March 12, 2021

Master yourself by learning about bitcoin addresses and digital keys!

Do you know how ownership of bitcoin is determined? The ownership of bitcoin can only be determined through bitcoin addresses, digital signatures, and digital keys. In reality, the digital keys are stored in a wallet, which is not like a physical wallet but is a simple file that users can use to store bitcoins. The users have to take the responsibility to secure and manage their wallet software without internet connectivity and any reference to the blockchain ledger. Keys allow users to get the maximum benefit of properties of bitcoin that include ownership of coins, decentralized control and trust, and cryptographic principles to secure bitcoin transactions.

Each bitcoin transaction must have a valid signature that will make the bitcoin transaction authenticate, and a valid signature can be generated using the digital keys. If any other person gets access to your keys, then they can control bitcoin from your account. Two digital keys are a public key and a private key. For instance, a public key is similar to an email address, and a private key is a password or PIN, and only through these keys, you can get control or access your account. You can learn more about bitcoin through the app.

This article will learn about digital wallets that hold cryptographic keys, and we will gain knowledge on how the keys are stored, generated, and managed. We will cover different topics like public and private keys, script addresses, and bitcoin addresses.

  • Public and private keys

Each bitcoin wallet contains a set of two digital keys known as a public and private key. A public key uses a cryptographic has a function that is used to generate the bitcoin address of a digital wallet. A private key uses a cryptographic function that is used to generate a public key. Let us learn what both keys are.

  • Private Key

A private key is a randomly generated long string that consists of numbers and alphabets. Control and ownership of private key are given to users to control and manage their funds. Digital signatures can only be generated using private keys, and only through digital signatures, users can send or spend bitcoin and prove to be the owner of funds. The private key remains hidden or secret because if someone gets access to it, the other party will control bitcoins. It is imperative to create a backup of the private key and protect it and your funds.

  • Public Key

Private keys are the same as bitcoin address that is a long string of alphabets and numbers. The public key can only be generated using the elliptic curve from private keys.

What is a bitcoin address?

A bitcoin address is a long string of characters and numbers similar to the email address and can be shared with other bitcoin users. The bitcoin address of the receiver is required to send bitcoins. Addresses are randomly produced using public keys, and each bitcoin address starts with the number 1. To make a transaction, a sender needs to input the bitcoin address in the recipient and add the amount you wish to send, and add digital signatures to prove ownership of funds. Bitcoin transactions are also somewhat similar to bitcoin transactions. Still, the major difference between both senders isn’t required to write a specific amount in a paper check, wherein bitcoin transactions, it is imperative to mention the amount.

Key Format

A key format is a way of representation in which the keys are represented. Both the public and private keys have different formats and are represented in different formats. The formats of digital keys are used to make keys readable easily without any errors. The private key is represented as a 256-bit number, and there are three different ways of representing the same private key that includes WIF-compressed, Hex, and WIF.

The public key format is different from the private key as it can be either presented as uncompressed or compressed public keys. It requires a prefix that is followed by a 256-bit number.

Before you invest in bitcoin and store your bitcoins into digital wallets, you must learn about all the details of bitcoin addresses, public keys, and private keys. These will help you understand the keys and how they are generated, and how they store your bitcoins.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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