Tech challenges related to coinbase account recovery

markoffmarkoff Member Posts: 6
I am trying to reacquire access to a coinbase account that I used as the repository for ethereum I was mining almost 2 years ago. I have the json file corresponding to the correct address. I have verified that the balance I expected the account to have is still there using the website. My questions are:

1) Do I need to wait for geth to download the entire blockchain before I can expect the correct balance to show up in response to an eth.getBalance command in the console? Obviously I haven't completed the downloading of the complete blockchain yet so I am trying to determine why the getBalance command is giving me a zero now.

2) I have a .ethereum folder from a now defunct operating system that I used some to ago. The chaindata folder contains over 18,000 items. The current operating system has geth installed but the chaindata folder contains only 6700 items. Can I expedite the blockchain synchronization by moving the blockchain data from the old install to the current one .... I'm referring to the contents of the chaindata folder specifically. If so are there files outside of the chaindata folder that also need to be moved with it, like a folder with index files ... or something like that?

3)When I started mining ethereum I made sure to take careful notes and to make backups of anything that might prove to be important later so I backed up the.json file and also a file with a name that starts with "UTC--2015-09-07". I am running Kubuntu 16.04. I added the 3 ppa's for ethereum, updated the packages database and then installed the ethereum and cpp-ethereum packages. To import my old account into this new installation I moved the json file and the UTC.. file into the ~/.ethereum/keystore/ folder. When I run eth.accounts at the console I now see two accounts one of which is the correct eth address I am trying to recover. When I run

geth --etherbase --unlock 0 console 2>> geth.log

I am prompted for a password which I expected because my notes include the password that I specified when I set up the account. When I type in the password though I see the error message "Failed to unlock account 0 (could not decrypt key with given passphrase"

I have spent hours looking for a clue regarding what I am doing wrong. Any assistance or advice you can offer me would be most appreciated.

Thank you, markoff


  • markoffmarkoff Member Posts: 6
    I believe I have answered some of my own questions so I thought I would post what i have learned here just in case somebody else has a similar question in the future.

    1) Do I need to download the entire blockchain before I will see the current balance in response to a query in the console?
    Yes of course one needs to download the entire blockchain. Typing a query in to the console does not send that query out to some remote server looking for an answer. That would not be a decentralized network. Instead the query triggers a process to run locally to analyze the data in the local copy of blockchain. If the blockchain is not complete then you can't be certain of the results of a query.

    2) Can I expedite the blockchain synchronization by moving the blockchain data from the old install to the current one?
    I tried it and it did not work for me. the data I moved in from the previous install of geth did absolutely nothing to speed up the synchronization of the blockchain. The process continued as it had been before ... it failed to notice the additional files. Then I installed Etherwall and you can imagine my joy when the blockchain synchronization started over again from scratch. The synch does appear to be going more rapidly with Etherwall ... It's been going for 2 1/4 hours and has 185000 blocks (82,222 per hour) downloaded from a total # of 2,575,000 blocks in the chain which means the entire process to synch will take 31 1/3 hours. I had had geth synchronizing the blockchain for much longer the 31 hours prior to using Etherwall and it had not gotten as far in that time as Etherwall has gotten in the last 2+ hours.

    3) What I am doing wrong? What do I need to do in order to recover my Ethereum?
    I examined my notes more thoroughly and noted that the password indicated it was the "password in Etherwall." Evidently I was using Etherwall before so I decided to install it and see what happened. From what I read Etherwall interfaces with geth and I got the impression that it was a Graphical User Interface that queried geth so that the end user would not have to know the geth console commands. Upon running Etherwall for the first time it became clear to me that I had already done everything I needed to do to recover my Ethereum. Etherwall shows the ethereum coins as if they were in my possession just like any other wallet and I believe that once the blockchain synchs I should be able to transfer the ethereum to another address. I believe i will be asked for a password when I try to do that but the password I have will work this time. If it doesn't work I will come back here and post another comment.
  • markoffmarkoff Member Posts: 6
    Ok, another day and some more corrections, this one is regarding the ethereum blockchain sync proceeding at a glacial pace. I wasn't sure this was happening to me until I realized that it was going to take me weeks to catch up with the blockchain at the rate it was going. So, I did a little reading and i was very lucky to come across a post that told me, the best thing you can do to speed up the blockchain sync is to scrap it and start over. I was hesitant but gave it a shot anyway and let me tell you "fast sync" is a whole hell of a lot faster. So, when you first open up that geth console look through the text carefully because if you're not syncing fast there will be a line indicating something like "the blockchain is not empty so the fast sync is cancelled" or something like that. If you see that then you need to start over. You can find instructions on how to do so at the following URL:

    I know that some people are not going to want to throw away data that it has taken them so long to download but it's worth it. I threw away the blockchain data I had and restarted the sync 11 minutes ago and the sync is currently download block 290,000 approximately. It's nearly 1/12 of the way done downloading the block data in 11 minutes which means the sync should be completed in a couple hours.

    Update: After 22 minutes the sync is at 500,000.

    Ciao for now
  • markoffmarkoff Member Posts: 6
    Ok, last comment regarding my coinbase recovery efforts. FYI, the rest of the "fast sync" did not take the 2 hours I expected. I had estimated the time for the entire sync by looking at the initial performance and then extrapolating from that, but there are significant portions of the blockchain that sync a lot more slowly. for reasons I don't know. The complete fast sync ended up taking nearly 35 hours. I was away from my keyboard when the sync completed but when I returned to my desk later I found that the sync had restarted itself. I have no idea why, but it didn't end up being important to me because I was able to successfully transfer my ETH to another address without having to get the entire blockchain sync'd first. So long as the sync had advanced far enough to have my coins present in the wallet I was able to transfer them as I wished.
Sign In or Register to comment.