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1  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: What happens to "lost" bitcoins? on: November 30, 2013, 09:51:16 AM
Some scenarios have our descendents mining landfill dumps for metals and other resources (hell, they do it right now in some less developed countries), so perhaps they'll be keeping a special look out for hard drives and other computer equipment.

Bitcoin mining, the term comes full circle!  Grin
2  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: Brainwallet Passphrase limits? on: November 28, 2013, 01:39:48 PM
I'm not a programmer to understand the open source code... But do all brainwallet sites use the same algorithm to convert the passphrase to a private key and address? In other words, does a particular passphrase always generate the same private key on all sites?

I think the answer to that has to be no. One convention is to use SHA256 (both and use this) but there is nothing stopping another site from using some other algorithm (for instance SHA256d, or including some salt).

As mentioned above, you're far better off using a deterministic wallet like electrum and saving the 12-word passphrase. Write it down (for your own sake, or for your beneficiaries in case the worst should happen, lost/forgotten passwords are far more risk than stolen ones) and keep it in a safe place or better, several.

And a general comment. Brainwallets are NOT safe for newbies to use, have a read of this thread
3  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: Next ASIC generations?! on: November 28, 2013, 11:24:10 AM
The current ASIC generation uses chips with structure size 20nm. Is there already some outlook and roadmap for even finer structures?

For CPUs we have currently 22nm and the "roadmap" is something like 14nm in 2014, 10nm in 2015, 7nm in 2017 and 5nm in 2019.

Is there for ASIC mining chips a similar development expected?

Those "minimum feature size" numbers have long ceased to have any real physical meaning and are now just marketing terms for the "next generation" of fabrication process. Moore's law is just about on its last gasp (at least for traditional silicon) and the enormous cost of new fab plant is going to bring it to a crashing halt in the very near future.

Puts away xtal-ball, waits for howls of anguish. Its just my 2c anyway.
4  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: What is a Brain Wallet? on: November 20, 2013, 09:41:48 AM
Be careful with brain wallets. You need a strong passphrase or else your coin is at risk of being stolen by hackers. Strong passphrases are not easy to create (and even more difficult to remember without writing them down, which effectively makes it a paper wallet too).

Have a read of this thread
5  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: How to calculate address? on: November 18, 2013, 09:40:18 PM
...It generates a partial private key that gets converted to a public key and then added with the buyer's public key to calculate the address. Multiple sites and scripts offer this service, such as bitaddress and pybitcointools

I'd like to know the algorithm to do this so that I can do it up in PHP.

I gave you the link to the thread, if you'd read it you'd have found this link which explains the process reasonably clearly (it relies on the properties of the ECDSA addition operation as regards private keys and their generated public keys, not being a math guru I can't explain it myself).

I find the ECDSA code in JackJack's Pywallet to be the easiest to follow, so you may want to start there, though it does not implement the split-key algorithm. You'll need to look at the vanitygen source for that (which I find quite difficult to follow) or the javascript in
6  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: How to calculate address? on: November 18, 2013, 09:38:18 AM
I'm using vanitygen. I supply a public key to it and a prefix. It then finds the vanity address using said public key and provides me a partial private key. Sites like can take that public key and the partial private key and determine the address. The public key itself is not enough; that returns a different address.

That functionality is intended for vanity key "farms" that calculate private keys as a service. The key combination ensures the generated key is known only by the client and not the service.

I was involved in a short discussion on this a while back so I'll link the thread in case its of any use to you.
7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: Importing KNOWN private keys into a wallet on: November 13, 2013, 11:45:37 AM
If the address contains many transactions performance may be reduced.

You most definitely do not want to import "correct horse battery staple". I'm not going to tempt fate by including the actual address. If your curiosity gets the better of you, then you've only yourself to blame for the resulting snafu.
8  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: Breaking up a private key into pieces on: November 10, 2013, 09:45:40 AM
Depending on what you want to do with this, you could consider Shamir's secret sharing. It does rely on third party software, but there is an open source thread at and also some discussion at
9  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: What's the safest way to use an awesome brainwallet? on: November 04, 2013, 09:54:09 AM
Am I being overly paranoid?

