Compare Bitcoin Paper Wallets

Make the best bitcoin paper wallet.

Storing your coins in a bitcoin hardware wallet is a cost-effective and very secure option. We'll show you how to make one.

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What should I look for in a bitcoin paper wallet?

Paper wallets are different to any other bitcoin hardware wallet, as you make them yourself. This means you want to look for a trustworthy site to generate your wallet keys, and also one that arranges the wallet in a nicely printable format.

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How to create a bitcoin paper wallet in 2018.


What is a paper wallet?

A paper wallet is an offline wallet you can make yourself and keep on a piece of paper. This may sound a little confusing, but they’re actually one of the most secure ways to store bitcoins if you know how to make one.

How do bitcoin paper wallets work?

Paper wallets typically involve printouts of two QR codes, one for the public key (wallet address that you get paid to), and one for the private key (what you use for paying other people – like a bitcoin PIN number). The keys (strings of characters) themselves are also usually printed, the public key visibly and the private key concealed. You can scan the QR codes to transfer or receive bitcoin, or type the keys into the relevant section of the bitcoin client you use (Coinbase, Mycelium etc.).

Since you are responsible for keeping both keys, there’s no possibility of your wallet getting hacked into and funds stolen. But losing the paper (if you have no backup whatsoever) means you will lose access to your wallet.

What other types of wallets are there?

When it comes to bitcoin wallets there are a number of options from which to choose:

  • Online wallets. Wallets that are hosted online. Also known as web wallets, these require you to sign up to an online service and access your wallet with an account name and password.
  • Mobile wallets. These are wallets stored on your mobile phone in the form of an app. They make it easy to spend and transfer your bitcoin on the move.
  • Desktop wallets. Desktop wallets work through software that you download onto your computer. Once you have installed a wallet client you can use its interface to store and transfer coins, as well as check your balance.
  • Hardware wallets. Regarded as the most secure wallets around, hardware wallets are electronic devices specifically designed for storing cryptocurrency. They allow you to store your coins completely offline.

How is a paper wallet different to other wallets?

Well, unlike other wallets that are based on hardware or software, this one is made of paper. It means that your bitcoins are stored offline (like hardware wallets). Otherwise it actually works very similarly to other wallets. If you want to access, send or receive bitcoins between wallets, you will need to use the public key and private key printed on the paper to enable any transaction.

I thought bitcoin was a digital currency, how can it be stored on paper?

Because, in a physical sense, bitcoin is not ‘stored’ in a wallet. In the same way, there’s no physical money sitting in your bank account when you use a banking app, there are no bitcoins sitting in your wallet. A wallet is the addresses used to pay into and from your bitcoin. The public key (wallet address) allows you to receive bitcoins and provides evidence that you actually own the coins, whereas the private key allows you to send them.

Basically, a paper wallet is the bitcoin equivalent of replacing your bank card with a piece of paper that has a scannable version of your account number, and which can make contactless payments.

Are bitcoin paper wallets secure?

Yes. Paper wallets are by definition ‘cold wallets’, meaning that bitcoins are stored offline. This guarantees security because there’s no chance a hacker can access the private and public keys printed on the paper; you are responsible for them. However, given the fragility of paper and the possibility of losing your wallet, how secure a paper wallet is can depend on how safe you keep it. We recommend that you lock it away in a secure place.

If I lose or damage my wallet are my bitcoins retrievable?

Only if you have made and stored a recovery seed that will help you restore your bitcoin to a new paper wallet (read more about the recovery in our FAQs section). If not, then you will have no way to access your coins.

One way to safeguard against this is to print multiple copies of your paper wallet and keep the others safely locked away. If you choose to do this make sure they’re safe and only you know where they are. If someone were to access the keys printed on the paper, they would easily send your bitcoins to their address and you may never know their identity because of the anonymous nature of bitcoin transactions.

Are payments from/to paper wallets anonymous?

Yes, they are. Just like any other transactions between wallets, the blockchain records only wallet addresses (public keys) which cannot be traced back to a specific identity.

How do I make a bitcoin paper wallet?

