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Private keys

Cryptocurrencies have (1) public keys that can be shared with others and (2) private keys which are kept secret by the cryptocurrency owner. Hive has a system of private keys, each with a different use or level of security.

It is essential that Hive users responsibly take care of their own private keys. One of the best ways to use your keys on a daily basis is with Hive Keychain.

Types of keys

  1. Backup/master password - The backup or master password is a long string of numbers and letters. It is the most powerful key and needs to be kept in the most secure place. All of the other keys can be reset from this password.
  2. Owner key - The owner key similar to the backup/master password and needs to be kept very safe. The other keys can be derived from the owner key.
  3. Active key - The active key is for “money transfer” types of transactions. If the active key is leaked to a bad actor, the bad actor can send HIVE or HBD from the wallet. However, since the bad Owner Key is still held by the true owner, the keys can be reset and the bad actor can be frozen out.
  4. Posting key - The posting key is for posting. This can be thought as an everyday key that's used to put out your thoughts in a post. HIVE or HBD cannot be moved with the posting key.
  5. Memo key - This key is for sending encrypted or private messages to another Hive user on the chain. Although the message is sent on chain, no one except the intended recipient can decode the message.

Keys and Permissions

The PeakD interface is handy for managing security things on Hive. Login, then under “Account Actions” select “Keys & Permissions.” Four tabs are shown:

  1. Account Keys - refers to private keys as described on this page
  2. Authorities - shows front ends that have permission to use your keys (revoke permissions with the “X”)
  3. Change Password - allows you to change all passwords (be sure to save new private keys!)
  4. Recovery Account - to recover your account (see bottom of this page)

Private key storage

Safe private key storage is critical on the Hive blockchain. Losing your keys can mean being locked out of your account. If someone gets your private keys, they could post under your username, steal your crypto, and lock you out of your account. This is why Hive uses different layers of keys. As a rule, you want to use the least powerful to key to do whatever you wish to do.

Some ways to store private keys:

Method Note Possible fails
paper simply storing keys on paper can be lost, ink an fade away, fire or water damage can destroy the paper
USB storing a file such as a .txt file on a USB stick drive device can be lost, can be accidentally overridden, fire or water damage
in the cloud storing with services like Dropbox or Google Drive these can be hacked or have data breaches; you may lose access to the cloud account
on your device this is storing on a device such as a laptop, tablet, or phone the device may become unusable, get lost or stolen, or be hacked

If your backup/master password or owner key is lost, there is no way to recover them. However, there might be a way to recover your account…this is where your “account recovery” comes in. See below.

Account Recovery System

Although no one has anyone's private keys, the account that “sponsored” a new account during initial set up is named as “recovery account”. If you have a Hive account, you can see your “recovery account” by going to and changing to your username, then scrolling down to “recovery account”.

Tool 1

An automated account recovery system was constructed by trusted Hive user and witness @arcange. It is automated and does not rely on another person.

It is called “Hive Account Recovery” and is available at The introduction post is here and the user guide is here.

Tool 2

Another tool for recovering a lost account or dealing with trustee accounts is here:

wiki/private-keys.txt · Last modified: 2023/03/09 11:08 by admin

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