Whether you consider yourself a newcomer to cryptocurrency, an amateur investor, or an expert, it’s always helpful to get a download on the latest perspectives on keeping your crypto assets secure.
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It’s also important to understand that everything in cryptocurrency revolves around keys. When it comes to transacting with cryptocurrency, everyone needs a public key. Public keys are essentially what connect you and your cryptocurrency to the blockchain ledger. Alternatively, private keys are known only to you, and are the tool that you must use to verify or sign transactions involving your cryptocurrency.
Paul Puey is the CEO and founder of Edge, a multi-currency crypto wallet. He elaborates on the nature of blockchain security and the need for these keys, “One of the biggest misconceptions about blockchain technology is the belief that it helps make data secure. In actuality, data on a blockchain is inherently public and visible to everyone. However, the keys used to access a blockchain need to be very secure, as those keys are now money. Therefore, blockchains have not created a new form of security, they have motivated its creation.”
This “cryptographic achievement” as Erik Schmidt, Executive Chairman for Google once called Bitcoin and its underlying technology, helps keep your assets secure, allowing you to use them freely without fear of getting hacked or losing your funds. Another critical thing to keep in mind is that all of these keys are usually lengthy strings of numbers, so it’s essential to have a secure place to keep them, so they don’t get stolen, and so you don’t forget them.
People rely on various types of wallets to store and secure their cryptocurrency. There are a number of options for this, including hardware, paper, desktop, online, and mobile. No matter which option you chose it’s important to make sure it has some key traits to keep your assets secure. Puey shared some of the top features to consider when evaluating cryptocurrency storage options:
First and foremost you have to assess the safety of the storage option you’re considering. In most cases, decentralized options are going to be your best bet. Puey explains, “The problem with centralized security is that it takes everyone’s data and puts it in one place. This puts a massive bullseye on that central location for hackers and attackers to target. It’s a lot like a city or a castle. You might have really thick walls, but you’re still at the top of a hill waving a flag, and all it takes is one person, breaking one brick, to start a chain reaction that allows them to get in. It’s the same with centralized security.”
Wallet options that encrypt data on the user’s side are more secure than those that hold assets in a centralized location. Puey continues, “When it comes to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, we’ve seen this create a huge loss of assets. Any time a wallet is hacked, those funds are lost for good, and there is no crypto version of the FDIC to restore them. So, it’s vital that funds are always secure.” The Mt Gox hack in 2014 is a prime example of how costly security errors can be.
With the diversity of currencies available on the market these days it’s essential to work with wallets that will allow you to quickly exchange your currency in case you have a desire to invest in one that is up and coming, or sell when prices start to get volatile. Puey shares, “We found that our users all around the world were clamoring for a private, secure, open-source, and easy to use multi-asset wallet they could depend on.”
That demand is driven not only by an increase in the volume of cryptocurrencies, but also the increased number of applications in which cryptocurrencies can be used. With the rapid growth of the dApp industry, has come an increased need for flexible, multi-currency storage.
Finally, any storage option you use must meet your needs and feel convenient. Otherwise, you aren’t likely to manage it as frequently as you should. A cryptocurrency wallet is just like your regular wallet: it holds your money and (if you are active in the cryptocurrency space) you will be using it frequently. If you will be using something so often, it’s reasonable to demand that it provide a certain amount of convenience.
Any good wallet should have simple, secure options for authenticating your identity. Puey explains how his company worked toward this goal, “We worked to provide an integration of three core offerings: a hyper-secure and private personal vault, a friendly user interface for blockchain networks and services, and an encrypted single sign-on solution for decentralized applications.” Any wallet you use should have these functions to make it easy for you to use on a regular basis.
When it comes to securing your cryptocurrency, be sure to work with reputable companies, ones that have been recognized as trustworthy by both media experts, and industry influencers. Be sure to vet every option and verify that the company is transparent about their technology, and participating in the community at large.