It’s simple. Go to a wallet generator such as WalletGenerator or BitcoinPaperWallet and they make the process easy. All you have to do is move your mouse around over the highlighted text which will generate a wallet address related to the unique movements of your mouse. Print out the details of the wallet from the results.

If you want to keep the whole process of printing the wallet offline, you can even just write the keys that are generated out by hand on a paper and keep it safe. This will mean you don’t have the scannable QR codes though.

What are the risks of using a bitcoin paper wallet?

There are a few risks associated with making a paper wallet. These include:

  • Making a paper wallet from an untrustworthy site. Make sure you’re using a reliable site that’s delivering you a genuinely unique address that nobody is recording. If someone else knows your private key they can access your bitcoins and spend or steal them.
  • Losing your wallet/having it stolen. While there’s no possibility of your wallet getting hacked, it’s possible to have your paper wallet stolen or lose it. Again, if someone accesses your keys, it means you lose your coins completely. Make sure you keep your paper wallet safe.
  • Damaging your wallet. Paper is fragile so you have to be careful not to damage your bitcoin paper wallet. If for whatever reason you aren’t able to see the keys printed on the paper, you cannot access your coins and you’ll lose them completely if you haven’t backed up your wallet or printed extra copies.

And what are the advantages?

A paper wallet offers a number of advantages over other wallets. These are:

  • Cold storage. Paper wallets store your bitcoins completely offline because they aren’t connected to the internet. When used correctly, they can be like hardware wallets, keeping your coins away from hackers and other online vulnerabilities.
  • Cheaper than hardware wallets. Compared to hardware wallets, which are also cold wallets, paper wallets are far cheaper. Whereas as the hardware wallets cost anywhere between anywhere between £20 and £200, paper wallets cost next to nothing as they’re made of paper, making them a more affordable option.
  • Fun way to make your own wallet. No other type of wallet is DIY in the same way as paper wallet. You just need to generate your own keys (either manually or automatically), and print out them on a paper or write them down somewhere.

Should I use a bitcoin paper wallet?

It’s up to you. Paper wallets are a cheaper option for cold storage than hardware wallets. And because they keep all your bitcoins completely offline, you can choose them if you want to hold your bitcoins for a long period of time. As long as you keep your paper wallet safe, your bitcoins will be secure.

Where can I go to make the best paper wallet?

We have found a list of reliable sites that you can consider if you want to make a paper wallet. Just check out our reviews and you will find one that suits your needs.

Should I store my cryptocurrency in a paper wallet?


Advantages

  • Paper wallets allow you to store your bitcoins offline securely
  • They're a very cheap option
  • Paper wallets are fun to make
  • You can easily back your paper wallet up

Drawbacks

  • Paper is fragile, so your wallet could get damaged
  • Your wallet could easily get lost or stolen if you don't store is securely
  • Paper wallets can't be connected to an exchange so it slows down trading speeds

Frequent questions.


Can I backup a paper wallet?

Yes, you can generate a recovery seed for a paper wallet and use it to recover your wallet if it ever got damaged or lost. You can also print extra copies of your paper wallet in case your main one gets damaged.

Do I need to download any software?

No, you can use an online generator to create a paper wallet by simply going to their website. Most providers make their systems easy to use such that you only need to hover your mouse over the highlighted in order text to create a random wallet address, and then print it out.

Can I send bitcoin from my paper wallet to my bank account?

You cannot send bitcoin to a bank account as it works in fiat currency and cannot hold cryptocurrency. However, you can transfer bitcoin from your paper wallet to an nge, trade it for fiat currency, and then transfer that into your bank account.

What is a ‘cold wallet’?

Also known as an offline wallet, a ‘cold wallet’ is a wallet that is not connected to the internet. This is the most secure type of wallet because it protects your funds from cyber hacks, unauthorized access, and other types of vulnerabilities that systems connected to the internet are susceptible to. These wallets are useful if you’re storing a large number of coins for a long period of time, but if you want to be regularly trading your coins you’ll want to be using and online wallet.

Can I connect a bitcoin paper wallet to an exchange?

