What are public and private keys for beginners?

We have often heard people ask what is a public key or what is a private key? It is such an integral part of the crypto wallet, So we decided to write about it.

This article will touch on public and private keys, how they work, and why they are essential. It is important to note that these keys always come in pairs. One is used to encrypt or send out of your crypto wallet while the other is used to decrypt or open what has been sent to your crypto wallet.

What is a Public key?

A public key is like a bank account number that you use to encrypt or receive cryptocurrency transactions. Although anyone could send cryptocurrencies, you would need a private key to decrypt or access the cryptocurrencies.

Sharing your public key is usually safe because it is near impossible for someone to guess the private key associated with it. Although public keys are called keys, they typically appear as a collection of characters i.e numbers, symbols, etc.

What is a Private key?

If there is anything that you take away from this article, let it be this: Never share your private key.

Many crypto scams would ask for your private key with the promise of sending cryptocurrencies to the wallet. This is a blatant lie.

Imagine a public key as a donation box. Anyone can put their donations into the box, but they can’t take them back once they are in. Only the head of the donation committee can use their private key to open the box and access the donations.

Now imagine if this person misplaces or gives out the key, then whoever possesses it could take or steal the donations because they have the means to access it. This is why protecting your private key is essential.

What is a seed phrase?

A seed phrase is also known as a mnemonic phrase. It usually consists of 12–24 words.

A mnemonic phrase is basically a backup. If you lose your private key, the only other way for you to access your wallet is by entering your exact mnemonic phrase. This will enable you to reassess your cryptocurrencies.

Where is my public or private key?

In your cryptocurrency wallet, it doesn’t matter if the wallet is a mobile app or a desktop software. If your cryptocurrencies are on an exchange, then the exchange is the custodian or keeper of your private keys. In other words, it is the same as leaving your money with a bank minus ‘maintenance’ fees.

At ValorExchange, we offer the most secure and flexible crypto hot wallets for your cryptocurrencies.

In conclusion

This is one in a collection of beginners guides that we’ve released to help you understand the industry better. You can join us on Telegram to stay up to date with the ins and outs of the crypto industry. We also give our free resources and more to help you get started.

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