Seeding as the DNA of your ‘digital self’

The crypto world uses public and private keys to execute transactions and store things securely in a box or wallet. These keys are based on long, mathematically randomly generated numbers, so large that the probability of a matching code is almost zero *). Because we humans have difficulty dealing with numbers, there is a method of creating an origin from a collection of 12 to 24 ‘dictionary words’ from which the unique long number can be generated. You can compare this set of words, the seed phrase, with a DNA profile, a series of understandable words that make it possible to (re) build your digital identity. By keeping this series of words in a safe place offline, it keeps it digitally secure and protected from online hacking.

Creating and restoring keys

A private key is generated cryptographically based on the random number. The relevant public key is then created with the private key. Corresponding to the public bank account and the secret PIN code. Until now, there is actually no need for an online computer because the key pairs can be deduced mathematically, handwritten on paper and stored in a box – offline – in this way. Only the public key is used so publicly, for example in a blockchain ledger, just like your bank account number, the private key is never used.

The theoretical chance that exactly two of the same keys will be created is minimal because the number of variations is so high that it is unthinkable to duplicate or hack a particular key. Today, seed phrases are commonly used, which are translated into English as seed words, which is a collection of 12 to 24 dictionary words that are an unencrypted form of the private key. Words are easier for people to remember than numbers. When a unique key for a wallet is generated digitally using random numbers, the generated ‘kimord’ backup is to be accessed again if the wallet is compromised or you yourself have lost the digital key. You can compare this set of words with a DNA profile, a series of understandable words that allow you to rebuild your original digital identity.

Wallets and DApps

If access to a digital wallet or purse is forgotten, damaged, or compromised, the seed statement can be used by manually entering it and regaining access to the wallet, its key, and the cryptocurrency. You can also store both your public and private key in the digital wallet, and from there you can arrange your digital identification (SSI), your communication and your transactions. In the web 3.0 world, decentralized applications, also called DApps or Dapps, are used, which can work in a peer-to-peer blockchain network. DApps are not managed from a central unit, but, as the name suggests, they are managed decentrally.

Dapp browsers are considered Web 3.0 browsers. Access to many decentralized applications based on blockchain technology. This means that dapp browsers must have a unique coding system to unite all the different codes for dapps. While crypto-wallets are aimed at exchanging, buying and selling digital assets and specific targeted applications, Dapp browsers support different types of applications of different formats including exchanges, games, NFT marketplaces, smart contracts, etc. Because the current web 2.0 the world has not yet been supported for a long time to come, dapp browsers usually also support Web 2.0 functionality and technology.

Saves seed sentences

As said before, a seeding as your DNA is of your digital identity in the crypto universe. In order to have a good safe and reproducible seed setting, a row of 24 words is no longer used today. Also called a Mnemonic phrase, this is formally the coded source of entropy (randomness) that identifies your wallet in the digital universe. In most cases, wallet vendors generate the seed statement based on BIP39 for you, and you then have to manually overwrite it or otherwise keep it safe.

Everything you save once is a single point of error. Paper is fragile, flammable and perishable. You can choose to engrave your seeding in metal. Stronger than paper and can not burn. You can also divide your seedling into pieces and store it in different places. Then the chance of someone finding and using your seeding is much less if you remember where you ‘stored’ those parts. You can also use the ‘storage trick’ by dividing the 24 words into three pieces of paper and writing the words 1-16, 8-24 and (1-8 and 16-24) there. You only need to find two of the three notes to know your entire seeding again. You can even choose to summarize and remember your 24 words in a story.

BIP39

GDP stands for Bitcoin Improvement Proposal. BIP39 is a list of 2048 common English words that can be selected to generate the seed for a private key. All words correspond to a number from 0001 (give up) to 2048 (zoo). A private key is usually an access key to only one address (account), while the seed set is the access key to the entire wallet, which can contain several addresses or accounts. The seed set is the access key and the instruction to restore both the wallet and all accounts in it.

Many wallets support the creation of an extra word, the so-called passphrase, an additional password to restrict access to your crypto-wallet if your seed statement has become known or someone else has gained access to your wallet. An access statement also makes it possible to create multiple crypto-wallets from a single seed statement. You could even create a dummy purse should you ever be forced to make your seeding public. But realize that every password, every extra password must be remembered. And thus making your own security more complex. Sometimes good is good enough, this is also true in the world of security.

*) Cryptocurrencies use 256 bit numbers, which are very large – up to 77 digits long. In normal decimal numbers, this is e.g. the access key to an account number: 15692029237316 193423570985008 4879078532689846 65640564039457554 00691939129.
This access key is written in binary: 111111111100011101011110001110000 101001101011011111110000010101111 1001011100110101111101110111100111 010110110011100000001010000010011 00011001101111011011000100010101111111111101111111011111011111011
In hexadecimal code it gets a little easier: ffc7 5e38 535b f82b e5cd 7dbc 75b3 80a0 98cd ed88 affc 28af 793c cb2f dc17 efff
This code is used for a private key. Around 2013, the BIP39 proposal was conceived to represent this code in ‘ordinary’ words. But keep in mind that a private key and a seeding, even though they are connected, are not the same and serve different purposes.

By: Hans Timmerman (photo), Chief Data Officer at DigiCorp Labs and Director of Fortierra

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