Welcome back to another interesting and educative series on understanding the blockchain, I am sure the last lecture was an eye-opener to some. ! If you did miss it, you can catch up here.
I am sorry for the temporary absence last week! You can blame it on my tight offline work. I’m glad I finally had time to do this, so let’s quickly do a recap! Last time, we took a sneak peek into the blockchain world using the tree analogy and concluded that there are several blockchains in existence with a different governance model, consensus algorithm and cryptocurrencies.
Today, we gonna understand the keys you need to know about, I would try to make it slow and steady so you could pick up some salient facts in this module. So leggo!
SOME KNOWN FACTS!
For you to be reading this, then you obviously have access to a smartphone and probably internet connection! Let me also take a wild guess, you have a Facebook account and probably an e-mail account right? Oops! Caught Ya!! Oh yes, you do!
Can you remember how you signed up for these social apps? The steps you took to ensure that you secured a rightful space on them? That’s exactly how it is on the blockchain. You need to sign up to secure your unique identity.
Well if I wrongly guessed that you owned a Facebook account and probably an e-mail account, you definitely had to set up your smartphone or PC in order to start using it! Isn’t it? So there is no excuse this time around.
Signing up on the blockchain is not a herculean task! It’s practically the same steps you take on almost all blockchains, but it is important to note that there may be a few changes here and there depending on the blockchain involved. It is important to note that I haven’t signed up on all the blockchains but I’m 100% sure the principles are quite similar.
The main aim is to create a username that others can use to socialize with you or do transactions with you on that particular blockchain. Presently only a few blockchains allow a human-readable username to be created e.g. EOS and steem blockchain! The others have a long set of characters which is given for use as a username.
As potential new users, we have probably had our individual sign up experiences from the traditional social media (Facebook,Twitter etc.), and are hoping to bring this mindset on the blockchain.
Well, let me quickly say that the blockchain is a different ball game altogether. The blockchain is not a joking matter because you are going to be the custodian of your accounts and possibly your digital currencies. It is important to state that you would be solely responsible for any actions you take on your account and recovering of a lost password may be a nightmare! So read the next lines carefully so you understand how things are done here.
In creating a unique username, a new set of key pairs are usually b unique to that account! This may not really make sense to you at this point but I hope it would be clear when you read to the end. All you have to remember is that you have to save these keys in order to be able to log in next time!
A QUICK REFRESHER.
A key is a device used to create privacy and restrict unauthorized access to a property. We use keys in our everyday life no doubt. On the blockchain, a key is not a device, but rather a digital fingerprint unique to an account created. You can look at it like being handed over a pair of keys to the latest dream car of yours just to cruise around town.
These pair of keys is not supposed to be made public so your brand new car doesn’t get stolen! Understood?
On the blockchain, the username is called public keys, while the password is called private keys!
This is the set of characters that identifies an individual on the blockchain usually visible to the general public. It can be likened to the traditional username which you know so well. Your public key gives you a unique identity on that particular blockchain!
Just like other social media platforms, people who know your username can easily add you up and socialize with you. Most blockchains public keys are usually 12 characters long and non-human readable. The EOS blockchain, however, allows you to create a unique name associated with your particular brand.
The private keys control the public keys! They control access to the accounts in simpler English. There are usually a number of them depending on the blockchain.
This key pair gives you full access to the account. With this key, you dictate what happens on your account. It is important to note that the owner key controls the main activities of that account, it grants you permission to make peer to peer transactions or with third parties so losing this key would mean losing access to your digitally acquired tokens if you stored any inside!
It’s likened to a master key that should never get missing if not you going to lose ownership of the account.
This key is also very important because if it’s in the wrong hands, it can lead to a breach of your account (your funds can get stolen!) But the good news is that you can claim back ownership of the account with the owner keys.
So you see, you have to be very careful if you don’t want your account to be compromised too. With the active key, you can also do almost everything that the owner key can do, except claiming ownership of the public keys (username)!
There are a lot of other keys peculiar to other blockchains according to the different use cases (e.g. active keys, posting keys, signing key, etc. Peculiar to the steemit blockchain) but this is not where I’m going to dwell today!
Just remember that in all you are doing, keep your private keys safe!!!
A few years back, I lost access to my first bitcoin wallet address because at that time, I didn’t understand so much about blockchain and I didn’t know the usefulness of the keys. I think you should guard these keys jealously! It’s usually advised to save them offline in a very secure place where you can always have access or better still you can purchase a hardware wallet e.g. trezor and save your keys.
Having emphasized so much about the importance of keys, I want to congratulate you on opening your first blockchain account on whichever chain you preferred. You have just gained access to that particular ecosystem! Take extra time to do a a proper research of this ecosystem before investing your time, money and efforts.
If you would be interested to learn more about the EOS ecosystem, then you can anticipate my next articles.
If you already have particular blockchain in mind, please endeavor to do proper research before embarking on that journey! I may eventually have time to go through some useful blockchains including yours perhaps someday.
Thanks for reading...