Compare Ethereum Paper Wallets

Learn how to create an Ethereum paper wallet, here.

Cold wallets are a very secure and cost-effective way to store your ether. This page will show you how to make the best Ethereum paper wallet possible.

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What should I look for in a paper wallet?

Ethereum cold storage wallets can be made by generating a random wallet address and printing out the unique keys. You'll want to make sure you're using a trustworthy site to generate your paper wallet, and that you're printing off a wallet that can hold ether, rather than another form of cryptocurrency.

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Using an Ethereum paper wallet in 2018.


What is an Ethereum paper wallet?

A paper wallet a wallet you can generate for yourself, which can be held on a piece of paper. Paper wallets typically have two QR codes; one for the public key (wallet address that you get paid to), and one for the private key (what you use transferring ether to other people – like an Ethereum PIN number). This wallet is one of the most secure wallets as it keeps access to your ether completely offline and out of reach of hackers.

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

It can be confusing to learn that you can actually hold your ether on a piece of paper, but the logic behind it is pretty simple. Ether (the currency used on the Ethereum network) isn’t actually ‘stored’ in a wallet. Instead, Ethereum transactions are recorded on the blockchain’s public ledger, which is what proves who owns which coins. This means that the addresses of your wallet do not need to be stored online.

The private key and the public (wallet address) keys are what are needed to send and receive money in your wallet respectively, so all you need is the details of the two keys to access and transact with your ether. This makes it possible to generate the keys and print them on a piece of paper.

Basically a paper wallet is the Ethereum equivalent of replacing your bank card with a piece of paper that has your bank details and PIN number on it.

What other types of wallet are there?

There are four main alternative types of Ethereum wallets that you can consider. Here’s a summary of the differences between them:

  • Online wallet. Also known as a web-based wallet, this is a wallet that allows you to access your ether via a web browser. The private key is usually hosted by your provider, and they are solely responsible for its security. Good examples of web-based Ethereum wallets are MyEtherWallet or Coinbase.
  • Mobile wallet. This is similar to an online wallet, only that it’s stored on a native mobile phone application. Examples for mobile wallets include Jaxx, BRD, and Abra.
  • Desktop wallet. This is effectively a wallet that you can download and install on your PC. It stores the private key on your computer, giving you control of your funds and their security. Examples of good desktop wallets include Exodus, Mist, and Electrum.
  • Hardware wallet. This is an electronic device that’s specifically built to hold ether. It stores your private key completely offline, guaranteeing the maximum protection of your coins from online attacks. Some of the most widely-known manufacturers of these wallets include KeepKey, Trezor, and Ledger.

How is a paper wallet different to other wallets?

Just as the name suggests, this wallet is made of paper and not based on software or hardware as is the case with other wallets. And since it’s not connected to the internet access to your ether is kept completely offline, like with hardware wallets. But when it comes to functionality, it works similarly to other wallets. You use your wallet address to receive ether (even when you are offline) and your private key to send ether to other wallets.

Are Ethereum paper wallets secure?

Yes, Ethereum paper wallets are very secure. By definition, they are ‘cold wallets’ meaning that they store access to your ether completely offline, away from online interference. However, a paper wallet is only as safe as you keep it. If you keep it in a location that no one can access and where it won’t get damaged, you will have maximum security, whereas if you leave it out in the open your funds can be compromised or lost if the wallet is destroyed without a backup.

If I lose or damage my Ethereum paper wallet, are the coins retrievable?

Yes, but only if you wrote down a recovery seed (a string of words that can be used to recover your wallet; you can read more about recovery seeds in the ‘frequent questions’ section). If you didn’t record it, you won’t have access to your ether. Additionally, to be safe, ensure that you print several copies of the paper wallet and keep them in a safe, separate location which only you have access to.

Are payments from/to paper wallets anonymous?

Like transactions between other wallets, payments from/to paper wallets are completely anonymous. The blockchain records only the public key (wallet address) when you make a payment, and there’s no way to trace it back to a specific identity.

How do I make an Ethereum paper wallet?

It’s simple. Start by going to a wallet generator such as walletgenerator.net, hover your mouse around to generate a unique, random wallet address, and print out the wallet details from the results. If you prefer to do this completely offline, you can note down the keys generated by hand on a piece of paper and keep it safe. However, this means you won’t get the scannable QR codes for the wallet address.

