What Is A Crypto Paper Wallet?

Last updated Jan 18, 2024 | 12:14 PM UTC
KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • A paper wallet is a piece of paper with printed keys and QR codes 
  • Although paper wallets provide an additional layer of security, they are not without their drawbacks.
  •  It is critical to maintaining the security of the paper wallet that it be generated, stored, and protected in the correct manner.
  • Numerous alternatives to paper wallets exist, including web wallets, hardware wallets, mobile wallets, and software wallets.

Security has become one of the main priorities for cryptocurrency holders. Crypto wallets are already a hot topic in the market, and paper wallets are getting more attention than ever . Essentially, you cannot understand blockchain paper wallets without knowing what crypto wallets are, and discovering their main features.

In this article, you will find everything you need to know about crypto paper wallets, such as how they work and how you can create them. You’ll also discover the best alternatives to paper wallets and how to use them safely and securely.
 
 

Paper Wallets, Explained

In the world of cryptocurrencies, a paper wallet is a physical sheet of paper with printed public and private keys. Additionally, some paper wallets have a barcode that a compatible app can scan. These wallets are well-known for enabling offline storage and safe access to cryptocurrency funds. 

The security of your coins is ensured by the fact that once the keys are printed, they are no longer usable on the network. You must keep in mind, though, that you cannot access your funds without these keys.

The paper Bitcoin wallet is one of the most popular options available among the several kinds of paper wallets. Typically, a QR code is present that can be scanned to start a transaction. Users have total control over their money with paper wallets, which also offer an unmatched level of security. 

You won't need to worry about hackers, viruses, or software flaws if you use a paper wallet. To maintain the security of your Bitcoin assets, your first concern should be safely keeping this small piece of paper.
 
 

How Does a Paper Wallet Work?

A pair of cryptographic keys—a public key and a private key—are generated in order for a paper wallet to function. While the private key is used to access and use the money saved in the wallet, the public key is needed to receive payments. A detailed explanation of a paper wallet's operation is provided below:

  • Key generation: You would normally use a reliable offline tool or a secure paper wallet generator website to create a paper wallet. The tool generates a random private key and its corresponding public key.
  • Printing: After the key pair has been generated, you can actually print it out on paper. It's crucial to use a secure printer and keep the printed materials away from prying eyes.
  • Security measures: Some paper wallets also incorporate a QR code that represents the public and private keys in order to increase security. To make manually entering the keys easier, a compatible programme or piece of software can read the QR code.

How crypto paper wallet work

  • Funding the wallet: To add money to your paper wallet, send cryptocurrency to the public address printed on the paper from an exchange or another wallet. This public address is open to everyone, and anyone can send money there. The transactions will be saved on the blockchain.
  • Securing the paper wallet: The paper wallet must be kept secure because the private key is the only way to access and use the money. It should be kept safe and dry, preferably in a sealed envelope or tamper-evident bag. Additionally, think about creating backup copies and securing them in several places.
  • Funds access: To access the money in your paper wallet, you usually use a software or mobile wallet that allows you to import or sweep paper wallets. Sweeping moves the money to a new wallet and empties the paper wallet, whereas importing lets you add the private key to the wallet software.

It's important to keep in mind that importing or sweeping money from a paper wallet renders it no longer safe because the private key has been made accessible to a network-connected device. Consequently, it is typically advised to make a new paper wallet and transfer any leftover money to it after each use.
 
 

How To Use A Paper Wallet

To use a paper wallet, you need to repeat the steps listed above. Additionally, follow the below steps to sweep money to a new wallet or import a private key into wallet software:

  • Choose a wallet: Opt for a software or mobile application that allows for the importation or sweep of paper wallets. Popular choices include Coinomi, Electrum, and Mycelium. Make sure the wallet you select is reputable and reliable.
  • Open the wallet: Install and launch the appropriate wallet app or software on your smartphone to access your wallet.
  • Find the import or sweep option: In the wallet's interface, look for the option to import or sweep a private key. In the settings, tools, or settings menu, it is typically located.
  • Select import or sweep: You may have to select between importing the private key and sweeping the funds, depending on the wallet. 
  • Enter the private key: Enter or scan your paper wallet's private key. If the wallet has a QR code, some wallets might be able to read it.
  • Confirm the transaction: Examine the transaction's specifics, such as the sum being imported or swept. To complete the transaction, confirm it.
  • Wait for confirmation: Depending on the network congestion and the coin being sent, the wallet software may take some time to conduct the transaction. Await the transaction's confirmation.
  • Verify funds: As soon as the transaction is approved, the imported or swept funds should appear in your wallet balance. Verify again that the balance reflects the anticipated sum.
  • Secure the new wallet: Use appropriate security practices to secure the new wallet if you performed a sweep and moved the funds to a new wallet address. To protect your money, keep the private keys safe and adhere to the suggested security procedures.

