Paper Wallet

Introduction to Paper Wallets

A paper wallet is a physical copy or printout of both the public and private keys associated with a cryptocurrency. Instead of being held on a digital device, these keys are printed on a piece of paper. A paper wallet can be used to securely store cryptocurrencies offline, a method known as cold storage.

Creation of Paper Wallets

Creation of a paper wallet involves generating a new, random pair of public and private cryptographic keys. The generation process mostly occurs online, but for security reasons, it must happen on a device that is off the internet to prevent potential hacking attempts. After generation, the pair of keys gets printed on a piece of paper which is then stored in a safe location.

Transacting with a Paper Wallet

Carrying out transactions with a paper wallet is a two-step process. First, the cryptocurrencies are transferred to the paper wallet's public address for storage. During this process, the paper wallet creates no outward connectivity, making the transfer uni-directional and exceptionally secure.

In the second step, when spending or selling the cryptocurrencies, the private key must be imported to a software wallet to unlock the funds. This process, known as "sweeping," effectively moves all the funds from the paper wallet to the online wallet, where they can then be used normally. It is essential to remember that after sweeping, the paper wallet should no longer be used.

Benefits and Risks

Paper wallets have both pros and cons. The main benefit is the high level of security; because the critical information is not stored digitally, the chances of being hacked or stolen are minimal. Paper wallets are also easy to create, making them accessible to all users.

Despite the advantages, paper wallets come with notable risks. If the physical document gets lost, destroyed, or damaged beyond recognition, the stored cryptocurrencies can be lost forever as the private key is irreplaceable. There's also the risk associated with the paper wallet creation process; if done online, there might be vulnerability to malware that could potentially record the generated keys.

Creating a Paper Wallet

Creating a Paper Wallet

There are several online services that you can use to create a paper wallet for your cryptocurrency. These include BitAddress for Bitcoin and LitecoinAddress for Litecoin. These services will generate a new address and private key for your wallet. The website will present these as a QR code, which you can print out and store.

Step 2: Generate a New Wallet

Go to the online paper wallet service you chose and click on the 'generate new address' button. This will create a new public and private key pair. The public address is where you send your cryptocurrency to store it offline, while the private key is used to access and spend those funds.

Step 3: Print Your Wallet

Once your new wallet is generated, print it out. It's best to use a printer that is not connected to the internet to avoid any possibility of your keys being intercepted online. The printout will contain a QR code representation of your keys, which you can scan to make transactions.

Step 4: Secure Your Wallet

After printing, keep your paper wallet secure. Treat your paper wallet like cash, since anyone who has physical access to your paper wallet can also access your cryptocurrency. It's recommended to store it in a safe or a safety deposit box. For extra security, you could consider laminating it to protect it from damage.

Step 5: Transfer Cryptocurrency to Your Paper Wallet

To store your cryptocurrency offline, you need to send it from its current location to the public address of your paper wallet. You can do this by scanning your paper wallet's QR code with a cryptocurrency wallet app.

Step 6: Verify Your Funds

After transferring your cryptocurrency, you should verify that the funds have arrived in your paper wallet. You can do this by checking the balance of your paper wallet's public address on a blockchain explorer. Remember, never reveal your paper wallet’s private key to anyone.


Cryptocurrencies stored in paper wallets are not recoverable if they are lost, damaged or the private key is forgotten. Taking necessary precautions to store and secure your paper wallet is critical.

Security Features of a Paper Wallet

Security Features of a Paper Wallet

Paper wallets are physical documents that securely store the private keys necessary to access and manage cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Known for their robust security features, paper wallets are generally immune to the many threats that digital wallets face from hackers and malware. Here are some key security features and advantages of using paper wallets:

Physicality and offline storage

One of the primary security features of a paper wallet is its physical form. Unlike online or software wallets which could be exposed to digital threats, a paper wallet is a purely analog, tangible object. This attribute, also known as 'cold storage,' means the wallet and its private keys are always offline and are therefore much less vulnerable to digital theft or hacking attempts.

Individual ownership

A paper wallet is held directly by its owner, as opposed to being stored on a third-party server like many digital wallets. This feature eliminates the risk of losing funds through the failure of a third-party service.

Private Key Security

The private keys stored on a paper wallet are generated and printed offline, reducing exposure to online threats. This means your information never travels through the internet, adding another layer of security.

