Bitcoin Forum
December 09, 2016, 05:38:11 PM *
News: Latest stable version of Bitcoin Core: 0.13.1  [Torrent].
 
   Home   Help Search Donate Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3 »  All
  Print  
Author Topic: Using alphabet/number beads for private keys  (Read 2987 times)
coblee
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1078


firstbits.com/1ce5j


View Profile WWW
December 26, 2011, 05:51:11 AM
 #1

I've been thinking of ways to safely store my bitcoins. After hearing so many stories of stolen bitcoins and lost bitcoins, I wanted an option where I can put some private keys in a bank safe somewhere. One option is to purchase casascius physical bitcoins. They are cool, but then you have to trust that Mike Caldwell (casascius) does not keep a copy of the private keys. Or I can just write it down on a piece of paper and store that piece of paper in the bank safe. But a piece of paper might not last... plus water and heat can easily render the writing illegible. Then I thought, what if I use alphabet/number beads to string together a mini private key and store that in my bank account. Something like these: http://www.beadsrfun.com/Letter-Beads,-Number-Beads-and-Charms-5mm-Pewter-Letter-&-Number-Cubes/c257_288/index.html

To me, that seems like a great way to store a physical representation of a private key. What do you think? Obviously, this it just for bitcoins in my "savings" account. It will be stored in my bank safe for many years. So they will either be worth a lot of money or nothing by the time I take them out. Smiley





1481305091
Hero Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1481305091

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Ignore
1481305091
Reply with quote  #2

1481305091
Report to moderator
Advertised sites are not endorsed by the Bitcoin Forum. They may be unsafe, untrustworthy, or illegal in your jurisdiction. Advertise here.
1481305091
Hero Member
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1481305091

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Ignore
1481305091
Reply with quote  #2

1481305091
Report to moderator
N.Olmos
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Activity: 164



View Profile
December 26, 2011, 07:23:12 AM
 #2

Good idea.

To the uninitiated it will look like "cheap jewelry with only sentimental value".

What will you use for the lowercase letters?

Maybe you can use the larger 5.5mm silver plated beads for the uppercase and the lowercase and numbers can be the smaller 5mm beads.

http://www.beadsrfun.com/Letter-Beads,-Number-Beads-and-Charms-5.5mm-Pewter-Letter-Cubes-Silver-Plated/c257_402/index.html

n.olmos


Refer friends and earn 25%!

http://offers.coinad.com/?r=3
racerguy
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 271


View Profile
December 26, 2011, 07:32:59 AM
 #3

can't you just use 'special' paper that doesn't decay?  I'm sure I've heard of such paper that can last 100yrs at least.
coblee
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1078


firstbits.com/1ce5j


View Profile WWW
December 26, 2011, 09:12:56 AM
 #4

Maybe you can use the larger 5.5mm silver plated beads for the uppercase and the lowercase and numbers can be the smaller 5mm beads.

Yeah, I thought of that too. So I plan to generate a mini key and then buy the beads I need from that site. Maybe add a few more random beads, so even if that website knew what I was doing, it would be quite hard to figure out my key.

can't you just use 'special' paper that doesn't decay?  I'm sure I've heard of such paper that can last 100yrs at least.

The ink could fade even if the paper doesn't decay. Plus, water won't be a problem for beads unlike ink on paper. Fire will probably be a problem, but that's true for most things.

Otoh
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1918



View Profile
December 26, 2011, 06:08:49 PM
 #5

I looked in to embossing on metal, like dog tags, but found a better solution looked like being to laser engrave - here it's on an aluminium credit card size, titanium would be cool, a free business idea for Casascius or someone to provide

http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-Custom-Design-Engraved-5-Colour-Metal-Business-Cards-/220913772921

The problem here though is that it's for 50 identical cards whereas a run of just 3 or so with each private key would be fine as a backup physical storage, I see they also offer engraved rings in tungsten or titanium which would be cool as the private key could be hidden on the inner side & worn while a backup kept in a safe place & engraved inside a gold ring would be a most desirable object - like a posy ring

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320697957397

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=possy+ring

Node40.com is a leader in DASH hosting, dedicated exclusively to fully managed masternode hosting. Professional, organized, and responsive. I have many dozens of nodes with them.    
BTC = $c²     BTC = 1otohotohMoQoxHuxLBveQiZcV3Pji3Tc      DASH, Digital Cash = www.dash.org   
   CHARITY | MY REP | DICE
DeathAndTaxes
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1218


Gerald Davis


View Profile
December 26, 2011, 06:26:50 PM
 #6

Maybe you can use the larger 5.5mm silver plated beads for the uppercase and the lowercase and numbers can be the smaller 5mm beads.

