The basics of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and Web3; nonetheless, this module is entirely focused on wallets. If you’re wondering, “How do I get started?” you’ve come to the correct place. This post will teach you the fundamentals of crypto wallets and how they work, beginning with private keys.

Every blockchain address contains a public key and a private key, and managing both is critical for storing your cryptocurrency effectively. Whoever controls your private key has control over your crypto wallet. Furthermore, your public key enables other users to find and transact with you. As a result, understanding each of them and their distinctions is critical if you want to grasp how crypto wallets work.

But first, what is a private key exactly?

What Are Private Keys All About?

Every blockchain address is generated together with two linked pieces of information – the private key and the public key. These keys enable you to control the bitcoin associated with that blockchain address and to receive cryptocurrency from others. It is also necessary to comprehend the link between a private key and its public counterpart.

Explain private key and public key

What Is A Public Key?

A public key is a public receiving address that allows you to accept cryptocurrency. Using your public key, any user on the blockchain can send funds to your address.

The public key is identical to the IBAN or SWIFT code on your bank account. Anyone can send you money using your bank account information, but they do not have control over the funds. Similarly, a public key does not grant people access to the cryptocurrency at your blockchain address; it is simply an address that accepts assets.

What Is A Private Key?

A private key allows users to manage cryptocurrency funds at a specified address. The public key is analogous to your bank account number, whereas the private key is analogous to a PIN number or password. It allows you to access your blockchain address as well as your funds. Anyone with access to it, however, can control and spend the cryptocurrencies at your address. As a result, keeping it away from inquisitive eyes is critical.

Aside from giving you access to your cryptocurrency, a private key has the ability to generate nearly endless public keys, which are the blockchain addresses you may share with the public.

How Does A Private Key Work?

Private and public key technology is fairly complex, but it is part of a larger subject of encryption known as Public Key Encryption (PKC). Check the whole article on Private vs Public Keys for additional information. However, this method is based on a mathematical idea known as a trapdoor function. This implies it’s simple to compute in one direction but nearly impossible to reverse, and it serves as the foundation for blockchains.

What Does A Private Key Look Like?

A blockchain private key is a randomly generated number containing hundreds of digits. They are represented as a string of alphanumeric characters for convenience. The Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm is used to generate the Bitcoin and Ethereum private and public keys.

Let’s have a look at how private keys appear on different blockchains:

Ethereum: Uses a private key comprised of 64 hexadecimal characters.

For instance, afdfd9c3d2095ef696594f6cedcae59e72dcd697e2a7521b1578140422a4f890.

Bitcoin: Uses a 256-bit number that can be expressed in a variety of ways.

For instance, E9873D79C6D87DC0FB6A5778633389F4453213303DA61F20BD67FC233AA33262

In any case, if you’re looking at your private key, remember not to store it anywhere online. Your private key is the key to your assets, and no one should be looking at it.

Security Risks To Your Private Keys

Your crypto is reliant on the security of your private key. As a result, how you manage that key is essential to your assets. There are several aspects to consider in this regard.

But first, are you in charge of your private keys in the first place?


When you acquire Bitcoin on a centralized exchange, the exchange retains custody of the private keys and hence, control over your assets. You have no choice but to entrust your funds to the site. The exchange handles the private keys and merely lets you utilize one of its wallets when using this method.

While most crypto exchanges adhere to tight guidelines, they do not provide customers with complete ownership of their assets. “Not your keys, not your coins,” as the adage goes in the bitcoin industry. It means that if you don’t have your private keys, you don’t own the coins.

The better solution is to use a crypto wallet that supports self-custody. To put it another way, non-custodial wallets let you control your private keys, granting you true ownership of your cryptocurrency.

So, you already know that self-custody allows you to store your cryptocurrency free from the control of a centralized institution. But what other dangers do cryptocurrency wallets face?


Hacking via the internet is the next most serious danger to your security.

