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Coldcard Setup Best Practices

Matt Odell – Co-Creator of “Tales from the Crypt” a Bitcoin Advocate with a strong focus on the matters of privacy and security – wrote these guidelines on how to safely set up & use your Coldcard Wallet.


requirements: computer, coldcard, battery pack, usb cable, microsd card, card reader, dice

cost: ~$150 + computer

  1. receive coldcard
    1a. best to buy in person at a conference or meetup
    1b. second best to ship to an address that is not your home, using a burner email + phone number, and bitcoin for payment
  2. check bag for tamper
    Example of bagged unit
  3. open bag, check device for tamper
  4. download newest firmware
  5. verify it
  6. load it on to microsd card
  7. connect CC to battery, power on
  8. check bag number on device
  9. use microsd to install latest firmware
  10. check bag number again
  11. create pin
  12. create new wallet
  13. press 4 to add dice
  14. roll at least 100 times
    14a. if you wish to verify the dice rolls you can here
  15. download bitcoin core
  16. verify it
  17. install bitcoin core
  18. at first start up you have the option of storing the full ledger (currently about 350 GB) or only a portion, this is called pruning, you can also choose an external usb drive for storage if you prefer that
    18a. if you choose an external drive you will have to change it to that path in specter settings later
  19. open bitcoin core config file and add: server=1
    Image
  20. download specter desktop
  21. verify it
  22. install specter desktop
  23. wait for sync
  24. proceed with specter wallet setup wizard

  • always verify receive addresses on the coldcard address explorer going forward
  • never connect your coldcard directly to the computer, use a microsd card to transport the data
  • make sure you backup your wallet by storing the secret word phrase somewhere safe and offline
  • can also be useful to have an additional backup that is a second coldcard already setup with the same wallet
  • always test your backups, consider doing a full restore process on a new device

If you found Matt’s work helpful, you can send him a few Sats here to express your gratitude and help him to continue his independent work.

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