If you open your real, leather wallet you probably have an ID card, some cash, credit cards, concert tickets, a memento or two and a few business cards. In some cases, a cluttered and overstuffed wallet looks all too familiar as it bursts open and pieces of paper float through the air. While you may never part from your flimsy and broken-in leather wallet, Web 3.0 will introduce you to a nice, clean and organized crypto wallet. Then you can fill your wallet with a new kind of currency and virtual memorabilia you are proud of.
What’s a crypto wallet anyway?
A crypto wallet has a few features that may be familiar like a place to hold currencies and a place for collectibles. There’s also an “address” which serves as your “public” identification. What’s so crypto about a crypto wallet? It’s digital, immutable, and encrypted. Yes. Your wallet just got updated. Now let’s get specific.
“Keys” are like Identification
The crypto equivalent of the identification you keep in your beloved wallet is now called your “keys”. You have both public and private keys (this where it gets tricky). The public key is a unique personal address that is shared, revealed, copied and pasted. To be a little esoteric, it’s a cryptographic code created using algorithms and used to convert a message into a readable format. You need them to get stuff- currencies and your collectibles. Think of it also like an email address. You aren’t reticent to give it out. However, on the flip side there is a very, very, very valuable DO NOT SHARE, private key. No other person will have the same private key; it’s your digital signature which is used to prove you are the person who made the transaction or sent a message. Private keys are like your email password. You don’t give it out! Period. Don’t share your private keys!
“Tokens” are like Cash and Credits Cards
When you own tokens you don’t really own the tangible crypto coin, rather, you own “private keys”. Crypto wallets like Opera’s have a place to keep your tokens like Bitcoin, Ethereum, DAI, or TRON. Opera has a built-in feature where you can top up your wallet (buy crypto) so you don’t have to go through a centralized exchange. Basically, Opera makes it easier for you. Friends can send you tokens, you can send them tokens, you can make purchases or trade. These are called “fungible tokens” because if you send a friend a fraction of Bitcoin (really great friend!) and they send it back (whew!) it will still be Bitcoin. The value might change but it’s divisible.
“NFTs” are like Your Souvenirs or Concert Tickets
NFTs are crypto slang for “non-fungible tokens”. They can’t be swapped as no two are alike. The encrypted information recorded makes each NFT unique and indivisible. For example, you can’t send your brother part of a concert ticket. It wouldn’t be worth anything and he wouldn’t be able to get into the concert. NFTs have unique qualities and are linked to a specific asset to prove ownership. It’s a representation of a digital asset. For example, you can buy an official NFT of Gerard Piqué of Barcelona FC from Opera’s partner, Sorare and keep it in your wallet. He can be in your Opera wallet! Score!
Do you like kittens more than football? There’s an NFT for you called CryptoKitties which are also unique collectibles based on cats you can receive, bred, or trade. The one you receive will be totally different than the one you send to your mum. Store them in your wallet next to Piqué.
What Do You Do Now?
Start with a trusted wallet that is safe and simple like Opera’s built-in Crypto Wallet. It’s already embedded in Opera’s browser. Activate the wallet in the settings on mobile or desktop then buy a fraction of a token to learn first. I recommend buying Ethereum first because it’s more widely used in transactions. Once you have a fungible token, you can purchase NFTs like football cards, cats, digital artwork, game skins or virtual land parcels. The possibilities are growing every day. Have fun!