Always proceed with caution and protect the confidentiality of your private key while importing or sweeping. Remember that the security of the paper wallet is compromised as soon as the private key is made available to a network-connected device, so move any leftover funds to a new paper wallet for increased security.
 
 

How To Create Your Own Paper Wallet Safely

Here's how to create a secure paper wallet on your own:

  • Use a secure offline environment: Make sure you're not exposed to any malware or other hazards by working in a safe offline environment. Isolate yourself from the web by using a computer that isn't linked to it, or boot from a trusted live operating system like Tails.
  • Select a reliable paper wallet generator: Go with a trusted paper wallet-generating website or app. Bitaddress.org and WalletGenerator.net are two well-liked choices. Before using a generator, it's important to make sure you can trust it.
  • Download a paper wallet generator: You should only use the paper wallet generator from a reputable website or one that you have downloaded from the original source. It's best to stay away from internet-dependent generators if you're concerned about your data's safety.
  • Disconnect from the internet: You may protect your paper wallet production process from online dangers by disconnecting your computer from the internet before you begin.
  • Generate the keys: Follow the steps provided to generate the keys by using the paper wallet generator in a non-networked environment. The generator will provide a random pair of private and public keys. Make sure that the private key is generated in a safe, untampered environment.
  • Print the paper wallet: The generated keys should be printed out on paper and stored in a physical wallet. Make sure you're printing from a secure printer that isn't online. Don't forget to erase the printer's memory afterward so that your keys don't get left behind.
  • Add additional security measures: Consider increasing your paper wallet's security by adding additional measures. To prevent unauthorized access to the private key, you can encrypt it with a passphrase or use a tamper-evident seal on the printed paper.
  • Keep the paper wallet secure and confidential: The paper wallet should be kept in a safe and secure area. Use something like a tamper-evident bag, a sealed envelope, or a safe. Protect the paper money from the elements and from being stolen or lost.
  • Make backup copies: Create other copies of the paper wallet and keep them in different, safe places. In the event that the original paper wallet is misplaced, destroyed, or stolen, you will have a backup.

 

How To Keep a Paper Wallet Secure

These guidelines will help you maintain the safety of your paper wallet:

  • Store it in a secure location: Always keep your paper wallet in a safe and secure area, such as a locked drawer or safe. Make sure it is safe from things like fire, flood, and theft.
  • Use tamper-evident packaging: If the paper wallet is going to be sent over the mail, it is highly recommended that you use tamper-evident packaging, such as a tamper-evident bag or a sealed envelope.
  • Make multiple copies: Create many copies of the paper wallet and keep them in various safe places. In the event of destruction, theft, or misplacement, this ensures that there is a backup plan in place.
  • Protect the wallet from environmental hazards: Shield the paper wallet against the elements, including water, direct sunlight, severe temperatures, and physical damage. For maximum safety, you should use a container that is both watertight and fireproof.
  • Encrypt the private key: The private key can be encrypted using a robust passphrase if desired. Even if an unauthorized third party obtains possession of the paper wallet, this additional protection will make it far more difficult for them to access the funds.
  • Be mindful of digital threats: Even though a paper wallet exists outside of the realm of digital intrusion, it is still important to exercise caution when making and using one. Always do this in a safe, offline setting, only use reputable paper wallet generators, and never let anyone see your private key.
  • Inspect the paper wallet on a regular basis: Look for telltale signs of tampering or attempted theft on a regular basis. Money should be transferred to a new paper wallet if any suspicious behavior is detected.
  • Keep the private key confidential: Do not give out the private key or let anyone else know what it is used for. This is classified material, so please don't disclose it. To receive funds, simply give the recipient the public key (wallet address).
  • Update security measures: Keep up with the newest security best practices and think about implementing new security measures as technology advances. Make sure your paper wallet is always secure by staying informed with trustworthy sources.

 

What Are the Benefits Of Paper Wallets?

The use of paper wallets to store and protect cryptocurrency has many advantages:

  • The private keys for a paper wallet are generated and stored offline, away from any online connections, making them an offline storage solution. The potential for cybercrime and hacking is considerably diminished as a result.
  • Having full custody of your private keys is a major plus to using a paper wallet. With proper care and storage, a paper wallet can provide excellent protection against online dangers, including malware, viruses, and phishing attempts.
  • When compared to digital wallets and exchanges, paper wallets offer greater security because they are not dependent on the internet. They make it so that you cannot be hacked by things like faulty code or compromised servers.
  • When using a paper wallet, you have complete control and ownership of your money. You, and only you, are responsible for your bitcoin holdings; you are not required to use any custodians or intermediaries.
  • Paper wallets are a good option for storing cryptocurrency for the long term. If you take the necessary precautions to safely store the paper wallet, your cash will remain secure and usable even if you lose access to the internet for a lengthy period of time.
  • Because it does not require any complex software or network access, a paper wallet has a far smaller attack surface. Paper wallets may be harder to hack because of their inherent simplicity.
  • Paper wallets can be readily transported and stowed away in a bag or briefcase. Since they don't require a computer or the internet to operate, they're ideal for safely carrying and keeping cryptocurrency funds.

