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Author Topic: How do you know where a btc wallet is?  (Read 201 times)
cocopopcorn
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September 12, 2019, 08:16:12 AM
 #1

Ok so i follow some bitcoin whale alerts and they'll say something like:

1,234,567 btc moved from Coinbase wallet to unknown wallet.

How do they know a bitcoin wallet is issued by coinbase? Are they issued in blocks much like an ISP will have IP's in a block/range?

Also i assume all address must already be created (there is a limited (all though vast) amount of potential addresses) so how are they issued/ claimed?


If this is so why  are some wallets 'unknown' I did think maybe trezor or ledger and the likes may be 'unknown' ... but surely they must of been issued too so why are they unknown.

Please help me understand.

thanks
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September 12, 2019, 08:19:43 AM
Last edit: September 12, 2019, 08:35:39 AM by mocacinno
Merited by Upgrade00 (2), pooya87 (1), bitart (1), mjglqw (1), o_e_l_e_o (1)
 #2

--snip--
How do they know a bitcoin wallet is issued by coinbase?
Probably because unspent outputs funding those addresses were used together with unspent outputs funding other addresses... This way addresses can get linked together. If you have positive confirmation one of those addresses that are linked to other addresses belongs to coinbase, you have confirmation all addresses linked to this confirmed address belong to coinbase.

Are they issued in blocks much like an ISP will have IP's in a block/range?
no

Also i assume all address must already be created (there is a limited (all though vast) amount of potential addresses) so how are they issued/ claimed?
no... Addresses are not pre-created

If this is so why  are some wallets 'unknown' I did think maybe trezor or ledger and the likes may be 'unknown' ... but surely they must of been issued too so why are they unknown.
--snip
All addresses are 'unknown', it's only when you link a real life person or a company to one address, people can use data analysis to find other addresses that can be linked to the address that was 'de-anonymised'


I'll update this post in about 30 minutes and try to give some theory as to how this works exactly... check back in 30 minutes

Some theory.... greatly simplified
Your wallet generates either random private keys, or it generated 1 master private key randomly and it derives private keys from this master private key (HD wallet).
The private key is used to generate a public key. The public key is hashed and the results of the hash is the address.

When you pay somebody, you use an unspent output that funds an addres whose private key you own, and you create a transaction that basically says "i use the unspent output x  from transaction y to fund address z" and you sign this transaction with the private key belonging to the address that belongs to you.

At this point, this transaction is pseudo-anonymous. As long as nobody knows you're the owner of the address, everybody can see the transaction, but it's unknown to anybody.

How can addresses be linked together? Well, for example, your wallet holds 2 funded addresses 1AAA and 1BBB, 1AAA is anonymous, but you've made a forum post indicating 1BBB belongs to you...
If you create a transaction that basically says:
"i'll be using unspent output x from transaction y that funded address 1AAA AND i'll be using unspent output a from transaction b that funded address 1BBB to fund address 1CCC", everybody can now see address 1AAA and 1BBB belong to the same wallet, so everybody now knows 1AAA is no longer anonymous

cocopopcorn
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September 12, 2019, 08:26:23 AM
 #3

thanks for the quick reply. If you could also explain how they are created/issued too?

Also if i send btc to an address that has not been created yet. Where does that go? Does it bounce back or does some future person land some free btc?


Will check back shortly Smiley

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September 12, 2019, 08:31:58 AM
 #4

~snip~
Also if i send btc to an address that has not been created yet. Where does that go? Does it bounce back or does some future person land some free btc?

Anyone have access to the private key of an address owns the coins. So if the future person or already exists person has the private key then he is the valid owner of the coins.

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September 12, 2019, 08:39:04 AM
 #5

Completely agree with Royse777's answer... But wanted to elaborate:
It's perfectly possible to use an unspent output funding one of your address to fund an address whose private key is unkown to anybody... These are so called "burner addresses". Any funds you send to such a burner address is considered to be lost, since nobody has the private key that could be used to sign a transaction spending the funds sent to this burner address.
If somebody would ever bruteforce the private key to those burner addresses, he/she would be able to spent all those unspent outputs that were "burned" (so he would un-burn the burned funds).

