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Author Topic: The Bitcoin Black Hole  (Read 7154 times)
westkybitcoins (OP)
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June 23, 2011, 03:57:13 PM
Last edit: June 23, 2011, 05:04:19 PM by westkybitcoins
 #1

So, I've been reading some threads, and thinking about unrecoverable bitcoins. It lead me to a thought, which leads me to a question for the bitcoin community:

Is it possible to publicly create a bitcoin address, such that neither the participants to the creation, nor the observers, have (nor can deduce) the private key that would match the address?

Anyone can just create a new wallet, copy the first address, trash the wallet, then send bitcoins to the address. Burn your money if you wish, ho-hum. But a public address like that, known by all to be an unrecoverable pit... this actually has a use or two.

Thoughts?

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
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relative
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June 23, 2011, 04:02:10 PM
 #2

whatever use this serves....I don't think so. addresses are hashes of public keys.
noone knows whether a private key to that public key exists.
elggawf
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June 23, 2011, 04:02:45 PM
 #3

http://blockexplorer.com/address/1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuE

Pretty sure no one has the private key to that.

^_^
aral
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June 23, 2011, 04:03:18 PM
 #4

Just choose any random address.  The chances of anyone having the private key to it are extremely low.
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June 23, 2011, 04:04:56 PM
 #5

MtGox could store their coins there for additional security
westkybitcoins (OP)
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June 23, 2011, 04:07:27 PM
 #6

What use would it serve? You might as well say lets increase the value of gold by loading a bunch onto a rocket ship and shooting it into the sun.

A few years ago, there was a lady running for office in New Hampshire. Being of the voluntaryist persuasion, she had planned on donating her paycheck back to the residents of the area where she was running (I don't remember how.) She was basically told she couldn't do that, and that if she tried or even kept talking about it, she'd be arrested... buying votes, or some such.

I had thought that a "fair" way for someone wanting to do that... to take wealth and distribute it to others without actually handing them a check... would be to publicly buy bitcoins, then publicly destroy them. Granted, the wealth would only be redistributed to others holding (or acquiring in the future) bitcoins, and wouldn't exactly double the value of a bitcoin (unless you acquire and destroy 3 million or so.) But it might have served the purposes of the above-mentioned candidate without landing her in jail.

It's just a thought experiment, really. I was wondering if such a publicly-known unrecoverable address could be created.

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
...
...
In the future, books that summarize the history of money will have a line that says, “and then came bitcoin.” It is the economic singularity. And we are living in it now. - Ryan Dickherber
...
...
ATTENTION BFL MINING NEWBS: Just got your Jalapenos in? Wondering how to get the most value for the least hassle? Give BitMinter a try! It's a smaller pool with a fair & low-fee payment method, lots of statistical feedback, and it's easier than EasyMiner! (Yes, we want your hashing power, but seriously, it IS the easiest pool to use! Sign up in seconds to try it!)
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The idea that deflation causes hoarding (to any problematic degree) is a lie used to justify theft of value from your savings.
westkybitcoins (OP)
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June 23, 2011, 04:13:07 PM
 #7

Just choose any random address.  The chances of anyone having the private key to it are extremely low.

True, but it's the publicly known-to-be-unrecoverable nature of the address that I'm looking at.

If someone just pops up and says "I'm giving this blood money to The People of The World!", displays a bitcoin address, and publicly sends a bunch of bitcoins to it, is it really unrecoverable? Or is the address from his wallet, with the act being just a publicity stunt? (Not that actually doing it wouldn't be....)

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
...
...
In the future, books that summarize the history of money will have a line that says, “and then came bitcoin.” It is the economic singularity. And we are living in it now. - Ryan Dickherber
...
...
ATTENTION BFL MINING NEWBS: Just got your Jalapenos in? Wondering how to get the most value for the least hassle? Give BitMinter a try! It's a smaller pool with a fair & low-fee payment method, lots of statistical feedback, and it's easier than EasyMiner! (Yes, we want your hashing power, but seriously, it IS the easiest pool to use! Sign up in seconds to try it!)
...
...
The idea that deflation causes hoarding (to any problematic degree) is a lie used to justify theft of value from your savings.
Havoc
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June 23, 2011, 04:13:50 PM
 #8

http://blockexplorer.com/address/1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuE

Pretty sure no one has the private key to that.

It already got 0.021 BTC.

How do you go about designing an adress like that? I guess you need a few characters at the end to make it pass the verification, but is there a tool to determine them?
westkybitcoins (OP)
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June 23, 2011, 04:20:56 PM
 #9

http://blockexplorer.com/address/1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuE

Pretty sure no one has the private key to that.

Um.... wow.

Yeah, I would think such an obviously-manufactured address wouldn't have been created from a private public key.

And the address has already had bitcoins sent to it?  Undecided

Are those your transactions, or did you just happen to notice the address in the blockchain?

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
...
...
In the future, books that summarize the history of money will have a line that says, “and then came bitcoin.” It is the economic singularity. And we are living in it now. - Ryan Dickherber
...
...
ATTENTION BFL MINING NEWBS: Just got your Jalapenos in? Wondering how to get the most value for the least hassle? Give BitMinter a try! It's a smaller pool with a fair & low-fee payment method, lots of statistical feedback, and it's easier than EasyMiner! (Yes, we want your hashing power, but seriously, it IS the easiest pool to use! Sign up in seconds to try it!)
...
...
The idea that deflation causes hoarding (to any problematic degree) is a lie used to justify theft of value from your savings.
TierNolan
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June 23, 2011, 04:21:47 PM
 #10

One use for this would be to establish reputation score.  