Possibly, but IMHO about the wrong things. The weakest link in your reasoning is your memory. Many things could happen yo you (short of death itself) that compromise your memory. A mere blow to the head could suffice to cause sufficient brain damage to render your memory unreliable.

Brainwallets sound like a nice easy concept, but it is very hard to do this properly. DannyHamilton has given very good advice upthread. You really need to do the research to understand why this is so.

For example you have commented several times that you can do an offline transaction to transfer bitcoin without exposing your public keys. This shows ignorance of the workings of the bitcoin transaction mechanism. You have to broadcast that offline transaction to the network for it to take effect. At that point you have also exposed your public key since its an integral part of the transaction.

If you do decide to use you need not worry about the website breaking down or becoming unavailable. That particular brainwallet simply uses a single sha256 hash of the passphrase to generate the private key. Any competent programmer can replicate that for you. But unless your awesome brainwallet scheme includes at least 192 bits of truly random entropy it will be less secure than a key generated by bitcoin-qt itself.

My advice. Use an officially supported wallet. Choose a good passphrase, write it down and lock it away in a safe or perhaps give it to your lawyers for safekeeping (being sure to advise them not to copy or expose it). Backup your wallet and keep copies in several safe places. Your biggest risk is relying on your memory alone.
10  Economy / Services / Re: Crack my sha256 hash on: November 01, 2013, 12:00:56 PM
An interesting discussion at regarding AES, but it applies equally to SHA256.

The link to gives the energy calculations, though these are for a 192 bit hash. 256 bits is 18446744073709551616 (18 quintillion 446 quadrillion 744 trillion 73 billion 709 million 551 thousand 616)  times harder.
11  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Re: Quick check, is this the proper way to store BTC on a USB stick on: November 01, 2013, 09:37:06 AM
Actually there is no way to do this without touching the Internet. Even if you decide to dedicate an entire computer as your offline wallet PC you will still need to connect to download the OS and bitcoin wallet/client software. If you are using Linux on your "offline" PC you will need to connect regularly to update software or end up in dependency hell.

Just to be pedantic here, I can think of one way that is completely firewalled. You build your own computer using old-skool pre-internet technology (or just dig out that old ZX-Spectrum from the attic) to be sure there are no NSA infected parts inside, code up your own address generator from scratch (I take it you're allowed to refer to the online wallet code and algorithm documentation, perhaps print it out at your local library), make a nice hot cup of tea (it will make a good source of entropy for your hardware RNG), then Bob's your maiden aunt.  Grin
12  Economy / Services / Re: Crack my sha256 hash on: November 01, 2013, 09:16:43 AM
It is going to take forever to crack a 64 letter encryption! This would cost a lot more than a btc

Indeed. 2^256 is an unimaginably huge number 115 quattuorvigintillion 792 trevigintillion 89 duovigintillion 237 unvigintillion 316 vigintillion 195 novemdecillion 423 octodecillion 570 septendecillion 985 sexdecillion 8 quindecillion 687 quattuordecillion 907 tredecillion 853 duodecillion 269 undecillion 984 decillion 665 nonillion 640 octillion 564 septillion 39 sextillion 457 quintillion 584 quadrillion 7 trillion 913 billion 129 million 639 thousand 936 (according to wolfram alpha). It would take more energy than the  sun outputs in its entire lifetime just to count this number (with a computer of theoretical maximum efficiency). Nice try.
13  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: Best Paper Wallet on: October 26, 2013, 10:45:25 PM
are also good for brainwallets!  Cool - yes, though if paranoid download from and use it offline.  - no brainwallets are not for newbies. Its far too easy to choose a bad passphrase (basically anything you can google that will come back with a hit, or any simple variation of said). There are crooks out there generating rainbow tables of all conceivable passphrases and the first you'll know of it is when your coin is stolen.
14  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: Best Paper Wallet on: October 26, 2013, 07:09:59 PM
Maybe I'm not asking it correctly. Lets review:

Bitcoin are stored in a wallet and that wallet needs a bitcoin address: Correct?

Any bitcoin that are bought/Sold/Traded are recorded in the blockchain: Correct?

Any transaction (bought/sold/traded) needs to be verified by others using the blockchain: correct?

