A paper wallet is one of the easiest ways to securely store your cryptocurrencies offline. If you plan on holding onto your cryptocurrencies for more than a few months, you definitely shouldn’t leave them sitting on an exchange. Exchanges are vulnerable to hacking or suddenly shutting down, which could cause you to lose everything on your account. Paper wallets are completely offline, meaning that the only way for someone to access your funds is to have your paper wallet; even if all of your devices were hacked, the funds on your paper wallet would be safe if you made it correctly.
If you’re interested in learning more about how paper wallets work, you can read this article. And if you don’t have any cryptocurrency to put in your paper wallet yet, follow this step-by-step walkthrough for purchasing some.
Making a paper wallet is simple; you only need a computer and a printer. This guide will specifically look at how to create paper wallets for Ripple XRP, Stellar XLM, as well as any ERC20 tokens, such as Tron TRX or EOS. The procedure is the same for most cryptocurrencies though, so you should be able to follow these directions even if the coin you want to create a wallet for isn’t explicitly noted.
Warning: Before creating a paper wallet, you should run a complete virus scan on your computer to ensure it isn’t compromised. If a hacker has access to your computer, the paper wallet you create may not be secure.
Step 1: Generating your wallet
Every paper wallet is made up of a public address and a secret key. When you create a paper wallet, what you’re actually doing is randomly selecting one of many secret keys and then generating the public address associated with it. To create valid secret and public keys for our paper wallet, we need to use online generators.
1. Choose the appropriate wallet generator for your cryptocurrency from the list below and go to the website. If the cryptocurrency you want to make a wallet for isn’t on the list, search for an online wallet generator. Make sure any generator you use is open-source with good reviews, otherwise you risk the website owner saving the details of your wallet.
ERC20 Wallet Generator (MyEtherWallet)
Note: If you wish to be as safe as possible, you can carry out this step on an offline, amnesiac operating system such as Tails. This will ensure the wallet you generate is not compromised, and will prevent any data being stored locally or sent over the internet. To do this, you will need to save the wallet generating website to a USB so that you can access it on Tails.
2. On this site, press the generate button to automatically create a new public/private key pair. For added security, it’s easy to download the website to your computer first (Right click → Save As…) and then run it while not connected to the internet.
3. Copy and paste only the public address you generated into a text file so that you can easily check the balance of your wallet later.
4. Print the details of your wallet. The most secure way to print this page is either by saving it to a USB and then printing it from there, or by directly connecting your computer to your printer. Don’t use a printer that you don’t trust, and don’t print over the internet.
After that, you should have a piece of paper with the public address and secret key of a wallet printed on it – this is your new paper wallet!
Step 2: Sending funds to your wallet
Now that you’ve got your paper wallet, it’s time to move your funds. To get your funds onto your paper wallet, you can send them from exchanges or other wallets to the public address printed on your paper wallet. For this section, we will assume you’re sending the cryptocurrency from an exchange, but the steps are the same in any case.
1. Log in to the exchange where your cryptocurrencies are currently being stored and go to the deposit/withdrawals section. In here, find the currency you wish to move to your paper wallet.
2. Press withdraw and you should be prompted for an amount and a withdrawal address. To start, you should withdraw only a small amount to make sure you’ve set everything up properly before sending your entire balance over. Note that Stellar and Ripple both require minimum balances of 20 coins to initially fund a wallet, so your test amount will need to be at least 20 after taking into account withdrawal and transaction fees.
3. Paste the public address you copied earlier into the withdrawal address section. Compare this address to the one printed on your paper wallet and make sure it matches.
4. Send the transaction and wait for the funds to arrive in your wallet. With Stellar and Ripple, this transaction usually takes less than a minute. For ERC20 tokens, it could take an hour or so. To see the funds in your account, use an account viewer from the list below and paste your public address into the search bar. If your account is not found, don’t worry, it just means that the transaction hasn’t gone through yet.
5. Once you see the test amount arrive in your wallet, you’re ready to send the full amount. Do the same process as before, except with a higher withdrawal amount.
Once you see that the funds have been transferred to your account, you’ve successfully made your paper wallet! All you need to do now is store your paper wallet safely so that you can access it in the future. Remember, anyone who has the paper wallet can access the funds, so hide it like you’re hiding cash or jewelry. It’s recommended that you make copies of your paper wallet and store them in different places, so that you’ll have backups if one is damaged. To be completely safe, one copy should even be stored in a separate building, such as at your parents house or in a bank deposit box. That way, you’ll be able to recover your funds in the case that your house is destroyed by a fire or similar event. If you’re interested in learning more about how a paper wallet works, you can read about them here.