Posts Tagged as: bitcoin

September 29, 2014

Mining Bitcoin with Pencil and Paper

This is a pretty cool example of manually doing some of the math behind Bitcoin.

It’s interesting that SHA-256, the most advanced cryptographic hash function, really just works by reducing numbers to 1s and 0s, then scrambling them up.

July 29, 2014

Messing With a Bitcoin Scammer

It’s been a while since I last messed with an online scammer, but today when I received a known phishing attempt I decided to have a little fun.

The correspondence didn’t last particularly long and I doubt I’m getting a final response, but here’s the full conversation below. I also reported the email address to Google as a phishing attempt. (My responses are in green, the scammer is in red.) Enjoy.

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM, Coindesk wrote:

Hello, we would like to offer one of our advertising opportunities – Reviewed by
Includes – Full review of your website, security, services, payment options and many other, It depends on your business type.
Review is about 8000-14000 characters.
Price depends on a company type. Contact us for more information.
Banners for sale.
CoinDesk Ltd

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 11:06 AM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Could you send me an example of one of these Reviewed by CoinDesk articles? Where do they appear?
I might be interested in one for What are the rates?

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM, Coindesk wrote:

Hello. Thank you for answer.
This review was for gambling site –
This costed 0.4 BTC
CoinDesk Ltd

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:25 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Awesome, thanks!
OK, I’m in. How can we get started?

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 1:38 PM, Shakil Khan wrote:

Please make payment to Bitcoin address below.
After payment notify us.
Best Regards

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:49 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Ok cool. I’m getting the payment ready now. Just to confirm, it will be .4 BTC ($233 USD), correct?
Also, one more quick question about the bitcoin payment… I’m going to send the money to 1HQ8jcCAmYE5pWxt5T16Xx5GJ3bjiPmKg5, but what address should I send it from?

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 1:51 PM, Shakil Khan wrote:

Everything is correct and you can pay from any of your bitcoin addresses.
Best Reards

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 1:59 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Gotcha, thanks.
Ok, setting this up now… Just a head’s up my handwriting’s pretty bad lol!!

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:12 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Sorry to bombard you with questions…
How much postage do you recommend? (I want to make sure the transaction goes through but don’t want to waste any money…)

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 2:15 PM, Shakil Khan wrote:

0.0001 will be enough.
Best Regards

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 2:36 PM, Bitcoin Megaphone wrote:

Ok, thanks. I’m about to send the payment (see attached image for proof) but I have one more question – can you wait until Monday to publish the article? I’m going to be traveling with spotty internet this weekend and want to be available if any server issues come up.


And here’s the image I attached. (I have yet to receive a response.)

June 12, 2014

A Bitcoin Haiku

Someone posted this lovely little poem on Bitcoin Megaphone yesterday. If you know how to use bitcoin, you should support the author. I’d love to see more poets and authors self-publishing on the site!

May 31, 2014

The Official Cookie of Bitcoin


Two of my favorite hobbies collided magnificently this afternoon – bitcoin and cookies. And as a result I’d like to nominate Gotham Cookies as the official cookie of bitcoin. (Although as far as I know, there are no other contenders.)

It started with this Reddit post about a vendor at the LIC Flea announcing that today would be their first day accepting bitcoin. 4 hours later I was enjoying some of the finest cookies I’ve ever had, and chatting with co-owner Alex about how much buzz they were getting from customers and other vendors.

So if there’s such a thing as the official cookie of Bitcoin, it should clearly be Gotham Cookies. The cookies are amazing, the owners are huge bitcoin advocates, and they are just awesome folks in general.

Next order of business… who’s the official bourbon of bitcoin?

April 30, 2014

Storj – Dropbox for the Future

A lot of people are excited about a company called Storj. To some, Storj represents the “next-level shit” that bitcoin enthusiasts have been awaiting for years.

In a nutshell, Storj promises cloud storage that’s between 10-100x cheaper than Dropbox or Google Drive, and that’s 100% secure, encrypted, and decentralized. Which means that your files can’t be subpoenaed or viewed by anyone else but you.

But what’s really exciting and smells like “the future” is the fact that individuals will soon be able to rent out their spare hard drive space to Storj to make money. Think about it – since the data is encrypted, there’s no worry about having it peppered across hundreds of stranger’s hard drives. It also adds a layer of redundancy, so your files can never be “lost” or “deleted”.

If you want to dive deep into the details, this thread on the Bitcoin Forum is where all the action is happening.

Pretty cool stuff. Let’s hope Storj can meet everyone’s expectations.

