What is a Bitcoin wallet?
A bitcoin wallet is just like your real wallet, a method of storing value. Bitcoin wallets can
be a hardware device or software program which enables you to track, send, and receive coins.
Contrary to popular belief, your Bitcoin wallet doesn't actually store your bitcoins, but rather the
(password) needed to access them. Bitcoins exist solely on the distributed ledger (blockchain) and can
never be removed from it.
There are four main types of wallets that you should be using and ideally, you pick one which is more
compatible with your needs.
To store your Bitcoins safely and securely, you need to choose a wallet that is compatible with your
What is a private key?
Your Bitcoin wallet is a combination of your public and private keys. Your public
key is your Bitcoin wallet "address" and your private key acts as the "password" to access the coins
in your wallet.
A Bitcoin private key is a secret number that allows you to access coins. Every
Bitcoin address (public key) has a matching private key. The private key is mathematically
related to the address, and is designed so that the Bitcoin address can be calculated from the private
key, but importantly, the same cannot be done in reverse. Every private key is 256 bits long.
This is how the Bitcoin private key looks (it always starts with
The public key is the address of your wallet and the private key works as a
password. Because the private key works as the password to your account, it is important that these
keys are kept secret and safe. Every public key is 160 bits long.
This how the Bitcoin public address looks (it will almost always
start with 1)
Public addresses starting with 3 are also possible and can be Sewgit, or a
Multi-signature Non-Segwit address.
What is a seed phrase?
A seed phrase is a random string of 12 to 24
words that can be used to recover your Bitcoin wallet in case you lose access
to it. This seed phrase can also be referred to as your recovery seed (mnemonic seed or mnemonic
phrase). This word sequence, when entered in the correct order, is converted using formulas to numbers
that gives access to a wallet and the public/private key pairs that it contains.
An example of a seed phrase
witch collapse practice feed shame open despair creek road again ice least
It's important to never store your seed phrase on a device that is
connected to Internet (computer, tablet, smartphone) or on cloud storage, for instance an email, notes
application, text message, or in an image. This is dangerous because connected devices are generally
unsafe and can be hacked easily.
Your seed phrase needs to be kept somewhere
extremely safe, protected from fire, water,
and any other kinds of potential damage. Most people will store their seed phrases on a piece of
We recommend using an indestructible stainless steel enclosure like the Billfodl or the Cryptosteel.
What are hardware wallets?
A hardware wallet is a physical device that stores and manages your private keys securely, in an offline