The bitcoin wallet is a collection of private keys
By Guy Avtalyon
The answer is simple, a Bitcoin wallet is a collection of private keys. It may also refer to client software used to manage those keys and to make transactions on the Bitcoin network.
But there is also the technical definition. The Bitcoin wallet is a software program that stores your private and public keys (they come in pairs). It enables you to send and receive coins through the blockchain, as well as monitoring your balance.
How to open a Bitcoin wallet?
The exchanges automatically create a bitcoin wallet for new accounts, almost all of them. All you’ll have to do to be able to use a bitcoin wallet is to load it with bitcoin or some altcoins. However, as wallet providers will charge fees for any outside transaction, it may be cheaper to examine the benefits of a non-managed opportunity.
It’s easy to find plenty of free wallet options. When using a web-based wallet that means, you’ll have to share your private key with a third party. For the new users of crypto, this is maybe the easiest way to start using a bitcoin wallet. On the other hand, this isn’t suitable for privacy-minded users.
Keeping your coins in an exchange can be risky. There is a potential of losing them all. Why? Simply because you do not technically “own” the coins you’ve bought in exchange. Exchanges operate like a bank. It represents a third-party service provider and you must trust they are able to keep your coins safe. Still, there is always a chance that exchange can be shutting down or be hacked. The result could be you end up in a loss of your coins. Given the lack of regulatory frameworks on exchanges and cryptocurrencies as a whole as well as the infancy of the industry, the best way to keep your coins safe is to have total control of your coins.
How does the Bitcoin wallet work?
Ownership of your private keys gives you total control over the funds associated with your matching public keys. That’s why it is vital to make sure you keep your private keys secretly hidden so that only you know your private keys. It is important to have a back-up of your private keys.
Digital, and in the same way bitcoin wallets are different as compared to your physical wallet. Digital wallets don’t store real money, instead, they store private and public keys. Private keys are like your PIN number to access your bank account, while public keys are similar to your bank account number. When you send Bitcoin, you’re sending a value in the form of a transaction, transferring the ownership of your coin to the recipient. For recipient is important that his/her private keys must match the public address you used to send Bitcoin. Of course, if that one wants to spend transferred Bitcoin.
Why would you need a Bitcoin wallet?
Bitcoin, as a difference from traditional money, is digital money. Hence, access to this currency is totally different. Especially when it comes to receiving and storing it. To be clear, Bitcoin doesn’t live in any tangible form, it can’t be stored anywhere. What owners can store is the private keys to have access to the public Bitcoin address. Key is also necessary to sign the transactions that need to be securely kept.
Only with this combination of recipient’s public key and your private key a Bitcoin transaction possible.
You’ll find several different kinds of Bitcoin wallets, that fit different requirements and differing in means of safety and security, comfort, or convenience.
By using the wallet software, you are able to send and receive Bitcoin. If you want to receive Bitcoin, a wallet is all you need. This means that you personally can send the Bitcoin to the address of your wallet.
In case you want to send Bitcoins, you will need to have them first. To buy Bitcoin you’ll need to subscribe to one of the online exchanges. to authenticate yourself, you’ll need some ID card and proof of residence. When it is done, you can start to send money to that exchange and in return to receive Bitcoin for fiat money. The rest is simple. Just send the bought Bitcoin to your digital wallet. Never keep Bitcoin or any other digital currency for a long time. In fact, as long as your Bitcoin is stored on exchange it isn’t really yours. The exchange could be hacked or closed. Well, you’ll lose all your funds.
What is needed to open it?
Because Bitcoin is decentralized, you cannot just open an account and put money in and out. To put your digital coins somewhere, you’ll need a wallet or at least a Bitcoin address and a private key. On an elementary level, the address operates like a bank account number. The private key is actually similar to your signature or password to a netbank. To confirm the possession of your digital money you need a private key. Never ever share it with anyone!
Okay, but how will you access your coins? You have to download a digital wallet on your computer/phone. Cryptocurrency wallets store your address and private key, they’re functioning like a netbank. You can receive and send amounts.
It’s difficult to choose from the millions of Bitcoin wallets. Do some research and find the best for you. Maybe the most comfortable way is to add a wallet extension to your browser.