What are Seed Phrases, Private Keys, Public Keys, Public Addresses?

When dealing with cryptocurrency, crypto wallets, etc you will hear these terms used often. Read here how they all work together.

Some accounts are created using Bip seed phrases – special kinds of phrases that can generate private keys. Seed phrases are a standard in the cryptocurrency community and are used across a number of software and hardware wallets (including MyEtherWallet and Ledger Nano S).

You can think of seed phrases like this:

seed + password + HD Path => private key
private key => public key
public key => public address

A single 24 word seed phrase with a password/passphrase, along a particular path (called an HD path) will produce a particular private key.

That private key will then produce a public key.

That public key will then produce the public address.

Example

Here is a standard 24 word seed phrase.

gravity trophy shrimp suspect sheriff   
avocado label trust dove tragic pitch title
network myself spell task protect smooth
sword diary brain blossom under bulb

Using this password:

fJF*(SDF*(*@J!)(SU*(D*F&^&TYSDFHL#@HO*&O

And this HD (hierarchical deterministic) path:

m/44'/60'/0'/0/0

We will derive this Ethereum private key:

0xb1b3dcf4a200ab01c7aeafb8b4cda3fd03401dd2413d169846959a8f7915fd2f

Which will then derive to this Ethereum public key:

0x0322b7e67644956f7672891f92b6d41e8ecab3b8990f0257eb167baf81737f3f7d

Which will derive to this public Ethereum address:

0x02941ca660485Ba7Dc196B510D9A6192c2648709

(Do not use this account for any real funds…you will lose everything you put in there.)

In order to steal the funds out of a wallet, someone needs to know the seed phrase, and the password. Then they can just guess all the various HD paths (there are not that many options) until they get the private key.

Once they have the private key, then and only then can they attempt to take all the funds within the wallet.

CAUTION:

To protect your IDON accounts, tokens and wallets, please read and follow these security recommendations.

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