Active, owner, memo, posting keys AND a password?!?!
I'm pretty sure all of you have seen the multitude of keys in your Steemit wallet, each a really long string of letters and numbers. Have you ever wondered what they're all for? Any ideas of the benefits?
Q: I've already got an insanely long password, why do I need all these keys too?
Since Steemit includes your wallet full of money, having extra caution is quite important. Especially when you mix in the inability to recover passwords! But at the same time, there needed to be a way for Steemit to interact with other sites (like streemian, exchanges, etc) without sacrificing out security.
This is where those 4 keys (Active, Posting, Owner and Memo) come into play. Technically there are 6 keys if counting both public and private keys for Posting and Memo. Each key allows for certain activities to be performed, but not others. So if one got compromised, it could have a limited effect and not just wipe out your wallet.
Q: Can't i just use my master password and forget about the keys?
First it's worth stating that your master password is the most important out of all of these. If you haven't already get it backed up somewhere, preferably offline. If this password is lost, there really aren't recovery options to get it back. Logging in with this gives you access to everything on your account!
If you're ever concerned about having your master password help in many different devices, you **can instead use your active key, which lets you can log in with the Active Key instead. This will let you post, vote and comment without having your most important password being used. If somebody were to get this active key, they wouldn't be able to lock you out from your account since it can't make those changes.
Q: What does the Owner Key do?
After the master password, the Owner Key is the next important. This key allows for just about anything including posting, voting, commenting to changing the actual keys for your account. The only thing this key can't do is deal with creating memos sometimes used when transferring from your Steemit Wallet.
Q: What does the Active Key do?
The active key does a lot more than you would think including posting, voting, commenting, trading on the internal market and voting for witnesses and even transferring money from your account. This gives you access to pretty much everything except changing the owner key.
Q: What does the Posting Key do?
This key allows you to post, comment, vote and follow other users. If you had to share a key, this would be one of them. It doesn't allow for changes to your account, meaning the 'bad guy' couldn't lock you out. Sometimes you'll come across 3rd party services/sites or a friend that asks for your Posting Key. While you always want to be careful putting any keys out there, this one is by far safer to share then the Master Password or Owner key.
Q: What does the Memo Key do?
The Memo Key is used handling private messages. This isn't used a ton right now since we don't have encrypted private messaging just yet. The main place I've come in contact with it is when transferring from Steem from poloniex (assume other exchanges too) over to Steemit. The public memo key goes into the memo field for that transaction.
Just because it can never be said enough...
Make sure your master password is backed up somewhere safe!
If you do give out a key, do NOT provide your master password or owner key, ever. If you're concerned about security on your phone, tablet, etc you can log in with your active or posting key instead.
Feel free to ask me anything. I'm here to Help!
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