Randolf Richardson (Zhang Wen Dao)

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Important Rules for Cryptocurrency Use

December 1st, 2017 by Randolf Richardson

These are the fundamental rules I follow when using cryptographic currencies, which have loss-prevention in mind.  This list is intended to be short and straight-forward, and covers what I consider to be important practices for cryptocurrency users ranging from beginner to expert.

  1. I must be able to generate my own Private Key offline and know its Public Address using reliable, open-source software (e.g., Wallet software, PaperWallet script, VanityGen tool, etc.)
  2. There must be at least one reliable, open-source Wallet application that accepts any Private Key, and which then calculates the expected corresponding Public Address

Important note: Never share your Private Key with anyone for any reason, and never type it into a web site (including any web site that purports to be a Wallet).

If the above two rules cannot be satisfied, then it means that it's not possible for me to have full control of any funds associated with my Public Address.  Unfortunately, I have encountered some Wallet applications that didn't seem to provide any features for accessing the Private Keys for the Public Addresses they generated for me, so I refused to use them (and, consequently, I didn't use the currency).

My emphasis on possessing the Private Key independently from the Wallet application software is of paramount importance because:

  • the Public Address is derived mathematically from the Private Key
  • it is necessary for controlling any funds associated with the Public Address (e.g., sending a payment to someone else's Public Address)

Storing the Private Key in a safe place is also essential, and so I highly recommend multiple backups that are stored in separate secure locations (e.g., a hardcopy printout of your Private Key placed into your Safety Deposit Box at your bank, and in a text file that is protected by encryption, etc., may suffice as backups).

Do keep in mind that if you lose your Private Key, then it means that you have lost all control over any funds associated with your Public Address.  Keeping this information safe and secure is essential for anyone who is serious about using any cryptographic currency because, unlike a bank that can provide you with alternative methods of recovering account access, due to the decentralized nature of cryptographic currencies there are no such means of recovery.

Thank you for reading this.  I sincerely hope that you found it helpful, and I encourage you to share it with others who may also find it helpful.

If you would like to support me by sending any amount of cryptocurrency to me (this is not required, but always greatly appreciated when it does occurr), my public BitCoin address is:  1GqhqkDURvJDUhfcg61RySFcz53randoLf

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