How to Get a Custom Bitcoin Address

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Probably one of the most “uncomfortable” issues about Bitcoin is the fact that your Bitcoin address looks like you just made up a bunch of random numbers and characters. Luckily there are a few ways you can customize your Bitcoin address so it will look more appealing. None of the ways I will present in this post will be perfect but you can choose the one the suits you the most.

Option #1 – 3rd party fully customized name

Onename.io is a service that claims to be “your digital passport around the web”. By creating a simple username of Onename (for example mine is simply “Ofir”), you can have people send you Bitcoins to that username. Unfortunately this will only work with wallets that are compatible with the Onename API and there aren’t many at the moment.

This is the equivalent of having a username at Coinabse for example and then being restricted to using it only when someone sends you Bitcoins through Coinbase. So the pros are very obvious – it’s easy to use and the name looks pretty. The cons are that you don’t have full control over you private key (which is a big no no in the Bitcoin world) and that you are restricted to specific wallets that can send you money.

Option #2 – Use a vanity address generator

A Vanity address is just a Bitcoin address that has some desirable pattern on characters so it looks a bit better. You’d usually only be able to customize just a small number of characters and not the whole address so you can insert your first name or a nickname. Here are some examples:

1BoatSLRHtKNngkdXEeobR76b53LETtpyT

1NiNja1bUmhSoTXozBRBEtR8LeF9TGbZBN

1NeiL1eBshdVaKRn4SVeeK4qT6bL9tSePu

1BTC24yVKQdQNAa4vX71xLUC5A8Za7Rr71

1stDownqyMHHqnDPRSfiZ5GXJ8Gk9dbjO

You still have to follow the Bitcoin address limitation which means that your public address will start with “1”  and creating these addresses takes some computing power (since you need to “guess” them, they are not just created).

If you don’t want to get into the technical part of how to brute force your way into creating such an address you can use a solution like BitcoinVanityGen to create such an address for you.

Using such a tool may be easy but it has 2 major cons – the 1st is that if someone else creates your public address for you it means that they also know your private key and can control any Bitcoins you send to that address. The 2nd is that it usually costs money.

Option #3 – Create a vanity address on your own

If you still want to create your own vanity address but not take on the risk of someone knowing your private key you can create one by yourself. Before I start explaining to you how to create this I want you to know:

1. This process requires a Windows computer. You can also do it on a mac but it’s much more complicated.

2. I would like to thank Neil Sardesai for his excellent article in CryptoCoinsNews which I base this tutorial on.

3. The process is technical. I will walk you through it, but it may seem a bit daunting for someone who is not technical in nature.

In order to create a customized Bitcoin public address we will need to find the right private key. This can only be done through what is know as “brute force” (basically guessing until we hit the right combination). Brute force requires computing power so we will need to put our computer to work for this.

Step 1: Download VanityGen

We’ll start by downloading a program called “Vantiygen“. Once you open the ZIP file you’ve downloaded you should see the following content:

vanitygen contents

Since I’m assuming that most of the readers of this post are less technical we will choose the “VanityGen” or “VanityGen64” in order to utilize our CPU for this task.

Step 2: Run VanityGen

Open up a command prompt window by hitting “Start” -> “Run”, then typing “cmd” and press “OK”.

command window

Next you will need to either write the path of the file or just drag the EXE file into the black cmd window (works only from Windows 7 and up). If you’re using a 64bit computer then choose VanityGen64.

vanitygen run

Once you press Enter you’ll see a list of options VanityGen supplies. We will now want to run VanityGen in order to brute force our address. So again put in the VanityGen file path but this time add “-v -i [5-6 characters you’d like for your address starting with 1]”.

So for example I can write ” -v -i 1cool” or ” -v -i 1test” like written in the example below.

running vanitygen with test

Notice that the “-v” is for requesting an output with words. The “-i” is for requesting it to be case insensitive (which takes less time to calculate). The longer the output you request the longer it will take the program to find the right address. Once you’ll hit Enter you’ll see something like this:

vanitygen working

The information at the bottom means the following:

Kkey/s – Is the speed that the program is working in.