Yeah, I thought of that too. So I plan to generate a mini key and then buy the beads I need from that site. Maybe add a few more random beads, so even if that website knew what I was doing, it would be quite hard to figure out my key.

can't you just use 'special' paper that doesn't decay?  I'm sure I've heard of such paper that can last 100yrs at least.

The ink could fade even if the paper doesn't decay. Plus, water won't be a problem for beads unlike ink on paper. Fire will probably be a problem, but that's true for most things.

There is "paper" which is actually poly based.  A thermal transfer printer with resin based ink on poly based paper is likely going to outlast you.  Water is a non-issue the material will stand up to corrosive chemicals, bleaches, cleaners, abrasion, etc.

Still I like the idea of using beads.  Honestly though I think if someone had access to a commercial laser cutter they could cut private key and QR code into aluminum cards (think credit card sized).   That would also provide pretty reasonable resistance to age.  The issue is they know the private key.  With beads even knowing the digits used still results in trillions of possible combinations and more entropy can be easily be added by including random additional digits.

Likely not practical but casting custom beads out of a refactory metal (like Tungsten) would be ideal.  Their high hardness, chemical inactivity, and high melting point means they will survive even the most harshest conditions (like structure fire).  Tungsten's melting point is >3400C and most home structure fires tend to be less than 1900C.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractory_metals
netrin
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 322


FirstBits: 168Bc


View Profile
December 26, 2011, 06:37:46 PM
 #7

This reminds me of a password generator I came up with while soaking up the southern sunshine. Take a standard playing card deck (perhaps with distinct jokers, optional), then assign a character from ~base58 to each card. Shuffle them up and draw some cards.

Code:
  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10  J  Q  K  A
♣  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  A  B  C  D  E
♠  F  G  H  J  K  M  N  P  Q  R  S  T  U
♥  V  W  X  Y  Z  a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h
♦  j  k  m  n  p  q  r  s  t  u  v  w  x


Greenlandic tupilak. Hand carved, traditional cursed bone figures. Sorry, polar bear, walrus and human remains not available for export.
Otoh
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1918



View Profile
December 26, 2011, 06:49:08 PM
 #8

This reminds me of a password generator I came up with while soaking up the southern sunshine. Take a standard playing card deck (perhaps with distinct jokers, optional), then assign a character from ~base58 to each card. Shuffle them up and draw some cards.

Code:
  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10  J  Q  K  A
♣  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  A  B  C  D  E
♠  F  G  H  J  K  M  N  P  Q  R  S  T  U
♥  V  W  X  Y  Z  a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h
♦  j  k  m  n  p  q  r  s  t  u  v  w  x



um, don't you need a 1 & 0 maybe?

EDIT: & y z

Node40.com is a leader in DASH hosting, dedicated exclusively to fully managed masternode hosting. Professional, organized, and responsive. I have many dozens of nodes with them.    
BTC = $c²     BTC = 1otohotohMoQoxHuxLBveQiZcV3Pji3Tc      DASH, Digital Cash = www.dash.org   
   CHARITY | MY REP | DICE
netrin
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 322


FirstBits: 168Bc


View Profile
December 26, 2011, 06:50:03 PM
 #9

um, don't you need a 1 & 0 maybe?

um, no.

Nor O, o, I, i, l, L, y, z, nor duplicates. This creates a new key or password, not model an existing one. You could mix multiple decks together, staple groups of ten to produce reasonably secure keys. Similarly with the beads, mix them all up and string up some bracelets.

Greenlandic tupilak. Hand carved, traditional cursed bone figures. Sorry, polar bear, walrus and human remains not available for export.
Otoh
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1918



View Profile
December 26, 2011, 06:52:22 PM
 #10

um, don't you need a 1 & 0 maybe?

um, no.

