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Explaining Crypto Wallets And Crypto Addresses And The Difference Between Them

Cryptocurrencies wouldn’t function if there were no transfer methods to send and receive them. Blockchains are decentralised and cannot rely on third-party institutions for transaction validation. Therefore, crypto users utilise wallet addresses to send and receive virtual assets, preserving Web3’s decentralisation and enabling crypto transfer.

A crypto wallet address is like a digital mailbox where you can send and receive transactions. It’s made up of letters and numbers and is similar to an email address where you can send and receive emails.

An electronic wallet is necessary for users to control their digital money on the blockchain. It can be a hardware or software wallet — a physical device where you store your digital assets or a computer program.  The address is a really important piece of information, a sequence of numbers and letters that is used to send and receive crypto coins. When you put money from an exchange into digital storage, it’s important to know how crypto wallets work and the distinction between an address and a public key.

Understanding Crypto Address

A crypto address is a combination of numbers and letters used on the distributed ledger to show where a digital transaction is going. The person who has the private key connected to the address can use it. A wallet address is made by converting a public key into a string of characters using a special process called hashing. A crypto address and a public key are different concepts.

Digital wallet addresses enable users to exchange encrypted digital asset information. They offer two advantages over public keys: 

  • They generate additional encryption layers through hashing techniques, making it difficult to reverse-engineer the private key with a Bitcoin wallet address and limiting the possibility of cash transactions associated with a specific address to its owner.
  • Crypto wallet addresses are shorter and easier to handle compared to public keys, which adds to a more pleasant user experience. Digital repositories are like email addresses, but they’re used for sending money instead of messages or files.

When transferring BTC or other virtual money, use the correct wallet address to avoid losing coins and reclaiming cash.

Understanding Bitcoin Wallet

Bitcoin wallets store private-public key pairs and wallet addresses. Users can easily create new addresses within any current storage. To acquire a crypto wallet address, most wallets have a text field for “generate a new BTC address.” Accessing wallets requires a single password for custodial or non-custodial services. The best BTC wallet should be safe and simple to use. They can be accessed through desktops, web browsers, hardware devices, and mobile devices.

Bitcoin addresses and email addresses are alike, but BTC addresses should not be used more than once. The single-use token idea means using special addresses for every transaction or new communication with another user to ensure privacy and security are respected.

Bitcoin wallets do not have a feature that allows payments to be sent back to the sender, which makes it hard to send money to a particular wallet address. However, the same individual may no longer possess the wallet address. It is crucial to ensure that the recipient is willing to accept money from a previously used address since the single-use token system eliminates the need for an address and private key.

Centralised apps sometimes let users make their own unique deposit addresses. This can cause people to lose money if they try to send it back to those addresses. To prevent this from happening, the person receiving the BTC must make sure that the wallet address they are using is their own. The same is true for other central systems like Bitcoin mining pools.

Understanding Private Key

Private keys are crucial for the safety of cryptos, as they are secure passwords used to unlock and spend BTC or other virtual money associated with a specific public key. Therefore, it is essential to keep private keys hidden to prevent theft.

Private keys are the sole method for spending money on the Bitcoin network, and there are two types of wallets for managing them: Custodial and Non-Custodial.

A custodian is responsible for securing private keys for wallet owners using custodial wallets. Users log in using email addresses and passwords, and custodians ensure their keys are encrypted with 2FA and stored securely. If you lose access to a custodial repository, recovering it would be simple since the password reset process is via email. However, entrusting someone else with your private keys can pose security risks, such as theft if a wallet provider’s database is hacked.

Non-custodial wallets provide enhanced security as users only have access to their private keys, granting them full control over their funds but also requiring them to ensure their keys remain secure.

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Jack Reuben Fletcher

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