Most people within the cryptocurrency community will emphasize that securing your own private keys is the best way to hold cryptocurrencies. This means that if the exchange or wallet provider gets hacked and funds are stolen, the coins you hold on an exchange can be stolen from you and some exchange hack victims never get restitution.
However, cryptocurrency owners who secure their own private keys by maintaining a specific computer file or use a word mnemonic phrase still open themselves up to physical vectors. There are lots of people who create a new crypto wallet every single day and they typically write down the word phrase on a piece of paper and hide it. Seed phrases should be written down in a secure location by yourself. Think about it, if a piece of paper or another object with a written mnemonic phrase is searched for by malicious actors, finding the words might not be so difficult.
Most ordinary people , who know nothing about digital assets storage, would not understand why a person would have a bunch of random words tucked under the mattress. But bitcoiners do keep mnemonic phrases and have a seed written down on paper or another object. These hidden words stored in one physical location can still be compromised by thieves, damaged by the elements, and the seed can be lost by forgetting its geographic coordinates.
Besides the protection from key stealing, people also use the secret sharing technique to ensure access to the assets in case of an unexpected death. The secret sharing scheme conceived by Adi Shamir has been used for decades. The mathematically proven method allows people to secure a secret in a distributed fashion. The secret sharing technique takes an original secret and divides it into parts and each part is either hidden in different locations or parts of the secret is given to trusted participants of the scheme.
The threshold scheme requires all or a majority of the secret parts to come together in order to reconstruct the original secret. But in this article, we will cover one of the simpler ways to execute the secret sharing technique with a word seed. In this example, we will take a word seed the original secret and distribute it into three separate secrets to make physical attacks harder to achieve.
Then you take three pieces of paper and mark each piece with the letters A, B and C for each copy. On copy A you only write down the words for columns 1 and 2 and skip column 3. Then on copy B, you simply write the words for rows 1 and 3, and with copy C the columns added would be 2 and 3 with column 1 left out. Remember, in this example 2 out of 3 of the copies are needed when someone uses the secret sharing method to hide an original secret. Now that the mnemonic phrase is split into this fashion, you make sure everything was copied correctly and you can destroy the original copy with all 12 words.
Or an even more secure method would be separating the seed from scratch and all the copies will be originals. This means that with our 2 out of 3 threshold example, in order to decipher the private keys the person will need 2 out of 3 of the seed copies to access the funds. The phrase can also be split into just two sections or it can be split by more numbers if the owner desires.
Using the 2 out of 3 example above, the owner of the keys can then give the copies to two trusted participants including themselves or they can hide the copies in three separate locations. Seeds are displayed in the form of a series of words, known as a mnemonic phrase. This design is known as a Hierarchical Deterministic HD framework, which is an industry standard for Bitcoin key generation and management. Most wallets will automatically create new public keys each time you want to receive bitcoin.
This alleviates the problem of public key or address reuse. If you use the same public key every time you receive bitcoin, it would become trivial for anyone to track your entire payment history. Public keys are often conflated with addresses. An address is derived directly from a public key through a hashing algorithm, and almost all wallets and transactions will display addresses rather than public keys.
Behind every address is a public key. As long as a user knows their recovery seed, typically a or word list that was initialized with their wallet, they will always be able to restore their wallet. A wallet will store many addresses and private keys as you send and receive bitcoin, but you only need to backup your wallet once.
Because an HD wallet creates addresses deterministically using the same seed, all of your addresses can be backed up using the mnemonic word representation of that seed, also known as a recovery phrase. Likewise, if your recovery phrase is exposed to someone, they have the ability to steal all of your funds.
Keeping the recovery phrase safe from strangers and ensuring you do not lose or forget it are equally important. Bitcoin wallets are lightweight pieces of software, and they do not usually store the entire blockchain. Some wallets query central servers run by the wallet provider, but the best wallets allow users to connect their wallet to their own node. Additionally, it enables users to use Bitcoin in a trustless manner.
How Do Bitcoin Transactions Work? A transaction is a transfer of Bitcoin value on the blockchain. Bitcoin transactions are irreversible once added to the blockchain. What Are Public and Private Keys? A private key is used to verify ownership and sign transactions in order to send bitcoin.
A private key can derive a public key. Introduction to Bitcoin Wallets. Bitcoin wallets store and protect the public and private keys, allowing you to send, receive, and store bitcoin. Bitcoin wallets can come in the form of software or hardware devices. Login Sign Up. River Intelligence. Is Bitcoin Fair? Bitcoin vs. Gold Bitcoin vs.
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As more new people adopt cryptocurrencies, lots of newbies are creating mnemonic recovery phrases in order to make sure their digital assets. Why a seed phrase is so critical to protecting your crypto assets, and how it works with your crypto wallet. · Seed phrase, · Seed · Recovery. Understanding your secret key is of great importance for anyone with bitcoin. Your Wallet Is Not a Bank Account.