What is a paper wallet?
A bitcoin wallet is made up of two keys. The public key is the wallet address and how other people send bitcoins to you. The private key enables you to send bitcoins to other people.
One of the safest ways of keeping your bitcoins safe is by transferring them onto paper by using a printer. A paper wallet is document that contains copies of the public and private keys that make up the wallet. The advantage of a paper wallet is that the keys are not stored digitally anywhere, so they are immune to online threats, hacks or hardware failures.
Steps for creating a paper wallet
- First you need to generate a unique bitcoin address. This can be done by using BitAddress.org.
- After you’ve opened BitAddress.org in your browser, you will be asked to create some randomness by moving your mouse cursor around or randomly typing characters.
- Then users will be presented with their public and private keys, as well as their QR codes. Do not scan these.
- Users then should click on the “Paper Wallet” tab provided by them.
- Under this tab you can select the number of addresses you would like to generate.
- The site will automatically generate a bitcoin wallet artwork which you can hide by clicking the “Hide art?” button.
- Hit the “Generate” button to create new bitcoin wallets.
- Once the new wallets have been generated, click “Print” in order to create hard copies of the wallet address.
- You will be asked by your browser to select the printer you want to use.
Aside from BitAddress.org, there are other sites that let you print paper wallets for your bitcoins. The Blockchain.info site also has a basic paper wallet option, just click on the “import/export” option and look for the “Paper wallet” link on the menu.
Bitcoinpaperwallet.com offers a more sophisticated alternative for your paper wallet. They offer a paper wallet design that is resistant to tampering. You can also order holographic labels to prove that the wallet hasn’t been tampered with. It also provides a live-boot Ubuntu CD with a paper wallet software pre-installed.
Users should take serious precautions to ensure that their paper wallets are safe. There are a lot of scams and thefts that happen quite frequently in the cryptocurrency world, so that’s why it’s extremely important to follow some extra security steps.
- Make sure nobody sees you create your wallet. The viewer may copy you keys and steal your funds.
- BitAddress uses the BIP38 algorithm that encrypts your private key. This gives you two factor authentication for your paper wallet. Remember that you have to use the same website if you want decrypt your private key.
- You should use a clean and virus-free operating system to minimize the risk of having their activity monitored by spyware or keyloggers. Ubuntu is a recommended operating system.
- Once the paper wallet has been set up on the website, you should have the option of running the website code offline. So before creating your private and public keys, disable your internet connection before generating said keys.
- If you want even more security precautions, print the paper wallet on a printer that is not connected to any network.
It is recommended you keep your paper wallets in a sealed plastic bag to avoid getting it wet or damaged. You can laminate the paper to make it resistant to and water proof.
Store the paper wallet in a safe place, such as a safe or a deposit box.
If you followed the simple instructions provided above, you should have your own paper wallet where your bitcoins are safely resting. If paper wallets are not what you are looking for, there are a lot of other bitcoin wallets to choose from.