Where Can I Find My Bitcoin Private Key?
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A Bitcoin private key is a secret number the will enable you to send and receive Bitcoin. The private key is meant to be secret, hence the word “private” and it is used to send your Bitcoins to another Bitcoin address. Additionally, the private key is a 256-bit long number that looks something like this “5Kb8kLf9zgWQnogidDA76MzPL6TsZZY3”. However, first of all, you will need to set up a Bitcoin wallet which will then randomly generate a 256 bit long number. This will be your private key. There are many Bitcoin wallets available which you can use to setup a wallet and private key. The crypto wallet is a software program that stores public and private keys and cooperates with the blockchain to allows users to send and receive digital currency online. Every Bitcoin wallet can have 1 or more private keys stored within the wallet itself. Here are some of the most common Bitcoin wallets and how to access your private key.
|Wallet Type||How to Access Your Private Key|
|Bitcoin Cash Wallet||Download the Bitcoin.com WalletTap the “+” in the Wallets menu on the Home screenSelect “New personal wallet”Edit the Wallet Name to whatever you prefer, e.g. “BCH Wallet”Tap the toggle button in the “Bitcoin Cash” field to activate and make this a BCH walletTap “Create new wallet”Backup wallet seed phrase|
|Exodus Wallet||Open the Developer Menu. Here is a guide for how to open the developer menu.If you are on macOS, the Developer menu is under Exodus (To the right of the Apple sign in the menu bar).If you are using Windows or Linux, it can be accessed by pressing Ctrl+Shift+D. (For new users this means holding the Control key with the Shift key at the same time and then pressing D – essentially you are pressing 3 keys at once.)Decide what asset you want to view the private keys of. In this example, we are going to view the private keys for EOS Mainnet. These steps are the same for the other assets.Choose Developer > Assets > (Your Desired Asset) > View Private KeysYour private keys will be shown on a new window from where it can be copied.https://support.exodus.io/article/86-how-can-i-view-my-private-keys|
|Bitcoin Paper Wallet||Your private key would have been generated one time for you to write down and store in a safe place.|
|Coinbase Exchange||Your private key is stored and managed by Coinbase and you can’t get access to it.https://support.coinbase.com/customer/portal/articles/1526452-where-can-i-find-the-private-keys-for-my-wallet-|
|Trezor Bitcoin Wallet||The private key is directly derived from the 24 words. Thats called BIP39.The 24 words are not some password that encrypts your private key, they rather are your private key, expressed as a combination of words. Neither the 24 words nor the private key are send to Trezor.Your recovery sheet is actually more valuable than your trezor. The trezor has a pin protection, the piece of paper doesnt and it does contain your private key.https://www.reddit.com/r/TREZOR/comments/6hvgiz/can_i_see_my_own_private_key_on_the_trezor/|
What happens if you lose your private key?
So you have lost your private key and want to know if you can restore it to gain back access to your Bitcoin? There is good news and bad news. The good news is that if you have a backup passphrase (usually a series of 12 random words) you can use this to restore your private key and gain access to your Bitcoin wallet. Wallets such as Exodus offer restore instructions to guide you through this process.
What is a Bitcoin Private Key used for?
The primary use of Bitcoin private keys is making irreversible transactions, they are essentially a key so you can send your Bitcoins to anyone. This is irreversible and it is guaranteed by a mathematical signature which is connected to each transaction only when you use the private keys to send bitcoin. Additionally, every transaction you make the signature will be different and unique although they are generated from the same private keys. By having this feature, it means that it cannot be copied and the user will be able to use the same private key repeatedly. The way that private keys work is that it signs transactions with your unique key and by having a different signature every time it will prevent forgery. Since it is a requirement for every transaction made, you will need a digital signature which is the private key. Having a wallet will generate a signature by mathematically processing a transaction together with the right private key. People with a signature and public key will be able to easily authenticate a transaction. However, you can only produce a valid transaction signature if you use the private key matching the published public key.
Is a Private Key Secure?
Any verified transactions that have a valid signature will be accepted by the Bitcoin network. While at the same time, any person that owns a private key can sign a transaction. These two factors mean that if someone knows your private key, it may be possible to steal funds from you. There are many ways for thieves to steal private keys, the main 2 ways are storage media and communications channels. This is why you should be extremely cautious when you store or transmit your private keys. Having a software wallet will store private keys in a wallet file on the main hard drive. This will make it a prone to bitcoin-specific malware due to the wallets will often place the file in a standard well-known directory. To prevent possible threats to your software wallet, you can allow an option to encrypt the wallet file. So, if anyone that tries to hack your wallet and try to gain access to your wallet file, will need to decrypt it then. The difficulty of decryption will depend on the quality of the encryption and strength of the password that’s placed on it. The wallet files can be encrypted on many software wallets by adding a password. You might be thinking that doing a wallet backup is a good idea, however it could possibly leak your private keys. For example, saving your backup of your software wallet to a cloud storage like Dropbox. This could be dangerous since anyone is capable of viewing this backup online that could potentially steal some or all your funds. This same problem could occur if you try an email backup to yourself or leaving a private key within your house.
Private key, Public Key and Address
Public keys are generated through private keys utilising a set of mathematical operations known as Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC). This is where the private key is a numeral and the public key is 2D coordinate composed of two integers. To simplify the processing of a private key, it can be transformed into a single value. One method used is it appends the y-coordinate to the x-coordinate. This method will produce an uncompressed public key. To have a compressed public key, it will only use the x-coordinate with a symmetry flag.
As a private key can be transformed into a public key through mathematical operations, the public key will then be able to transform into an address. These steps are irreversible meaning that an address cannot generate a private key.
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