How To Make a Paper Bitcoin Wallet Safely : Step By Step Instructions

Bitcoin paper wallets are one of the most secure ways of storing your Bitcoins, for long term. Since a paper wallet is not an electronic device, and is not connected to the internet – it makes it highly secure. It also falls into the category of an offline wallet, or Cold Storage.

Essentially in this blog post, we will only focus on creating a paper wallet on Windows 10. To learn more about different types of wallet, read my earlier post : What is a Bitcoin Wallet : Everything a Beginner Should Know

Easy Steps to Create a Bitcoin Paper Wallet

In our example, we will use www.bitaddress.org – it’s a reputed website, and has a lot of positive reviews. Moreover, they have a GitHub repository where they have uploaded their entire code, and anyone is free to verify the open source code here .

Step 1 : Go to  www.bitaddress.org , you should

see something similar as :

bitaddress.org website

 

Please make sure you typed the correct URL – very important.

 

Step 2 : We will process the creation of the paper wallet from our local computer instead of directly from the website (just to be secure). Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on Zip. Alternatively, you can just right click on the page, and select the “save as” option to save the web page into your local computer.

Download Zip file

 

Step 3 : Turn your internet connection off. If you’re using Wifi, simply click on the wifi icon at the bottom right of your laptop, and then click on the wifi option at the bottom to turn it off. This step is not necessary, but i still do this for security.

Turn internet off
Turn your Internet off

 

Step 4 : Considering you downloaded the Zip file, navigate to the location of the zip file (usually goes to the Downloads folder) . Right click on the zip file, click “Extract All” and select the location where you want to extract the content.

Save the zip file
Save the zip file

 

Step 5 : Go into the extracted folder, you should find a file called bitaddress.org .

content of zip file

 

Step 6 : Double click on the file bitaddress.org, and you should see a similar page as the actual website. Here you can now safely create your wallet, which runs on your local computer, and without an internet connection.  Now, you’ll see as you move your mouse cursor, you’ll see the percentage of your wallet increases. Keep moving your mouse cursor randomly, until it reaches 100%.

Move the mouse cursor

 

Step 7 : Upon reaching 100%, you’ll see that your wallet should be generated. Now, click on “paper wallet” as seen below.

 

Click on paper wallet

Step 8 : Deselect the “Hide Art” option if you don’t want the fancy design (optional). Type the number of addresses you want to generate. We will choose just 1 in this example. I suggest to check the BIP38 Encrypt here, since it gives you an additional security. The BIP32 Encrypto is identical to a password, so nobody can access the wallet without the given password. I recommend keeping a long password.

Congratulations! You’re finally ready to print your Bitcoin Paper Wallet! Just click on the Print button on the side, and print your paper wallet. Of course you will need a printer to get the physical copy.

 

Print Bitcoin Paper Wallet

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Your Bitcoin Paper Wallet will contain the Bitcoin Address and the Private Key. Never share your Private Key with anyone.
  • Along with the text format of your address and Private key, you’ll also see the respective QR Code. QR Codes are very easy to scan from a mobile device, and transfer your funds.
  • If you selected the BIP32 Encryption passphrase, you will be asked when you scan your Private Key’s QR code on a mobile device. As you can guess, not selecting the Passphrase option puts you at a risk. Anyone who can see your QR code can just scan it and access your funds. Imagine a situation where someone took a picture of your paper wallet… not a good situation. I recommend setting up the passphrase.

I hope this helped, please click below and share on the social media.  If you have any questions please leave a comment below.

What is a Bitcoin wallet : Everything a beginner should know

Bitcoin Wallet

So, you’re here to learn about Bitcoin wallets. We all know what a wallet is right – a wallet is a place where you store your money/currency. A Bitcoin wallet is not that different (technically) , and it simply enables a user to store Bitcoins.

Without a Bitcoin wallet, you cannot send or receive Bitcoins.

