If you are thinking of getting into bitcoin, chances are you are already looking at ways to protect your newly gained cryptocurrency. We have already discussed three top online wallets that can help you keep your money, somewhat secure, online. If you are someone who hates dealing with hassles in your life, online wallets are the way to go.
A friend of mine prefers security over everything else. Paper wallets, are for people who want to go the extra mile to keep their bitcoin safe.
Pre-requisites for setting up a Paper Wallet
All you need is a printer, a piece of paper and internet access. You don’t need anything else at all. These three ingredients will work together to give you arguably the most secure way to save your crypto currency.
Going about making the Paper wallet
Now that we have our pre-requisites set up, it is time to get to work. Follow the steps below:
- Go to https://www.bitaddress.org
- You will be asked to move your mouse around randomly. Do it, as it adds a lot of randomness to the generated bitcoin keys.
- Once you are done, you will get a page with your keys being linked. Ignore this.
- You will see a tab named ‘Paper Wallet’. Click this link.
- Click the number of addresses you want generated on the page. These are basically different bitcoin ‘bank accounts’. If you want 3, which is the default number, you can just click generate. You can also change the number in the ‘Addresses to generate’ field.
- Once the page is set up with the generated Public and Private keys, click ‘Print’.
- Congratulations! You now own a paper wallet.
How to send coins to your Paper wallet
Whichever wallet you are currently using where your coins are being stored OR the exchange you have your funds on, you can send money from that link directly to your new Paper wallet. All you need to do so, is the Public Key which is printed on the paper wallet. Using your public key, any individual could send you any amount of bitcoin to your paper wallet. You can check whether the bitcoin has been deposited to your wallet by going to https://blockchain.info and in the search bar, typing in your Public Key. This will tell you all transactions that have happened on your account.
Oh, and do note, the Private Key is your guarantee that you own that coin. Goes without saying (like the name suggests), you are supposed to KEEP IT PRIVATE.
How to spend your money FROM the Paper wallet
So, you waited a couple of years, your bitcoin has risen by 10 times the original amount, and now you want to sell it. This is slightly tricky, so please try and follow through.
There are two ways of spending or selling your coin. The more difficult/longer method is to download the Bitcoin Core client, installing it, waiting for it to download the whole blockchain to your PC, and then using it to send your coin across to other buyers. Don’t bother with this method.
Paper wallets, are for people who want to go the extra mile to keep their bitcoin safe.
The second way of doing the same is using the online wallets provided for example, by https://blockchain.info. They provide a simple service where, if you have a bitcoin wallet elsewhere (could be a paper wallet or a hardware wallet), you can import it along with the funds online. All you need to do this is have access to the Public & Private Keys to your account. Using the service on https://blockchain.info is extremely simple. Sign in to your wallet, go to Settings, and then to Addresses. Click Import, and follow the instructions. That’s it! Once your wallet has been imported, you can spend your coins. Beware though: do not send ANYTHING back to that same paper wallet address again.
For example, you had 10 coins, you imported your wallet and you spent 5 of those coins. The remaining 5 should NOT BE SENT BACK to the same paper wallet address. This can result in the complete loss of your funds! Make sure to spend your funds completely, by sending it to a different address or a completely different paper wallet. You can create any number of paper wallets from the site mentioned above.
Security is paramount and perhaps the biggest concern for all bitcoin holders. Be vigilant, read around for things you do not know.
Stay safe and secure.