A Vanity address is a personalized address of a crypto currency.
What is a Vanity address and how do they work?
Vanity or personalized addresses serve to identify the recipient precisely. In principle, so many key pairs are generated until the hash of the public key corresponds to a defined character string! Example:
The Bitcoin Uni wants to get a P2SH vanity address, the defined character string should be "Buni" with the P2SH prefix the system searches for an address starting with "3Buni...".
The longer the string is, the more expensive it is to generate this address. The computing time is limited to 4 characters to a few minutes, with an average desktop PC.
With this PC it would take 800 years to find a key for an address with 9 defined characters. For this reason, there are services that use a split key to perform the calculation.
Splitkeys work in a way that ensures that the computing service has no possibility to get the private key. First of all, the service is told which address format and which character string the address should have.
Next, a key pair is generated OFFLINE (!!!), whose public key is made available to the service, in this case nicewalletaddress (recommended by ₿Uni). Furthermore an email address is required.
The calculation service now generates the many key pairs to find the split-privatekey to the desired address. If the split-privatekey was found by the service, it sends it to the stored email address.
Now the two split-privatekeys just have to be joined together. Now switch the computer OFFLINE (!!!) by switching off the W-Lan or disconnecting the Ethernet cable.
Now click on the button "Merge Keys" and insert the private key you have created into the first field. In the second field the private key that was sent by email will be inserted.
In the third field the public address with the desired character string is inserted, which is also included in the email. Click on the button Merge split keys.
The complete private key to the vanity address will appear, secure it very well by saving it e.g. in a cold storage, a software or simply on a piece of paper!
The QR Code can now be scanned by your software wallet from your smartphone by importing a wallet. As a precaution, delete the memory of your browser and restart it before the computer goes online again. It's as simple as that!
There are of course console applications for Vanity addresses, but these require more IT knowledge and will be presented another time!
Bitcoin University is currently working on offering this service directly. The special feature will be that the latest address type will be available. In order to generate the key pairs completely offline and to merge the splitkeys even more secure, a graphical user interface will be developed!
What is a vanity address good for?
This can be very helpful for a charity organization to make a campaign known, donors can be sure that not one malware has changed the address, and at the same time they know that the money is used for this campaign. Public authorities or companies could also use Vanity addresses to be controlled by citizens and workers. Since Bitcoin University is still working on this service, they will use another provider for as long as it takes.
Caution: The Bitcoinvanitygen service is, according to some statements, a scam, no splitkey procedure is used. Filled Wallets get robt!
Another vanity service is vante.me but it only offers the standard address type Lagecy.
The service of nicewalletaddress on the other hand also offers the P2SH address type and is therefore primarily recommended here!