What are the risks of making an Ethereum paper wallet?

Making Ethereum paper wallet comes with several risks. These are:

  • Making a paper wallet from an untrustworthy site. An untrustworthy site may record your keys as you generate them, giving them access to your ether. Make sure you only use reputable sites that will deliver you a genuine, unique address.
  • Losing your wallet/having it stolen. A paper wallet can easily be lost or stolen, especially if you haven’t kept it in a safe location. If either of this happens, it could mean you lose access to your coins completely. Always keep your wallet locked away in a safe place.
  • Damaging your wallet. Paper is very fragile. It can easily get damaged, especially if it comes in contact with water. You have to be careful not to damage your wallet.

And what are the advantages?

Despite the risks, there are many reasons that paper wallets are a great way to store your ether. These include:

  • Cold storage. Like hardware wallets, paper wallets keep your coins completely offline. This means that no hacker can gain access to your ether at any time.
  • Much cheaper than hardware wallets. Unlike hard wallets that require you to buy the device for dozens of pounds, paper wallets are free. All you need is a piece of paper with which the details of your wallet will be printed on.
  • Fun way to make your own wallet. These are the only wallets you can make yourself, something that can be fun for both tech enthusiasts and doable for novice users.

Should I use an Ethereum paper wallet?

It depends on your goals of buying ether. You see, if you are a long-term investor who intends on holding ether for investment purposes, then yes, a paper wallet would be a greatt choice. But if you intend to gain access to your wallet regularly or are just storing small amounts of ether, you might want to choose other options such as online and mobile wallets as they are more convenient.

Where can I go to make the best paper wallet?

You can find the best options right here. We have reviewed a number of reputable providers for you to pick a location where you can generate a paper wallet.

Should I store my ether in a paper wallet?


Advantages

  • Paper wallets are very secure as your ether is stored offline
  • They're a low-cost way to store ether
  • Making a paper wallet can be great fun
  • Paper wallets are easy to back up

Drawbacks

  • Paper wallets can get lost, damaged, or stolen
  • You cannot be connected to an exchange, which slows trading ether down

The best Ethereum paper wallets.


Frequent questions.


Can I backup an Ethereum paper wallet?

Definitely. Like hardware wallets, you can generate a recovery seed for a paper wallet and later use it to regain access to your wallet if anything ever happens to your wallet. Recovery seeds are fully explained in these ‘frequent questions’.

Do I need to download any software?

Not at all. All you need to do is use an online generator to uniquely generate the wallet details (either manually or automatically), and print or note down the keys on a piece of paper.

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

No, it’s not possible. An Ethereum paper wallet holds virtual currencies, whereas a bank account holds fiat currency. If you want to sell your ether, you can send the coins to an exchange or brokerage and trade them for fiat currency, and transfer the funds into your bank account.

Can I connect an Ethereum paper wallet to an exchange?

No, you can’t. Paper wallets are designed to remain completely offline so they cannot be connected to exchanges, which operate online. But you can easily transfer your ether from your wallet to an exchange wallet for trading.

Are paper wallets only DIY or can I buy one?

Well, you can’t buy a paper wallet. You have to create one yourself. There’d be no point in buying a paper wallet considering how easy and affordable they are to make.

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

Although both are cold wallets, paper wallets are much cheaper since all you need is a paper to print the wallet details. For hardware wallets, you have to purchase the device, which usually cost between £20 and £200. Additionally, making a paper wallet is fun as you do everything yourself, from generating the keys to printing them. A hardware wallet comes ready to use.

Can paper wallets hold multiple cryptocurrencies?

Yes. If you want to hold several digital assets, say Ethereum and Bitcoin, you can make paper wallets that hold multiple cryptocurrencies. But remember that a single paper wallet can’t hold multiple coins at the same time; you have to create different wallets for each coin, as wallet addresses will be different.

What is an Ethereum wallet?

Also referred to as an Ethereum digital wallet, an Ethereum wallet is a program or software where ether is 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 an Ethereum wallet is to store your money. However, an Ethereum wallet does this by recording the movement of ether in and out of itself on a publicly displayed ledger (the blockchain). The wallet facilitates receiving and sending of ether and gives you ownership of your Ethereum 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 ether offline.

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, unauthorised 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 an online wallet.

How fast are transactions between Ethereum wallets?

