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When creating cold storage setups, I've seen various users describe running a private Ethereum chain for the purpose of confirming access to their generated accounts.

I'd like to verify access to cold storage accounts I create by signing an offline transaction and pushing it through on a live machine.

What risk am I exposing my offline accounts to, if any, by not testing on a private chain? Does publishing signed transactions degrade the security of my accounts even slightly?

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There is no security degradation, per se, but by spending from the account, you are announcing to the world that the keys are likely available on some network-connected computer.

Since you are signing offline this is not true, but people may assume it is and attempt to target your funds. This could theoretically lead to attacks against the computer that you published the transaction from, which could cause some sort of collateral damage.

The risk of any of this is extremely low, and I don't think you have anything to worry about.

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