Private key is 32-byte number.

Address (Hash) is 20-byte number.

Is it true that there is many Private keys that have the same 20-byte hash?

P.S. How to get Address from Private key:

Private key (32-byte number, random) --1--> 04+Public key (64-byte number, elliptic curve point) --2--> Hash, Address (20-byte number) --3--> Address string (Base58 string).

  1. Elliptic curve point multiplication
  2. SHA256, ripemd160
  3. Hex converts to Base58

2 Answers 2


Yes, that is true.

However, to go from an address to any corresponding private key still requires an unfeasibly large amount of computing.

  • any corresponding Aug 13, 2017 at 20:00
  • I don't understand your comment. Aug 13, 2017 at 20:06
  • Is it true that there is many Private keys that have the same 20b hash (Address)? --> Yes, that is true.. So what you don't understand? Aug 13, 2017 at 20:18
  • Why do mean with your "any corresponding" comment? Aug 14, 2017 at 1:05
  • I mean, more correct is to say a set of corresponding keys, of course if thesis is right. Thanks for help Aug 15, 2017 at 6:33

hmmm, a bit confusing, maybe I can add some clarification, that also helps other readers. A 32b number or a 20b number doesn't seem to be an exact description. Bytes are abbreviated as capital "B", and bits are abbreviated as lower "b" (IEC 80000-13, IEEE 1541). A 32b privkey would be 4 Bytes, that is a bit too short :-)

A Bitcoin privkey is 32 Bytes (which is a 256-bit number). A Bitcoin address is a string of 26-34 chars, to be more "human readable". It is derived from the priv key in the following way:

privkey --> public key --> sha256 --> ripemd160 (here we actually have 20 Bytes) --> + network Byte --> double sha256 --> +chksum --> +Bytes reordering --> base58 encoding. This reads more complex than it actually is, a good overview here: http://gobittest.appspot.com/Address

So your last question is a bit tricky:

Is it true that there is many Private keys that have the same 20b hash (Address)?

Generally the idea of the hashing is, that you enter a string into the function, and it returns a fixed length output. If you change a single bit in this string, the result returns totally different. And as Pieter said, going from output to input is nearly impossible. So if you are asking:

  • if you can generate the same address (or public key) from different private keys? --> no (until today, there was no proof for it, but there are projects on the way to find "collisions")

  • if all priv keys generate (Bitcoin) addresses with the same length? --> no, addresses have 26-34 Bytes length.

  • if all priv keys generate the same length of pubkeys (and hashed 20Bytes long), from which then the Bitcoin address is generated? --> yes


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