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Author Topic: FirstBits.com - remember and share Bitcoin addresses  (Read 24405 times)
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June 26, 2011, 09:12:32 PM
 #61

One question, when you put an address that is too short (say 1k) why does not show all the addressed with that first characters? Should you get a warning when your address has the potential of being confused with another one?

Like others said. The beauty of this is the the first will always be first so you don't have to worry about other matching later, they will have the longer firstbits.


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June 26, 2011, 09:14:15 PM
 #62

One question, when you put an address that is too short (say 1k) why does not show all the addressed with that first characters? Should you get a warning when your address has the potential of being confused with another one?
Like others said. The beauty of this is the the first will always be first so you don't have to worry about other matching later, they will have the longer firstbits.
Allright, I get it! thanks.
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June 26, 2011, 09:16:25 PM
 #63

Is there an estimative of how long this idea will remain useful for people that aren't memory savants?

There is room for 1.8 billion that have 6 chars after the '1' and 63.6 billion that have 7 chars. I think a mix of letters and numbers is not much harder than a phone number and people used to store dozens of those in their heads.

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June 27, 2011, 12:51:38 AM
 #64

This is brilliant. 

How about a page that takes a list of addresses and outputs their firstbits ordered by size?  This will become more useful as more addresses come into existence and you want to find your address with the most memorable firstbits.   Only downside I can see it the resource hit to your server.

Speaking of which, the fact that it's a third party service seems like one of the only downsides.  If the site became popular and was compromised it could have far reaching and costly repercussions.  Actually I think that the best place for this is in the client itself.  This could change when not everybody has easy access to the full blockchain.   Online wallets should implement their own versions (or perhaps you'd package it up as a library?).  This is all further down the road of course.

How about a warning if the first entry of an address was in the latest X blocks?  That's the only time I can see where it might be possible for a firstbits address to change.  I can't see how it would be a worthwhile attack and it's highly unlikely to happen by accident so I'm probably being unnecessarily tedious, but waiting a few blocks does seem like the current bitcoin accepted model. 

Again, this is a great idea and the I like the simplicity of the site.
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June 27, 2011, 02:53:26 AM
 #65

 
This is brilliant.  

Thanks!


Speaking of which, the fact that it's a third party service seems like one of the only downsides.  If the site became popular and was compromised it could have far reaching and costly repercussions.  Actually I think that the best place for this is in the client itself.  This could change when not everybody has easy access to the full blockchain.   Online wallets should implement their own versions (or perhaps you'd package it up as a library?).  This is all further down the road of course.
 

Our site makes it easy, and it's the only one right now, but our site is not required. The rule we follow is simple and the only database you need is the block chain. It could be bad if we were compromised and people didn't realize and were tricked into sending incorrectly, but when discovered people can switch to a copycat, I hope there will be many using the exact same rule to avoid confusion.


How about a page that takes a list of addresses and outputs their firstbits ordered by size?  This will become more useful as more addresses come into existence and you want to find your address with the most memorable firstbits.   Only downside I can see it the resource hit to your server.

This is a good idea. We're not going to do it yet though, working on other things and like you say, resource considerations. If anyone wants to put it together themselves they can use our api to test and then maybe we can help make sure you get the exact same rule implemented easily.

 

How about a warning if the first entry of an address was in the latest X blocks?  That's the only time I can see where it might be possible for a firstbits address to change.  I can't see how it would be a worthwhile attack and it's highly unlikely to happen by accident so I'm probably being unnecessarily tedious, but waiting a few blocks does seem like the current bitcoin accepted model.  

I'm thinking on this. Will probably go with a warning that there has recently been a split. The simple fact that your address is recent shouldn't cause alarm and so the warning will be ignored.


Again, this is a great idea and the I like the simplicity of the site.

Yep, not going to clutter it up. Feel free to test out our firstbits.

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June 29, 2011, 06:10:57 AM
 #66

It is not always 4 'bits', it depends on what other similar addresses have entered into the blockchain prior to that one. to find out how many your particular address needs, just type it in the box and it will tell you. As for it being dangerous to the naive user, thats the case with most things in life and is simply unavoidable.

yeponlyone, I'm glad you are neither the developer nor the OP. Otherwise, I'd ask what UX or software company you work for so I can short it.

I happened to have a 1+7 (Base58) sub-string and I trust that FirstBits.com came up with the correct address, but at 1+4 (Base58 - 1B2oH) it was incorrect and does not indicate that it may be incorrect/collision. This is a serious user experience flaw and in my opinion unreliable and thus unusable for money until that is fixed. At some point in the future 1+7 might not be likely unique. Who knows? Certainly FirstBits.com is not warning me!

