Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies use cryptography to encode and decode information. Your private key is a long number that gives you access to the blockchain so you can conduct transactions. Your public key is provided to outsiders so they can send your crypto account information that can be decoded only with your private key. Your address on the blockchain is derived algorithmically from your public key.
Most blockchains use a 256-digit binary number as the private key. The lowest value is 0 and the highest value is 115,
It’s not reasonable for you to memorize your private key or even to type it every time you want to conduct a transaction on the blockchain. That’s why seed phrases were invented.
A seed phrase is a list of 12 or 24 common words in a particular order. When you type the words into your crypto wallet, you will have access to your private keys, public key, and crypto funds. The seed phrase works like a sort of master password to your wallet.
The seed phrase isn’t made up of random words. The crypto world uses a standard set of 2,048 words. The words are converted into a very large number that serves as your crypto wallet’s master password. For example, if your seed phrase starts with word number 1,339 and then word number 4 and then word number 955, then the master password starts with those numbers.
If you choose a new crypto wallet, typing your seed phrase should give you access to all the funds and accounts you managed with your original wallet.
Seed phrases aren’t an essential part of the blockchain world. They are provided as a convenience because they are easier to transcribe and remember than long numeric passwords. If you use a crypto wallet, be sure to keep your seed phrase secure and to ensure that it is private. If you lose it, you lose access to your crypto funds. And if hackers get hold of your seed phrase, they can drain your account.
There’s no need to worry about seed phrases if you keep your crypto funds secure in a custodial account at Kriptomat or another online exchange. These platforms manage your public and private keys, securing them from attack and giving you access protected by two-factor authentication and other measures.