[bitcoin-dev] Card Shuffle To Bitcoin Seed

rhavar at protonmail.com rhavar at protonmail.com
Sat Feb 2 19:51:59 UTC 2019

More of a shower-thought than a BIP, but it's something I've long wish (hardware) wallets supported:


Abstract: Bitcoin Wallets generally ask us to trust their seed generation is both correct and honest. Especially for hardware and air gapped wallets, this is both a big ask and more or less impossible to practically verify. So we propose a bring-your-own-entropy approach in which the wallet can function completely deterministically. Our method is based on shuffling physical deck of cards. There are 52!  (2^219.88) different shuffle order, which is a big enough space to be secure against collision and brute force attacks. Conveniently a shuffled deck of cards also can serve as a physical backup which is easy to hide in plain sight with great plausible deniability.


Each card has a suit which can be represented by one of SCHD (spades, clubs, hearts, diamonds) and a value of one of 23456789TJQKA where the numbers are obvious and (T=ten, J=jack, Q=queen, K=king, A=ace) so "7 of clubs" would be represented by "7C" and a "Ten of Hearts" would be represented with "TH".

An deck of cards looks like:


And can be verified by making sure that every one of the 52 cards appears exactly once.

Step 1.  Shuffle your deck of cards

This is a lot harder than you'd imagine, so do it quite a few times, with quite a few different techniques. It is advised to do at *least* 7 good quality shuffles to achieve a true cryptographically secure shuffle. Do not look at the cards while shuffling (to avoid biasing) and don't be afraid to also shuffle them face down on the table. Err on the side over over-shuffling.
See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuffling#Sufficient_number_of_shuffles

Step 2. Write out the order (comma separated)

And example shuffle is:


Step 3.  Sha512 it to create a seed

In the example above you should get:

Step 4. Interpret it

e.g. For bip32 you would treat the first 32 bytes as the private key, and the second 32 bytes as as the extension code.

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