As for 'bits' in quotes or otherwise, since this is the topic, let's be accurate. 4 base58 characters are roughly 24 'bits'. And as of today, I wouldn't trust FirstBits until well after 40 'bits'.

Otherwise, to the OP, this is a great endeavor. I think this is superior to address shorteners, though it would be nice to use the first-bits in a url such as http://firstbits.com/1xxxxx. I could foresee using this in the future (as soon as the collision is indicated). Best of luck to you.

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June 29, 2011, 06:19:32 AM
 #67

It is not always 4 'bits', it depends on what other similar addresses have entered into the blockchain prior to that one. to find out how many your particular address needs, just type it in the box and it will tell you. As for it being dangerous to the naive user, thats the case with most things in life and is simply unavoidable.

yeponlyone, I'm glad you are neither the developer nor the OP. Otherwise, I'd ask what UX or software company you work for so I can short it.

I happened to have a 1+7 (Base58) sub-string and I trust that FirstBits.com came up with the correct address, but at 1+4 (Base58 - 1B2oH) it was incorrect and does not indicate that it may be incorrect/collision. This is a serious user experience flaw and in my opinion unreliable and thus unusable for money until that is fixed. At some point in the future 1+7 might not be likely unique. Who knows? Certainly FirstBits.com is not warning me!

As for 'bits' in quotes or otherwise, since this is the topic, let's be accurate. 4 base58 characters are roughly 24 'bits'. And as of today, I wouldn't trust FirstBits until well after 40 'bits'.


Maybe I need to add some explanation to the front page. I thought it was obvious that you can't just guess how much to put in. You need to put the full address in to find out what your firstbits address is. You have a guarantee that the string returned will identify your Bitcoin address.

I would not even assume 1+8 is safe, you need to check.

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June 29, 2011, 06:21:21 AM
 #68


Otherwise, to the OP, this is a great endeavor. I think this is superior to address shorteners, though it would be nice to use the first-bits in a url such as http://firstbits.com/1xxxxx. I could foresee using this in the future (as soon as the collision is indicated). Best of luck to you.

That works now.

firstbits.com/1kk5k

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June 29, 2011, 06:21:26 AM
 #69

Great work. A+

Suggestion is to pay to register a name with an address that shows up on your site.

I 'own' "187g". when someone asks for my address to pay, I would say "Bob's lemonade stand at '187g' ", and it is confirmed on your site with the full address: 187G5EpRm7rYs6M7X5QDEZpqvw5iVQvXtF and "Bob's Lemonade Stand".

"1mtbk" would show up as "Meze Grill", etc

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June 29, 2011, 06:23:53 AM
 #70

It is not always 4 'bits', it depends on what other similar addresses have entered into the blockchain prior to that one. to find out how many your particular address needs, just type it in the box and it will tell you. As for it being dangerous to the naive user, thats the case with most things in life and is simply unavoidable.

yeponlyone, I'm glad you are neither the developer nor the OP. Otherwise, I'd ask what UX or software company you work for so I can short it.

I happened to have a 1+7 (Base58) sub-string and I trust that FirstBits.com came up with the correct address, but at 1+4 (Base58 - 1B2oH) it was incorrect and does not indicate that it may be incorrect/collision. This is a serious user experience flaw and in my opinion unreliable and thus unusable for money until that is fixed. At some point in the future 1+7 might not be likely unique. Who knows? Certainly FirstBits.com is not warning me!

As for 'bits' in quotes or otherwise, since this is the topic, let's be accurate. 4 base58 characters are roughly 24 'bits'. And as of today, I wouldn't trust FirstBits until well after 40 'bits'.

Otherwise, to the OP, this is a great endeavor. I think this is superior to address shorteners, though it would be nice to use the first-bits in a url such as http://firstbits.com/1xxxxx. I could foresee using this in the future (as soon as the collision is indicated). Best of luck to you.
I think you are misunderstanding the use of the site.

Firstly, only addresses that have been used in a transaction in the blockchain will appear on the site.  If you haven't used an address before, it will not show up if you put the full address in the text box, and there will be no relevant firstbits to use.

Secondly, if the 1+4 doesn't match your particular address, then that means that someone else's address that also has the same firstbits (starts with 1b2oh) had a transaction in the blockchain before yours.

If you want to see the minimum required firstbits for your address, enter the full address in the box, and it will tell you.  It is not necessarily unique - it just means that your address was the first address to use that particular preceding combination of characters (case insensitive) in the block chain.

