid-state drive, or entire device over the years and did not backup the file, [recovery will have to start there](

If all else fails, remember that in all other cases of lost records, seeds, or passwords, you are welcome to contact our experienced team.

Wallet Recovery Guides

FAQ – What Else Is Important to Consider?

The wallet is old, so can I still recover my Ether (ETH) balance?
Even though the Ethereum presale took place in 2014, it is still possible to recover those funds.
Can I recover the wallet without the original file?
The Ethereum presale required you to download a file, which was encrypted with your password. Without that file, it is unlikely that you will be able to recover the cryptocurrency.
If I have the original file, can I decrypt it?
Decrypting the file is always in the realm of possibilities, and this is the case under specific circumstances. It is always recommended for you to disconnect the device you have the file on from the internet prior to decrypting any sensitive data just so you can be as safe as possible.

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