No. Paper wallets are completely offline and not connected to the internet. This means that you can’t connect them to an exchange. You’ll need to transfer your coins to an exchange if you wish to trade them.

Are paper wallets only DIY or can I buy one?

Paper wallets are only DIY. Since you can make them yourself by generating the keys and printing them out, it wouldn’t make sense buying a paper wallet. They are cheap and easy to produce.

What are the advantages of a paper wallet over a hardware wallet?

First, a paper wallet is much cheaper to make. All you need is a computer, internet and the right site to generate the keys from. For a hardware wallet, you will have to buy a device that costs between £20 to £200 and learn to use its technology. With paper wallets, there’s also the fun of making your own wallet. Unlike a hardware wallet where you just purchase a device, making a paper wallet allows you to do everything from scratch. You generate the keys yourself and print them out on a paper. Lastly, you don’t have to worry about any problems as is the case with the hardware. Since a hard wallet is an electronic device, there’s always the chance it could break (a slim chance, but still a real one). However, note that paper wallets are obviously much more fragile and are damaged easily if not well taken care of.

Can paper wallets hold multiple cryptocurrencies?

Yes, you can make paper wallets that hold multiple cryptocurrencies. However, you will need to create a different wallet for each cryptocurrency, because the addresses (both public and private keys) are usually different.

What is a bitcoin wallet?

Also referred to as a bitcoin digital wallet, a bitcoin wallet is a program or software where bitcoins are stored. The wallets come in many forms, each providing unique features. There are web based wallets, mobile wallets, and offline based wallets such as paper and hardware wallets.

Why are they called wallets?

Because, just like regular wallets, the purpose of a bitcoin wallet is to store your money. However, a bitcoin wallet does this by recording the movement of bitcoin in and out of itself on a publicly displayed ledger (the blockchain). The wallet facilitates receiving and sending of bitcoins and gives you ownership of bitcoin balance. Although they function similar to a banking app, wallets are not only online; there are options such as hardware and paper wallets that store your bitcoins offline.

How fast are transactions between bitcoin wallets?

Transactions between wallets are technically instant, but it could take a little bit longer for payments to be verified on the blockchain, especially if there are a lot of transactions currently being verified. If there’s a delay at all it’s usually only a couple of hours at most. Generally, fast and secure peer-to-peer transactions are one of bitcoin’s biggest advantages.

What are private and public keys?

A public key is also referred to as a wallet address and is essentially your account number (to use a banking simile). It’s simply a unique identifier for your wallet that’s known to the public. A private key, on the other hand, is like a PIN number: it is the password required to transfer bitcoins out of a wallet. Typically, it consists of a 64-character long code and can be referred to as the ‘ticket’ that allows you to spend bitcoins.

If bitcoin is a digital currency, how can it be stored offline?

Good question. It gets a little technical, but because bitcoins don’t physically exist, they can be stored virtually anywhere (whether online or offline). Ownership of bitcoins is determined by the records on the blockchain, which show exactly where they have been transferred. If, for instance, you have transferred your bitcoins to a wallet and it then goes offline, the location of those coins will still be stored on the blockchain. All you need to know is the wallet address and private key and you will be able to access them at any time.

Can I have more than one wallet at a time?

Yes, you can have as many wallets as you want to, of all types. Having multiple wallets helps make you even more anonymous and it can be a good idea to spread your bitcoin across multiple wallets. It also helps if you have different investment goals: for instance, holding your coins for long-term on a hardware and paper wallet, and trading bitcoin using an online wallet connected to an exchange.

Can I transfer from my bitcoin wallet to my bank account?

No, you can’t. Bank accounts hold fiat currency, whereas a bitcoin wallet holds bitcoins, so you cannot transfer directly between them. To transfer from your wallet into your bank account you’ll have to sell your bitcoins on an exchange and then transfer the resulting money over to your account. Services like Wirex, who are now offering bitcoin debit cards, are making this a much easier process because they allow users to have a debit card that’s linked to a bitcoin and a fiat currency account. You can easily convert your bitcoins to fiat currency before you spend them.

