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Author Topic: Accidentally created a wallet address that someone else already has?  (Read 3910 times)
miragecash
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May 20, 2014, 06:28:00 PM
 #1

Hi,

Dumb question. If bitcoinaddress.org can make a bitcoin address and private key offline, theoretically, someone else might've already made an identical wallet elsewhere because you did not register on the blockchain since it was created offline. Therefore, if you receive funds, the other guy could spend it or if you spend funds, you're spending someone else's money.

Is it not a worry because the mathematical probability is so infinitesimally small due to there being so many characters in a bitcoin public address and private key? But just to be safe, you should send a small amount of money to yourself to make sure it works right and is not shared with anybody else before you tell people to pay you at your new address?

Huh

Thanks for the answer,
 Smiley
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gweedo
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May 20, 2014, 06:29:31 PM
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Is it not a worry because the mathematical probability is so infinitesimally small

You answered your own question with the proper RNG you should be just fine.

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May 20, 2014, 06:32:46 PM
 #3

you did not register on the blockchain

No, it doesn't works like that.
There's no registration inside the blockchain. Only Transaction FROM A TO B where A and B are public address. And only A and B (if the have the Private Key) can spend coins.

Boris-The-Blade
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May 20, 2014, 06:36:30 PM
 #4

Doesnt sound very likely. I wouldnt worry about it.
DannyHamilton
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May 20, 2014, 06:42:19 PM
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If bitcoinaddress.org can make a bitcoin address and private key offline, theoretically, someone else might've already made an identical wallet elsewhere because you did not register on the blockchain since it was created offline.

Theoretically?  You mean n the same way that, theoretically, all the air in the room could spontaneously collect in one corner leaving a vacuum in the rest of the room and causing everyone to suffocate and die?

Therefore, if you receive funds, the other guy could spend it or if you spend funds, you're spending someone else's money.

This is not a concern.

Is it not a worry because the mathematical probability is so infinitesimally small

Correct.

The probability that you will generate an address that already has bitcoins in it is significantly less than 1 in 7x1032.

due to there being so many characters in a bitcoin public address and private key?

More specifically, due to the bitcoin address being computed from a 160 bit hash.

But just to be safe, you should send a small amount of money to yourself

This does not make you any safer.

to make sure it works right and is not shared with anybody else

How will sending some bitcoins to yourself help you determine if it is shared with anybody else?

beatljuice
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May 20, 2014, 06:42:39 PM
 #6

I heard there are more Bitcoin addresses possible than there are atoms in the universe. If that is true, no one on earth will EVER duplicate an address.

The universe is much bigger than can be understood from an episode of Cosmos.
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May 20, 2014, 06:44:36 PM
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It could happen. But it's unlikely. Not unlikely like being in a plane crash. But unlikely like being in a plane crash 1 million times in a row.

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ranlo
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May 20, 2014, 06:47:51 PM
 #8

Aren't the addresses generated randomly without regard to checking to see if it already exists anyways? Such that even if you had transfers, if someone happened to be on that address on their generation it would still go through.


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




















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DannyHamilton
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May 20, 2014, 06:48:39 PM
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I heard there are more Bitcoin addresses possible than there are atoms in the universe.

The number of bitcoin addresses is big.  Very VERY big.  But, to say that there are more bitcoin addresses than atoms in the entire universe is what would be called an exaggeration.

The last I saw, the number of atoms in the entire observable universe is estimated to be within the range of 1078 to 1082.

The number of possible bitcoin addresses is less than 1049.

The last reasonable estimate I saw for atoms in the "Solar System" was on the order of 1057.

If we exclude the Sun, and add up all the rest of the atoms in the solar system, I think the number is somewhere around 1054

beetcoin
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May 20, 2014, 06:51:57 PM
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I heard there are more Bitcoin addresses possible than there are atoms in the universe.

The number of bitcoin addresses is big.  Very VERY big.  But, to say that there are more bitcoin addresses than atoms in the entire universe is what would be called an exaggeration.

The last I saw, the number of atoms in the entire observable universe is estimated to be within the range of 1078 to 1082.

The number of possible bitcoin addresses is less than 1049.

what if someone made a computer script that automatically created addresses and checks the balances? i'm guessing that if it were the case, it still wouldn't be worth it, considering that the electricity costs would likely be more than the potential $$$ you can make by stealing from others.
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May 20, 2014, 06:52:10 PM
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I heard there are more Bitcoin addresses possible than there are atoms in the universe.

The number of bitcoin addresses is big.  Very VERY big.  But, to say that there are more bitcoin addresses than atoms in the entire universe is what would be called an exaggeration.

The last I saw, the number of atoms in the entire observable universe is estimated to be within the range of 1078 to 1082.

The number of possible bitcoin addresses is less than 1049.

Maybe that person was assuming 256 bit addresses.
DannyHamilton
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May 20, 2014, 06:59:42 PM
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What if someone made a computer script that automatically created addresses and checks the balances?