April 4, 2014

Embedding Posts from Bitcoin Megaphone

I just added a cool new feature to Bitcoin Megaphone. Now, each post’s permalink has an “embed” button, which lets you embed that post anywhere on the web.

This opens up the content to anyone who wants to categorize it or share it in new and creative ways. Enjoy!

While we’re on the topic, here are some of my favorite posts so far.

March 19, 2014

Bitcoin Megaphone

Last week I had a crazy idea for a website. This week I’m proud to announce Let me explain the idea and why I’m so excited about it.

The website is based on two basic rules: Anyone can post, and anyone can profit.

Rule 1: Anyone can post

In this regard it’s like Twitter, but instead of being limited to 140 characters, you’re charged per character. So the only limit to the size of a post is the size of your wallet.

If you wanted to post a message the length of a tweet (140 characters), it would cost around $0.08 (based on the current Bitcoin/USD exchange). Posting just a URL costs around a penny. If you want to stand out and post a chunk of text, the price (along with the post’s visibility) goes up.

So that’s the first part of the website. It’s got kind of a “Million Dollar Homepage” vibe to it. Ok, so far so good.

Rule 2: Anyone can profit

This is where things get interesting.

Every time someone creates a post, a “virtual tipjar” is automatically generated for that post. Each post has its own unique tip jar, and it’s baked right into each post’s URL. And here’s the kicker – only the original creator of the post is given the keys to the tip jar. This is possible thanks to the ingenious system of public/private key generation that’s a part of the Bitcoin system. So any time you see a post on Bitcoin Megaphone, you can send money to it and the author gets 100%.

This lets people get a return on their investment, and offers incentive to post and share funny, engaging, or timely content. Getting social currency in actual money is much more enticing than the meaningless Retweets and Likes we’re all so obsessed with.

There’s already a post that cost $15 where someone jokingly referenced the infamous Nigerian Prince scam email. It hasn’t gotten any tips yet, but I applaud the author’s balls:

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here’s a post where the author only spent $0.08, but has already made $0.40 in tips, making about 4x his/her investment. (It’s a cute emoticon, by the way):

Why I’m Stoked

Before Bitcoin, it would have been impossible to create a website like this. There are no credit cards to hook up, no user accounts to create and spam with marketing emails; no annoying ads that disrupt the experience of exploration and discovery; no annoying comments to moderate. It’s just content and micropayments.

There are a lot of smart and talented people looking at micropayments as the future of online publishing. Personally, I have no idea how things will shake out, but I’m excited to keep watching this living breathing ecosystem evolve.

In Summary

Right now on the internet, text is a commodity (think of those walls of text on your crazy friend’s Facebook page). Bitcoin Megaphone transforms strings of text from a commodity to a unique store of value. And that’s some pretty interesting shit.

PS – I was considering posting this entire post on Bitcoin Megaphone for $21.30, but decided it would be weird on launch day :-p

March 13, 2014

Getting to know Bitcoin

I just dropped some serious Bitcoin blog action. My goal was to write the missing manual I would have liked when researching Bitcoin myself. It's in no way comprehensive, but if you're curious about Bitcoin but overwhelmed by its huge barrier to entry, you might find this useful.

The main topics I cover are:
- Getting started with Bitcoin
- Using the Electrum Bitcoin wallet
- Creating a Bitcoin paper wallet for cold/offline storage
- Importing Bitcoin from a paper wallet into Electrum

Hopefully you’ll become more fluent in Bitcoin, and get one step closer to becoming the nerd you were born to be.

And while you’re at it, why not consider throwing me a tip? My address is 1NbjcmjS9DF1Ebp8CBAPdVU1Foqtp5r1BV and I think you’re cool.

March 12, 2014

Importing Bitcoin from a paper wallet into Electrum

Sending money to a paper wallet is the easy part. Getting it out is a little more complicated. So here’s a step-by-step guide.

Below is a paper wallet containing 0.36477 BTC (at the time of this writing). The paper wallet was made with, using BIP38 encryption for the private key. (To see more about creating paper wallets, read my previous post called "Creating a Bitcoin paper wallet for cold storage.")


I'm confidant the paper wallet contains the funds because I pasted that 12WwoV… address into, and can see the "Final Balance" – see below.


The overall process is to import the private key into Electrum, then send the complete contents of the paper wallet to another address in my wallet. This is super important: Any time you take funds from a paper wallet, you have to take out all the money. The reason has to do with change addresses and you can read more about it here. The bottom line, remove everything from a paper wallet when you want to retrieve its funds.