Prob – The probability of stumbling upon your requested address at that given moment.

The last set of numbers means that in 30.3 seconds the probability will be 50%. Depending on how lucky you are you’ll receive your address somewhere between 50% and 100% probability. When the calculation is done you’ll see the following:

vanity address created

You can see the public address and the private key at the bottom. If you want to use this address you’ll need to import this private key into your Bitcoin wallet. For more information on Vanity Addresses check out this BitcoinTalk thread.

Have a cool address you’ve already created ? Paste it in the comment section below so we can see how creative you are…

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Ofir Beigel

Owner at 99 Coins ltd.
Blogger and owner of 99Bitcoins. I've been dealing with Bitcoin since the beginning of 2013 and it taught me a lesson in finance that I couldn't get anywhere else on the planet. I'm not a techie, I don't understand "Hashes" and "Protocols", I designed this website with people like myself in mind. My expertise is online marketing and I've dedicated a large portion of 99Bitcoins to Bitcoin marketing.

18 Comments

  1. They say one needs the energy of the sun to find the privatekey. So no worries there..

    My vanitygen address: 1MandyRyhdfKRGGKUUaReFMBcmrMfimYT7

  2. Very cool tutorial Ofir. Being an IT professional with a security conscious mind, the first thing that came to mind was can this program be used to brute force my private key? I don’t have time to investigate now but in theory would it be possible to use this vanitygen to search for a specific FULL bitcoin address (using a case sensitive search) and return the private key? would using a gpu make this process even easier?

    • That’s actually a very interesting question. Unfortunately far to technical for me to know the answer for :) I do know though that quantum computers are said to be able to calculate your private key once they know your public address. So I guess it is possible but will take A LOT of computing power.

      • Quantum computers eh? Well sign me up for one of those! lol. In all seriousness, if anyone has the time to put this to test I would be very interested to see the results. Also out of curiosity, do you know how one would go about using a private key string to take control of a bitcoin address? Example if you gave me your private key or i managed to obtain it using the vanitygen, or other means, and I knew your bitcoin address associated with the private key, how would i go about linking the two together? I would like to test this myself sometime in the next couple weeks but I’m not exactly sure what to do with the private key once obtained. Bitcoin wallets such as MultiBit or the bull Qt-Bitcoin app handle all the private, public key and passwords.

        Going back to your quantom computing remark… With current 12core Intel CPU’s, on server mobo’s that support 2x or 4x (or more) CPU sockets its not to unreasonable to think that it might be possible to brute force a full private key. 2x 12core cpu’s with hyper threading is 48 worker threads that could run at once! Plus throwing in a GPU might help too (not sure though).

        Another question, is brute forcing in this vanitygen case a CPU intensive operation that a CPU could actually handle, or is this kinda number crunching similar to bitcoin mining and it’s better suited to GPUs and ASICs?

        Finally, you mentioned that this was best run on a Windows PC and that it would be more difficult under a mac. How would one go run this on a mac? Are there binaries or do i need the source and compile it? If there is source available I’m interested to see it; any idea where i can find it?

        Sorry for the long winded reply. This blog post is very interesting to me from a security standpoint!

    • I think you’ll also be limited to specific providers since the Bitcoin protocol doesn’t recognize email addresses. So any service that let’s you sign up with an email is basically a 3rd party which will need to connect to a specific wallet.

  3. I actually followed your tutorial and managed to create a great looking address. It’s not so complicated if you just follow what you say. Thanks man!

  4. WOW! That process seems so hard to me, thanks for sharing it but I’m going with the easy route and using BVG :).

  5. I just used BitcoinVanityGen and it was pretty straightforward! Addresses that have 6 letters or less are free right now so for anyone else who wants this, you better hurry! Thank you so much for sharing this!

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