Bitcoin Q&A: How Do Mnemonic Seeds Work?


What cryptography *magic* makes mnemonic seed words work? How is randomness generated? Can seed words be imported into more than one wallet?

More on wallets and mnemonic code words – https://github.com/bitcoinbook/bitcoinbook/blob/f8b883dcd4e3d1b9adf40fed59b7e898fbd9241f/ch05.asciidoc

BIP39 – Mnemonic code for generating deterministic keys https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039.mediawiki
BIP32 – Hierarchical deterministic wallets https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0032.mediawiki

Chapters
0:00 How do mnemonic seed words work? It looks like magic to me
0:49 They are basically a number, but that number is represented by words, almost like a lookup table
2:37 Stretching
3:39 Hierarchical deterministic wallets
4:38 The words in the mnemonic phrase are not selected by you; the words are produced from a 128 or 256 bit random number. When we say “random,” what does that mean? Does that mean true random?

These questions are from the MOOC 9.4 session which took place on March 9th, 2018. Andreas is a teaching fellow with the University of Nicosia. The first course in their Master of Science in Digital Currency degree, DFIN-511: Introduction to Digital Currencies, is offered for free as an open enrollment MOOC course to anyone interested in learning about the fundamental principles.

If you want early-access to talks and a chance to participate in the monthly live Q&As with Andreas, become a patron: https://www.patreon.com/aantonop

RELATED:
How do I choose a wallet? – https://youtu.be/tN6b62sEpsY
Hot vs. cold wallets – https://youtu.be/Aji_E9sw0AE
Secure, tiered storage system – https://youtu.be/uYIVuZgN95M
How do I secure my bitcoin? – https://youtu.be/vt-zXEsJ61U
HODLing and the “get free” scheme – https://youtu.be/MhOwmsW1YNI
How to get people to care about security – https://youtu.be/Ji1lS9NMz1E
Airdrop coins and privacy implications – https://youtu.be/JHRnqJJ0rhc
The price of losing privacy – https://youtu.be/2G8IgiLbT_4
Bitcoin as everyday currency – https://youtu.be/xYvvSV4mjH0

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and respected figures in bitcoin.

Follow on Twitter: @aantonop https://twitter.com/aantonop
Website: https://antonopoulos.com/

He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin,” published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin; “The Internet of Money,” a book about why bitcoin matters.

THE INTERNET OF MONEY, v1: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Internet-Money-collection-Andreas-Antonopoulos/dp/1537000454/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

[NEW] THE INTERNET OF MONEY, v2: https://www.amazon.com/Internet-Money-Andreas-M-Antonopoulos/dp/194791006X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

MASTERING BITCOIN: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mastering-Bitcoin-Unlocking-Digital-Cryptocurrencies/dp/1449374042

[NEW] MASTERING BITCOIN, 2nd Edition: https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Bitcoin-Programming-Open-Blockchain/dp/1491954388

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