Category Archives: bitcoin

cryptocurrency round-up

  • We have Bitcoin scalability debates (not issues)
  • Dashcoin, pretend to the throne with some scalability issues
  • Bitcoin-NG
  • Then the joker in the pack Blackcoin because it has community and Halo/NightTrader linked to it

Will Zcash really start to irritate the authorities?

eBTC – distributed email you pay for with BTC

The eBTC Wallet is written is as a wrapper for GPG
The Wallet is also a basic deterministic BTC wallet
Your GPG key isn’t important as you can update that against a supernode at anytime. You just have to write down your pass phrase
Wallet scans GPG public key hash on supernode network, if mail present – pull from supernode which has holds it, decrypt and write “message read to eBTC blockchain” – keep local copy for when it’s deleted from the supernode(s)
Wallet provides sending interface, you submit email paying for how long it’s held on a supernode in seconds, define delete on read or delete on read X times, hold on other Supernodes
When the user sends an eBTC email – the user receives a standard internet email
You can view what emails you have sent and delete them from the supernodes you choose for each email, you may have picked a different supernode for a particular service offering
The wallet is the user node, it communicates with a supernode and you can choose which supernode at what prices
Deletion email from eBTC, you can choose to delete from the supernodes it’s held on, if more than one was choosen at sending time

The supernode stores public keys for email addresses, but only stores the email address as a hash
A sender must make a public key request knowing the email address in order to be able to create a hash for the supernode to return the search
In order to submit your GPG public key and bitcoin public key you submit signed token to your supernodes

Supernodes are, on all the time
Supernodes are SMTP servers which store GPG emails from eBTC wallet clients – but don’t forward
Senders have a micropayment channel setup with a supernode for sending GPG emails via their wallet and vica versa for receiving email
The eBTC blockchain contains two sets of data:
– “hash of GPG public key user | messageID | SupernodeID (held on)”
– “hash of GPG public key user ‘read’ | messageID | at UTC | on SupernodeID” (supernodes only hold ONE copy of the email for multiple recipients)
Supernodes use some environmentally friendly CPU only algo and number eBTC you have generated puts you on the leader board within the wallet app to advertise your prices
The eBTC wallet bootstraps supernodes with in the reference client and the allows supernodes to effectively advertise their brand
Supernodes can exchange eBTC and thuse to position their brand within the reference client
Supernodes send “read” confirmations to standard email addresses
Supernodes code can prune away to keep the lid on blockchain sizes, automatically remove blockchain data if emails read by all recipients redundant
Imagine eBTC is like sunshine, it can be used are laid down like coal or oil but the raw energy of creation is for all intents and purposes unlimited

How to: bitcoin cold wallet storage using random dice entropy to generate a deterministic seed phrase


Next we need to install Electrum – this is for the offline machine were building – keeping a copy, so we know exactly what was used to create the wallet
sudo apt-get install python-qt4 python-pip
sudo pip install

Substitute the X.Y for what is current, as above at the time of writing.

Download Dice to Key

wget -O


Now do whatever you have to do to get the printer working &

zbar (this is a python library that allows you scan QR codes) This can be quite hard to out and some people have suggested just using an online service to do this, IDIOTS ignore them. You need an offline signing machine to make this setup secure, now having both PC’s that can scan QR codes is very useful.

sudo apt-get install zbar-tools
sudo apt-get install libzbar0 libzbar-dev
sudo apt-get install python-dev
sudo pip install zbar

Disconnect this PC from the Internet – you may choose not to reconnect it for some time if ever


Lets generate random numbers

See this link as for single private key generation requirements

2. Terminal to the directory you unzipped dice2key
./ 123456123456123456123456123456123456123456123456123
51 dice rolls – the dice2key software will now warn you it’s not 100, but we’re not using it for the actual key, just the entropy, but more than 51 rolls in Electrum v2.4 creates a seed phrase greater than 13 words.

[21:51] <m1bxd> Hullo anyone, electrum make_seed –entropy=XXXXXXX can generate a seed of MORE than 13 words, will this cause a problem in the future? or does it not matter – Cheers

[22:24] <ThomasV> m1bxd: no
And it does this regardless of what you set –nbits too, so I’ll leave it up to you how many dice rolls you do… One person on IRC #electrum thought this was a bug and implied that the seed phrase length should be determined by “–nbits” – I think this is a bug too. But not a dangerous one as stated by Thomas, please consult the IRC snippet above. Who I assume was/is Thomas Vögtlin.