Nor, O, o, l, L, y, z

OK - so aren't those chars used in private keys, prob I didn't understand & it's for password generation & wouldn't work for private keys

Node40.com is a leader in DASH hosting, dedicated exclusively to fully managed masternode hosting. Professional, organized, and responsive. I have many dozens of nodes with them.    
BTC = $c²     BTC = 1otohotohMoQoxHuxLBveQiZcV3Pji3Tc      DASH, Digital Cash = www.dash.org   
   CHARITY | MY REP | DICE
Otoh
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1918



View Profile
December 26, 2011, 06:56:25 PM
 #11

yes I see that I misunderstood, it'd be cool if a private key could be represented by the 52 cards in a standard deck but I guess it can't, how about a 78 card Tarot deck *goes to add up A-Z & a-z & 0-9* brb

EDIT: hmm, 58

Node40.com is a leader in DASH hosting, dedicated exclusively to fully managed masternode hosting. Professional, organized, and responsive. I have many dozens of nodes with them.    
BTC = $c²     BTC = 1otohotohMoQoxHuxLBveQiZcV3Pji3Tc      DASH, Digital Cash = www.dash.org   
   CHARITY | MY REP | DICE
netrin
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 322


FirstBits: 168Bc


View Profile
December 26, 2011, 06:59:19 PM
 #12

it'd be cool if a private key could be represented by the 52 cards in a standard deck but I guess it can't

YES, assuming you generated the key from the deck, other wise this would be such an annoying method of storing data, you might as well just write the key down on paper.

Anything is a private key. You can come up with a private key anyway you like with any set of characters (ultimately it's just zeros and ones). Casascius generates a short random string and then SHA-256-s it. So, "hello" SHA'd becomes 2cf24dba5fb0a30e26e83b2ac5b9e29e1b161e5c1fa7425e73043362938b9824 and that makes a valid key (except that "hello" is trivial to guess).


8♣ J♠ 2 4♣  K♣ 7 6♠ A♠ Q 3
   --->
8RV4DqKUfk
   --->
c471543c4226726a3f7ff3604d75d3fafa68541fe051cad23654d15c68a04546

Greenlandic tupilak. Hand carved, traditional cursed bone figures. Sorry, polar bear, walrus and human remains not available for export.
DeathAndTaxes
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1218


Gerald Davis


View Profile
December 26, 2011, 07:11:47 PM
 #13

yes I see that I misunderstood, it'd be cool if a private key could be represented by the 52 cards in a standard deck but I guess it can't, how about a 78 card Tarot deck *goes to add up A-Z & a-z & 0 - 9* brb

Private key can be in many forms.  The wallet import format is in base-58 but any 256 bit value can be a private key.

A deck of cards in random order (with cards representing values 1 to 52) has 52! ~= 2^223 bits of entropy.  Granted that is a little less than a private key (2^256) but the address is only 2^160 bits anyways.  

So one could shuffle a deck of cards, use their order to produce a 2^223 bit private key.  Simplest way would be to represent each card as two alphnumeric sequence.   Ad = Ace of diamonds.  7s = seven on spades.    Record the order of the deck as a sequence of characters.

Example:
Ad7sJhKd3c ... 2s.  You now have a 104 character string with 2^223 bits of entropy.  Take SHA-256 of it and you have an private key compatible with Bitcoin.  


The key would be represented by the order the cards are stored in the box. Optionally to prevent losing the key if someone changes the order you could write the place digit on each card.
Otoh
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1918



View Profile
December 26, 2011, 07:16:04 PM
 #14

I've never had a need to look in to private keys before, just have https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Private_key & see that they're not just as simple as a Bitcoin address is, loads of different ways of showing them, most common seems to be the 51 chars starting with a 5 which I assume are drawn from A-Z, a-z, 0-9, i.e. from 58 total possibles that can be repeated

Node40.com is a leader in DASH hosting, dedicated exclusively to fully managed masternode hosting. Professional, organized, and responsive. I have many dozens of nodes with them.    
BTC = $c²     BTC = 1otohotohMoQoxHuxLBveQiZcV3Pji3Tc      DASH, Digital Cash = www.dash.org   
   CHARITY | MY REP | DICE
netrin
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 322


FirstBits: 168Bc


View Profile
December 26, 2011, 07:24:40 PM
 #15

A deck of cards in random order (with cards representing values 1 to 52) has about 2^223 bits of entropy.... Optionally to prevent losing the key if someone changes the order you could write the place digit on each card.

You can pick up discarded casino decks with holes in them. Just loop some string through and tie it with a big knot, clearly marking the beginning of the deck.

