Can Bitcoin be Stolen?

Bitcoin can't be stolen. Or can it? Well... the truth is nuanced, with the right practices, safety is secured.
by Yoaquim Boom
February 15, 2023

Bitcoin, the world's first decentralized digital money, has received accolades for its security characteristics, particularly its resistance to theft.

Bitcoin's decentralized design, together with additional security features, makes it nearly hard for anybody to steal your bitcoins.

In this post, we will look at why it is so difficult to steal bitcoin and why it is critical to have your own keys to safeguard the safety of your bitcoins. The fact that bitcoin is decentralized is one of the key reasons why it is so difficult to steal.

Unlike traditional currencies, which are controlled by centralized institutions such as banks, Bitcoin is based on a decentralized network of computers that work together to maintain the integrity of the blockchain, the digital ledger that records all bitcoin transactions.

All Credit for Image: BTCMANAGER

Because of this decentralized network, it is highly impossible for any single body to manage or manipulate the currency, increasing its resilience to theft. Another reason why stealing bitcoin is so difficult is the usage of public and private keys.

A public key is a one-of-a-kind code used to identify a bitcoin address, whereas a private key is needed to access the bitcoins linked with that address. A hacker would need to gain the private key linked with the victim's bitcoin address in order to steal bitcoins.

Obtaining someone's private key, on the other hand, is incredibly tough.

Private keys are generated using complex mathematical algorithms, and they are often stored offline in a process called cold storage, which makes them even more difficult to steal.

Additionally, many users use hardware wallets, which are small physical devices that store their private keys offline and can be used to access their bitcoins even if their computer or smartphone is stolen or hacked.

The importance of holding your own keys cannot be overstated. If you do not hold your own keys, you are essentially entrusting your bitcoins to a third party, such as an exchange or a wallet provider.

This increases the risk of your bitcoins being stolen, as the security of these third parties is often beyond your control. Holding your own keys, on the other hand, gives you complete control over your bitcoins and ensures that only you have access to them.

It is also worth mentioning that stealing bitcoin is quite uncommon. The Bitcoin network's decentralized design, along with the usage of public and private keys, makes it incredibly impossible for anybody to steal your bitcoin.

Furthermore, rather than hacking, the majority of occurrences of stolen bitcoins are the result of key leakage.

This emphasizes the need of keeping your private keys secure and protected, as well as being alert of phishing and scams that may deceive you into exposing your keys.

Finally, because bitcoin is decentralized and uses public and private keys, stealing it is nearly hard.

A decentralized network of computers maintains the Bitcoin network's security, making it exceedingly impossible for any single body to control or manipulate the currency.

Furthermore, the use of private keys ensures that only the person in possession of the keys has access to the bitcoins connected with a certain address.

It is critical to keep your personal keys safe, as the only way to genuinely lose your bitcoin is to lose your keys. You can safeguard the safety of your bitcoins and get the benefits of this new digital money with the appropriate understanding and practices.

Best practices include:

Keeping your private keys offline in a process called cold storage, using hardware wallets to store your keys

Regularly backing up your keys and storing them in a secure location

Not sharing your keys with anyone, and being aware of phishing attempts and scams that can trick you into revealing your keys

Additionally, it is important to use a strong and unique password for your keys, and to avoid using public Wi-Fi or unsecured networks when accessing your keys.

The only way to truly lose your bitcoin is by losing your keys, therefore it's crucial to take proper security measures.