Private Keys in Atomic Wallet

Protection of users funds is one of the main goals of the Atomic team. That’s why we use a security system, in which 12 words mnemonic phrase is generated on user’s device and isn’t sent anywhere. We protect mnemonic with a master password but this kind of security also requires care and responsibility of user himself. Take a look, how it works!

From Mnemonic to Cryptocurrency address

Products that allow to generate the master key from mnemonic are called hierarchical deterministic wallets, or HD wallets. Users are strongly advised to use HD wallets for safety reasons: an HD wallet can be backed up using only a seed phrase. It can also safely recover all addresses and all funds sent to those addresses. Atomic is an HD wallet.

In Atomic Wallet private keys are generated from mnemonic seed and stored in an encrypted manner. See how it works:

  1. Mnemonic seed is a 12 word passphrase from which you can decipher public address and private key.
  2. Atomic Wallet has a list of words taken from a dictionary, with each word assigned to a number.
  3. The seed phrase is converted into a number which is used as the seed integer that generates all the key pairs (private and public keys) in the wallet.
  4. You crypto asset address is generated on the basis of a public and private key.
  5. From the keys taken as the basis, the hash sum is calculated, and the address is obtained in the form of digits and letters.
  6. With a mnemonic seed phrase, you can easily recover all addresses and all funds sent to those addresses.

How does Atomic Wallet generate a Mnemonic?

With hierarchical deterministic wallets, a single key can be used to generate an entire tree of key pairs. This key (mnemonic seed) is generated from a public dictionary and then encrypted, and it’s almost impossible to hack it. This single key serves as the “root” of the tree. The word seed is simply a more human-readable way of expressing the key used as the root, as it can be algorithmically converted into the all private keys used in the wallet.

That single key does not replace other private keys but is rather used to generate them. All your addresses still have different private keys, but they can all be restored by a master key.

The advantage of HD wallets

A hierarchical deterministic wallet doesn’t need to back up so much data. The private keys to every address it has ever given out can be recalculated given the root key. That root key, in turn, can be recalculated by feeding in the word seed.

Compare this to non-deterministic wallets! In wallets of this type, each key is randomly generated on its own accord, and they are not seeded from a common key. Therefore, any backups of the wallet must store each and every single private key used as an address, as well as a buffer of 100 or so future keys that may have already been given out as addresses but not received payments yet.

What is a Private key?

In the context of cryptocurrencies, a private key is a secret number that allows users to spend their assets. Each private key is attached to the public address as a signature. The public address is an address that contains all history of transactions. In fact, it’s a combination of numbers and symbols confirming that you are a true holder of this asset.

How are private keys stored in Atomic Wallet?

When you installed Atomic Wallet and create a new account in it, the small file appears on your device. It contains your mnemonic seed phrase in strongly encrypted form. Only you have access to this file: it means, that we didn’t collect any information about your mnemonic seed and private keys. So, it’s a big responsibility: never show your mnemonic seed to anyone and keep it in a secure place! If someone finds out your mnemonic, he will be able to access all your addresses and funds.

Why it is important to protect your private keys in a secure place?

Private keys give you access to funds stored on your public address. That’s why it’s important to keep them in a secure place where no unauthorized person can access them. Private keys can be kept on computer files, printed on paper or stored in a keystore.

Atomic Wallet backup with Mnemonic seed

Take care about your mnemonic seed! With this data, you can easily restore your wallet in seconds. Here is how it works:

Conclusion

As you can see in explanations above, protection of your funds — is a collaboration between our team and you personally. Be careful with your mnemonic seed, private keys and master password, and intruders will never get access to your assets.

If you’re curious to know more about Atomic Wallet security — check our special article.

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