As I like to think, we are all Bitcoin pioneers. At this stage in Bitcoin’s life, everyone who is participating now are still some of the first ones. Bitcoin has yet to go “main stream,” and only recently have bigger organizations taken note of Bitcoin’s advantages, and why it’s the future currency of our digital lives.
With every advantage that Bitcoin has, there will always be things that can be improved upon. Bitcoin core developers are constantly working on the protocol, making it better with each iteration. In the meantime, outside developers all over the world are building upon Bitcoin. From enthusiasts, to investors, to developers, everyone wants to contribute.
With that said, I was thinking about Bitcoin addresses. They are very long, have both characters and numbers, and are extremely hard to remember, or write down. Here is an example of a Bitcoin address (it belongs to legend, Satoshi): 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa
As you can see, the string is a random key hash of characters, intended to be computer generated and not human-memorable. But just the string of characters alone is one part of it. If you want information about this Bitcoin address, let’s say the QR code, transaction history, or to see who owns it, you can’t tell just by looking at it. Instead you need to use a third-party service that connects to Bitcoin, and provides all this information to end-users.
Blockchain.info is one of the oldest, most reputable, and trusted third-party Bitcoin services on the market. And with their powerful tools and information, you can find out just about anything for a Bitcoin address that you want. Let’s go back to Satoshi’s address, and view it on Blockchain.info: blockchain.info/address/1B9aqSLCEK6d3zzNP8sXGHZE2pUdW1ZvhF
As you can see, the URL plus address is double the length. Now it’s even harder to remember and use. Have you ever tried to put an address like this on print? I have, and it didn’t work out well at all. Using Blockchain’s community trust and tools, I decided to build on that and create a Bitcoin address shortener, which can be customized and sit on top of the Blockchain.
Isn’t that much better, shorter, and easier to use? If you visit that URL, you can get all of the address information as previously mentioned. Unfortunately for the Bitcoin community, Satoshi disappeared, and doesn’t manage his Bitcoin address(es). However, you or I do.
To add further security, users can “tag” their Bitcoin address on the blockchain, to validate that it’s theirs. Let’s take the address for btcaddr.es, which shortened is: btcaddr.es/donate
Easy right? If you go to the address on Blockchain.info, you will see that it’s validated that it belongs to btcaddr.es because the name is labeled, or “tagged,” “btcaddr.es.” Any user can validate their address using tags. This givers security from point A to point B, with the shortened custom name address in between servicing users with a memorable and custom Bitcoin address.
If you want to shorten your Bitcoin address, you can claim your custom name by going to btcaddr.es. The site also has other helpful tools such as Bitcoin address lookups and a Bitcoin address generator, which is useful if you want to create public and private Bitcoin addresses.