Paper Wallets in a Nutshell
The possibly safest way to store bitcoin or altcoins
Sorry if my repeat myself, if someone uses the same hash as you do, they will still have access to your account. Keep that in mind while reading this story.
For a great in depth article hop over here: How to store Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies properly.
What are paper wallets?
Paper wallets tend to be called that, since mainly they generate a nice little card that you can print and hence, keep on paper.
Now this already offers so many security issues on its own:
- Is the site, generating the wallet, safe?
- Do you have screengrabbers or other infections on your PC?
- Is your wireless printer safe?
Behold. Most of these paper wallets have the option to download them onto USB stick and then you can use them on an offline PC to create your wallet.
Can’t I just unplug my internet for the time being?
Probably, I don’t know your level of paranoia.
To find paper wallets, it’s most of the times easy enough to google for:
<your_coin_name> paper wallet
But be careful and don’t fall for fake websites, if you can’t download the generator I wouldn’t use the site. Anyone that has access to your private key has access to your funds!
Select your desired coin in the right column and follow steps 0–5, whereas step 0 is the most important :)
Universal Open Source Client-Side Paper Wallet Generator for BitCoins and other cryptocurrencies. Create your own paper…walletgenerator.net
Things to keep in mind
These wallets you create are not generated by a pass phrase seed (mnemonic), so importing them in electrum, whilst possible, will not hook them up to your phrase.
They are their own little eco system. One private key, one public key, that’s it.
Of course having just one pair, also makes it easy for you to be tracked in the blockchain. But that’s a whole different story.
Also, paper is easily destroyed, keep it safe.
In a nutshell
Never ever expose your private key to anyone!
Paper Wallet generators create pairs of private, public keys for you, one wallet, that can be used to store or transfer bitcoins.
If generated on an offline device and stored on a USB key or paper, they are probably the single most safest way to store your coins.
However, accessing your coins can grant risks since you will need to import your private key, somewhere (be it electrum, a desktop wallet, or a website that allows this), to send/spend your coins.
To check your balance you can simply use the public key, though.
There is no risk in doing so.
Don’t worry about your public key. It can be used to send you coins, but also see what’s in your account, hence changing wallets are a great thing, but people can’t access your coins or spend them.
As you can see everything in the world of crypto has pros and cons.