Decrypt the Private Key

Before I import my private key into Electrum, I need to decrypt it. For this, I use (If you're paranoid you can run it from a local copy you can download from its GitHub page.) Enter your BIP38 Passphrase (the one you used when creating the paper wallet with and paste your encrypted private key, then press the blue button.


If your passphrase is correct, the Address and Private Key fields will automatically get filled in. Notice that 12WwoV… address? That's the same address as the paper wallet – and it was able to figure that out from only the passphrase and encrypted private key. Cool! Copy the private key to your clipboard and go to Electrum.

Import Private Key into Electrum


In the screenshot above, notice how my balance is still 0 BTC. That's going to change when you import your private key and the paper wallet's funds get associated with your wallet.

Go to Wallet > Private keys > Import and click Yes on the message below.


Paste your private key into the field and press Import.



Nice! Now you can see in the screenshot above that the 12WwoV address is now in my Electrum wallet in a newly-created "Imported" section, and my bitcoin balance is now 0.36477. That's another cool thing about private keys; they contain the public key embedded within them. Ain't math cool?

Transfer the funds

Now here's something important to remember. Even though I control the addresses's private key and hence the full balance of the paper wallet, that doesn't mean it's "mine" yet. (In fact, if I visited and searched for the 12WwoV address, nothing will have looked different from the screenshot at the top of this article.) Your goal now is to transfer the funds to one of your Electrum wallet addresses so that it's actually "yours". Also, since you'll be transferring it to one of your Electrum addresses, it will be recoverable using your wallet generation seed. Sweet.

So first, control-click on one of your Electrum receiving addresses to copy it to your clipboard.


Then right-click on the imported address and choose "Send From."


Now, paste your receiving address in the "Pay to" field, and enter a description.


For the Amount, enter the entire contents of the paper wallet, minus a .0002 BTC transaction fee. You have to manually do this math, which is a little annoying.


Press Send, and you're all set! Now when you click on the Receive tab in Electrum, you'll see the full balance in your address, minus the .0002 mining fee.


So that's my process. There's plenty of room for improvement in terms of security (such as using Armory to sign transactions with a dedicated offline computer), but this works for me and is relatively secure assuming someone isn't hacked into my computer. (Wouldn't that be fucked up, by the way?)

Creating a bitcoin paper wallet for cold storage

Using Electrum and other Bitcoin wallets is pretty safe (assuming your computer isn't hacked). But if you're serious about security or want to keep some funds portable, you can use a "paper wallet." The security benefit here is that your private key isn't connected to the internet, so no hacker can get to it. When a private key is stored offline (either on paper or in a non-connected computer), it's considered "cold storage."

A paper wallet is just a public and private key printed out. That's it. All those companies that offer you pretty green fancy-looking paper wallets with holograms are silly – all you need is the public and private key. (It's best practice to encrypt your private key as an added layer of security. We'll get to this below, so be patient. Jeez, why are you so pushy?)

The cool thing is that you don't need to be online to generate a public and private key. In fact, doing it offline is the safest way to generate your keys and be sure nobody's snooping on you. This brings us to an amazing little tool called You can actually download the entire site as a single .html file, which you can run in a web browser while disconnected from the web. To download it, visit, click the GitHub link on the bottom, and click the "Download ZIP" button on the bottom right.


As a sidenote, you should be skeptical about trusting the author of this tool (or any tool that generates keys for you), since the author could theoretically generate tainted public/private key pairs they could steal from you in the future. I researched this tool a lot, and apparently enough security people have examined the code and nothing looks nefarious. Also, I found the original thread where the developers are talking about it here . Pretty cool.

Ok, so once you've downloaded the bitaddress html file, open it in a browser. You'll see you have to move your mouse around to generate true random numbers. This is pretty badass.


After you've moved your cursor around like an idiot for a few moments, the page will load. Click on "Paper Wallet."


By default, you see those stupid-looking faux-currency bills. Fuck that. They take up too much space on your printout and are a distraction. Select "Hide Art" and generate 7 Addresses using BIP38 encryption, like this:


Then, in addition to printing this page, I like to make a PDF and keep it handy. Since I'm still learning/practicing with Bitcoin, it's much easier to copy/paste the addresses from a PDF than it is to scan the QR code and email it to myself.

So now you're free to send BTC to any of the newly-created Bitcoin addresses in the left-hand column. And you can monitor the Address's balance by searching for it on

To learn how to retrieve the funds in a paper wallet, check out my next post appropriately called "Importing Bitcoin from a paper wallet into Electrum."