Those who use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are always seeking out the most secure ways to manage transactions. The Electrum Bitcoin client offers many beneficial features that include an encrypted wallet. Let’s take a look at what Electrum is and how one can sign a message with Electrum in order to prove ownership of a Bitcoin wallet and its contents.
What is Electrum?
Electrum is a Bitcoin client that was launched in 2011. Since that time it has become a preferred application for many Bitcoin users. A primary feature of the client is the Electrum wallet. This is a desktop wallet that places a file on the user’s computer than contains the wallet’s private keys.
Other features of Electrum include transactions that are signed locally. This means that you do not have to share your private keys with the server. Your private keys can also be kept offline in cold storage if that is what you prefer to do for added security. Multisignatures are also supported.
Why Use Electrum to Sign a Message With Private Keys?
It is not uncommon for a Bitcoin wallet owner to be asked to prove ownership of a wallet address and the amount of Bitcoin it contains. This can be done to insure that someone is not trying to use addresses without authorization.
You may be asked by some cryptocurrency exchanges to sign a message with your private keys. This is in accordance with the exchange’s policies. You may also be asked to sign a message when you participate in the distribution campaigns for an ICO. Recent campaigns that made such a requirement were those for Stellar and Byteball.
It is possible to do this by making a transaction from the address that needs to be verified, but there is a better way. It involves using Electrum and the private keys of your wallet to establish proof of ownership.
Steps to Signing a Message With Electrum
The first step to signing a message with Electrum is to visit the Electrum website for the official download. A word of caution. DO NOT download the Electrum client from any other source than the official website. The platform has been targeted by phishing scams in the past which include enticing individuals to visit a fake download site.
Step Two – Install the Electrum program on your computer.
Step Three – Create a new standard wallet from the screen that appears after installation.
Step Four – Create a new seed when prompted to do so. This recovery seed will help you recover your wallet if you are unable to gain access.
Step Five – Store your recovery seed in a safe place. Remember, if you lose the seed you will have no way to recover your wallet.
Step Six – For added security create a password.
Now you are ready to begin the process of signing a message with the Electrum platform.
Open up the wallet platform and select the tab that says ADDRESSES.
Next, highlight the wallet you want to verify ownership of and right click on it. A menu will pop up. When this menu pops up you should select SIGN/VERIFY MESSAGE.
You will then be asked to put a message into the message field. It can be any message you like. If your exchange has requested that you input a specific message, enter that.
You will then be prompted for your password. Enter it and click OK.
The message will be signed and the signature will be displayed. You can then send the message you have created with the signature below it for verification.
Please note that you can also verify any signed messages that you have received by repeating the above process. When you reach the menu after right clicking on the chosen wallet, simply select VERIFY instead of SIGN.
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