Seed phrases, private keys, public keys

A blockchain wallet is your key to the new decentralised world. It allows you to hold cryptocurrencies and tokens and interact with on-chain programs or smart contracts. Each blockchain has its own list of compatible wallets and some wallets work on multiple blockchains.

Metamask is the most common wallet for EVM blockchains and Phantom is the most popular wallet for Solana (the chain Purebet is on). Since Purebet aggregates the odds and liquidity from a number of difference blockchains, you only ever need Phantom to access the most liquid sports betting market on any chain.

Seed phrases

When you first set up your wallet, you will be given a list of 12 or 24 words. This is known as your seed phrase. This list of words is the only thing that allows you to recover your wallet in the event of an error or moving to a new device. The seed phrase is used by the new wallet to generate the list of private keys associated with the wallet you used before. Anyone who has access to your seed phrase can generate your private keys and steal your funds. Your seed phrase should be stored securely and offline there is no unauthorised access, but you must also always have access to it because a lost seed phrase means the access to your wallet might be lost in the future.

Private key

This is a large number which is used to "sign" transactions. Possession of this number is proof you own the address and tells the blockchain you are allowed to move the funds or carry out the transaction that you are trying to do. Each public key is linked to a private key (aka address) on a strict 1:1 basis. This inner workings of signing a transaction is handled by your wallet interface. The inner workings of the public-private key links are handled by complex maths and the blockchain.

Public key

This is a large number which identifies your wallet on the blockchain. It is commonly known as your "address". On Solana and EVM chains, this never changes. It is always public and allows the blockchain to track the balances of every transaction. You give someone your public key in order to receive funds from them or to an on-chain program or smart contract to interact with it. Any interaction which involves moving funds from a public key must be signed by the corresponding private key.

Types of wallets

Hardware wallets are physical devices you can buy online (only ever buy direct from the manufacturer) which stores the cryptographic identity (seed phrase/private keys) of the wallet within the device. This means it is always offline and is never exposed to anyone except someone with physical possession of the device. You can interact with blockchains and receive funds without ever exposing your secret keys to anyone. These are considered your "vault" and are generally used to hold large funds for long term

For the funds you use every day (like for betting with Purebet), most users would use a browser wallet. This is a browser extension (or mobile app) which generates private keys based on a randomly generated or inputted seed phrase. The wallet is secure during proper use. You should never give the seed phrase or private key to ANYONE you don't want moving your funds. The weakness of browser wallets is malware. Complex malware attacks can steal the private keys from your system and extract the funds from your wallet. Other issues include phishing website which look like your wallet and encourage you to "validate" your seed phrase (or some other phrase). Easy access to this through the wallet UI can lead to users losing their funds if the seed phrase is entered into the phishing site. Another way you can lose your funds which is not unique to browser wallets, is a fake website which encourage you to sign a fake transaction. It may say you are getting an airdrop worth $1000 or an animated ape, but really the transaction you sign will steal all your funds. Phantom wallet "previews" the outcome of a transaction but this CANNOT be trusted. This "preview" can be faked. Never sign a transaction from a website you do not trust. Always check you are on real websites by clicking through official links and bookmarking commonly used websites. Please note, the "password" you need to type into Phantom or Metamark before using it sometimes has no cryptographic use and is only for protecting the extension itself if, for example, someone walked up to your laptop. Mobile wallets are a less common type but will become more popular in future. These differ from browser wallets in mobile app form by being based on secure hardware. Mobile app broswer wallets are sandboxed within themselves and all security is based on their own code. True mobile wallets are based on the secure enclave of upcoming mobile phones and act like a hardware wallet in that the private key is never exposed.

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