The output of the dice is now in HEX from dice2key


Can you do more dice rolls which will result in more words for a longer seed phrase?
Yes according to Electrum lead developer you can increase the entropy at the make_seed stage

normalized_seedphrase = mnemonic.prepare_seed(seed_phrase)
s = hmac_sha_512("Seed version", normalized_seedphrase)

So I cannot see a reason for not doing more dice rolls and creating more entropy for Electrum?

Next we need the number for Electrum as a decimal, which we can do from the command line:

echo "ibase=16; 91D89C79009852800BFFCCDC406B1BA0"|bc

We should get something like this



Go to the command line, NOT the console within electrum and run

electrum make_seed --entropy=193862769152946304546066490817889639328

It will generate a SEED PHRASE with thirteen words like:

useless welcome frame safe door scrap lock swear frame height hotel endless depth

Print this out several times

Save it to a text file on a USB or two and save the file as “SEED PHRASE.TXT” on a USB stick called ALLKEYS, to be on the safe side DO NOT save this text file to the PC, as you may in the future accidentally connect it to the Internet and it could become compromised. You may choose not to give a password for the wallet, if you choose not to, immediately disable the machines networking ability at this stage.

Use this seed phrase on the offline Electrum machine to create a new wallet – give the wallet a useful name and consider using a simple password. See previous step as to why.

Copy the public keys from this Electrum wallet you want to deposit to on a new USB, label it PUBLIC KEYS
and save this file as bitcoin_address_public_keys.txt – you can grab these address from the terminal screen if you executed “electrum” from the shell.

Export both bitcoin public addresses and bitcoin private keys to the USB labelled ALLKEYS
Wallet -> Private Keys -> Export

“File” bottom LHS navigate to your ALLKEYS USB stick “electrum_private_keys_john.csv” -> “Export”

If you open up this file there will be a column of private keys next to your public bitcoin addresses. These  are “WIF Compressed Private Keys”, 52 characters base58, starting with a ‘K’ or ‘L’.

For example:


Print them out along with your seed phrase and seed phrase QR code.

Why print/save these “WIF Compressed Private Keys”? They allow you to recover your bitcoin without Electrum in the future, should you loose pretty everything in this tutorial. You can redeem and “sweep” / import them in the future to probably any other bitcoin wallet. Thus if you transfer bitcoins to the public bitcoin addresses to which you have an offline copy of this private key on the ALL KEYS USB or paper / QR code. If like me, you like paper and would regard it as more stable than taking another USB copy – you’ll be wasting a bit of paper doing some duplicates. Also take a laser process photocopy of these so that you’ve used another process which will by it’s nature have different image stability, especially if you did the original print outs on ink jet with low grade ink and paper.

Do not save this file to the computer if you have chosen to password protected your wallet, it renders the password process useless if you do. If you are never going to connect this PC to the internet again – it doesn’t matter about the password on an Electrum wallet and can due to human fragile memory be more of a hinderance than a help.

Also copy your wallet folder at /home/$USER/.electrum/wallets to this ALLKEYS USB stick

Study this page and follow the instructions at

Export the public master key from the Electrum machine to the PUBLIC KEYS USB stick, it will start
Save it in a separate file from the bitcoin address PUBLIC KEYS. Say for example call it public_master_key.txt

Install Electrum on a standard Internet PC and create a new wallet using the instructions above, this is called a watching wallet.
It will contain the bitcoin public addresses, it can observe the transactions against them, but the wallet cannot sign any transaction on the wallet and therefore if this machine is compromised in anyway you cannot loose any bitcoin.

Only the offline machine can sign the bitcoin transactions. You then take the signed transaction generated on the offline machine, typically moving bitcoin from one address to another address.

Copy the transaction to a blank USB or other means like printed QR codes and webcams, to create an off-gapped setup.
Or use a mobile phone as a dumb intermediary to scan and display the transaction to the watching wallet / transaction broadcasting machine.

