Can Crypto Private Keys Be Guessed?
Cryptocurrencies utilise two keys, a private key and public key.
The wallet address is derived from the public key.
A private key is used to verify that a public address belongs to the user, and should be either stored securely or accessed via a hard wallet ie Ledger Nano
In bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, the private key is a 256-bit number, however in most cases this number is represented in the form of a 64 digit hexadecimal number for simplicity. 256 bytes in hexadecimal is 32 bytes or 64 characters in the range 0 to F ie 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F, 10 etc
A private key is a long number formed from 256 bits.
In computers, bits are digital switches and have two states – either on/off or 1 or 0, so each bit has a total of two values.
So how easy is it to guess a private key?
2 to the power of 256, written as 2256, can be calculated by multiplying 2 by 2 by 2 etc 256 times ie 2x2x2x2x2x2x2xx2 etc 256 times
Half of 2256 = 2255, not as many people would guess to be 2128
2256 = 1077 approximately.
That’s 10 to the power of 77 – or 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 etc 77 times
Just how big is this number?
To give you an idea of how big 2256 or 1077 is – scientists estimate there to be approximately between 1078and 1082 atoms in the observable universe!
Therefore, the chance of guessing somebody’s private key are practically impossible even with the most advanced computers on earth today.