How To Make A Bitcoin Paper Wallet – A Beginner’s Guide
After the last bull market of 2017, many investors educated themselves enough to go out and purchase hardware wallets to store their coins off the cryptocurrency exchanges. And yet, you still seem to think that paying for a hardware wallet can wait. There must be other ways, right? Today, you are in luck! In this article we are going to teach you how to make a bitcoin paper wallet.
A bitcoin paper wallet is a randomly generated public and private key printed together, ready for you to print.
Paper wallets are offline wallet. They are mostly referred to as “cold storage” (very secure storage that does not make contact with the internet). These wallets, however, do have some important differences that make their usage a matter of debate, which we will analyse further bellow.
As you, probably, already guessed, paper wallets are made out of paper, although depending on the printer you use and the durability you are looking for, they could also be printed on plastic, metal or even get laminated (cool idea for a gift huh?
As you can see on the picture above, the printout one develops through a paper wallet generator includes the Public Key (SHARE) and the Private Key (SECRET).
Very important: Never share your private keys with anyone! Only share your public bitcoin address.
You could just copy and paste the keys on a Word document and print them out (deleting you history and any copy of the file subsequently). You could also make use of the free online services that generate a Bitcoin paper wallet for you (more on that bellow). Make sure, however, that it is not saved on your computer or smartphone.
Many Bitcoin paper wallet web services have a fancy design that you can turn into an art piece through cutting, folding and sealing. This way, the wallet becomes not only secure, but also an opportunity to practise your crafting skills.
After generating and printing the wallet, you can now send your Bitcoin to the public address presented on the wallet, and then store it in a place no one will ever care to look (I can think of some ideas!).
What makes your Bitcoin paper wallet the most secure of all options out there, is that they are totally offline (not connected to the internet in any way). They are not reachable by cyber criminals or hackers and there is no other party that may limit the control you have over your coins. Therefore, as long as your Bitcoin paper wallet is secure, your Bitcoin is secure too.
But you need to be really creative with your hiding place. See, there is nothing to protect you if someone finds your paper wallet. Someone could take it, spend all its holding and return the paper back to its original place, so you could never know who did it. This is by far the most important security drawback that Bitcoin paper wallets have.
One option to help you solve this is to fold the paper where your private keys are and seal the fold with a seal that cannot be broken or removed. These seals are usually called “tamper evident seals” but by the time you read this there may be even more “crypto specific” sealing methods that work better. Make sure the seal not only hides the private keys from plain sight but also if held under special light which can read the layers bellow
Then, you also need to think about natural disasters. What if your secret hideout gets flooded or catches on fire? what about an earthquake? Many people will tell you to keep your paper in the freezer , or in a plastic bag. I will share with you what I personally did:
I printed the wallet on a piece of paper. I then laminated that paper into hard plastic to protect it from ink fading and possible water exposure. Finally, I wrapped the laminated paper wallet in aluminium foil to protect it from fire. Simple, cheap and quick.
And don’t worry if you have your paper wallet hidden somewhere that is very unconventional to reach. As long as you have your public address, you can always check your balance online. And when the time comes, most online wallets will give you a full tutorial on how you can withdraw your paper wallet holdings.
Our favourite Bitcoin paper wallet generators:
Bitcoinpaperwallet is by far the best paper wallet generator if you want to gift a (hopefully loaded) paper wallet. Its an awesome idea as a Christmas present, a birthday gift or simply a kind gesture. The website also provides you with the tamper-evident seals that I mentioned above.
Mycelium provides an alternative and possibly more secure method to create a Bitcoin paper wallet, with the assistance of a USB which is plugged directly into your printer. The USB will generate a paper wallet through its random algorithm sequence, which gets printed out automatically, without the need to even visit a paper wallet generator website.
So go ahead and create your own Bitcoin paper wallet. It is not only free and secure but also an activity that could awake your inner creativity!