One of my bitcoin addresses, 18TKNbSLTrd3a2W8mtoH5uNzFhWRWNcuHU, was the first address to use 18tkn in the blockchain.  So now and forever, 18tkn will identify my address.  If another address comes along that starts with 18tkn, then their firstbits will have to be one character longer in length in order to identify their own address (18tknx, for example).

Hopefully that clears things up for you?

Also, www.firstbits.com/18tkn already works.  Wink

EDIT:  I see that others have responded, but I'll leave this more detailed response in case you need it.
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June 29, 2011, 06:30:25 AM
 #71

I happened to have a 1+7 (Base58) sub-string and I trust that FirstBits.com came up with the correct address, but at 1+4 (Base58 - 1B2oH) it was incorrect and does not indicate that it may be incorrect/collision. This is a serious user experience flaw and in my opinion unreliable and thus unusable for money until that is fixed. At some point in the future 1+7 might not be likely unique. Who knows? Certainly FirstBits.com is not warning me!

As for 'bits' in quotes or otherwise, since this is the topic, let's be accurate. 4 base58 characters are roughly 24 'bits'. And as of today, I wouldn't trust FirstBits until well after 40 'bits'.


Maybe I need to add some explanation to the front page. I thought it was obvious that you can't just guess how much to put in. You need to put the full address in to find out what your firstbits address is. You have a guarantee that the string returned will identify your Bitcoin address.

I would not even assume 1+8 is safe, you need to check.

I think you do need explanation. But the URL will help a lot. I expect people will add their first/shortest URL to their signatures, etc, so subsequent first time users won't likely hit the site 'raw'. Then you can mention "Test your address here for the shortest unambiguous or earliest minimum." (that wording needs work, but one sentence should do it).

As TTBit mentions, I think someone could claim an address with a short message "Netrin lives here" and you can easily and anonymously verify ownership upon receipt of a precise payment from that same address within 24 hours.

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June 29, 2011, 06:35:18 AM
 #72

Great work. A+

Suggestion is to pay to register a name with an address that shows up on your site.

I 'own' "187g". when someone asks for my address to pay, I would say "Bob's lemonade stand at '187g' ", and it is confirmed on your site with the full address: 187G5EpRm7rYs6M7X5QDEZpqvw5iVQvXtF and "Bob's Lemonade Stand".

"1mtbk" would show up as "Meze Grill", etc


That is a good idea. Do you think it is important to verify that someone actually owns the address to tag it? I see confusion being the worst 'attack' from buying someone's spot and putting something weird.

Anyone who wants to build stuff like this is more than welcome and I'll help make sure you get the algorithm exactly the same.

Some ideas:

Take a long list of addresses, return the firstbits in order of length or alphabetic or whatever.

Make a firefox or chrome extension that watches what you type and 'auto completes' a firstbits to a full address. You will need to type a terminal character for this to work. Ex: type "1hu56." and 1hu56Skwi99qmgnwRrQdd4TnMmwz8 shows up for you.

Web wallet like instawallet with built in firstbits conversion.


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June 29, 2011, 06:39:32 AM
 #73


As TTBit mentions, I think someone could claim an address with a short message "Netrin lives here" and you can easily and anonymously verify ownership upon receipt of a precise payment from that same address within 24 hours.

It can be hard for people to get a payment to come from a particular address if they have a wallet with lots of addresses in it. And people will usually want a particular address to be labeled.

Haha, could do this. Take a large fee and return it to the address in question. If you want to mislabel an address it'll cost you 8BTC. That's obviously not optimal, I'm joking.

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June 29, 2011, 06:42:24 AM
 #74

It is not always 4 'bits', it depends on what other similar addresses have entered into the blockchain prior to that one. to find out how many your particular address needs, just type it in the box and it will tell you. As for it being dangerous to the naive user, thats the case with most things in life and is simply unavoidable.
yeponlyone, I'm glad you are neither the developer nor the OP. Otherwise, I'd ask what UX or software company you work for so I can short it.

I was perhaps quick to jump on this comment. Yes, I misunderstood the 'first in chain' rather than 'first to register' or 'minimal unambiguous'. But the thrust of my comment was against the disregard for unavoidable dangers to naive users.

The minimal precedence is not immediately obvious and should be explained. I meant no attack on the site, only the previous comment, blaming the user's ignorance.

the first address to use 18tkn in the blockchain.  So now and forever, 18tkn will identify my address.  If another address comes along that starts with 18tkn, then their firstbits will have to be one character longer in length in order to identify their own address (18tknx, for example).

