How to keep your Bitcoin Safe

The first thing I wanted to advise you about was security. You really have to think differently in this crypto world. There is no banking ombudsman or financial body to look out for you if things go missing. So the cardinal rule has to be you MUST ALWAYS be in total control of your private keys.

All exchanges will tell you how secure you are. But you have no clue as to the motives of the owners, you have no clue how really safe and secure they are. I am just super cautious and I want you to be. You need to think different in the crypto world. It’s not regulated. If anything goes missing, who are you going to call? No one that’s who.

A private key is a string of characters that sign a transaction through cryptography and let you move your Bitcoin. Much like a seed, if someone has your private key they will have your Bitcoin. Most of you will never interact with your private keys and only interact with your seed.

A public key is also known as an address. This is the string of characters that you send Bitcoin to. This is public information and you have no risk of getting your Bitcoin stolen from displaying this information. The only thing you will have to worry about is if you give someone your address and they have malicious intent, they could try to target you and take your Bitcoin. This is why most wallets will give you a new address each time you receive Bitcoin.

Bitcoin are only stored on the blockchain. What is stored in your wallet are the seed, private, and public keys. That is all. This information lets you access the coins on the blockchain.

A seed is a string of text, usually 12, 18 or 24 words, that generates your private and public keys. When you use a wallet, the wallet will likely give you the seed in this format. This is the most important information you should have. It doesn’t matter if your desktop/mobile/hardware wallet is destroyed or deleted, as long as you have your seed you can reclaim your Bitcoin.

So here is the thing. If you have left your Bitcoin on an exchange. You don’t have access to your private keys. They do. Simple as that. Anything happens to them, and your coins are gone.. I am not trying to be the harbinger of doom. I am super cautious and so do you need to be. You must be in control of your private keys. The first step before you start buying loads of Bitcoin is to make sure you have a safe place to store them.

I downloaded the Coinbase Wallet (Not to be confused with Coinbase the exchange). It’s one of the most downloaded Wallets for Bitcoin, other currencies & NFT’S. It’s great for people who are new. It’s simple to use, very secure & super simple to set up. It does not come with all the extra features that others might have but in my experience, all you need is to send and receive Bitcoins. I highly recommend the Coinbase Wallet to everyone. It’s available on iOS and Android.

I know there are a ton of Wallets to choose from and more springing up each day. The main things for me was security, ease of use, I’m middle aged and definitely not a techie. I did not need a wallet with loads of bells and whistle and complex things you can set up and finally it had to integrate with various other things. I’ll talk about that more later on.