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I had originally posted the following question here:

Is it possible to have a cryptocurrency based on email address?

And now I have come across The Large Bitcoin Collider

I have read on Bitcoin Stackexchange and other places people writing how improbably it is to collide with an existing address with a balance. Some even wrote its astronomically improbable.

But if you look here you'll see that the LBC in a matter of few months has already found over 15 addresses with balance, of which one contained 0.54 BTC: LBC Trophies

Imagine once it starts harnessing more power from users?

Clearly this is a big problem. Right now a Bitcoin address with some balance is akin to a cabin in some woods with no door and a small pouch of gold waiting to be discovered.

My question is, what is the solution to this going to be?

I have a few comments which I'll consider unacceptable. I am listing them and their reasons.

Comment: Even bank account passwords can be cracked and your amount could be stolen. Invalid: I am not talking about someone trying to specifically attack your bank account with number 123456789 with bank ABC with password wtHMcQ^KB;i9UA6ZPI,VE!r<:3xLkzDlXg.[N0{~214o*/h+(W>O@me?-J_#&|`8. I am talking about attackers randomly going through private keys and checking if they have a balance.

That's it for now.

I am going to look forward to some good solutions.

  • Interesting. they should also mention their expenses so one can see the economics behind the experiment. – Karan Ahuja Dec 28 '17 at 8:36
  • Its a distributed effort. You can find statistics here: lbc.cryptoguru.org/stats – VCore Dec 28 '17 at 9:30
  • it maybe worthwhile to double check, what type of "collisions" were found. The pure number doesn't mean anything, unless explained. These collisions were probably "low hanging fruits" (aka meant to be found), and there are well known "keys" with poor numbers or entropy. – pebwindkraft Dec 28 '17 at 9:48
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"My question is, what is the solution to this going to be?" there is no solution. it is by design that collisions can be found. i really think that people who are searching for collisions are using their computing power quite inefficient because the gains are probably very small. so mining would be more profitable.

  • I disagree. Bitcoin still isn't that popular and you don't have that many addresses with balances. Yet over 15 addresses were found in a matter of months. But eventually when it gains more popularity, imagine how many addresses can be found in months time. And what will happen when instead of mining, those with great computation resources start searching for such addresses instead. – VCore Dec 28 '17 at 9:51
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The "possible" collisions are part of the decentralisation.

You could also create a currency that asks a server to return a new adress that is not used so far. But that's centralized -> If you take the server down, the currency is dead.

So, the best you can do in the future is making the range of the private keys and/or adresses larger.

  • In case this becomes a serious problem with Bitcoin, can a hard-fork increase the range significantly? And why wasn't a large range used in the first place? – VCore Dec 28 '17 at 9:28
  • The range is already humongous, and without fundamental physical breakthroughs impossible to reach collisions. – Pieter Wuille Dec 28 '17 at 9:38
  • Did you read the OP? The project already found over 15 addresses that too in a matter of months. So how is this impossible? – VCore Dec 28 '17 at 9:48
  • this looks worrisome - blockchain.info/address/1LBCPotwPzBvBcTtd7ADGzCWPXXsZE19j6 the guy whose bitcoin is gone must be a sad fellow. – Karan Ahuja Dec 28 '17 at 10:29
  • @KaranAhuja I don't see that address on the trophies page. Where did you find it? Was it found using the LBC? The following address is the one which had the highest balance (0.54 BTC / 8000 USD) blockchain.info/address/1KYUv7nSvXx4642TKeuC2SNdTk326uUpFy – VCore Dec 28 '17 at 10:53

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