ZEC - Zepio Cold Storage solution. Password protected, AES encrypted, hidden volume, cold storage USB drive.
When I first installed the ZECwallet & then Zepio on my desktop, I was a little unsettled that the wallet was not protected with a password or seed phrase. The wallet file, being stored on my local machine, is all anyone needs to access all the ZEC within the wallet. You can also use a ledger but it is unable to use shielded addresses or run a full a full ZEC node, among other software/hardware issues. This guide can also be found at:
This is a method to store your ZEC wallet on a password protected, AES encrypted, hidden volume, cold storage USB. This guide will use Mac or Windows & the Zepio wallet (or ZECwallet) which will run a full ZEC node and utilize shielded addresses.
- Windows or Mac OS - ZEPIO wallet software - https://zepiowallet.com/ (ZECWALLET also works) - VeraCrypt encryption software - https://www.veracrypt.fr/en/Downloads.html If using a Mac then you’ll also need to install OSXFuse as noted on the VeraCypt website - USB drive - Get one with at least 50+ GB for blockchain storage. I’m using a 126GB USB drive for future storage needs.
** 1. Set up VeraCrypt encrypted USB **
Format your USB drive for your OS if needed.
Install & Open VeraCrypt and select “Create a Volume”
Next select “Create a volume within a partition or drive” (2nd option) & then select “Hidden volume” (2nd option).
I recommend creating an entire hidden VeraCrypt volume. This creates an outer and inner volume and allows for plausible deniability of the data. This way, if you are somehow forced to open this volume for someone for any reason, be it LE or extortion, etc. then you can provide them the password for the outer volume and they cannot prove that anything else is installed on that drive.
Follow the prompts for encryption, selecting AES (or whatever is your preference) and set up a password for the Outer Volume.
Once the Outer volume is complete, open it and add a few non-confidential files that look like they may be of importance. You can go as far as to set up a brand new empty wallet that won’t be used and add those private keys or other details in there.
Next continue the prompt and select create inner hidden volume. Follow the prompts as before to create and password protect this inner volume. Be sure to select a correct size for the inner volume that you’ll need (and be sure to change the size to GB instead of MB).
You can also select whether to make the VeraCrypt volume cross platform (which may require third party software to access from another platform) and specify if you’re going to store files larger than 4GB (in this case we will).
Once created, you can open either drive by connecting your USB & opening VeraCrypt. Select “Mount All Devices” in VeraCrypt and type the password for the drive that you wish to mount (inner or outer volume). It may take up to 5 minutes to finish mounting the drive and it may seem unresponsive during that time.
** 2. (a) Set up Zepio on your OS or (b) configure already installed Zepio to use your encrypted USB **
a. Download & install Zepio. When first opening & setting it up, configure your wallet directory (datadir) to use your connected encrypted drive. Zepio should then create both a Zcash folder on your local machine (that stores your zcash.conf file) & a zecwallet folder within your encrypted drive to store your wallet. Your funds will only be accessible from Zepio when the USB is connected and the VeraCrypt drive has been mounted. Open Zepio and let the blockchain download & sync up on your USB (this can take up to a few days to download the ~20GB+ full blockchain. If you have any issues here then go to the next step and check the zcash.conf file for the path to your datadir and/or install your wallet on your local drive to sync the blockchain then copy the files over.
b. If you already have Zepio installed as I did then you’ll need to copy your files to the USB & point your zcash.conf file to this new directory. First make sure Zepio is closed. Open your encrypted drive and your current zecwallet dir. You can find this dir by finding your zcash.conf file and checking the directory listed there. Copy all zecwallet files over to your encrypted drive (and keep your old one until you know it is working from the new USB). Next open your zcash.conf file and update the datadir to point to your encrypted drive. On a Mac, it would be something like “/Volumes/DRIVENAME/zecwallet”. Once the files are copied over, and the zcash.conf file is updated then you can open Zepio and let it resync any blocks it needs to. If your blockchain is up to date, it should be working instantly.
** You are now running your Zepio or ZECwallet full node with shielded addresses from an encrypted, password protected, hidden volume, cold storage USB. **
*Bonus: get another small USB and install a VeraCrypt hidden volume in order to just store your wallet.dat file separately for backup purposes. I believe if you lose this file then you lose your funds. Let me know if you have any feedback or questions about the set up.