Thanks to blockchain technology, our society is evolving towards a world without intermediaries. This results in greater decentralization of interactions, but also in increased individual responsibility for managing their own wallet.
Let’s see then what a wallet actually is and why it is crucial to keep its private key.
Public and Private key
Public and private keys enable you to send and receive cryptocurrencies without the need for third-party verification.
The public key is a large number generated from the private key's encryption. This results in a one-of-a-kind relationship between the two codes. The public key is useful to receive tokens; as the name implies, this key can and must be shared with others. An address instead is a code generated by the public key; it usually starts with "0x" (for EVM compatible blockchains such as Ethereum, BNB Smart Chain, Polygon, Arbitrum, Avalanche C-Chain, and so on), or "1" or "3", "bc1" in the case of Bitcoin.
The private key, on the other hand, is similar to the PIN you use at an ATM: it serves to demonstrate to the network that you are the owner of the funds you are attempting to access.
A private key is a random number included between 0 and 115,792,089,237,316,195,423,570,985,008,687,907,853,269,984,665,640,564,039,457,584,007,913,129,639,936. Basically, it is a 256-bit number.
Since remembering and recording a number of this size would be cumbersome and unintuitive, Eidoo transforms it into a sequence of English words, a format known as a seed phrase, or a mnemonic or recovery phrase, or simply a seed. The seed is therefore the representation of a random number; it is an ordered sequence of 12 words, randomly chosen from a list of 2048 items.
Here’s an example of seed:
antique nephew gate purse space quality mass tiny vicious kiss fix dish*
Anyone who knows this string of words can manage the funds held in the corresponding wallet. So, here's the fundamental rule for working with cryptocurrencies: keep your seed private and NEVER reveal it to anyone.
*Please note that this seed does not correspond to any wallet.
Where is my seed?
The seed (which is unique and different for each user) is generated by the app when it is initialized, and is encrypted within the device. You can retrieve the seed at any time through the "Export seed" function found in the Settings menu (link here).
Keep in mind that Eidoo is a "non-custodial" wallet, which means it does not know and thus does not store the seed of its users. It is therefore critical that you take note of the seed and keep it in a safe place when it is displayed to you during the wallet creation process.
How can I efficiently store my seed?
It is NOT recommended to save your seed online, and more generally on a computer, tablet or smartphone. It is preferrable avoiding any device that can connect to the internet. Instead, use a sheet of paper or engrave it on metal to store in a safe and secret place.
When and how to use the seed?
Imagine losing or breaking your phone. Such event involves the loss of the funds contained in the wallet only in the event that you are not aware of your seed. If, on the other hand, you have kept it securely, you can download Eidoo from a new device, and access your old wallet by restoring it. By doing so, you will regain access to all your crypto.
The second and last case in which you will be required to use the seed is if you already have a wallet, and you want to start viewing and using it through the Eidoo app, in order to enjoy the different services it offers.
Here is the potential of the seed: anyone who knows this sequence of words has access to the funds contained in its wallet.