What Is Cold Storage?
Cold storage is an offline wallet used for storing bitcoins. With cold storage, the digital wallet is stored on a platform that is not connected to the internet, thereby protecting the wallet from unauthorized access, cyber hacks and other vulnerabilities to which a system that is connected to the internet is susceptible.
- Most cryptocurrency wallets are digital, but hackers can sometimes gain access to these storage tools in spite of security measures designed to prevent theft.
- Cold storage is a way of holding cryptocurrency tokens offline.
- By using cold storage, cryptocurrency investors aim to prevent hackers from being able to access their
Understanding Cold Storage
When a checking, savings or credit card account with a traditional bank has been compromised, the bank is able to refund the lost or stolen money back to the account holder. However, if your cryptocurrency account or wallet has been compromised and your bitcoins have been stolen, the owner would be unable to recover his coins. The reason for this is that most digital currencies are decentralized and do not have the backing of a central bank or government. Hence, there is a need for a safe and secure medium of storage for bitcoins and altcoins
A bitcoin wallet is associated with the public and private keys of a bitcoin owner. The private key given to any bitcoin user is a unique string of alphanumeric characters required to access the user’s bitcoin holdings for spending purposes. The public key is akin to an account name and helps to identify a destination for coins that are being sent to the wallet. Two people making a transaction with bitcoin, where one is a seller and the other a buyer, will have to share their public keys with each other in order to complete the transaction. The buyer of the commodity or service sends the required number of bitcoins to the seller’s divulged address as payment, and the blockchain verifies the validity of the transaction and confirms that the buyer or sender really has those funds to send. Once the payment has been delivered to the address, the seller or receiver can only access the funds through his or her private key. It is, therefore, imperative for private keys to be kept secure because if stolen, the user’s bitcoins or altcoins could be unlocked and accessed from the address without authorization.
Protection From Theft
Private keys stored on a wallet connected to the internet are vulnerable to network-based theft. These wallets are known as hot wallets. With a hot wallet, all the functions required to complete a transaction are made from a single online device. The wallet generates and stores private keys; digitally signs transactions using private keys; and broadcasts the signed transaction to the network. The problem is that once the signed transactions have been broadcasted online, an attacker crawling the networks may become privy to the private key which was used to sign the transaction.