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Author Topic: Bitcoin Address Shortener - btc.to  (Read 1837 times)
rasengan
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June 27, 2011, 02:23:14 PM
 #1

I'd like to take the time to introduce btc.to, a bitcoin address shortener.

The service shortens your bitcoin address so that it is more easily entered into a mobile device.  It is also useful to shorten your bitcoin address for memory purposes, and is already available in our Android/iOS app, through IRC with gribble, and through the FireCoin firefox plugin.

Developers can utilize btc.to with our simple API:
Code:
GET http://btc.to/<full bitcoin address>
  returns short address
GET http://btc.to/<short address>
  returns full bitcoin address

IRC users in #Bitcoin-OTC and in #MtGoxLive can shorten their address as follows:
Code:
;;bc,btcto <full bitcoin address>
  returns short address
;;bc,btcto <short address>
  returns full bitcoin address

Please check out the website at http://btc.to/
If you have any questions, please find us on Freenode in #MtGoxLive


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BitcoinPorn
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June 27, 2011, 02:57:56 PM
 #2

Nice job.

I think.

I always wonder though, how do these url shortners survive.

TraderTimm
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June 27, 2011, 03:21:44 PM
 #3

While I think the shortner address is cute, it goes against the decentralization theme, not only for bitcoin but for the entire internet. A shortner is nothing but a central point-of-failure that doesn't help anyone if it goes *poof* some day. I understand the convenience, but it will backfire eventually.

fortitudinem multis - catenum regit omnia
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June 27, 2011, 03:28:01 PM
 #4

I understand the convenience, but it will backfire eventually.

I disagree.  If it is secure, others will follow and competition will make this a neat market.  But still, who is making any money?

relative
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June 27, 2011, 03:30:52 PM
 #5

the whole idea of using names or shortscuts for addresses is flawed as long as bitcoin doesnt have a reference field that can be filled with arbitrary data so multiple payments can be made to the same address.

then, shortening or naming, centralized or decentralized, makes sense.
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June 27, 2011, 03:31:16 PM
 #6


I disagree.  If it is secure, others will follow and competition will make this a neat market.  But still, who is making any money?

Not in the sense of competition or security. I mean - if shortner service "XYZ.ly" decides to pull out of the business, or simply can't afford to keep their servers running, what happens to all those cute shortened URLs? That's right, they all break. Doesn't make sense to put all those eggs in that particular basket.

fortitudinem multis - catenum regit omnia
rasengan
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June 27, 2011, 04:03:41 PM
 #7

I disagree.  If it is secure, others will follow and competition will make this a neat market.  But still, who is making any money?
We needed this functionality in the mobile app anyway (it is difficult to input a bitcoin address on a phone  Shocked )  And since it was needed by others, we wanted to share this with the community.  We will focus on the speed and availability of the shortener so developers and users can focus on their tasks at hand.

the whole idea of using names or shortscuts for addresses is flawed as long as bitcoin doesnt have a reference field that can be filled with arbitrary data so multiple payments can be made to the same address.

then, shortening or naming, centralized or decentralized, makes sense.
Good point.  While not simple, the way you can use the shortener now is simply requesting a new shortened address for your new bitcoin address that you use to receive every new payment.  btc.to does not need to be used for every transaction.  Rather, use this when you simply need to quickly share an address, tell someone over the phone, enter it into a mobile, etc.  I treat my bitcoin addresses like check#'s, so each transaction is separate with the exception of my poor empty donation address. Wink (lol)

Not in the sense of competition or security. I mean - if shortner service "XYZ.ly" decides to pull out of the business, or simply can't afford to keep their servers running, what happens to all those cute shortened URLs? That's right, they all break. Doesn't make sense to put all those eggs in that particular basket.
These are great points.  I assure you we will not disappear on the community and no, this service is not for everyone.  However, it is a GREAT service for people who require an easier way to share, remember, or input bitcoin addresses.  Also, if you use a new address for each transaction, then the survival of the btc.to address is unimportant after the transaction has completed.

So in other words, let's say you are talking to someone on the phone and need to give him an address.  Let's say he has the mobile app.  You can go to btc.to get a short address, give it to him and he can send.  Smiley

Hope this helps!

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Alex Beckenham
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June 27, 2011, 04:20:46 PM
 #8

I like that there are all different types and implementations.

So far I've seen:

http://myb.tc (0.1 btc for a year, and you can update your account)
http://payb.tc (completely free, but you can't update your account once created)
http://firstbits.com (shortener with a different shortening concept)
http://btc.to (let's users do reverse lookups, can't choose a specific short name, yet)

There's even a couple more around too, but I've forgotten their URLs at the moment.

andes
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June 27, 2011, 04:27:31 PM
 #9

While I think the shortner address is cute, it goes against the decentralization theme, not only for bitcoin but for the entire internet. A shortner is nothing but a central point-of-failure that doesn't help anyone if it goes *poof* some day. I understand the convenience, but it will backfire eventually.

I too can see some risks though. If for example btc.to gets hacked, it could redirect all addresses to a single hackers address, and by doing so stealing a lot of payments, until the problem is fixed, or everybody stops using the shortener. But of course hacks are impossible in the Bitcoin community, we know that!  Wink

Anyway, I think it is an excelent idea, but as with every good thing in life, we have to be conscious of the benefits/risks when deciding to use them.
andes
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June 27, 2011, 04:44:48 PM
 #10

One suggestion: put an icon in the websites homepage, to make it more appealing in our browsers bookmark list. Now it shows as a blank square.

MrJoshua
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June 27, 2011, 05:38:57 PM
 #11

http://firstbits.com

Uses a process that anyone can implement so is not centralized, does not run the security risk of database alteration, uses the shortest possible first few digits of your actual address, and it was here first. 

So except for addresses that do not yet appear in the block chain (which is the only limitation of firstbits).  I'm not sure what advantage your service provides, in exchange for a potentially significant security hit.

j

The value of bitcoins is not a theory, predictions of it's failure are what is theoretical.
rasengan
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June 27, 2011, 05:48:05 PM
 #12

That site is a cool concept.  We have had btc.to running for quite awhile, but did not introduce it on the forums until recently.  This is evident in the fact that many platforms already include btc.to support and many users have already used the service.  However, you are definitely welcome to have your favorite/choice. Wink


Edit:  Wanted to note - thank you for the great suggest andes Cheesy

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