To explain, some crypto wallets run software on the same device you use to browse the web, such as your smartphone or laptop. This is quite convenient, but because they store your private keys within their interface, a hacker with access to your laptop may potentially find and read them. There is nothing you can do to stop them at this point. Your account’s private keys allow the owner to control any assets at that address.

How To Safeguard Your Private Keys

To avoid these types of risks, a hardware wallet, such as a Ledger, is an excellent choice. A hardware wallet, to put it simply, is a physical device that allows you to manage your bitcoins while keeping your private keys offline. Hardware wallets are immune to Internet hacks since they are not connected to the internet.

Ledger Devices are very strong because they use a Secure Element processor, which is one of the most secure computer chips available. This protects your cryptocurrency not just from online dangers but also from physical hacks. To keep your assets safe, Ledger hardware wallets use advanced technology and the best security procedures. The Ledger Nano X and Ledger Nano S Plus are two excellent hardware wallet alternatives. Purchasing a Ledger Device is the first step in safeguarding your private keys, which is essential for any crypto user.

Difference Between Private Key and Public Key

Private and public keys are a pair of cryptographic keys that are used to encrypt and decrypt data. The private key is kept secret and is only known to the owner, while the public key can be shared with anyone.

FactorsPrivate KeyPublic Key
 FunctionUsed for decrypting data encrypted by the corresponding public key. Used for encrypting data that can be decrypted only by the corresponding private key.
 Sensitivity It is highly sensitive and must be kept secret. It is not sensitive and can be shared openly.
  GenerationGenerated randomly and must remain unique to ensure security. It is not sensitive and can be shared openly.
  Usage Never shared with others and kept securely by the owner. Shared with anyone needing to encrypt data for the owner.
 Length Typically, it is longer in length for enhanced security. Usually shorter in length compared to private keys.
 ExampleA secret numerical value is known only to the key’s generator. A derived numerical value based on the private key is used for encryption.


A private key is the digital key to your cryptocurrency holdings. It is the ultimate proof of ownership and control over your digital assets. Understanding the significance of private keys and taking the necessary precautions to protect them is crucial in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. With the right security measures in place, you can have confidence in the safety of your digital investments.


Q. What is a private key in Blockchain?
A. A private key in the blockchain is a confidential alphanumeric code known only to the owner. It is used to digitally sign and access cryptocurrency transactions or control a blockchain-based asset. Private keys are critical for security, as anyone with access to the key can manipulate the associated digital assets. It should be kept secret and securely stored to protect one’s blockchain assets.

Q. What is a private key and a public key?
A. A private key is a secret cryptographic code used in asymmetric encryption, such as in blockchain or secure communication, to decrypt data and prove ownership. It must be kept confidential.

A public key, on the other hand, is a related code that can be openly shared. It is used to encrypt data, verify digital signatures, or establish secure communication. Information encrypted with a public key can only be decrypted with the corresponding private key.

Q. What is a private key in SSL?
A. A private key in SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a cryptographic key that is kept confidential and known only to the owner of a digital certificate. It is used for encrypting and decrypting data during secure communication between a web server and a client (e.g., a web browser). The private key ensures the confidentiality and integrity of data exchanged over an SSL connection, making it an essential component for secure online transactions and data protection.

Q. Is a private key a hash?
A. No, a private key is not a hash. A private key is a randomly generated number that is used in asymmetric cryptography to create digital signatures and decrypt data. It is an essential component in ensuring secure communication and transactions. On the other hand, a hash is a one-way function that takes an input and produces a fixed-size string of characters, often used for data integrity verification and password storage. Unlike a private key, a hash cannot be reversed to obtain the original input.

Q. Why is a private key important?
A. A private key is crucial in cryptography and digital security because it serves as the secret, unique code that enables the decryption and access to encrypted information. Without a private key, it’s virtually impossible for unauthorized parties to decipher or manipulate sensitive data, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of digital communication, transactions, and data storage.