USB Stick key summary

public bitcoin addresses for transferring coins to cold storage – start 18PNEanH83XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
public master key – start xpub661XXXXXXXXX

public bitcoin addresses for receiving and the private keys associated with each address


So you’ve transferred some bitcoin to one of your public bitcoin addresses on the offline cold storage, which you can also see with the watcher wallet on the Electrum installation that is internet connected but how do we spend them again?

Go to the watcher wallet, go to Send, nominate your amount to transfer then you will need to sign the transaction that has just been generated on the the signed by the offline setup.

Export the transaction to be signed.

The easiest way to do this is to scan the barcode with your mobile or print out the transaction.

Import transaction at the offline machine.

Go to Tools -> Load transaction -> From QR code

Sign it after scanning or however you choose to import it.

Turn the signed transaction back into a QR code.
Scan it with your phone or print it out.

Return to your watcher wallet which is online

Go to Tools -> Load transaction -> From QR code

Select “Broadcast”

7. (There should always be a seven)

That’s it job down.  However if you wish to keep your bitcoin quantum computer secure, you should always transfer the whole of the amount of each bitcoin deposited on any singular address which have kept in a cold wallet when you move them to a new unused bitcoin address.

For example if you have 5 btc on one address in your cold wallet, if you want to 1btc to more accessible wallet you should do two bitcoin sends.

You should send 1 btc to your easy wallet and you should send 4 btc to an unused address on the cold wallet.

2015 May top Bitcoin sites and ‘happenings

Bitcoin HRMC, Fidor Bank AG &, RIPPLE next then FOREX

There was this posting on the other day:

Bitcoin exchanges operating in the UK do not have to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) under money laundering regulations, the government department has revealed. 8th July 2013.

Then this posting yesterday 11th July announcing the exchange being able to work with a German Clearing Bank (Fidor Bank AG), which will then be able to fully comply with any KYC/AML requirements . This looks like it near enough caused Bitcoin to jump 10% overnight.

However it should be bourne in-mind that I believe the most single important investment money or otherwise in the Bitcoin arena is Google’s recent investment in or OpenCoin (the company), this is an allied trading platform with a Bitcoin API – those network if secure enough could be a competitor to all merchant services clearing, like VISA and Mastercard – hence Google’s investment.

Note that Google have invested – small change, but it’s still VERY telling.

Ripple, billed as “the world’s first open payment network”, may lack the rebel allure of Bitcoin itself, but its distributed model could patch one of Bitcoin’s chief weaknesses, namely its reliance on a few sometimes less-than-transparent exchanges. Of course, Ripple will be usable for the exchange of other currencies, too, and it arguably sits alongside other new financial technology startups such as Transferwise.

RIPPLE now allows you to pay anybody in Bitcoin as of 2nd July 2013 in a way that might promote Bitcoin to be used for FOREX. Note that the first bitcoin exchange – is a British company, yet unable to find a British bank to sort out payments yet… Although do require all the KYC documents to open an account with them, so the exchange is already in a prime position to completely challenge mt.gox – Americans, you’ve just got to love’em.

Disclosure: The author has accounts with most of the bitcoin exchanges with KYC requirements or otherwise.

Bitcoin to drop at the end of 2012

It’s ineviatble that the conversion value of the Bitcoin currency will drop towards the end of 2012 with Fiat currencies.

Why, BTCFGPA and Butterfly Labs are bringing to market specialised ASIC computers just to mine Bitcoins. You connect the boxes to your standard PC, they mine quicker and consume less electricity. My “guess” is at least a quarter on Butterly’s 832MH unit – 80W. (Compared to a standard PC rig and high end video card).

Lower power consumption to mine bitcoins = lower fiat money conversion value.

Bitcoin backed by
People including so called “Bitcoin experts” write that Bitcoin is not backed by anything. This is absolute tosh. Gold and silver are backed by oil in today’s world, and Bitcoin is backed by electricity. Gold and silver has to be mined, and miners and the processes involved are paid in Fiat money which is underwritten by oil in some way. But the beauty of Bitcoin is that it is directly backed by the market price of electricity – until the 21 million coins have been produced…

I propose by my bi-polar nerve endings that the price curve for Bitcoin will be a bathtub curve over time.

Bitcoin v Fiat
The value of Bitcoin isn’t in a day to day spot price v a Fiat currency. The value of Bitcoin lies with what it will do to society, because of what you can do with it.