What connection do wallets have to the blockchain?

The blockchain is the technology that records all the movements of bitcoin between wallets. So if you make a transaction from your wallet, the information is recorded and is publicly visible from the blockchain, but not anything pertaining to either your identity or to whom you are sending, or from whom you are receiving bitcoin.

What is a ‘recovery seed’?

A recovery seed is a mnemonic phrase that usually consisting of 12, 18, or 24 words, that allows you to recover your wallet if you lose access to it (for instance if it gets lost/stolen or corrupted, or if you forget your password). Wallet software typically generates this mnemonic phrase and instructs the owner to record it somewhere for future reference. It is advisable to write it down on paper and keep it locked away. If you forget your wallet’s details, or - in the case of paper and hardware wallets - your wallet gets damaged, lost, or stolen, you can use the recovery seed to restore your bitcoins to a new wallet/device that uses the same software.

On a technical level, how do wallet transactions work?

Each wallet has a private and a public key. These work like your PIN and account number in regular banking. If you want to send coins to another wallet, you enter that wallet’s public key (commonly called a wallet address) in the field provided, and then enter the amount of bitcoins you wish to send, and hit ‘send’. The wallet creates a transaction output, which is registered on the blockchain network (with your public address as the transaction input). The blockchain verifies that transaction and it will display as a transfer of X bitcoins from your wallet address to theirs. Your wallet will then have X fewer bitcoins and your friend’s will have X more. Think of it like wiring money from a banking app; once you send money, the amount is deducted from your balance, which is then credited to the user’s balance.

Do I need a wallet to mine bitcoin?

If you’re mining bitcoin you’ll need a wallet address to receive the transaction fees and block rewards generated by mining. Generally it’s not advisable to have these payments going directly to a hardware wallet as payments are generally small and frequent, which can put strain on the hardware. For mining purposes, it makes sense to use web-based wallets or mobile wallets. If you are using cloud mining to mine bitcoins, however, you might not need a wallet as all bitcoins are credited in your account hosted by the cloud mining provider. But when you want to move them, you’ll definitely need a wallet.

What is a deterministic wallet?

A deterministic wallet is a wallet that can generate many different keys from a single ‘seed’, allowing you to backup and restore your wallet easily in future without needing to provide any other information. These types of wallets have very solid security features. So long as you have the passphrase, you can generate the key pair from it, making bitcoin storage less of a security concern.

Can I connect my wallet to a bitcoin debit card?

No, not yet. Bitcoin debit cards work by connecting to an account which you load with bitcoin. The cards are accepted on any card-accepting merchants as well as ATMs. We have guides to bitcoin debit and prepaid cards to help you learn about how they work, so be sure to check it out.

Are transactions between wallets irreversible?

Yes, they are irreversible. Once you transfer bitcoin’s ownership to another address, it is recorded within the blockchain ledger, and you lose the permission for moving or retrieving the coins again. Unless the new owner agrees to return your coins, there’s no way to undo the transaction. This means that chargebacks are not possible between bitcoin wallets. If you’re sending money somewhere, make 100% sure you’re sending it to the right address, otherwise you’ll lose your coins.

Can wallets be hacked?

Bitcoin wallets cannot ‘hacked’ in the sense of someone forcing entry into the wallet. Private keys are impossible to guess because they contain random long tail code of 64 characters, unlike regular passwords (if your wallet is on an online platform and only protected by a password it is less secure). What hackers try and do is acquire your private key/password through malware and malicious phishing attacks. They tend to target exchanges to try and get everyone’s details so that they can access multiple wallets. If you are using an exchange, make sure it has with good security features such as 2-factor verification.

Do I have to pay tax on the bitcoins in my wallet?

In the UK, if you make enough profit then yes. If you buy bitcoin and it rises in value it is subject to capital gains tax: you are required to pay tax of between 10% and 28% (depending on your income) on any profits above £11,700. If you made the coins through mining then technically it is classed as a trade and subject to income tax. In other countries, bitcoin’s tax status varies, and governments are still in the early days of figuring out exactly how to collect taxes on bitcoin.

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