In other words, a Bitcoin wallet stores your private keys. A private key here is similar to a password, or a key, with which anyone can access your wallet and hence your funds. I cannot stress enough on how important it is to keep your private keys safe. Never share your private keys with anyone.

 

Understanding Bitcoin wallets with an example

Consider your Bitcoin wallet as an email account. We will take this comparison, as i believe emails and Bitcoin transactions work in a similar way.

So, in a very blunt way, an email account comprises of two most important things :

  1. The email address (example, [email protected])
  2. The password

When you need to send an email to someone, you just need the receiver’s email address. But when you login to your email account, you will require your email address, and the password.

Similarly, when sending Bitcoins, all you need if the receiver’s Bitcoin wallet address (also known as the public key). And, when you want to access Bitcoin wallet, you will require your wallet’s private key.

In short,

  • Email address ≈ Bitcoin wallet address (could be publicly shared)
  • Email password ≈ Bitcoin wallet private key (should never share)

Types of Bitcoin wallets

Following are the types of Bitcoin wallets :

Hardware Wallets:

Perhaps the most secure and usable way to store Bitcoins is : Hardware wallets. In addition to their ease of use, no hardware wallet has ever been hacked yet. Your private keys are stored in the device, and even if you lose your device, you can recover your funds with the help of your seed words (very important to keep them safe).

Below are the popular hardware wallets :

  • Trezor
  • Ledger Nano
  • Ledger Nano S
  • KeepKey

Mobile wallets :

A Bitcoin mobile wallet is an installable mobile application, which you can download from the Google Play Store for Android devices, or the Apple Store for Apple smartphones.

Following are some popular mobile wallets :

  • Mycelium (Android)
  • Copay (Android and iOS)
  • Jaxx (Android and iOS)
  • Coinomi (Android)
  • Bread (Android and iOS)

The above mentioned wallets are quite secure, and i use some of them personally. My advice here is not to keep a huge amount of Bitcoins on a mobile wallet, since it is considered a Hot Storage. For frequent transactions, mobile wallets are easy to use and portable.

Desktop Wallets :

Much as Mobile wallets, Desktop wallets is a software applications that is installed on your computer or laptops. Their level of security is similar to Mobile wallets, and they work in a very similar way… making them a Hot Storage wallet too. They are available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Below are some popular ones :

  • Bitcoin Core
  • Electrum
  • Jaxx
  • Exodus
  • Armory

You can easily download them from their official websites, and start using them.

Web Wallets :

A web wallet means these cannot be downloaded or installed on your devices – they are just a website. It’s especially relevant mentioning one drawback i personally feel is that they don’t usually give control of your private keys. Some examples of web wallets are :

  • Xapo
  • BitGo
  • Coinbase
  • Binance

As you can see, the wallets for exchanges like Binance and Coinbase fall in this category. In addition to what i said, Xapo and BitGo take some extra measures of security and are considered one of the most secure web wallets.

Bitcoin Paper Wallets

One of my favorite places to store Bitcoins, the paper wallet is a Cold Storage. Possibly one of the most secure places to store your Bitcoins, and since it is not connected to the internet – you get an extra edge with security.

There are several places where you can get a paper wallet, like :

  • Bitaddress.org
  • walletgenerator.org
  • Bitcoinpaperwallet.org

A paper wallet is perhaps the easiest to understand. Your Bitcoin address, and private key is printed on a piece of paper – that’s it. You can now share the address with someone who wants to send you Bitcoins. If you want to send Bitcoins however, you cannot send it directly; instead you will “swipe” your paper wallet into a Hot wallet like a mobile wallet… from where you can send your Bitcoins.

As you can see, the paper wallet is useful to store Bitcoins rather than for active use.

Which wallet should you use?

That’s a tough question for me to answer. If you are a frequent trader, and often make transactions, consider using a mobile wallet.

If your motive is just to store and HODL Bitcoins for long term, paper wallets are great.

And hardware wallets are pretty much an all-in-one package, but it comes with a price.

Finally,  it’s up to you to decide which one fits your needs, and if you have questions please leave a comment below.