# Is 24 words more secure than 12 in encrypted wallets? Entropy determines

Entropy itself is an important law of thermodynamics, and it is a profound subject involving…thermodynamics.

Entropy What interests us is that entropy is essential to cryptography and cryptocurrency.

Without entropy, cryptocurrency is insecure.

## What is entropy?

“We all know that entropy is irreversible. You can’t turn smoke and ash into trees.”-“The Last Question” by Isaac Asimov

Entropy is a law of thermodynamics, and it is usually defined as “a measure of disorder or randomness.”

An easier-to-understand definition might be that it is “a measure of energy distribution.”

On a large scale, energy is always spreading, and nothing can stop it.

To heat a pot of water, you can use the stove. The act of using stove gas or electricity to heat water is to take energy from the original source and spread it to another source-in this case, the energy from electricity or natural gas is transferred to the pot and then to the water. When the water becomes hot and electricity or gas is no longer used, the heat of the water turns part of the water into water vapor, and the water vapor transfers the energy of the water to the air. If the tank of water is still for a few days, the water may evaporate spontaneously-thus continuing to spread the energy.

A large amount of energy is scattered everywhere, and this energy can never be controlled or completely restored to its original state.

This constant spread is an increase in entropy.

## Further explanation of entropy

There are levels of entropy; some things have high entropy and some things have low entropy. What defines the entropy level is the range of the degree of randomness or disorder in the end of something.

The example of a pot of water is a good explanation of what entropy is, but it does not best explain the different levels of entropy. Let’s use a rope instead:

If you take a short rope, put it in your pocket, walk around, and then take it out of your pocket, the rope is likely to be exactly the same as before-just an inconspicuous one rope.

However, if you have a pair of headphones, which are neatly placed in your pocket, and then move around, when you later take the headphones out of your pocket, they are likely to be entangled.

The possibility of a rope and a pair of headphones being tangled together is comparable to our understanding of the level of entropy: a string has low entropy because it will not end up in disorder, and a headset has high entropy because it will definitely end up in disorder.

Of course, this string actually has entropy because the energy is moving slowly, even though the strings look the same. After a few days, weeks, and years, the string will decay and its energy will become disordered-but its entropy (or the possibility of chaos/random/disorder) is lower than that of headphones.

Entropy is unstoppable and irreversible, because every transmission/transfer/exchange of energy will cause some energy (no matter how small the amount) to be transferred/dissipated into our environment.

In the end, all the energy in the universe will be dissipated into itself, and all the energy will reach thermodynamic equilibrium. This is the so-called thermal death of the universe, because all energy is equal, so no energy can be transferred anymore.

But don’t worry-this will not happen for a while.

The “heat death” of the universe does not actually refer to a specific temperature, but it sounds very exciting. Another less popular term for this thermodynamic equilibrium is “big freeze.”

## What is the entropy in cryptocurrency?

When a user creates a new cryptocurrency wallet, they are using entropy to create a private key.

The creation of the private key uses high entropy (randomness). It is so random and disordered that it is impossible to see the same combination twice for any purpose.

It is similar to a deck of cards. A deck of cards has 52 cards, which means that each time the cards are shuffled, each of the 52 cards may be in a different position, and this deck of cards is likely to end up in a combination that is extremely unlikely to appear again. . In fact, the number of possible combinations of a deck of cards is 8.06e+67, which is approximately 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000. This also means 225.58 bits of entropy.

The same is true for cryptocurrencies. Many wallets are secret recovery phrases consisting of 12 to 24 words (also known as seed phrases, mnemonic phrases, etc.).

These 12 (or 24) words are randomly extracted from the 2048 possible word pool, and then placed through the mechanism of generating an unlimited number of key pairs (public and private keys), which can be used as a wallet .

But what makes these 12 words safe? Two things: this is the randomness of the way they are selected and the mechanism of using this random selection as a seed.

Using 12 random words means using 128 bits of entropy. This is less than the entropy of a deck of cards, but it is still sufficient, because with our current technology, it would take millions of years to brute force it. Of course, if we can make some breakthroughs in quantum technology and create a quantum computer, it will be much faster… but that is still far away.

## Are 24-word phrases safer than 12-word phrases?

Almost, but not worth it. In fact, there are some shortcomings that make it unpopular.

Using 24 words means using 256 bits of entropy. Sounds safe, right? Yes, but it is unnecessary. The mechanism for obtaining words and converting them into actual key pairs uses no more than 128 bits, so any extras are unused and unnecessary.

Using 24-word phrases may actually be harmful to your safety: when you have to store twice as many words safely, you introduce a lot of unnecessary risks: the risk of improper memory of words, the risk of writing errors, Risk of improper storage.

12 words are enough!

## We believe in randomness

Cryptocurrency is touted as a trustless environment. In most cases, it is unreliable; you don’t have to trust decentralized projects with open source code, and you don’t have to trust the blockchain, because it is there and you can check and verify it yourself.

When we realize that at the highest level of all these, cryptography is determined by entropy, and entropy is completely random. We believe that this entropy is random enough that the cryptographic system will always remain secure.

In fact, entropy and cryptography are trustworthy magical mechanisms, but this is a healthy reminder that there is nothing truly and truly trustless, and we can’t do anything about it.