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This is a summary of the indicated section of Cryptographic Extraction and Key Derivation: The HKDF Scheme from user4982's comment. Because this is in the context of an academic paper describing a HMAC based KDF, the terminology can be a bit excessive. I have tried to trim it down in this summary. Definition of a KDF: A KDF takes four inputs: a key ...


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There's really two things to consider here: Entropy. Assuming that the hash function in question maps exactly the same number $2^{n-k}$ of bit strings of length $n$ to each hash output of length $k\leq n$, then fixing $l\leq k$ bits of the hash reduces the set of possible choices for the input from $\{0,1\}^n$ to some subset $S\subseteq\{0,1\}^n$ of ...


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From the linked page, a minikey is a 30-character string over the base58 alphabet with the first byte fixed to 'S', so effectively 29 characters. This gives a space of $log_2(58^{29}) \approx 169.88$ bits. Assuming that SHA is a random function, the probability of the hash starting with an 0-byte after appending a ? is 1/256, so this check loses 8 bits of ...


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Yes, it's fine. However, you might as well use HKDF-Expand (with your counter as the context information 'info'), so that if you later need some session keys to be larger than 256 bits, the extension is already defined for you. So, $$sk_1 = HMAC(mk, 1 || 0x01)\\ sk_2 = HMAC(mk, 2 || 0x01)\\ ...$$ And if you need a 512-bit $sk_3$ that's: $$sk_3 = HMAC(mk, ...



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