These past years have been bullish for a number of cryptocurrencies, just like how certain wines enjoy a good year. Many adventurous investors have also moved from simply testing the crypto waters to considering it for long-term investments.
However, since cryptocurrency trading is relatively new and unregulated, there is a need for thorough study as to how investments can be kept safe. One way is through a paper wallet. This article will show steps and options on how to create a paper wallet for any cryptocurrency.
What Exactly Is A Paper Wallet?
But first things first: what exactly is a paper wallet? A paper wallet is a way of storing, sending, and receiving cryptocurrency in a manner that is safe and secure. Generally, it is a piece of paper that has a private key on it to secure your crypto coins or digital tokens. A paper wallet stores cryptocurrency offline and can be accessed through its corresponding private key or seed phrase.
With a paper wallet, you might be imagining cryptocurrency represented physically as paper, just like the paper bills of our fiat money, but it’s not that. Cryptocurrency remains to be digital. In actuality, what a paper wallet stores are your private key or seed phrase which you will need to securely access, send or receive cryptocurrency.
Creating A Paper Wallet For Most Cryptocurrencies
Storing digital coins in a paper wallet, however, is just one of the ways to keep cryptocurrency safe. There are other means like cold wallets and hot wallets, which are software programs that keep track of blockchain ledger transactions. But paper wallets remain to be relatively safer than the other options. Before exploring how these are better than the other wallets, here are steps on how to create a paper wallet for any cryptocurrency.
- Secure your computer. Be sure that there is no malicious software on your computer. This is an important preliminary step. Otherwise, your attempts to create a secure paper wallet for your cryptocurrency will be all for naught.
- Go to the website Wallet Generator. This is where you will obtain a public and private key. What’s good about this is that it is an open-source website, and it is a client-side generator that assures fellow clients that all keys generated are random. In fact, the keys will be generated in its program that works offline. It is crucial to do it offline. Otherwise, you run the risk of online threats and hackers compromising your security.
- Download the website zip file from Github, following the instructions on Wallet Generator’s home page.
- After downloading, turn off your internet. This is an important step.
- Once you are offline, open the ‘index.htm’ file on your computer. Check that you are opening directly from your computer and not from any website.
- Generate your wallet. Move your mouse around, over and over the highlighted characters so that you can generate a unique combination. This is exactly like rolling and shuffling the classic raffle drum as much as you can so that the raffle balls mix up to give you random results.
- As soon as the counter comes down to zero, your wallet will be generated. Click the Paper Wallet tab, and print the page that shows your randomly generated address. Be sure that your printer remains offline. Print as many copies as you need provided that you know where and how to store these pieces of paper securely.
- Delete the webpage. Do not save a soft copy of this page that has your generated address. Do not think of saving this as a pdf file for printing at a later time. The files you store may be compromised once you go back online. There should be no digital traces of your paper wallet.
- Follow the rest of the security instructions on the Wallet Generator program, just like folding the paper wallet, etc.
Since your private keys are not saved or stored on your computer, or the internet, paper wallets are safer. You won’t have to think about hackers preying on whatever you have on your computer because all you have to look after is a piece of paper hidden deep into your bureau. Just take care that you do not lose these hard copies of your keys, nor share them with anybody else. However, once you lose these hard copies, you will also lose access to your cryptocurrency.
Creating A Paper Wallet For Ethereum
Now, the steps cited above give you an idea of how to create a paper wallet for most cryptocurrencies, but not for Ethereum. For Ethereum coins, you will need to visit another wallet generator. Here are some instructions:
- Visit the website My Ether Wallet.
- Click on the website’s Help tab.
- Scroll down and select option five.
- Out of the five selections, click the first, which shows a link to Github.
- Download the zip file that shows up once clicking on the Github link.
- Turn the internet off after downloading. Again, this is a most crucial step before you proceed further when you create a paper wallet for your cryptocurrency, specifically your Ethereum coins.
- Open the ‘index.htm’ file locally on your computer that should be offline by now.
- On the program, type in a new, strong password to generate your wallet.
- Download your Keystore file, which is your wallet file. Make a backup of this as the MyEtherWallet.com program instructs on the page. You will never be able to restore this or retrieve this when lost.
- Now, click on ‘I understand. Continue.’
- You now have generated a wallet that shows your private key, which obviously has to remain private.
- Print the paper wallet, as the offline program instructs you to do. Your printout will have two QR codes, one for your private key and one for your public key. Learn more about paper wallets here!
Now, you’ve learned how to create a paper wallet for any cryptocurrency, including that of your Ethereum coins. Still, even if paper wallets are logically the safest because they are not online, be forewarned that they also come with risks.
The risks are obvious, as with any of your hard copies or paper files. If not kept securely in your physical storage like a drawer or a filing cabinet, anybody who has an idea about your cryptocurrency investments might make some ninja moves to raid your property. Or perhaps, if you keep your paper wallet all in one place, you might lose these to calamities like a fire or a flood. Or maybe, your printer’s ink may fade over time.
So, to avoid or at least mitigate these risks, be sure that you have a deliberate backup plan so you can still have access to your cryptocurrency, no matter what happens.