Now strap in because things are going to get a bit more technical in this newsletter as we discuss public and private keys, and how they keep your data accessible yet safe.
The key to success is...
After you’ve created your MulaWallet and you’ve placed the associated passphrase and backup words in a very safe place, your MulaWallet will generate both a public key and a private key.
What’s the difference? We’re so glad you asked.
Your public key will be accessible to other people. It functions a bit like a mailing address or drop-off point.
Your private key is known only to you. It functions as the password to all encrypted data, like a super-secret decoder ring.
In case you were wondering what a key looks like, it looks something like this:
8403 1421 C009 18FA CF8D EB2D
EFD5 DD21 89B9 E069 EA97
C20 5E35 F644 LA22 D4FT C9E4 ...
The keys will be related in that whatever is encrypted using one set of public/private keys will only be viewable with its corresponding key.
Examples make everything more fun.
Let’s say Alice wants to send Bob some high-value data. It could be a credit card number. It could be her password. But, knowing Alice, it’s pictures of her new puppy, Schmoodle the Poodle.
Since Alice doesn’t want anyone else to have access to pictures of Schmoodle, she encrypts the data using Bob’s public key (remember - his public key is like a mailing address).
Is this safe? Yes, because you’d need Bob’s private key to decode it. Even if someone intercepts the message in transit, the file won’t make any sense without Bob’s private key.
Back to our story...
Bob receives the information from Alice and decrypts it using his private key (his super-secret decoder ring). He goes all gooey-eyed over pictures of Schmoodle the Poodle and dashes off a message to Alice using MulaMessage to tell her how adorable he is. (Schmoodle, not Bob.)
Put that chequebook away, there’s more!
Lest you think that keys are a one-trick pony, they can also be used to verify the authenticity of messages by using a digital signature. So when Bob dashes off that MulaMessage to let Alice know how adorable he is (again - Schmoodle, not Bob), Bob can use his private key to sign the message and Alice can rest assured that pictures of Schmoodle are not in the hands of a Russian hacker.
Please note that when we say things like ‘sign the message,’ this is a digital operation. Never ever send your private key to someone - that’s just like mailing them a key to your house with a note that says, “Take the flatscreen; we didn’t want it anyhow.”
Congratulations on getting this far in the newsletter! Lesser mortals gave up at the key example. So, how about a thimble-sized recap of the past three newsletters:
Digital wallets store more than just money.
Store your strong passphrase in multiple safe places.
Never give out your private key.
Now go rest your brain. You deserve it.
Stay tuned for next week's newsletter where we launch a very exciting contest (no prizes - the CFO is filled with fiduciary duty) to name the latest Mula module.
We'll give you two hints:
We've talked about it in recent press releases.
Our CEO wrote a lame thesis on it back in the 90s.
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And as always, if you don’t have any questions, you might enjoy this delicious Japanese octopus balls recipe.
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