I've got the dreaded "Could not unlock signer account" with the latest geth on a wallet.

It was an offline wallet but I made sure it was unlockable before sending funds to it, by trying it offline, on a private net. I wrote every step that was needed to get back the funds. It was working on 2015-09-18 when I created the wallet and I was able to move funds on a private net (with my own genesys block). So I know the wallet's file is correct. I'm 100% sure my password is correct. This is the kind of thing I quadruple-checked.

If I now start geth 1.3.5 using geth console, here's what I get:

> personal.unlockAccount(eth.coinbase)
Please unlock account ef..............

Or this:

> eth.sendTransaction({from:eth.accounts[0],to:"0x........",value:web3.toWei(4000,"ether"),gas:30000})
Unlock account ef.....
could not unlock signer account
    at InvalidResponse (<anonymous>:

This is very worrying.

I'm 100% sure my password is correct: it's not only written down, there are also explanation (like "name of my cat, 7 lowercase letters).

And, once again, I did try this wallet on a private network back in august and I could unlock it. The file ain't corrupted: it gives the correct shasum (which I also wrote down).

Basically I'm the paranoid type and I know I quadruple-checked this, I even wrote the date at which I've send ETH on a private chain using this wallet (by mining blocks myself I had ETH in that wallet on my private network).

Are my 40 K USD lost?

1 Answer 1


Thankfully I solve it. This is maddening. Nothing short of mad.

The problem is that the JSON info inside the wallet aren't all that make the wallet: the JSON file's name must be following a certain pattern too.

I had named the file:


Instead of:


So basically I had "0x" before the hexadecimal address.

And geth silently fails with "false" and "could not unlock signer account".

I really think it should check the "address" field inside the JSON file and, at least, report: "Filename of the wallet file doesn't correspond to wallet" or, maybe even better, not rely on the wallet's filename as metadata?

  • 1
    Glad you solved it! Suggest that you file your issue/suggestion to github.com/ethereum/go-ethereum/issues The details you provided will help them potentially implement it faster.
    – eth
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 16:59

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