It's already been done.

i'm guessing that if it were the case, it still wouldn't be worth it, considering that the electricity costs would likely be more than the potential $$$ you can make by stealing from others.

You'd be better of solo-mining.  You'll make far more from the block reward than you'll ever get from trying to brute force addresses with bitcoins in them.

There isn't enough energy output left from the entire remaining life of our sun to power a computer that can generate enough addresses to give you anything resembling a chance.

DannyHamilton
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May 20, 2014, 07:01:53 PM
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Maybe that person was assuming 256 bit addresses.

That gets you MUCH closer to the estimated number of atoms in the universe.

2256 is approximately 1077

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May 20, 2014, 07:05:58 PM
 #14

Maybe that person was assuming 256 bit addresses.

That gets you MUCH closer to the estimated number of atoms in the universe.

2256 is approximately 1077

Mere peanuts compared to Graham's number, which is so large we don't know many digits it contains.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham's_number

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May 20, 2014, 07:45:57 PM
 #15

That program that creates wallets and check the Balance.. I don't buy the fact that it's not a threat to Security. At least in the future. What if Bitcoin goes to 10,000 USD and you can generate a few thousand adresses a day.. or how many adresses would it be possible to create and check? A few hundred thousands maybe With a strong computer?

What if, in the future, Bitcoin is at 100,000 USD and have 1 billion active users. Is this still not a threat?

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ranlo
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May 20, 2014, 07:47:14 PM
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That program that creates wallets and check the Balance.. I don't buy the fact that it's not a threat to Security. At least in the future. What if Bitcoin goes to 10,000 USD and you can generate a few thousand adresses a day.. or how many adresses would it be possible to create and check? A few hundred thousands maybe With a strong computer?

What if, in the future, Bitcoin is at 100,000 USD and have 1 billion active users. Is this still not a threat?

My understanding is that if it ever became an issue, it would somehow be altered to fix it. Bitcoin is still in its infancy; if there are any risks, I'm sure someone will find a way to make them obsolete again.


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




















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DannyHamilton
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May 20, 2014, 07:58:03 PM
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That program that creates wallets and check the Balance.. I don't buy the fact that it's not a threat to Security. At least in the future. What if Bitcoin goes to 10,000 USD and you can generate a few thousand adresses a day.

Then it will take 1045 days to check all possible addresses. That's more than 1041 centuries, or more than 1033 times as long as the universe has existed.


or how many adresses would it be possible to create and check? A few hundred thousands maybe With a strong computer?

Ok, a few hundred thousand per day?  That will reduce the time from 1045 days to a bit more than 1043 days.  So now we are looking at 1039 centuries, or more than 1031 times as long as the universe has existed.

What if, in the future, Bitcoin is at 100,000 USD and have 1 billion active users. Is this still not a threat?

No, this still is not a threat.  Human beings have such a difficulty number with comprehension when it comes to really big numbers.  Perhaps you missed the part where I said:

- snip -
There isn't enough energy output left from the entire remaining life of our sun to power a computer that can generate enough addresses to give you anything resembling a chance.

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May 20, 2014, 08:07:57 PM
 #18

Quote
The total number of bitcoin addresses is 2^160.

If the world population was 1 trillion people
(instead of 7 billion), and each person had
1 trillion computers in their basement, and each of those computers
was generating 1 trillion unique bitcoin addresses every
second, it would still take 46,343 years to go through
all the addresses.

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May 20, 2014, 08:56:18 PM
 #19

That program that creates wallets and check the Balance.. I don't buy the fact that it's not a threat to Security. At least in the future. What if Bitcoin goes to 10,000 USD and you can generate a few thousand adresses a day.. or how many adresses would it be possible to create and check? A few hundred thousands maybe With a strong computer?

What if, in the future, Bitcoin is at 100,000 USD and have 1 billion active users. Is this still not a threat?

People don't understand the magnitude of these numbers. If 10 billion people (more than are currently alive) had 1 million addresses each, that would still be only 1016 addresses in use, or 1/1032 of all addresses. Even if all the miners in the world (currently 75x1015 H/s) decided to brute force addresses, they would only find 1 every few million years on average.

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May 20, 2014, 09:26:10 PM
 #20

Read this: http://codinginmysleep.com/stealing-bitcoins-the-hardest-way/

Lets say you build a super ASIC on 12nm (4 generations ahead of current tech) process that could create, validate, and steal one trillion key pairs per second (1 TK/s). That would be about 50,000x more powerful than faster GPU’s today. Lets also say you built a thousand of them and ran them continually with no downtime 24/7/365. In 1 year you could brute force 3*10^28 possible addresses.
If there are 1 quadrillion funded addresses you would still have a ~1% chance of colliding with a random funded address in the next 1,000 years.
Comparatively speaking, your odds of being struck by lightning are about 1 in 280,000, so you’re about 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to find an address within the first year. Since that’s also a big number, the odds are equivalent to being struck by lightning about 4.6 times in your lifetime

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