So my question is how can coin be moved to a private address if it cant be verified since the address was made offline?

No: Bitcoin exist on the blockchain. A wallet simply stores the keys needed to authorise a transaction moving that coin to another address. You can import the keys into multiple wallets, any of which can then spend that coin (but only one spend, ever).



Finally: Bitcoin is moved via a transaction in which the "owner" authorises the transfer by signing with the private key associated with the address. The destination address merely needs to exist, there is no requirement for its private key to be known. The transferred bitcoin will remain at the new address until another transaction is signed using a valid private key. If the private key is lost (or was never known in the first place since destination addresses can be created without knowing the private key, eg 1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuE), then the bitcoin is unspendable, lost for eternity.

15  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: Best Paper Wallet on: October 26, 2013, 08:58:55 AM
Of course you might generate private key associated with address offline. In fact even with pen and paper alone if you know how

If you mean that you could generate an offline key that corresponds to an already existing address, then that is just astronomically unlikely (the address space is 2^160 which is just a vastly huge number). The only way this could happen is if you are using a seriously broken random number generator, or a brain wallet (just don't go there, you will lose your coin unless you know exactly what you are doing).

And props to anyone who manages to convert a private key to an address using just pen and paper. Possible, yes, but the process is so mind-numbingly intricate that the chances of getting it right without making a mistake along the way are pretty tiny.

Just for LOLs, a link to my very first post where I do indeed generate the private key to existing address 1EHNa6Q4Jz2uvNExL497mE43ikXhwF6kZm (its 1 by the way).
16  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: Shamir's secret sharing iPhone app on: October 25, 2013, 08:13:23 AM
Ok, managed to post to proper forum. /Thread
You should edit your first post and include a link to your main thread

More info on SSS for newbies at the genesisblock article and also here
17  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: Brain wallet, can it be secure and is the entropy argument always valid? on: October 12, 2013, 09:00:09 PM is an example of a brain wallet with a poor passphrase.

Why have you posted this? Is it a challenge? And why necro an ancient thread, in newbie land to boot?

Instead I'll add some useful information for newbies ...


Of course this oversimplifies, but unless you understand exactly how the concept of entropy applies to key selection (and brainwallets in particular), then you've only yourself to blame when somebody steals your coins.

And yeah, electrum may well be secure, but its not what's being talked about here.
18  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Isn't the output of SHA256 *slightly* too big to use for a private key? on: October 12, 2013, 07:50:35 AM
Sorry if this has been asked 1000 times already...

And its actually pretty close to the subject of the very first question I asked on this forum ... lets you input a hexadecimal private key, and trying some different values (including all FFFF and all 0000) I thought I'd found a collision. It actually turned out that all 0000 broke the ( algorithm and just returned the same key as the previous try. But further playing confirmed that the key values do wrap around at the n value (at least in the sense of generating the same public key value, and hence address, from the private key). This is also the case with the  version of the ECDSA algorithm used by pywallet. As for bitcoin-qt, I'll leave it to the developers to comment as I haven't got my head around that code yet.

Oh, and some advice. Don't use SHA256 for your brainwallet. Far too many crooks generating rainbow tables and sweeping transactions. If you must, then at the very least use some sort of salt to make their job harder.
19  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: relativistic effects on bitcoin on: October 02, 2013, 12:26:48 PM
Quantum entanglement enabled ftl communication isn't new, but it is false.

This is the clearest explanation I've seen.

Perhaps, but at a whole hour long we could do with a TL;DR summary.

Anyway my understanding (without watching the video yet) was that FTL communication would break way too much physics (allowing both time travel and causality violation). If it were invented the universe would probably instantly disappear in a puff of infinite improbability.
20  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Brute force private key tool? on: October 02, 2013, 12:04:58 PM
This is fun to read because you are all arguing about, essentially, different things.
Some of you are arguing about semantics, in which possible fits the parameters of the mission.
Some of you are arguing about math, in which the probability approaches zero, such that the positive value above impossible cannot be expressed reasonably.
And still more of you are arguing about science, which I must say, is at least the most interesting of the arguments.
Keep going; I'll be back with a beer.

And this is an ideal point to link to The goddamn airplane on the goddamn treadmill
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