Before jumping into the theory I like to understand it practically in the real world. The best tool for this is setting up (and printing) a paper wallet.
Do not send bitcoin to the paper wallet yet, we are only trying to grasp the wallet idea
Go to either of:
You will need to move your mouse around to add randomness (entropy) to ensure the private-public key pair generated is random enough.
Print out the wallet.
Read the instructions.
Look at the key contents of it:
- Private key
- Public key
Your public key, is something that can be shared and given to anyone. It is public information. If you want to receive sats (portions of bitcoin) then this key is what you will give someone. It is your bitcoin address.
The private key, is something that should be kept private. Only you should know your private key (or have access to it). Your private key is what is used to sign transactions - movement from your address to somewhere else.
If you control the private key, you control the sats.
The reason paper wallets are not recommended anymore is because they encourage address reuse.
Paper wallets should not be seed backups. Paper wallets store one public-private key pair, whereas seeds can be used for re-generating multiple keys and addresses.
If a hardware wallet malfunctions, is stolen, or destroyed, the private keys can be restored to a new wallet using the seed backup.
Take note that I do not say mnemonic seed - as bitcoin core (the reference) has not adopted mnemonic seeds BIP 39
Can a duplicate of the wallet you just viewed or printed exist? Can the next person generating a wallet randomly get the exact same wallet at you?
Yes. But the chances of this are so astronomically low that it is as good as 0% chance.
A Word on Researching Bitcoin
An important tip is that you should beware of researching content that mentions "cryptocurrencies" and not just bitcoin. People who do no understand the superiority of bitcoin over the shitcoins have usually not done enough research.
Which Wallet should I use to get off the Exchange?
- Smart Custody
- Electrum's cold walelt
- Rusty Russell's "Remarkably Unreliable Guide To Bitcoin Storage"
- Alexandr Nellson's Scheme
- Wasabi Cold
- Bitgoldwallet's Storage Methods
What Wallet should I use and how should I get my bitcoin off the exchange?
You should use a dedicated device - a device that will only be used for bitcoin.
The device should never connect to a network.
Use bitcoin-core for your wallet.
Encrypt the wallet.
Backup the seed on physical.
testnet to do all the above and transfer your testnet utxo to your wallet - practice sending and receiving.
When you are confident use
- Learn Bitcoin from Command Line
- Certified Bitcoin Professional Exam Prep by C4
- Hands-On Bitcoin Programming with Python by Harish
- Grokking Bitcoin by Kalle Rosenbaum
- Programming bitcoin learn how to program bitcoin from scratch by Song, Jimmy
- Bіtсоіn Standard Beginners Guide. 2021 Beginners Guide. Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin (Miner, Wallet, Standard, Mining Hardware etc.) by Bitensbury, Andrew [Bitensbury, Andrew]
- The Blockchain and Bitcoin Fundamental Understand the Basic Principles of Blockchain and Bitcoin in This Master Course by Fredrick Martins [Martins, Fredrick]
- Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas M. Antonopoulos