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Author Topic: why cant someone just "copy" my wallet address? (real newb question - soz)  (Read 874 times)
f0d
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July 16, 2011, 05:09:55 AM
 #1

hey all
i just started looking into this bitmining craze and i have a question

why cant someone just "use" my bitcoin wallet address?
i downloaded bitcoin software from bitcoin.org and it gave me a wallet address automatically - im pretty sure i diddnt even put a password into the address

im guessing when you send bitcoins you have to know their address to send it to

so why cant i just use someone elses bitcoin address and transfer all their bitcoins to my account or something?

i admit im a total newb i have no idea what im doing but i cant seem to find answers to how this "wallet" thing works - is it tied to my IP maybe?

any help would be greatly appreciated
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July 16, 2011, 05:25:29 AM
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Because the wallet address is made from a private key generated at random by the program.

To get the same address would take 10 million years using a program like vanitygen which trys 1000s of keys a second to generate the address your after.

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July 16, 2011, 05:26:27 AM
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"why cant someone just "use" my bitcoin wallet address?"

if you give your bitcoin address , others can use it to send money to you, and it will end up in your wallet.

Give me your address so I can send you 2 bitcents to test your address if you want.

May i also suggest a good website. https://www.instawallet.org

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July 16, 2011, 05:38:35 AM
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wow thanks all for trying to answer - i diddnt think i would get one because it was just a newb question  Smiley

Because the wallet address is made from a private key generated at random by the program.

To get the same address would take 10 million years using a program like vanitygen which trys 1000s of keys a second to generate the address your after.

so the key is generated at random i get that but im going to be giving everyone my key when i transfer funds to/from my account - so again why cant i just use someone elses "key" when i want to transfer funds? - i suppose my question is how is my "key" attached to me alone when im giving it out to everyone

"why cant someone just "use" my bitcoin wallet address?"

if you give your bitcoin address , others can use it to send money to you, and it will end up in your wallet.

Give me your address so I can send you 2 bitcents to test your address if you want.

May i also suggest a good website. https://www.instawallet.org



cool i dont have anything yet my address is 14P9g91PBYV6hf2QomEbKbqErWNXnHsjr9
i will check out instawallet thanks Tongue



hmm i think i figured it out - is my bitcoin "wallet address" tied to the wallet file? so i cant transfer anything without the file - even if i had the address?? (urgh i think thats it - im so silly sometimes)
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July 16, 2011, 05:40:39 AM
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why cant someone just "use" my bitcoin wallet address?
They can. And that would be awesome, since they'd be sending you money.

Quote
i downloaded bitcoin software from bitcoin.org and it gave me a wallet address automatically - im pretty sure i diddnt even put a password into the address

im guessing when you send bitcoins you have to know their address to send it to

so why cant i just use someone elses bitcoin address and transfer all their bitcoins to my account or something?
Because you only have the address, not the information needed to claim coins sent to that address.

Quote
i admit im a total newb i have no idea what im doing but i cant seem to find answers to how this "wallet" thing works - is it tied to my IP maybe?
No, it's not tied to your IP, it's tied to your wallet.

When your client generates an address, it first generates a key (called a 'private key'). It then generates a lock that only your key fits (which is not exactly the same a public key, but very similar). The address is the lock, not the key. You give other people the lock so they can send coins that you have the key to. You never reveal that key to anyone, and it remains in your wallet.

The mathematics that make all this possible are quite amazing actually. If you want to learn about them, I'd start with this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Signature_Algorithm
It's not the same algorithm that bitcoin uses, but it's very similar and much easier to understand.


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senbonzakura
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July 16, 2011, 05:43:49 AM
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done i sent you 3 bitcents to your address. For small amounts of btc you can use instawallet, it gives you an online e-wallet account to keep your btc in. no need for registration.

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July 16, 2011, 05:55:58 AM
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No, it's not tied to your IP, it's tied to your wallet.

When your client generates an address, it first generates a key (called a 'private key'). It then generates a lock that only your key fits (which is not exactly the same a public key, but very similar). The address is the lock, not the key. You give other people the lock so they can send coins that you have the key to. You never reveal that key to anyone, and it remains in your wallet.

The mathematics that make all this possible are quite amazing actually. If you want to learn about them, I'd start with this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Signature_Algorithm
It's not the same algorithm that bitcoin uses, but it's very similar and much easier to understand.

thanks for the help - i think im confusing wallet address with the wallet file and it sounds like i was correct in guessing (above your first post) that it has to do with the wallet "file" on my pc and having the wallet address doesnt matter - correct?? (so i cant use my bitcoin address on another computer if i wanted to for example)

done i sent you 2 bitcents to your address. For small amounts of btc you can use instawallet, it gives you an online e-wallet account to keep your btc in. no need for registration.



wow thanks - my first funds in bitcoin  Wink
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July 16, 2011, 06:23:11 AM
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done i sent you 3 bitcents to your address. For small amounts of btc you can use instawallet, it gives you an online e-wallet account to keep your btc in. no need for registration.



wow, now THAT is a bad idea lol.  Letting your wallet file reside on someone else's computer so they can "manage" it for you?  Yeah, I'm sure no employee or the owner or a hacker or anyone anywhere would even steal your wallet file and use it lol.