Before you start imagining things, the keyspace for potential private keys is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo big, not even all computers in existence pooled together would be able to scan 1% of the keyspace in your lifetime... Many have tried and failed.
Unless there was a flaw in the random number generator used to generate the private key, it's ludicrous to attempt finding a private key whose public key hash is still funded.
That being said, there were instances of flaws in the RNG of some services in the past, and funds have been stolen due to these flaws

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September 12, 2019, 09:40:19 AM
Merited by pooya87 (1), o_e_l_e_o (1)
 #6

Ok so i follow some bitcoin whale alerts ...
How do they know a bitcoin wallet is issued by coinbase?

you can't know that!
these sites are only created to get some traffic and earn money from that. so whenever they can't find anything they just create stories about supposed "whales" moving bitcoins around where in reality they are just looking at the blockchain and listing the biggest transactions and attaching a story to that so that they can keep their traffic up!

there is no such thing as "whale alert". most whales don't even store all their coins in one place anyways. and they definitely don't use a single exchange for huge amounts such as 1 million bitcoin!!!

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September 12, 2019, 03:19:55 PM
 #7

there is no such thing as "whale alert".
Yeah, the whale alerts are trash.

Back at the end of the last year, Coinbase decided to upgrade their cold storage system. This involved them moving around $5 billion in cryptocurrency. They made an announcement before they started (see here: https://blog.coinbase.com/notice-of-blockchain-movements-b09cb1ec46dd). They released constant updates on https://status.coinbase.com/. The addresses in question were known to be Coinbase addresses. Whale alert on twitter still lost their shit, and posted tweet after tweet after tweet after tweet about these anonymous "whales". A bunch of "news" sites ran equally nonsense articles about said "whales" moving all their coins and getting ready to "dump on the market". The result was a load of panic over completely false information.

All these whale alerts and news sites only care about one thing - views. They will post any old trash to get those precious clicks, subscribes, likes, shares, whatever. You'd do well to ignore them.

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September 12, 2019, 07:51:14 PM
 #8

Thank you for all the replies. Clears some space in my mind for some more questions Smiley Grin
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September 13, 2019, 07:23:12 PM
 #9

there is no such thing as "whale alert".
Yeah, the whale alerts are trash.

....

All these whale alerts and news sites only care about one thing - views. They will post any old trash to get those precious clicks, subscribes, likes, shares, whatever. You'd do well to ignore them.
Also the amount is quite interesting...
Quote
1,234,567 btc moved from Coinbase wallet to unknown wallet.
This is  1 2 3 4 5 6 7, numbers in a row...
There's really little chance that people move these kind of amounts from one address to another...
Or, the owner of the address is a funny guy Cheesy
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September 14, 2019, 05:17:10 AM
 #10

Yes, I have seen also same like announcement from whales (telegram group) that X amount bitcoin has been move to X exchange wallet. Actually there is no way to know who is own the address if you don't know them really. There is no label for bitcoin address. If someone know the address owner then he might tell from where to where going bitcoin. Since coinbase is a reputed exchange/wallet so it's normal thing that their address would exposed. Especially whales know about that and they always try to hunt this kind of updates.

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September 14, 2019, 06:45:32 AM
 #11

You can also use this website for identifying connected bitcoin wallet addresses.
https://www.walletexplorer.com/
As far as I know, on this website you can see some bitcoin wallet addresses of some exchanges. Just note that website doesn't update real time, you can see on the very bottom of site when was the last update.


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September 14, 2019, 10:04:13 AM
Merited by o_e_l_e_o (1)
 #12

Also if i send btc to an address that has not been created yet. Where does that go? Does it bounce back or does some future person land some free btc?

Sending btc to an invalid address is not possible because of the checksum.
Your wallet validates the checksum of you entered address. So it won't be processed.
It is also highly unlikely to accidentally enter a valid btc address.

thanks for the quick reply. If you could also explain how they are created/issued too?

