Brendan Lee: How to Prove Ownership of a Bitcoin Address

width = “560” height = “315” frameborder = “0” allowfullscreen = “allow fullscreen”>

Do you know how public and private keys are generated? Would you be able to verify a digital signature? If your answer to any of those questions is no, there is no need to feel ashamed as you are not alone! For all the articles and opinion pieces on the internet about Bitcoin, there is still a distinct lack of understanding about how the technology actually works.

In fact, a 2021 YouGov survey found that 98% of respondents did not understand the basics of crypto.

In this week’s CoinGeek Talks, Charles Miller again enlisted the help of Brendan Lee, BSV Blockchain Association Training and Development Manager, to help him get to the bottom of some key concepts.

When the two last spoke in February 2021, Brendan covered what actually happens when a transaction takes place on the Bitcoin network and how exactly coins move from one wallet to another. This time, Charles wants to know what a digital signature is and how it can be used to verify ownership of a Bitcoin address.

First, they discuss public and private keys, and Brendan explains that the two keys exist as a pair, with the private key generated first and the public key cryptographically produced from the private key.

The conversation then moves to Bitcoin wallets, where an individual’s private keys are stored. Brendan says that Electrum, a wallet software that has some extra features, is a good way to let users prove ownership of keys by using them to sign messages and create digital signatures.

Brendan explains that a user must first choose an address and write a personalized message to generate a signature. Once this signature has been created, any other user can decode and verify the signed message, as long as they have the custom message, signature, and public key.

Electrum, Verify Message

While the technology may seem complicated, Brendan says that the math used to generate signatures and verify keys was nothing new when Satoshi used it in Bitcoin software.

“He wasn’t doing anything significantly new; he was just taking something that already existed, he was well-tested, well-tested, highly-reliable as a technique and then applied it as a digital cash system,” he says.

Charles and Brendan also do a hands-on demo of Electrum, showing how it can be used to test control over a specific set of private keys. This is particularly interesting given that this is how Dr. Craig Wright demonstrated his control of the Satoshi keys to Gavin Andresen in 2016.

For more information on Bitcoin technology, check out this previous CoinGeek conversation: Brendan Lee: What actually happens when you make a Bitcoin payment?

Listen to Brendan Lee’s full interview on this week’s CoinGeek Conversations podcast or catch up on other recent episodes:

You can also watch the podcast video on YouTube.

Subscribe to CoinGeek Conversations – this is part of the ninth season of the podcast. If you’re new to this, there are plenty of previous episodes to catch up on.

Here’s how to find them:

– Look for “CoinGeek Talks” wherever you get your podcasts

– Subscribe at itunes

– Listen Spotify

– Visit the CoinGeek Conversations Website

– Look in the CoinGeek Conversations YouTube Playlist

New to Bitcoin? Take a look at CoinGeek bitcoin for beginners section, the definitive resource guide for more information on Bitcoin, as originally conceived by Satoshi Nakamoto, and blockchain.

Leave a Comment