A paper wallet is a physical print out of the public and private keys to a wallet address. They are known as a ‘cold storage’ solution as the information exists offline and therefore out of reach of hackers.
Using a paper wallet to store cryptocurrency is often considered one of the most secure solutions available. Assuming you keep the actual printout well protected, paper wallets are a cheap and secure long-term method of protecting your crypto, particularly compared with other wallet solutions.
Creating a Paper Wallet
1. Preparation – You should use a computer you know is free of any malicious software, bugs, etc. Avoid using publically used computers, such as at libraries or internet cafes. In an ideal scenario you should use a brand new computer. Also make sure your printer can be directly connected to your computer and can print without being connected to wifi or the internet.
2. Download a paper wallet generator – While there are generators available online, they severely undermine the security of the wallet, if not outright compromise it. You should use an offline generator, such as bitaddress.org or walletgenerator.net.
3. Check the downloaded file – Scan the downloaded file for malware before you extract it. If you are a bit more tech savvy, we recommend also downloading and confirming the author’s PGP signature.
4. Disconnect from the internet – Before you extract the downloaded file, make sure you disconnect both your computer and printer from the internet.
5. Disable browser add-ons and extensions – You’ll still be using a browser to generate the wallet address, so make sure you have also disabled all extensions and add-on on the browser you intend to use.
6. Extract the downloaded file and open it with your chosen browser.
7. Add a passphrase – We recommend adding a passphrase to help further secure the wallet. Make sure to store the passphrase safely but separate from the paper wallet. Remember that you will not be able to access the wallet if you lose the passphrase.
8. Follow the wallet generator instructions to complete generating the new wallet.
9. Print the newly generated wallet.
10. Delete files – Before connecting to the internet again, make sure to delete all downloaded and created files, empty your recycle bin, clear your computer and printer cache, then reboot the computer.
11. You’re done! You can now send crypto to these wallets using the public key (the wallet’s address). Just make sure to keep your paper wallets safely stored.
Paper wallets are one of several wallet solutions, each of which come with unique pros and cons that serve varying user needs. To learn more about alternative options to paper wallets, take a look at our wallet breakdown here.
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