Vanitygen is a tool which allows you to generate personalised bitcoin addresses.
$ ./vanitygen 1Boat Difficulty: 4476342 Pattern: 1BRMLAB Address: 1BRMLAB7nryYgFGrG8x9SYaokb8r2ZwAsX Privkey: 5J4XJRyLVgzbXEgh8VNi4qovLzxRftzMd8a18KkdXv4EqAwX3tS
FirstBits is a scheme (with a website) where you lookup bitcoin addresses based on the first few unique characters. It checks the bitcoin blockchain (database of network’s transactions) to find the entire address. The requirement is that the address has to have been used at least once in the network and already had a payment to it.
If you go to FirstBits.com and type in 1brmlab, you will be given the entire bitcoin address!
Using FirstBits together with Vanitygen you can generate easy to remember handles. Whenever someone wishes to make a payment, you don’t have to remember the address- you can simply say 1brmlab.
One more thing- FirstBits addresses are case insensitive. 1brmlab, 1Brmlab and 1BRMLAB are all the same. If you paste your bitcoin address into the FirstBits website it will give you the longest unique string you can use as your FirstBits handle.