How to Sign a Message with Bitcoin – Sign Message

Beginner’s Guide / 12.03.2021

Learning how to sign a message with Bitcoin is the next step in becoming a more informed investor. Most people are surprised to learn that message signing is a basic feature of Bitcoin. The purpose of message signing is to prove that you are the actual owner of an address without moving any assets. As such, you must possess the account’s private keys to sign a message on the blockchain.

Benefits of Message Signing

The ability to sign messages may seem trivial, but it serves a vital purpose in the blockchain ecosystem. Primarily, message signing is used to prove that you control a particular Bitcoin address. Remember, Bitcoin’s blockchain is open and transparent. This means that anyone can see the balances of each wallet on the blockchain. Consequently, a signed message is one of the best ways to prove you are the true owner and have access to the account’s funds.

Security

Message signing is another tool that is baked into Bitcoin’s core functionalities. This system adds an extra layer of security because it allows you to publicize certain information that anyone with total security can openly verify. Like Bitcoin’s blockchain, the network’s message signing services are protected with advanced cryptographic protocols that have never been breached.

Reasons to Use Message Signing

There are many reasons someone would sign their Bitcoin messages. Primarily, it would be best if you never gave out your private keys. If these keys were to get into the wrong hands, it would allow the new key holders to access and drain your funds without consequence easily. Remember, there are no refunds on the Bitcoin blockchain. Here are some other crucial reasons to utilize this helpful tool.

Prove Ownership of Wallet

Proving you own a certain wallet can come in handy for many reasons. For example, when Craig Write went to court claiming to be the true inventor of Bitcoin, he was asked to sign a message to validate his access to the accounts. As you probably guessed, he was unable to complete this task.

Consequently, his Nakamoto claims are still rebuked by many in the market today. Had he been able to sign a message from the Nakamoto’s famed accounts, it would have left little doubt that he was indeed who he claimed.

Hard Fork

Another popular use for the Bitcoin sign message is to claim hard-forked coins. Whenever a new hard fork of Bitcoin hits the market, the holders of the world’s original cryptocurrency usually have the opportunity to claim an equivalent amount of the new coin. This distribution method is still very much in use today.

Unfortunately, there have been cases where scamsters asked Bitcoin holders to prove they owned a particular wallet at the time of the fork. Sadly, some unknowing investors sent their private keys and had their funds quickly drained. Nowadays, providing a signed message is considered the best way to accomplish this task and claim your new forked coins.

Verification of Origin of Funds

As Bitcoin becomes more mainstream, it’s becoming more popular to see people make major purchases of real-world assets using their coins. When purchasing real estate and other large ticket items, many countries require that you verify your funds’ origins. Savvy investors utilize the sign message feature to accomplish this task securely.

Configuration of Multi-Sig Wallets

The use of multi-sig wallets is on the rise. These wallets differ from regular Bitcoin addresses because they require multiple parties to sign off on a transaction. Unfortunately, if one of the parties were to provide the incorrect wallet address during these wallets’ setup, it could potentially lock these funds up for eternity. For these reasons, it’s now common for companies to require each multi-sig wallet participant to provide a signed message to verify their wallet address is correct.

How Does Message Signing Work

Bitcoin’s signing capabilities are only possible because the coin relies on asymmetric cryptography. This encoding data strategy leverages the basic principles of PGP to encrypt and verify the authenticity of messages securely. Specifically, Bitcoin employs the digital signature algorithm ECDSA to complete this task. Notably, the system also incorporates a timestamp into the signing protocol to add even more protection.

Wallets that Support Message Signing

There is an excellent selection of wallets that utilize the sign message feature available today. Some of the most popular software wallets supporting Bitcoin sign message functionality include Bitcoin Core, Electrum, Blockchain.info, and Coinomi. Additionally, the top hardware wallets in the market offer sign message functionality, such as the Ledger Nano X. If you are unsure if your current Bitcoin wallet supports message signing, you need to check the options and look for a Sign and Verify Messages button.

How to Use Message Signing on Bitcoin Core

Sending a signed message on Bitcoin Core is simple. The first step is to download and install the Bitcoin Core system. Once your software is installed, you will want to create a new address to use as a signature base. To do this, you click on the To Receive button and then the Create New Address for Reception.

Once the new address populates, you will want to click on the Archive selection in the main menu. Here you will see a drop-down option that says Sign Message. Next, you need to fill in the message you intend to send. Lastly, click the Sign Message button.

How to Verify a Signed Message

Verifying a new message isn’t difficult on Bitcoin Core either. The first step is to go to the Archive option within the main menu. You will notice this will bring up some options. Click the one that says Verify Message. Now copy the original message and Bitcoin address and paste them into their respective text bars. The final step is to click the Verify Message button.

Sign Message Makes Bitcoin Safer

Now that you know how to use this cool but little-known Bitcoin feature, you are ready to avoid some common pitfalls new investors fall victim to. The main thing to understand is that you can’t give your private keys to anyone. Instead, send a verifiable signed message on the blockchain to keep your Satoshis safer.

David Hamilton aka DavidtheWriter is a long time Bitcoinist and cryptocurrency journalist. Currently, he has over a thousand articles published on blockchain technology. His expertise and experience makes him one of the most reputable writers in the sector.