If you are trying to understand the science behind cryptocurrency, then you might also want to know about public and private keys. There’s no way you have never questioned yourself what is the difference between public key and private key, are they important or how to use them? In this article, all your questions will be answered. Indeed both public and private keys play a crucial role in sending and receiving cryptocurrencies and should be kept safe especially your private keys.
Many of us know private keys as a passcode that shield our crypto coins from going into the wrong hands. To process a transaction or to get access to your coins, one needs to enter the private keys. Only those who have access to your private keys can access your coins which is why you should not share it with anyone.
But what are public keys and what they do? You might now know but if you own cryptocurrencies or ever sent it from one wallet address to another, then you’ve used your public keys. How? Because even your crypto wallet address is obtained from your public key.
So, let’s get started and understand the working of both public and private keys in cryptocurrency.
Difference Between Public Key And Private Key
So, what the difference between public key and Private Key? This is simple, public keys are visible to everyone, however, private keys are kept secure so that only the owner of the cryptocurrency can have access to them. Both public and private keys work together in securing and processing transactions but are different from each other. Public keys are used to encrypt data or transactions, whereas private keys are used to decrypt the received data.
For example, if you want to send a secret message to Person A, you will use his public keys to encrypt the data so that no one else except him can read it. Then when Person A receives your message, he will use his private keys to decrypt it. This tells us that both public and private keys are linked. If a message is encrypted using Person A’s public key then it can only be decrypted using his private keys.
Is It Possible To Obtain Private Keys From Public Keys
It is true that both public and private keys are linked in a way that they work together. But if you are afraid that someone can get access to your private key using your public key then you can be at ease. There’s no way for anyone to obtain your private keys from public keys because the algorithm used in the creation of public key is only one way. However, you must save your private keys at a safe place so that no one else can get access to them or you end up losing it. Once, lost there’s no way to recover it and then your cryptocurrencies would be useless.
Understanding The Use Of Public And Private Keys In Cryptocurrency
Like we said above, both public and private keys are used to send cryptocurrencies from one wallet to another. Let’s understand it better with public key and private key example:
If John wants to send cryptocurrency to his friend Jake, he will use his public keys (wallet address). After that, he will use his private keys to authenticate the transaction and the transaction would be added to the blockchain. The receiver, who is jake, will also use his private keys to get access to the cryptocurrencies John sent to him.
This way, public and private keys together make sure that the data you are sending is being sent to the right person without any alteration. So, even if someone else gets access to your encrypted data, they wouldn’t be able to decrypt it without the private keys of the receiver.
Both keys exist in the form of long unreadable text and QR code. You can either scan the QR code or use the text as it is to process your transactions.
How To Keep Your Private Keys Secure?
Managing cryptocurrencies can be really painful especially when it comes to storing your private keys. Now that we have the clear your doubts regarding the difference between public key and private key, let’s move on to another question. So, where should you store your private keys that no one else can get access to them? All your mobile and computer devices have access to the internet connection which makes it really easy for hackers to get access to your private keys. Don’t ask me how they do it, just remember that it is just a matter of minutes for them to hack your device and extract data from it. Let’s talk about the various ways where you can store your private keys safe from hackers and every other threat.
This is the most basic way to store crypto private keys and no hacker can ever be able to get access to them. It is as simple as it sounds. You write down your private key on a paper and print the QR code and then keep it safe at someplace where no one else can get access to them.
However, there are many drawbacks to this method. In the past, we’ve seen many instances where people lost their keys, forgot where they kept it and dropped water on their paper wallet. You can simply write your the key on a piece of paper using the pen but then there are ink issues. Nevertheless, we recommend you should not use this method if you own a significant amount of cryptocurrencies. After all, it’s not a joke, this key is the key to your cryptocurrency and without it you literally have nothing.
Presently, hardware wallets are considered as the safest method to store your private keys. There are no chances of anyone hacking your device and you can carry it with you anywhere. Moreover, hardware wallets itself are secured using passcode which is why no one can get past your wallet unless they know the passcode. It also allows you to enable two-factor authentication for another layer of protection. Some of the top crypto hardware wallets are Ledger Nano S and Trezor One.
At last, there are software wallets. As we said above, it is not safe to keep your private keys in your mobile phones and computers. So, we suggest you avoid this method. However, if you only have a meagre amount of cryptocurrencies and don’t want to spend your money in Hardware wallet, you should check out Reviews Of Best Multi Cryptocurrency Wallets With Pros And Cons.