Someone could send bitcoins to the address and then they could be trusted up to that amount.

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westkybitcoins (OP)
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June 23, 2011, 04:31:54 PM
 #11

http://blockexplorer.com/address/1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuE

Pretty sure no one has the private key to that.

It already got 0.021 BTC.

How do you go about designing an adress like that? I guess you need a few characters at the end to make it pass the verification, but is there a tool to determine them?

After reading about the effort put into making "vanity" addresses, I didn't think hand-crafting a viable address would be so easy.

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
...
...
In the future, books that summarize the history of money will have a line that says, “and then came bitcoin.” It is the economic singularity. And we are living in it now. - Ryan Dickherber
...
...
ATTENTION BFL MINING NEWBS: Just got your Jalapenos in? Wondering how to get the most value for the least hassle? Give BitMinter a try! It's a smaller pool with a fair & low-fee payment method, lots of statistical feedback, and it's easier than EasyMiner! (Yes, we want your hashing power, but seriously, it IS the easiest pool to use! Sign up in seconds to try it!)
...
...
The idea that deflation causes hoarding (to any problematic degree) is a lie used to justify theft of value from your savings.
elggawf
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June 23, 2011, 04:38:38 PM
 #12

It already got 0.021 BTC.

How do you go about designing an adress like that? I guess you need a few characters at the end to make it pass the verification, but is there a tool to determine them?

I think it's something like the first character specify the address type (I gather testnet addresses have a different first digit than live Bitcoin addresses), then whatever you want and the last few characters are a checksum to protect against typo in the address. If you understood the checksum process, it's probably trivial to come up with an address that passes muster in the client, but no one has the private key for.

Um.... wow.

Yeah, I would think such an obviously-manufactured address wouldn't have been created from a private public key.

And the address has already had bitcoins sent to it?  Undecided

Are those your transactions, or did you just happen to notice the address in the blockchain?

No, I just saw the address mentioned elsewhere. I'm pretty sure the people sending coins to it are the people who don't particularly give a fuck about Bitcoins, and thought that to the "true believers", seeing some publicly destroyed would make them rage. I guess they don't understand that it has the opposite effect, lost Bitcoins are effectively donated to everyone.

^_^
Jaime Frontero
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June 23, 2011, 04:40:03 PM
 #13

y'know...

if you had two addresses like that, and a client that sent 0.00000001 BTC without a transaction fee, you'd have the rudiments of an unhackable, on-line voting system.
elggawf
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June 23, 2011, 04:42:58 PM
 #14

y'know...

if you had two addresses like that, and a client that sent 0.00000001 BTC without a transaction fee, you'd have the rudiments of an unhackable, on-line voting system.

With users with more money to burn having more votes - it's just like the current system, but without the pesky issue of setting up corporations, controlling public opinion, etc. Cut out the middleman - Brilliant!

^_^
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June 23, 2011, 04:52:38 PM
 #15

y'know...

if you had two addresses like that, and a client that sent 0.00000001 BTC without a transaction fee, you'd have the rudiments of an unhackable, on-line voting system.

With users with more money to burn having more votes - it's just like the current system, but without the pesky issue of setting up corporations, controlling public opinion, etc. Cut out the middleman - Brilliant!

heh.  not really.  but think about it...

a separate client and blockchain, designed so only one person could own one sending address...  difficulty level of 0.001... log on and generate an amount equal to the number of elections you could vote in...

VoteCoin!

EDIT:  BitVote?
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June 23, 2011, 05:36:45 PM
 #16

why the edit to the thread title?
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June 23, 2011, 06:19:21 PM
 #17



After reading about the effort put into making "vanity" addresses, I didn't think hand-crafting a viable address would be so easy.

These are really two different problems.
Problem #1, create a valid address that has a certain set of characters in it (i.e. to throw away money)
Problem #2, create a valid address that has a certain set of characters in it, that I know the private key to. (i.e. vanity addresses)


In problem #1, simply start with the characters that you are trying to create a valid address with. Get the right checksum at the end, and you're all set.

In problem #2, you have to create a valid key pair, and check to see if it has your desired string in it.  A much more difficult problem!

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June 23, 2011, 06:25:56 PM
 #18

donate to givewell if you really don't want some money.

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TierNolan
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June 23, 2011, 07:11:31 PM
 #19

donate to givewell if you really don't want some money.

Sending money into the void is giving it to all other bitcoin owners.

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June 23, 2011, 07:40:38 PM
 #20

I thought there was already a way to do this (maybe not with the current client, but in the block chain...basically a way of transferring coins into the void)...I could be mistaken, but I recall asking a similar question months ago and being told this.

There is at least one other use for this that I don't think has been mentioned in this thread...bootstrapping a successor to bitcoin.  If a better virtual currency were invented, it could be brought into existence via the destructive exchange of bitcoins.

Btw, regarding the destruction being the equivalent of dissipating wealth to all other holders of bitcoin, it's a great point and I can imagine that even becoming a gesture of good will for wealthy individuals...they could pledge to take a substantial portion of their bitcoin holdings to their grave (of course, it would be hard to actually verify that unless they sent them to a null address before death).

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