 Paper Wallet Pros and Cons

What Are the Risks of Using Paper Wallets?

While there are advantages to using paper wallets to store cryptocurrency, users should also be aware of the following dangers:

  • Paper currency can easily be lost, stolen, or damaged in the real world. Money saved in a paper wallet is at risk of being lost forever if the wallet is lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Paper wallets require manual procedures in their creation, printing, and keeping, which raises the likelihood of human error. Money can be lost if the wrong keys are entered, the printing process is messed up, or the paper wallet is not kept safely.
  • Paper wallets are inconvenient for frequent users since they cannot store large amounts of currency. When compared to online wallets, paper wallets can be more difficult to operate and take more time to redeem funds due to the need to import or sweep the private key.
  • It is critical to generate a paper wallet in a safe environment. The private key could be compromised if the wallet's generation procedure occurs on a compromised or insecure system.
  • Paper wallets may not allow quick access to funds in an emergency. Paper wallets are designed to be used offline; however, importing or wiping the private key requires an online device. This can be a problem if you need quick access to your money.
  • If a paper wallet isn't backed up, losing the actual copy or having it stolen could mean losing all of the money in it. To protect themselves, users should make many identical copies of the paper wallet and store them in secret.
  • As time passes, the paper and ink used for printing may fade, making it difficult to see the keys. To avoid deterioration-related losses, it is important to keep an eye on the paper wallet and replace it at regular intervals.

 

Top Alternatives for Paper Wallets

While paper wallets do provide an extra layer of security for holding cryptocurrencies, there are other options that may be more convenient for you. Some well-liked substitutes are as follows:
 

Hardware Wallets 

Hardware wallets are dedicated hardware devices built with the sole purpose of holding digital currency. Because the private keys are stored offline and confirmation of transactions must be made in person, they provide a higher level of security. The Ledger Nano S, Trezor, and KeepKey are just a few examples.
 

Software Wallets

Computers, mobile phones, and other devices can all use software wallets to store and manage digital currency. They are more user-friendly than paper wallets while still maintaining the confidentiality of the private keys, therefore they satisfy the need for both privacy and security. Exodus, Electrum, and Mycelium are examples of software wallets.
 

Web Wallets

Web wallets, also known as online wallets, are digital currency storage solutions that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. They provide ease of use and accessibility, but at the cost of entrusting the private keys to an untrusted third party. MetaMask, MyEtherWallet, and Coinbase Wallet are just a few examples.
 

Multisig Wallets

Multisig wallets give an extra degree of security by necessitating several signatures to authorize a single transaction. The risk of a single point of failure is mitigated by having numerous parties share custody of private keys, as in this system. BitGo and Electrum (which supports multisig) are two such examples.
 

Mobile Wallets

Mobile wallets, or "wallets," are smartphone applications that store and manage financial information. They allow users to access their money wherever they happen to be. Trust Wallet, Jaxx Liberty, and Coinomi are some examples of such wallets.

Security, usability, compatibility with your chosen cryptocurrencies, and the wallet provider's standing should all be taken into account when deciding on a digital wallet alternative to paper wallets. Do your homework and pick the option that best fits your needs and comfort level with risk.
 
 

Conclusion

Paper wallets have a long history of trustworthiness as a crypto storage solution due to their low barrier to entry and clear explanations. While they are prone to hacking attacks because of particular flaws, this danger is present in all crypto wallets. 

Nonetheless, it's important to remember that some people think paper wallets are archaic and no longer the norm. In order to make a wise decision on the best way to keep your coins secure, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of the many storage alternatives now available. 

Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each wallet option will help you choose the one that is most suitable for your own needs and preferences in terms of safety.
 
 

FAQs:

What is a paper wallet in crypto?

A paper wallet is a simple paper that includes private and public keys for carrying out transactions.
 

How to create a paper wallet for Bitcoin?

You can create the best paper wallet for cryptocurrency by visiting the paper wallet generator, selecting the paper wallet, printing it on a piece of paper, folding it, and sharing your public address.
 

What are the perks of a paper wallet? 

Paper wallets are simple to use, free of charge, and safe, as they are kept in an offline environment. 
 

What are the flaws of using a paper wallet?

Paper wallets also have some limitations, including the risk of damage. Also, you may lose funds if the paper wallet is lost.
 

What are the alternatives to paper wallets?

You can find many alternatives to paper wallets, such as web, hardware, mobile, and software wallets.