Private keys are like your email password that can not be reset and once lost/forgotten, cannot be recovered. If you’re just going to start saving cryptocurrencies or buying during this bear market (when the market is down), you will need a cryptocurrency wallet. These wallets will usually give you private keys in order to access your funds, again, these private keys are usually not recoverable. Here are some ways to protect it.
Again, private keys are usually unrecoverable, once lost, it will be really hard to open your wallet again thus the digital assets inside are permanently gone. There are ways on how you can keep your private keys safe and having a screenshot of it from your phone is not the safest.
Table of Contents.
What is a Private Key?
Let us start by explaining how bitcoin transaction works. In order to make a transaction, you will need a bitcoin wallet and your recipient needs one too. With the bitcoin wallet, you will have a public key and a private key. The public key acts like your address and your private key is your key to access your funds.
This public key, also known as your address, doesn’t keep your bitcoin but instead it keeps a record of your transactions. In short, it has your balance. It is a combination of 34 letters and numbers and can be shared with the public. For every public key, there is a corresponding private key. This private key is also a combination of 64 random numbers and letters. Make sure to keep this key safe and secure.
In order to make a transaction, you will need your private key to “sign” the transaction and make it valid. The nodes will then check if you have enough bitcoin to send and you haven’t sent it to anybody else. Once the transaction is good to go, the transaction will get included in a block which will then be chained to the previously completed block. This is the start of the blockchain.
Keeping Private Key Safe
Writing it on Paper
The best way to protect and secure your private key is to write it on a sheet of paper using a quality pen. A better way to do it is to have it laminated afterward and then keep it in a safe place. Make sure to store the paper somewhere safe, you don’t want to lose that paper because that is your key to opening your cryptocurrency wallet.
While there are free wallets available online or via mobile, these wallets are still susceptible to hacking. Why not store your keys and your funds offline by using a hardware wallet? These wallets are like flash drives that saves your cryptocurrencies and goes offline when not in use.
One of the cheapest ways to store your private key secure is by using a paper wallet. This is much like the first tip of writing it down and laminating it, but this time the paper wallet itself will hold your private key. Have it laminated again and store it in a secure place.
Never Screenshot and Never Keep it Online
One of the most important advice is to never make a screenshot of your private keys or store it in your email or computer. Your mobile and PC is the easiest gadgets to hack as it is always connected online and is prone to hacking. If you happen to save your private keys on your phone or mobile, it has a high chance of being hacked. Make sure to just do tip number one.
A private key is very sensitive information. It is like the key to your treasure trove of digital assets. Make sure to keep it secure, safe, and away from prying eyes.
This article originally appeared on BitPinas: How to Protect your Private Keys