Getting Started with Burstcoin.

The first choice to be made is to select a wallet or a node software wallet combination.  If you are new to cryptocurrency, please review the general information related to Burstcoin wallets below.

  • Phoenix is the newest and easiest wallet to install.  As a light node wallet, it references the blockchain through copies that are stored on network nodes rather than its own copy.  It can, however, reference a local copy of the blockchain in combination with the BRS software (with the BRS software running, just select settings and enter http://localhost:8125 as the node).  Phoenix is a cross platform application and can be installed on all major operating systems.
  • BRS (Burst Reference Software) maintains a complete copy of the Burstcoin blockchain and is currently required in order to operate a full node.  You can use the included BRS wallet interface as your primary wallet, or just run this software for it full node functionality.  For this configuration, use the Phoenix wallet.  Versions of the BRS software are available for Windows (64-bit version only), MacOS, Linux, Android, and Docker.

To download and install Phoenix and/or the Burst Reference Software, visit the Burstcoin Software Library.  This is a comprehensive collection of Burstcoin software and reference materials.  It includes software for plotting, mining, operating a mining pool, and many other useful tools and dApps.

Reserve a Burstcoin Account

To reserve a Burstcoin account, a so called passphrase must be generated.  Knowledge of the passphrase is the only detail that controls access to an account.  In effect, the passphrase is the account and anyone who knows it will have unrestricted access to the account’s funds and functions.  Losing an account’s passphrase reduces its value to zero, regardless of the quantity of Burstcoin that it contains.  It is therefore the account owner’s responsibility to protect the passphrase.  For additional information, see Burstcoin security.

Importance of a strong random passphrase:

Any string can be used for the passphrase, but a long and truly random passphrase is the ideal.  Although true randomness is difficult to achieve, both the Phoenix wallet and the BRS software will generate a sufficiently randomized passphrase for each new account.  Changing the generated passphrase is not recommended even though it is possible to do so during setup.

Technical Information:  Anatomy of a Passphrase

An account’s id and address are derived from a permanent and immutable cryptographic hash of its passphrase.

From an account’s passphrase, elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC) generates 1 public key, 1 private key (for signing transactions), and 1 so called agreement key (for message encryption).  It is not important to understand these keys precisely as they are used internally by the program.  It is an account’s passphrase that allows interaction with the blockchain for making transactions.

  • passphrase: This can be any string.  Burstcoin generally uses 12 words drawn randomly from a collection (dictionary) of English words.  This can be modified only at the time of creation and is immutable thereafter.
  • Private key:  A cryptographic hash of the account’s passphrase.
  • Public key:  A cryptographic hash with the private key as seed.  This decodes to two interchangeable public addresses; an almost unique number ( account id ) and a more commonly used address in the Reed-Solomon format (always begins with BURST).

Although the public key, numeric account id, and RS address are derived from the cryptographic hash of an account’s passphrase, the passphrase cannot be derived from any of these.

ACTIVATE a Burstcoin Account

New accounts have a default 64-bit level of security prior to activation.  Full security, at the 256-bit level, requires that an account’s address and public id be published to the block chain.  This process is referred to as activation.  It eliminates the remote possibility of two different passphrases producing the same Burstcoin address.  (In cryptology, this state is referred to as collision, where two inputs produce the same cryptographic output).

If you are using the Phoenix wallet, account activation is easy.  Just click on activate and the account activation service will activate your account automatically.

If you are using the wallet interface included with the BRS Software, import the account into a Phoenix wallet temporarily to make use of its account activation service.  In Phoenix, the import feature is located under account management.

Alternative methods

Make an outgoing transaction:  You can choose from Set Account Info, Send a Message, Buy an Alias, or Send Burstcoin.  If you choose this method, a small amount of Burstcoin will need to be transferred to your new account from another source in order to cover the minimum transaction fee (.00735).  There are several ways to accomplish this.

There are two less intuitive methods that are best suited for the technically inclined.

BURSTCOIN WALLETS

If you familiar with the concept of a cryptocurrency wallet, and are just looking for the Burstcoin wallets, they are located in the Burstcoin software library.  However, if you are new to cryptocurrency, it is recommended that you continue reading to gain a bit of understanding first.

Burstcoin wallets do not contain Burstcoin.  Burstcoin exists only on the Burstcoin blockchain, a shared public ledger.  A wallet is a software program that interacts with the blockchain.  It reads blockchain data and displays information that is relevant to account holders such as balance, transaction history, messages, products listed for sale on the asset exchange, etc.  It allows you to make transactions which move Burstcoin from one account on the blockchain to another.

A Burstcoin wallet may be thought of as the user interface for the Burstcoin blockchain.

Burstcoin wallets use an account’s public address ( public key ) to determine what information from the ledger and mempool to display in the wallet.  There are no records that relate a public address to a particular account holder in a personally identifiable way.  Personally identifiable information can be disclosed in the normal course of business however, such as when ordering a product and providing a shipping address.  Unless an account holder initiates such a disclosure, there are no other ways to identify the account holder for a particular public address.  For this reason, many choose to maintain several accounts, each for a particular purpose.

Each Burstcoin account has a passphrase that is known only to the account holder as long as it is not disclosed.  There is no record of this passphrase in the wallet.  The passphrase is entered into the wallet each time a transaction is authorized, but it is not retained by the wallet.  Transactions which are broadcast to the network also do not contain the passphrase.  Transaction contain only single-use digital signatures.  It can be derived from the signature, using cryptology, that the transaction was created by the owner of the passphrase for the account which created the transaction.  The actual passphrase cannot be derived from the single use signature.

If a wallet (software program) is installed on a computer that is lost or destroyed, the associated accounts on the blockchain will not be affected.  As long as the passphrase is still in the account holder’s possession, it can be entered into a new wallet at any time.  Passphrases work in any wallet, new or old, local or online.  Online wallets however, should only be used for accounts with small balances.  There is no absolute way to determine if a wallet provided online is legitimate.

Wallets are continually upgraded to incorporate useful new features and to make the underlying features of the Burstcoin blockchain more fully accessible.

There are several types of Burstcoin wallets.

  • Local:  These wallets should only be used on computers that are secure from intrusion.  For accounts accounts with large balances, transactions can signed on a disconnected device so that the passphrase is never exposed to the internet.  ( Offline Transaction Signing )
  • Online:  Cryptocurrency is intended to be a trustless.  Using an online wallets (which are centralized by nature) requires entering a passphrase into a website.  There is no way to be certain that the online wallet is not recording the passphrase.  Online wallets can be useful in some situations, but should never be used with high value accounts.  Do not accessing a local wallet through an online wallet.  This reduces the security of the local wallet to that of an online wallet.  Online wallets are useful to maintain small balances for daily purchases, or to collect mining proceeds where are then transferred to a more secure software wallet.

Editors note:  There is an additional risk associated with using an online wallets that does not employ SSL technology.  There is a chance that your account’s passphrase could be intercepted by a third party.  When using an online for an appropriate purpose, only use wallets provided by reputable community members or organizations.

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