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Glacier is a step-by-step protocol for storing bitcoins in a highly secure manner. It is intended for:

  • Personal storage: Glacier does not address institutional security needs such as internal controls, transparent auditing, and preventing access to funds by a single individual.
  • Large amounts of money ($100,000+): Glacier thoroughly considers corner cases such as obscure vectors for malware infection, personal estate planning, human error resulting in loss of funds, and so on. Even if your Bitcoin holdings are more modest, it’s worth considering using Glacier. If Bitcoin proves successful as a global currency, it will appreciate 10x (or much more) in the coming years. Security will become increasingly important if your holdings appreciate and Bitcoin becomes a more attractive target for thieves. The “Protocol Overview” section also describes some lower-security, lower-cost approaches to self-managed storage that may be more appropriate for smaller amounts of funds.
  • Long-term storage: Glacier not only considers the Bitcoin security landscape today, but also a future world where Bitcoin is much more valuable and attracts many more security threats.
  • Infrequently-accessed funds: Accessing highly secure bitcoins is cumbersome and introduces security risk through the possibility of human error, so it is best done infrequently.
  • Technically unskilled users: Although the Glacier protocol is long, it is clear and straightforward to follow. No technical expertise is required.

The Glacier protocol covers bitcoin storage, not procurement. It assumes you already possess bitcoins and wish to store them more securely.

If you are already familiar with Bitcoin security concepts and are certain that you want high security cold storage, you may prefer to read Trusting This Protocol and then skip to the section Choosing a Multisignature Withdrawal Policy.