Yes, I grok it now. The 'ah ha' moment came to me when someone mentioned firstBit=1 as the Genesis block. I first thought, 'oh how quaint', then realized it was a first-in-minimal-out queue. I expect explaining that in ten words or less might take as much effort as coding it. Smiley

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June 29, 2011, 06:46:18 AM
 #75

Great work. A+

Suggestion is to pay to register a name with an address that shows up on your site.

I 'own' "187g". when someone asks for my address to pay, I would say "Bob's lemonade stand at '187g' ", and it is confirmed on your site with the full address: 187G5EpRm7rYs6M7X5QDEZpqvw5iVQvXtF and "Bob's Lemonade Stand".

"1mtbk" would show up as "Meze Grill", etc


That is a good idea. Do you think it is important to verify that someone actually owns the address to tag it? I see confusion being the worst 'attack' from buying someone's spot and putting something weird.

Anyone who wants to build stuff like this is more than welcome and I'll help make sure you get the algorithm exactly the same.

Some ideas:

Take a long list of addresses, return the firstbits in order of length or alphabetic or whatever.

Make a firefox or chrome extension that watches what you type and 'auto completes' a firstbits to a full address. You will need to type a terminal character for this to work. Ex: type "1hu56." and 1hu56Skwi99qmgnwRrQdd4TnMmwz8 shows up for you.

Web wallet like instawallet with built in firstbits conversion.



Don't allow to search for "Meze Grill", just the firstbits. I would think the owner of '1mtb' (who is not Meze Grill) might register "Meze Grill", but as long as the owner is aware, or registers a new address, he's fine.

I like the idea of paying 1 btc to register the name, firstbits sends back 0.90 btc to the address in question. firstbits gets the 0.10 fee.

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June 29, 2011, 06:53:26 AM
 #76


As TTBit mentions, I think someone could claim an address with a short message "Netrin lives here" and you can easily and anonymously verify ownership upon receipt of a precise payment from that same address within 24 hours.

It can be hard for people to get a payment to come from a particular address if they have a wallet with lots of addresses in it. And people will usually want a particular address to be labeled.

Haha, could do this. Take a large fee and return it to the address in question. If you want to mislabel an address it'll cost you 8BTC. That's obviously not optimal, I'm joking.

Yeah, I was thinking payment would be enough, but sure if someone payed 1.0 bitcoins and you returned 0.9 (and kept 0.1), then you and the real owner would get 'paid' for the DoS-type attack. But it's certainly less administration/interface just to confirm upon receipt from the address in question.

I think it is a flaw in the bitcoin client that we can not easily (1) extract keys from our wallets and/or (2) send from specific addresses. It's supposed to be an 'anonymous' currency but all these simultaneous splitting/merging transactions blows any cover or even just managing 'accounts'. I have a dozen wallets for these types of manipulation... but I digress.

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June 29, 2011, 07:05:00 AM
 #77

That is a good idea. Do you think it is important to verify that someone actually owns the address to tag it?

I would vote for it. No one stops me from using the vanity patch for creating an address that starts like Wikileaks' one, then registering it at firstbits as "Wikileaks donations address".

Besides this, I don't know much about namecoins but registering an address to a name may fit namecoin's purpose quite nicely. I understand namecoin is no more than a set of "A --> B" relationships.

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June 29, 2011, 07:53:37 AM
 #78


I think it is a flaw in the bitcoin client that we can not easily (1) extract keys from our wallets and/or (2) send from specific addresses. It's supposed to be an 'anonymous' currency but all these simultaneous splitting/merging transactions blows any cover or even just managing 'accounts'. I have a dozen wallets for these types of manipulation... but I digress.

It's not really a flaw, it's just something that hasn't been written yet, but will.


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June 29, 2011, 08:18:07 AM
 #79

That is a good idea. Do you think it is important to verify that someone actually owns the address to tag it?

Besides this, I don't know much about namecoins but registering an address to a name may fit namecoin's purpose quite nicely. I understand namecoin is no more than a set of "A --> B" relationships.

I think namecoin is no good because whoever gets there first is the 'legit' naming. This is okay for web pages because you get a name first and then publish to it. But it's not good for marking firstbits because you usually already have one that's known and you have to beat everyone else to tagging it.

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June 29, 2011, 12:58:36 PM
 #80

I'd vote for wild wild west. Bounce 1 btc off of firstbits.com, and you can name it whatever you want. Go for max growth and see what users demand.

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