What I do when not sitting in the sand on the beach though, is just symetrically encrypt (gpg -ca) any old file, take a random line, remove [0Oo1iIlL-/] and trim it down. Base58 is nice for writing down or embedding in pictures (screenshot of a text file stored on dumb mobile phone or printed).

Base58: 123456789ABCDEFGHJKLMNPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijkmnopqrstuvwxyz

No 0 I O l, zero, cap-I, cap-O, lower-L

Greenlandic tupilak. Hand carved, traditional cursed bone figures. Sorry, polar bear, walrus and human remains not available for export.
DeathAndTaxes
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1218


Gerald Davis


View Profile
December 26, 2011, 07:25:01 PM
 #16

I've never had a need to look in to private keys before, just have https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Private_key & see that they're not just as simple as a Bitcoin address is, loads of different ways of showing them, most common seems to be the 51 chars starting with a 5 which I assume are drawn from A-Z, a-z, 0-9, i.e. from 58 total possibles that can be repeated

That is the wallet import format.  The actual private key is simply a number between 0 and 2^256.  To avoid transposing errors the "wallet import format" puts it into base-58 with a checksum.   
Otoh
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1918



View Profile
December 26, 2011, 07:32:15 PM
 #17

OK thanks, though I have no idea what 2^256 is until I start to google it, 6 months plus I've had bitcoins & assumed erroneously that the Btc private keys were very similar to the Btc addresses, for newbies this is quite a learning curve they have to master unless like me they are willing to just trust the exchanges to hold for them, I have only now just heard of & assumed what base-58 is which I guess is the A-Z, a-z, 0-9 chars that a private key in wallet import format are made from

Node40.com is a leader in DASH hosting, dedicated exclusively to fully managed masternode hosting. Professional, organized, and responsive. I have many dozens of nodes with them.    
BTC = $c²     BTC = 1otohotohMoQoxHuxLBveQiZcV3Pji3Tc      DASH, Digital Cash = www.dash.org   
   CHARITY | MY REP | DICE
netrin
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Activity: 322


FirstBits: 168Bc


View Profile
December 26, 2011, 07:36:20 PM
 #18

You generally do not need to understand hashes and keyspaces. Only if you want to do funny things like generate private keys from beads worn around your neck. But if this were popular and well supported, you probably wouldn't need to understand that either.

At a high superficial level an address is much like your private key.

The public key is derived from the private key and looks nearly identical. The typical address is a hash and truncated version of the public key.

Greenlandic tupilak. Hand carved, traditional cursed bone figures. Sorry, polar bear, walrus and human remains not available for export.
casascius
Mike Caldwell
VIP
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1344


The Casascius 1oz 10BTC Silver Round (w/ Gold B)


View Profile WWW
December 26, 2011, 07:38:09 PM
 #19

The numbers on beads would scare me...if the chain breaks and the letters fall to the floor, the bitcoins evaporate.

A piece of paper wouldn't bother me much.  Sure, paper fades, but I believe that means that whites turn yellow and color fidelity is lost, not that perfectly good documents turn into blank paper again.

I released an open-source utility (Casascius Bitcoin Utility) that allows you to compute the Bitcoin address that corresponds to any phrase in SHA256.  It's for Windows.  You must use a complex phrase for it to be secure.  You can print it on paper, engrave it on metal, or whatever else you want.  I sell a gold bar object (as OP knows), you could use a hand engraver to engrave a passphrase onto the back of it, then it would be clear that the object is bitcoins.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
Otoh
Donator
Legendary
*
Offline Offline

Activity: 1918



View Profile
December 26, 2011, 07:41:55 PM
 #20

You generally do not need to understand hashes and keyspaces. Only if you want to do funny things like generate private keys from beads worn around your neck. But if this were popular and well supported, you probably wouldn't need to understand that either.

At a high superficial level an address is much like your private key.

The public key is derived from the private key and looks nearly identical. The typical address is a hash and truncated version of the private key.

OK got it & fxd ur typo

Node40.com is a leader in DASH hosting, dedicated exclusively to fully managed masternode hosting. Professional, organized, and responsive. I have many dozens of nodes with them.    
BTC = $c²     BTC = 1otohotohMoQoxHuxLBveQiZcV3Pji3Tc      DASH, Digital Cash = www.dash.org   
   CHARITY | MY REP | DICE
Pages: [1] 2 3 »  All
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Sponsored by , a Bitcoin-accepting VPN.
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!