Btw, he's right.  I still think a mathematical equation that feeds in a data value and results in another data value which cannot ever ever ever be turned back into its original data value (aka a hash) is freaking magic lol.  And GUIDs....how the hell do those work?  One computer generates a value and it's guaranteed that no other computer in the entire world in the past, present, or future can create that exact value.  That's freakin robot telepathy magic as far as I'm concerned rofl. Even my college instructor didn't know Tongue  Math is weird, I'm glad I stopped at precalculus lol.

Anyway, I'm glad someone else asked cuz the whole wallet thing was the only part of the bitcoin system I didn't understand.
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July 16, 2011, 06:38:57 AM
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wow, now THAT is a bad idea lol.  Letting your wallet file reside on someone else's computer so they can "manage" it for you?  Yeah, I'm sure no employee or the owner or a hacker or anyone anywhere would even steal your wallet file and use it lol.

Most of us do put our wallet with somebody else and let them manage and earn money from our money ... I think we call it a bank Wink

But since bitcoins and online wallets are not as well-established with the mess of procedural safeguards, it is of course better to just keep a small amount online for actual usage and transfer any excess to a secured offline wallet.

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July 16, 2011, 06:50:30 AM
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The fees are percentage based, right?  So sending a large amount of BTC is a barely significant processing fee and sending a small amount is a reeeeeally insignificant amount Tongue I dunno how instawallet can operate without paying fees but I thought offering a 0% transaction fee was for everyone, it just may take a long time for your transaction to get processed cuz it goes dead last in the queue as far as pools are concerned.

Btw, you know what is stupid about posting your wallet address here there and everywhere is you're telling a certain number of people that that wallet address = that username which accessed from that IP which resides in or close to that town and according to google, that username was referenced in a URL on that facebook wall post and oh look, it's your first and last name.

The way this whole system works is it's anonymous until you make it not anonymous and after that, it's the most traceable financial system ever invented because remember, anyone anywhere can look at all transactions between all people that have ever occurred.

So someone figured out wallet address xxxxxxxxxxxx is owned by John Smith.  Uh oh, John Smith has a big privacy problem because they know who he's sending money to and potentially what he's buying and how many BTC he owns at any given time.  So John creates a 2nd wallet and transfers all his bitcoins to it.  That transaction is logged as wallet address xxxxxxxxxxxx sent 100% of its funds to wallet address yyyyyyyyyyyyyyy so they know that's you now.  People know who you are permanently unless you take excessive "laundering" measures that probably wouldn't throw people off because it's still an easily followable chain.

There is no going back after someone figured out your wallet address just once.  Kinda seems like a massive design flaw to me.  There are going to be black markets everywhere for massive lists of who owns what wallet address and it's probably damage the entire system severely.  I hope I'm misunderstanding something about the system Tongue
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July 16, 2011, 07:06:34 AM
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The way this whole system works is it's anonymous until you make it not anonymous and after that, it's the most traceable financial system ever invented because remember, anyone anywhere can look at all transactions between all people that have ever occurred.

So someone figured out wallet address xxxxxxxxxxxx is owned by John Smith.  Uh oh, John Smith has a big privacy problem because they know who he's sending money to and potentially what he's buying and how many BTC he owns at any given time.  So John creates a 2nd wallet and transfers all his bitcoins to it.  That transaction is logged as wallet address xxxxxxxxxxxx sent 100% of its funds to wallet address yyyyyyyyyyyyyyy so they know that's you now.  People know who you are permanently unless you take excessive "laundering" measures that probably wouldn't throw people off because it's still an easily followable chain.

There is no going back after someone figured out your wallet address just once.  Kinda seems like a massive design flaw to me.  There are going to be black markets everywhere for massive lists of who owns what wallet address and it's probably damage the entire system severely.  I hope I'm misunderstanding something about the system Tongue

This is why the bitcoin client starts you off by generating 100 wallet address Wink
Use a different one for each transaction, so unless you put every single one of your address public, it will start to get a bit difficult to trace you... unless you really keep sending your coins to the same "master" address and never send any to anybody else.


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July 16, 2011, 07:28:24 AM
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last I heard, which is in mystery wiki time, that was an experimental feature they were discussing along with encrypted wallets.  What version of the main client implemented that and how do I view the alternates?
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