You have a Bitcoin address, but you’ve lost your private key? Me too. I have one BTC stored away, somewhere, that I haven’t successfully accessed yet: but neccessity breeds innovation, so I’ll guide you through the steps I’ve taken so far.
First, is your wallet worth recovering? Most of my old Bitcoin wallets were empty. Look up the address on Blockhchain.com and see what the balance is. Then, once you’ve checked the balance, look at the date you transferred that amount into your wallet.
In my case, I transferred almost 1 BTC to an untouched wallet on 24th October 2017. I believe this was the date that MAGNR stopped trading, or the date I decided to withdraw all my Bitcoin from MAGNR. I sold 8.3 Bitcoin, believe I bought a miner with 1.74 Bitcoin, invested in a couple of ICOs and locked the rest away.
Use that address to search your email and hardrive. Just plug your BTC address into the find bar of your emails and do a full document search for the text. It may be you stored it in a raw text file on one of your machines or backup drives. No such luck for me.
Search documents and emails by date. The next step was to look through my emails and hard-drive to see what I was working on and what I was doing around that time. It looks like I downloaded the offline solution to make a paper wallet that day. So, I probably have a paper wallet printed, somewhere in the house (I believe I would have glued it into a softback red paper bound book).
Remember your old wallet interfaces. I know I was actively using that book at the time I bought the miner, then I switched out to a hardware wallet – but I can’t remember when I got the hardware wallet. More searching shows I got the hardware wallet on 1st December 2018, so this transaction won’t be on there. I got my miner around July 2017. Therefore, the lost Bitcoin is likely to either be in my red bound book, or on my old miner (currently in the garage).
Remember your old websites. I used a bunch of exchanges and mining pools when I was starting out, Poloniex, YoBit, Kraken, SlushPool. MiningHub, I had multiple coins (mostly Zcash) and multiple wallets for each coin, and I was not very disciplined with moving things around. If you have a password manager, it may have remembered your passwords to all the old sites you’ve used in the past (maybe you had a few 100K Doge stashed away?).
Run some keyword searches. Look for documents and emails containing words like “wallet”, “BTC”,”Bitcoin”,”ETH”,”seed”,”private key”,”public key”, etc.
My outcome. I believe my paper wallets are in storage. My miner can & will be reactivated shortly. I’ll keep you updated – finding that Bitcoin would be pretty nice about now.
BY THE WAY – check out XASH.CO.UK – my new social network for Crypto!