This Viral Bitcoin Post on Reddit Might Cause Some Serious Delusion
A Reddit user from the Bitcoin subreddit has claimed a nearly miraculous stunt — guessing two Bitcoin seed phrases in under five minutes, accessing corresponding wallets that were, as expected, empty. While the post might shock some unseasoned Bitcoin users, there is a fundamental misunderstanding of how seed phrases work.
Seed phrases, the linchpin of wallet security, are generated in accordance with BIP39. They consist of 12 to 24 words, drawn from a specific list of 2048 words. The final word in a seed phrase is a checksum, which serves as a fail-safe against incorrect word entry.
This is your counterparty pic.twitter.com/4zvOfV1dHp
— Miyak0x (@Miyak0x) January 27, 2024
If even a single word is out of place, or the sequence is jumbled, the checksum will not match, and the wallet software will typically reject the phrase. This makes the task of “guessing” a seed phrase practically impossible without using unrealistically high computing power.
The author of the post likely did not guess existing seed phrases but rather created new wallet addresses. Since there are innumerable potential combinations for seed phrases, it is statistically certain that many lead to unclaimed wallets. Hence, the author’s claim, while technically true, is misleading. They did not crack or access someone else’s wallet; they inadvertently generated new, unused wallets.
The BIP39 standard ensures that the probability of randomly generating an active wallet’s seed phrase, especially one containing funds, is microscopic.
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