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A paper wallet is a document that contains copies of the public and private keys that make up a wallet. Often it will have QR codes, so that you can quickly scan them and add the keys into a software wallet to make a transaction.
The benefit of a paper wallet is that the keys are not stored digitally anywhere, and are therefore not subject to cyber-attacks or hardware failures.
The disadvantage of a paper wallet is that paper and ink can degrade, and paper is relatively fragile – it’s definitely worth keeping well away from fire and water for obvious reasons.
Furthermore, if you lose a paper wallet, you’ll never be able to access the bitcoins sent to its address.
Tips for keeping your paper wallet safe
Store the paper wallet in a sealed plastic bag to protect against water or damp.
If your paper wallet isn’t folded you could laminate it for durability and proof against water.
If you have one, store your paper wallet in a safe to protect from theft and fire.
You could entrust the paper wallet with a solicitor. For example, the person who holds your last will & testament.
For added redundancy, you may store a wallet in several locations. Some bitcoiners use trusted family members, others use deposit boxes.
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