When using crypto wallets, your private keys or mnemonic phrases are vital, representing sole ownership of blockchain assets. Take ViaWallet (Decentralized wallet) for instance, the private keys or mnemonic phrases are completely controlled by you. Once lost, they cannot be retrieved.
- Private key
- Public key and private key are a key pair created through encryption algorithms. The public key can be decrypted by the corresponding private key. However, it is impossible to reverse the process by generating a private key from a public key.
- A private key is a string of 64 digits in hexadecimal format, for example, 998dfc4e06c5f6a5927ca8996d53094f528948eadf3458ed12fb76ae3a532bfe.
- Private keys can be used to recover crypto assets (when you import them to a new wallet App), and to sign transactions.
- Private keys are similar to passwords. Owning the private keys means taking full control over all wallet assets.
- Mnemonic phrases
- Mnemonic phrases are essentially private keys in a different form. Due to the complicity and low readability of private keys and for ease of memory, the developers use a certain algorithm to convert your 64-digit private key into a set of common English words, i.e. mnemonic phrases.
- Usually, mnemonic phrases consist of 12, 15, 18, or 21 words chosen from a fixed word pool, whose generation sequence is based on a particular algorithm.
- One set of mnemonic phrases can generate multiple private keys, one for each crypto. Therefore, when using multi-cryptocurrency wallets like ViaWallet, you only need one set of mnemonic phrases to manage various cryptos in the same account. Besides, you can also use a single-cryptocurrency wallet for asset management by importing private keys.
Once lost, your private keys or mnemonic phrases CANNOT be retrieved. Please make sure they are properly backed up and kept in a safe place.
Check out the tutorial here: How to Back up Mnemonic Phrases