Have you ever wondered whether a Bitcoin (BTC) address — or a string of 26–35 alphanumeric characters — can happen to have human-readable words instead of random letters?
You’ve probably heard of the Lightning Network, which allows you to create a fancy BTC address that looks like an email or a web domain. But there’s also a way of creating Bitcoin addresses containing human-readable words on the original Bitcoin blockchain. Such addresses are known as vanity Bitcoin addresses.
What is a vanity Bitcoin address?
A vanity Bitcoin address is a personalized BTC address that contains a specific pattern or word in a part of its total 26-35 character string of letters and numbers. Unlike a usual Bitcoin address — which is made of random characters — a vanity Bitcoin address allows users to customize their addresses or even send a specific message just within the address.
The term “vanity address” comes from the plain meaning of the word “vanity,” which is used to express inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance. In line with the direct meaning, vanity addresses are used by those who want to stand out and give their wallet address a unique identity.
Vanity Bitcoin addresses became popular a few years after the anonymous Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto launched the cryptocurrency back in 2009. The first vanity address generator, called “VanityGen,” was released as an open-source platform on GitHub in 2012. One of the first references to vanity addresses on Bitcointalk.org — a major crypto forum created by Nakamoto — goes back to 2013.
According to Trezor’s Bitcoin analyst Josef Tetek, Nakamoto didn’t use vanity addresses: “He disappeared from the public before vanity addresses became popular,” Tetek told Cointelegraph, referring to Nakamoto’s vanishing in 2011.
Besides the Bitcoin blockchain, vanity addresses are also available on other networks, including the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike Bitcoin vanity addresses, which allow users to choose among 26–35 alphanumeric characters, Ethereum vanity addresses only feature hexadecimal numbers, as Ether (ETH) addresses can only include letters “A” through “F” and numbers zero through nine.
According to the ETH Optimism vanity address generator, creating an Ethereum vanity address starting with “0xFad69” would take up to five minutes.
How to create a Bitcoin vanity address?
There are two ways of creating a vanity BTC address: manually and using specialized vanity…