QR Code Scanning

Most paper wallets include a QR code that can be easily scanned to authorize transactions. It is a convenient feature that reduces the risk of human error while typing out the long alphanumeric private keys needed to access the wallet.

Resilience to digital attacks

As it's offline and physically tangible, a paper wallet is immune to typical digital attacks such as phishing, malware, keylogging, and hacking attempts through online platforms.

Despite these significant advantages, maintaining the security of a paper wallet is entirely up to the owner. Factors such as physical damage, theft, or losing the wallet would result in the permanent loss of the cryptos stored. Therefore, it is advised to keep paper wallets in a safe, secure location and, preferably, have multiple secure backups.

Pros and Cons of Using a Paper Wallet

Pros and Cons of Using a Paper Wallet

Paper wallets offer a range of advantages for storing cryptocurrencies that make them attractive for all kinds of users. These include:

  • Security: Being offline, paper wallets are immune to cyber-attacks, malware, and other online-related threats. This makes them one of the safest ways to store cryptocurrencies.
  • Privacy: Paper wallets provide an anonymous way to store cryptocurrencies since transactions do not require personal information to be completed.
  • Ownership: As long as a user retains their paper wallet, they maintain complete ownership and control over their cryptocurrencies without dependence on third-party services.
  • Long-Term Storage: Paper wallets are ideal for holding cryptocurrencies for a long time due to their resilience against technological changes or failures.

Potential Risks of Using a Paper Wallet for Cryptocurrencies

While the benefits of paper wallets are significant, they also carry potential risks that users must bear in mind. These include:

  • Physical Vulnerability: Although immune to digital threats, paper wallets are susceptible to physical damages—fire, water damage, or simply getting lost or stolen. A physical copy of the wallet should be stored safely to avoid such incidents.
  • Unrecoverable: If a paper wallet is lost, it is irrecoverable due to the absence of backups and recovery phrases. The cryptocurrencies stored on it would be lost as well.
  • No Updates: Paper wallets cannot avail automated updates or security patches common with software wallets, which might render them obsolete over time.
  • Complexity: Creating and handling paper wallets require a certain level of technical knowledge, making them less user-friendly as compared to software wallets.

Making an Informed Decision

While the main allure of paper wallets comes from their potential to provide unparalleled security and privacy in cryptocurrency storage, the associated risks cannot be ignored. Potential users should carefully consider these factors and their personal requirements when deciding to use a paper wallet. It is equally important to educate oneself on proper paper wallet creation, storage, and maintenance to fully leverage its benefits while minimizing potential risks.

Differences between Paper Wallets and Other Wallets

Differences between Paper Wallets and Other Wallets

A paper wallet is a type of cryptocurrency wallet that involves printing out your public and private keys on a piece of paper. These keys are needed to send and receive cryptocurrency. The attraction of a paper wallet is derived from it being completely offline (often referred to as "cold storage"), increasing security against online hacks or thefts.

What is a Paper Wallet?

Digital Wallets: Software Wallets and Hardware Wallets

Digital wallets, which include software and hardware wallets, store public and private keys electronically. Software wallets are apps or programs that can be installed on your computer or mobile device, whereas hardware wallets are physical devices, like a USB drive. These wallets connect to the internet only when a transaction is needed to be made.



Paper wallets offer a higher level of security because they are immune to digital fraud, malware, and unauthorized access that could result in loss of funds. However, they can be physically damaged or lost, making secure storage imperative.

Digital wallets, especially hardware wallets, offer good security but can still be vulnerable to online threats or physical loss of the hardware device. Software wallets are stored on devices like your phone or computer that could be susceptible to viruses and hacks.


Paper wallets, though secure, can be less user-friendly as you need to manually input your private key every time you want to make a transaction. This process can be time-consuming and prone to errors, especially for people unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies.

Digital wallets provide a more streamlined user experience. Transactions are more straightforward and quicker because they do not require the manual input of a private key. They are better-suited for everyday use and for people who frequently trade or use cryptocurrency.


Paper wallets are practically free to generate and print. The main expense would be the paper and ink required to print the wallet.

Software wallets are generally free. However, hardware wallets can be fairly expensive due to the cost of the physical device, typically ranging from $50 to $200.


If a paper wallet is lost or damaged, and no copies exist, the funds stored on it may be lost forever. Recovery from such a situation is usually not possible.

Most digital wallets provide a mechanism for recovery, such as a backup phrase or recovery seed that users can store separately. This feature allows users to retrieve funds even if a device is stolen, lost, or damaged.