I see that Bitcoin addresses have built in checksums that helps prevent typos (ie. it is highly unlikely that you can mistype a Bitcoin address and have it still be valid). However, I still think the addresses are too long to easily give to someone, publish on a business card, etc. Is there any way to shorten addresses or get specific addresses?
Here are a few tips to help you distribute your addresses on a more readable form:
- Firstbits.net shortens your address to (usually) less than 7 characters. To get the full address just enter the firstbits at the website (ex: http://firstbits.net/?a=1kk5k)
- Use vanity generator to create a more customized address. You can try to create an address that has your name on it or any other word that you like. Bear in mind that this will still be a long address with many 'strange' characters (ex: 1stDownqyMHHqnDPRSfiZ5GXJ8Gk9dbjL)
- If you use an e-wallet service, there are usually shortcodes that allow users to transfer bitcoins instantaneously between users. You can only use this if the other person uses the same e-wallet as you (ex: check Flexcoin, TradeHill or CampBX)
- If you want to print your address into a business card, I suggest using QR Codes. They can easily be scanned with a smart phone.
Check out btcans.org.
The BTCANS allows you to register an account and post associate a payment address with it. You can hand out your payment BTCANS address and other users can query your payment address by entering q.btcans.org/your-id-here into their browser.
The difference between btcans.org and an address shortener is that you can change your address at any time. Subsequent queries will return the updated payment address.
It might be worth looking at https://paynym.is too, which is used by SamouraiWallet.