What if you bitcoin qt private key all of your bitcoins tomorrow? If you don’t own your private key, you don’t own your bitcoins.
Yes, you read that right. The private key must remain secret at all times because revealing it to third parties is equivalent to giving them control over the bitcoins secured by that key. The private key must also be backed up and protected from accidental loss, because if it’s lost it cannot be recovered and the funds secured by it are forever lost, too. To understand private keys and public keys, let us look at an example. Consider a mailbox where you receive your physical mail. In real life, do you give your keys to someone unknown?
You always keep track of your key and don’t jeopardize the contents inside of your mailbox. I feel that understanding the underlying technical aspect of keys is important so that your remain better informed and educated enough to take care of them. In the next section, I will tell some basic technical aspects of these keys. It is a 256-bit long number which is picked randomly as soon as you make a wallet. The degree of randomness and uniqueness is well defined by cryptographic functions for security purposes. It is impossible to reverse engineer and reach the private key from which it was generated. This is the address used to publicly receive bitcoins.
This address is always seen and broadcasted for receiving bitcoins. Users can make as many public addresses as they want to receive bitcoins. What are Bitcoin private keys used for? Private keys are used for making irreversible transactions. They are the key to spending and sending your bitcoins to anyone and anywhere. This irreversibility is guaranteed by mathematical signatures which are linked to each transaction whenever we use the private keys to send bitcoins. And for each transaction, these signatures are unique, even though they are generated from the same private keys.