Since I recently explained this to someone in the German subforum, I'm just gonna leave you a translation of that here.
Hopefully the topic will be more understandable for you.

In general there are two types of cryptography:

symmetric cryptography: The same key is used to encrypt and decrypt messages. ( this key must be known to sender and receiver)
asymmetric cryptography: 2 keys - an encryption key (public key) and a decryption key (private key) - also known as 'Public Key Cryptography'

Public key cryptography is now used, for example, when a wallet is created or when a transaction is signed.

Bitcoin itself uses digital signatures, called ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm) to create a public/private key pair or derive the corresponding public key from a private key.

Important: the other direction is NOT possible, that is from public to private key.

Then the SHA-256 hash function is applied twice to this public key and the public address is generated.

Important: the other direction is also NOT possible here, so you can NOT get from the public address to the public key.

This address is now made 'easier to read' using the Base58Check encoding.
This also excludes the following characters: '0', 'O', 'I', 'l', '+', '/ '

>> A Bitcoin address is therefore only a short form for the public key.

So, if you want to buy a beer with bitcoin now, you have to sign the transaction (how many btc you want to send and to whom) with your private key.
The signature and your public key are attached to the transaction so that anyone can verify it.

ECDSA also allows schemes such as BIP32/BIP44 HD wallets. (A Ledger Nano or Electrum are HD Wallets)
HD stands for "hierarchical and deterministic".

The keys are arranged in a hierarchy and follow strict rules.
From the seed a parent key pair is generated, from which all child key pairs are derived.

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September 14, 2019, 05:05:23 PM
 #13

Who the hell are these guys to have such amount of money, do you know what I million bitcoin would be. These are the guys that are definitely manipulating the market, and moving the coin from Coinbase, I don’t know what their agenda is? Moving it out to another wallet could mean they are moving it out to actually sell, and if they do, that may be a major big dump for bitcoin price, and I would not want to believe that this is what some analyst have seen that makes them say bitcoin will correct back to $8000 before continuing further on its bull run momentum.

It I better that bitcoin end the year with this current price of $10k than that $8k, so that we can start the year with half of the last ATH. This is of great concern, but we will still see exactly what it was moved for.
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September 15, 2019, 02:35:57 PM
Merited by aundroid (1)
 #14

Also if i send btc to an address that has not been created yet. Where does that go? Does it bounce back or does some future person land some free btc?
Sending btc to an invalid address is not possible because of the checksum.
Your wallet validates the checksum of you entered address. So it won't be processed.
It is also highly unlikely to accidentally enter a valid btc address.
This is true, but I feel like it's not quite what OP was asking. If he sends BTC to a valid address which "hasn't been created yet" (assuming we understand that addresses aren't "created", but he means an address whose private key isn't known), the funds will simply be inaccessible to anyone. It will neither "bounce back", nor will some future person land free BTC, unless that future person figures out how to break ECDSA.

Who the hell are these guys to have such amount of money, do you know what I million bitcoin would be. These are the guys that are definitely manipulating the market, and moving the coin from Coinbase, I don’t know what their agenda is? Moving it out to another wallet could mean they are moving it out to actually sell, and if they do, that may be a major big dump for bitcoin price
This is exactly the type of mindless panic I was talking about in my previous post. Despite several posts in this thread clearly explaining how the vast majority of these "whale alerts" are actually just exchanges or other big services moving funds between cold wallets or something similar, users like this one just see a big transaction and immediately forego all logic and jump straight to "the whales are going to sell their coins and the price will dump!".

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September 15, 2019, 03:14:57 PM
 #15


I think coinbase or anything like that will indicate the wallet they are using, from which the transaction will be named

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September 15, 2019, 05:33:55 PM
 #16

Despite my very long presence on the cryptocurrency market as an active user, it is still very difficult for me to determine the Bitcoin address, since they always have a very different structure.  If you take for example a Bitcoin wallet with Coinomi, then it always has the ability to identify which coin the address belongs to, as well as the Ethereum wallet (bc1q - 0xde respectively).
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