After stepping into the blockchain world, we often hear the words "how important the private key is" and "how important the helper word is"
So what exactly are helper words and private keys?
Why are they so important?
Who is more important?
What is the relationship between a helper word and a private key?
What does a private key look like?
A bitcoin private key is essentially a random number, just like when you throw a number on a die.
But the bitcoin private key is a bit longer and more concrete, it's a 256-bit number made up of 0s and 1s.
0100101... .01010100 (256 bits in total)
So the question is, how to back up so many 0s and 1s?
Satoshi invented a special code (Base58) that can convert the private key into an easier backup state.
For example, the following characters, which is the form of our common private key:.
Such a private key is "relatively" easy to backup and enter, ahem...
(The private key is generally for for the string beginning with 5, k, l)
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
What is the use of the private key?
How is the address of your received coins born?
It is calculated by the private key.
How are your transactions authorized to go out?
It is signed by the private key.
How are your assets recovered in your wallet?
It is the private key that helps.
The private key is electricity, the private key is light, the private key is dad
The private key is the only credential of your assets in the blockchain world, and those who have the private key have the assets on the corresponding address.
Is the private key secure?
We mentioned earlier that the private key is a 256-bit random number, so the total number of private keys generated is 2 to the 256th power.
This total number may sound common, but it can no longer be described in common terms.
"The diameter of a hair is about 500,000 atoms stacked in size, and the total number of private keys is close to the number of all atoms in the observable universe."
"Every gram of land (matter) on 360 Earths becomes one Earth, and the sum of the number of all water molecules on these Earths is the total number of private keys."
So trying to get the private key of a specific address by violent collision, the difficulty is equivalent to finding a water molecule on so many hot earths, looking for an atom in the vast universe ...... and you, even if you lose your house key, can't find it.
Although the private key can be generated in a large enough range, but if there is a problem with the algorithm that generates the private key, then there will also be hidden problems.
For example, if a wallet's random number generation is not random enough, then it is possible to generate the same set of private keys for two users, which will test the cryptography skills of the wallet team.
(The very random algorithm pioneered by the Bitai & Bitai team is to increase the entropy pool by adding random factors such as user-side signals, sounds, images, etc. to generate high quality random numbers when users calculate their private keys. (Inventing the extreme random algorithm is also one of the reasons why our team was recommended by bitcoin.org.)
Those 12 words are called mnemonic words, and we'll talk about mnemonic words below.
What do mnemonics look like?
The most common mnemonic words are a set of 12 words.
1、health 2、fine 3、profit 4、below
5、crowd 6、wish 7、task 8、gown
9、mind 10、surge 11、apple 12、max
(I wrote it blindly, don't try it)
What's the use of mnemonic words?
How did your coin address come about?
It is calculated by the helper.
How are your transactions authorized to go out?
It is signed by a token.
How are your assets restored in your wallet?
It was helped by the helper.
The helper is the electricity, the helper is the light, the helper is the father
The helper word is the only credential of your assets in the blockchain world. Those who have the helper word have the assets on the corresponding address.
"...... is not right, you just said the same thing about the private key!"
"Shut up... I'm just making up words."
What is the relationship between the helper word and the private key?
Actually, mnemonics and private keys are functionally the same.
A mnemonic is essentially a string of random numbers (128-256 bits), but since neither the random number form nor the private key form is easy to use, the Bitcoin community adopted the BIP39 protocol to allow random numbers to be converted into words in a lexicon using a specific encoding.
(Trivia: Bitcoin improvement proposals Bitcoin improvement proposals, or BIP for short, are design guidance documents that provide specifications for the Bitcoin community to refine the characteristics of Bitcoin, its operational processes, and its external environment)
The fact that helper words are not case-sensitive and are more common than private keys makes them much more convenient to use, so helper wallets have gradually become the mainstream wallets in recent years.
Another advantage of a mnemonic wallet is that a set of mnemonic words can be derived from N private keys, each of which can correspond to a coin. If you have 30 coins (BTC, ETH, LTC, EOS, etc.), you don't need to record a separate private key for each coin, you just need to record a set of tokens to control all your assets.
A wallet such as Bite will show both the key and the key to the user, but generally it is good to have a good backup of the key.
(We have the private key in the upper right corner of the coin receipt QR code page)
Is the mnemonic common across wallets?
The generation of tokens relies on Bitcoin's BIP 32, 39 and 44 protocols. So as long as they follow the standard protocols, they can be used with each other. (However, because of the different levels of security in each wallet, it is not recommended to mix and match booster words)
Are helper words going to be obsolete?
The emergence of helper words was approved by the core Bitcoin development team and community, and the corresponding BIP protocols are written in the Bitcoin open source code.
Looking at the history of wallet backups.
Wallets have gone through three processes of backing up wallet files - backing up private keys - and backing up helper words.
But each new trend is still downwardly compatible, for example, the creation of the helper word did not make the private key unavailable, and if a new form of backup is developed later, then the helper word will still be available.
What should I pay attention to when backing up and restoring private keys and mnemonics?
1. Private keys are composed of uppercase, lowercase, and numbers, so you should pay attention to the distinction when backing up and restoring them.
2、Please do not store the private key and the helper word in the network device, but carefully copy them on paper or store them in the ice armor helper word board.
3、The level of each wallet varies, if there is no urgent need, try not to mix the helper words and private keys of each wallet.
What is the reason for "invalid mnemonic" when recovering with a mnemonic?
However, since there is a fixed thesaurus for each word, you can search for similar words in the thesaurus and try to replace them.
Official English thesaurus address: https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039/english.txt
Official Chinese lexicon: https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039/chinese_simplified.txt
What is the difference between the Chinese and English dictionaries?
emmm Only the language is different, the usage is the same.
There is an official thesaurus for both Chinese and English mnemonics. But because there are more wallets that support English mnemonics worldwide, and because the Chinese dictionary has rare words that can easily lead to uneducated tears, I recommend using English.
(Chinese and English mnemonics cannot be converted to each other)