5

Today, I stumbled upon this bizarre website: https://privatekeys.pw/

Bitcoin Private Keys Directory

The FAQ makes no sense at all and doesn't explain what it is about whatsoever.

What could they be referring to? Private keys? Are they listing compromised private keys to Bitcoin wallets? Why do that in public? And if so, of course whoever runs that site must've already nabbed any coins from the wallet anyway? So what possible use is that information to the world?

As so often is the case, I have to ask: "What am I missing here?"

2
  • 4
    WARNING this site and all like it are very likely a SCAMS!! The answers here are technically correct but they almost make it sound like it's normal or a good idea to enter a private key on this website to "look it up" or "convert it". It's not and all funds ever associated with such a private key will soon be stolen. Even if this site itself is not the scam, they publicly list the "recently searched keys" so anybody else can steal them (giving the makers a nice scapegoat).
    – Jannes
    May 29 at 7:34
  • Maybe this was added after this question was posted, but the site now has the following banner at the bottom: Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only. Nobody should use someones else's private key to steal bitcoins. You are using this site entirely at your own risk. Do not post your own private keys or wallets, you may lose your balance!
    – TylerW
    Jun 14 at 22:23
8

The site is a joke, or at best a confusing attempt to educate.

It literally lists all private keys, from low to high, as private keys are just numbers. There are of course way more than can be reasonably computed and stored, so the pages are just generated on the fly. If you ask for private keys starting at number N, it on the fly computes the public keys corresponding to private keys N through N+43, and looks up their balance on public block explorers.

But it doesn't let you search by public key, so it is useless for cracking things. Real private keys are randomly generated, and just scrolling through a near-infinite list of pages to look for a given public keys won't give you anything.

-2

If you look at the features of the site, there are a few notable ones:

First, it allows the conversion of private key formats on a web interface, between decimal, hex, WIF, old Electrum seeds, mini, and brainwallet passphrase. This would likely enable someone who isn't particularly familiar with programming to nevertheless validate strings to see if they are indeed private keys.

It also can convert from keys of one coin to another. While the underlying private key remains the same, different coins have different network prefixes. If someone has a wallet dump but is unsure of the actual coin the wallet is supposed to contain, the site can provide a way to convert the existing WIF private key into a myriad of different private keys on different chains, which may be helpful in identification. It can also create bech32 and segwit addresses from WIF keys where relevant.

Granted, these are pretty niche uses, but use cases nonetheless, whatever the intent of the makers of the site.

4
  • 7
    Obviously, you should expect that any coins corresponding to keys entered in such manner to immediately be claimed by the site. So, you should never do such a thing.
    – Murch
    May 29 at 5:04
  • Yes, as OP already stated in the question. The question is on what the hook is to get people to put in their keys in the first place, not the likely outcome of actually putting private keys into the site.
    – Jim Zhou
    May 29 at 12:14
  • 2
    Someone just reading your answer could get the impression that you are advocating that the site be used to check their key material. Please don't rely on other posts in a topic to provide context.
    – Murch
    May 29 at 14:15
  • That's impossible, because I'm only referring to the question posed by the OP, and not relying on the question to provide the context for the answer is... by definition not answering the question.
    – Jim Zhou
    May 29 at 22:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.