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Never Use a Brain Wallet

Among many reasons why people find it hard to use cryptocurrency there's a simple one -- memorising the private key is too hard. So, people invented brain wallet, which turns a string of words into a private key and thus wallet.

It's genius in that now a user needs only to memorise whatever he or she used to create the wallet. You can turn your name, phone number, DoB, favourite quote, lover's home address, ..., literally anything into a cryptocurrency wallet. However, this also means that if someone else successfully guessed the passphrase you used, they can sweep all the coins you have!

100 Bitcoins Forgone for Science

This post is just another piece of my serious nonsense. All of a sudden, I wanted to know how many Bitcoins I could have mined since 2012? This is because I’ve known Bitcoin since its existence in 2009, but have never really put any effort in mining. Instead, I was fascinated by the idea of using distributed (volunteer) computing to solve scientific problems. For example, BOINC and related projects like World Community Grid are using the computing power donated from around the world to find effective treatments for cancer and HIV/AIDS, low-cost water filtration systems and new materials for capturing solar energy efficiently, etc. I was one of the many volunteers for a long time, even before the genesis block of Bitcoin.

An interesting question is, what if I didn’t donate my computers to volunteer computing, but used them in Bitcoin instead? How many Bitcoins I could have mined? To solve this question, I started from looking at my contribution history of the World Community Grid (it’s awesome that the full history is available).