Transactions between Ethereum wallets are executed instantly, but the verification process might take a bit of time. Depending on network traffic, the transaction could take 2 hours to process, but they usually complete within a few minutes time. The expediency of transactions on the Ethereum network is one of the reasons why Ethereum is popular, as transaction speeds on the Bitcoin blockchain are usually longer.

What are private and public keys?

Also referred to as a wallet address, a public key is essentially your account number (to use a banking example). You need it to make payments to another wallet. And as the name suggests, the key is viewable publicly and can be obtainable by anyone. A private key, on the other hand, is like a PIN number: it is the password required to access your funds and transfer ether out of a wallet. This key should be kept confidential (in cases where you are using paper or desktop wallets) as anyone with access to it can access your coins and transfer them.

Can I have more than one wallet at a time?

Absolutely. You can register as many wallets as you want to. You can have any type of wallet, from an online wallet, to a mobile wallet, to a hardware wallet, to a paper wallet. Further, multiple wallets might allow you to transact more anonymously. Wallets might also help you fit different purposes, such as being able to use funds on an online wallet for trading, or keeping funds in a hardware wallet for long term storage. Moreover, it can be a good idea to spread your ether across multiple wallets depending on your needs. For example, if you want to trade your ether regularly you can keep your funds on an online or mobile wallet, and you can use a hardware or paper wallet to store your other funds offline long term.

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

No, it’s not possible. You see, Ethereum wallets hold ether rather than regular (fiat) currency held by bank accounts, so you cannot transfer directly between them. What you can do is sell your ether on a platform such as Coinbase and transfer the money into your bank account. Services like Wirex are making this process easier by offering users Ethereum debit cards that are linked to a fiat currency and Ethereum account.

What is a ‘recovery seed’?

This is basically a mnemonic phrase that allows you to restore your wallet if you lose it, usually consisting of 12,18, or 24 words. It’s recommended that you record this phrase on paper and keep it locked away in a safe place. This is because if you ever misplace or forget your wallet or its details, or - in the case of paper and hardware wallets - your wallet gets damaged, lost, or stolen, you can use the recovery seed to recover your ether onto a new wallet/device.

On a technical level, how do transactions work?

Think of internet banking. An Ethereum wallet comprises of a public and private key, which correspond to an account number and private PIN respectively. To access your own funds or ether, you will need the private key. However, when sending ether to another address, all that is necessary is the account number of another person, like when you send funds to a friend for the first time. When the transaction goes through, all that will be visible on the blockchain is both the incoming and outgoing wallet’s public addresses. Ultimately, funds will be deducted from your wallet address.

What is a deterministic wallet?

This is effectively a wallet that can generate multiple different keys from a single ‘seed’ for the purpose of backing up your wallet to recover funds at a later date, so long as you have the recovery passphrase saved. These wallets also carry additional strong security features, making general storage of ether less of a worry.

Do I need a wallet to mine Ethereum?

Yes. In order to receive your block rewards and transaction fees generated through mining, you will need to have a wallet. A cloud mining account may have an integrated wallet where your coins will be sent to, but eventually you will need to have your own wallet to transfer your funds into.

What connection do Ethereum wallets have to the blockchain?

The blockchain is simply a technology behind Ethereum transactions, recording the movement of coins. If you make a transfer from your wallet to another, the blockchain will show the transaction between the two wallet addresses, but not anything relating to the identity of the wallet owners.

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

In the UK, if you earn profits from trading with ether, you are technically required to declare it as a taxable profit under capital gains, so long as you make a profit above £11,700. Otherwise, profits are tax free. However, if you are located within another country, you should look at your local legislation as the tax status of cryptocurrencies might be different.

Are transactions between wallets irreversible?

Yes. You can’t possibly reverse a transaction after it’s initiated on the Ethereum network. If you’re making a payment using ether, make 100% sure you’re sending it to the right wallet address.

Can wallets be hacked?

Ethereum wallets cannot be ‘hacked’ in the sense of forceful entry into the wallet. The private keys, which allow transfer of coins, are impossible to guess because they comprise of a long tail code, unlike regular passwords. What hackers try to do is acquire your private key/password and target exchanges to try and acquire user’s details. Always make sure you’re using a reputable exchange with solid security features to keep your online funds safe. If you have stored your private keys offline, you do not have to worry at all.

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