Please click below to listen to the 32nd episode of my weekly crypto podcast ‘Two Minute Crypto.’ These are intended to be short, single-topic ramblings on some aspect of the cryptosphere. Comments and critiques welcome.
Two Minute Crypto – Key Concepts Three
Welcome to Two Minute Crypto in this week’s episode I’ll be tackling another key concept of the crypto space. This series is intended to be as accessible as possible, avoiding jargon and hopefully providing a simple but nonetheless accurate explanation of the basic principles and technological innovations of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Today’s Key Concept – What are public-private keys?
Whenever you create a new digital wallet or account on a blockchain two number keys are produced – a public and a private. Private keys are math generated digital addresses that provide the foundation for all cryptocurrency networks. They are unique and function like a physical address – they are where you live on the network. All cryptocurrency digital wallets require an address to be accessible to the outside world. Just as a postman needs an address to deliver the mail a digital wallet needs an address to send or receive funds. This has two components – a public address and a private address linked to the public.
These addresses are usually long letter and number strings that are hard to memorize but some blockchains now allow the use of easy to remember addresses which can be common names, similar to email names. The public address is freely available for all to see as this allows people to send you funds. However, the address is tied to a secret private key which only you the holder of the wallet possesses. Essentially, this is your password – if this is revealed to another they would have full access to the account.
The public key is produced by the private key using complex mathematical formulas and is very secure. To review – public keys – allow the account to be located – while the private key restricts the access to simply seeing the account and or sending it funds.
Thanks for listening.