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Public key and Private key in the cryptocurrencies world

As you start your journey to become a cryptocurrencies' investor, you'll often hear the terms public key and private key. Let’s simplify the terms for you so you can take a step forward towards understanding cryptocurrencies in a deeper level.

In the world of cryptocurrencies each user has two keys in the form of series of letters and numbers which connect to one another mathematically. One is public which is visible to everyone and can be shared with others, and the other is private, known only to the user herself.

Think of it as a mailbox. The public key is in fact the address of your mailbox which is known to everyone, so they could send you letters. On the other hand, the private key is your key to retrieve your letters from your mailbox and only you have the access to it. The address and the key to open the mailbox depend on one another - different address will need a different mailbox which mean different key to open it.

The analogy works the same when you want to trade in cryptocurrencies:

You get a public key, the address that you provide anyone that wish to transfer you digital coins, and you also get a private key which is your way to open the "mailbox" and claim what's inside.

If you’ll share your private key with someone he will have access to your account and he could do whatever he wants with it, exactly like if you’ll make a copy of your mailbox key and give it to a friend, allowing him to open your mailbox and retrieve the letters inside of it.

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