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Where are my coins?

Jan 11,2024

— When you own cryptocurrencies, what you really own is a private key. Your coins are associated with a set of “public/private keys”.
—Your coins do not physically exist on any device — not even your Ledger hardware wallet.
— Ledger hardware wallets store and safekeep your private keys, so that you can be the custodian of your own money.

In a world where we’re used to banks and institutions, self-custody can be tricky to understand. Here, we demystify the things that seem complicated – they’re not so tricky once you know how.
Where are my coins?
Your cryptocurrency doesn't exist physically; instead, it's stored as data on the blockchain.
When you save a picture on your phone, there is a file stored in the phone’s memory. When you use Outlook there is a local copy of your emails on your computer. Your crypto assets, however, aren't stored locally; they are recorded on the blockchain. You can think of your crypto assets as having a "pair of keys" — a public key and a private key.
Private and public keys
An analogy that helps understand this is to consider the "public key" as a safe; crypto assets are stored in the "public key" safe. Your "private key" is like an actual key: it unlocks the right for the holder to spend associated cryptocurrencies.
Public and private keys are cryptographically linked. Possessing the private key allows one to derive the public key. However, it's impossible to obtain the private key using only the public key.

The balance in the public key is recorded on the blockchain. With blockchain technology, everyone can know the associated balance of a public key. Whenever you want to transfer coins or engage in DeFi (Decentralized Finance) transactions, such as staking, lending, or swapping, you can use the private key to view and invoke your balance.
Any changes in the balance of a public key are broadcasted and backed up in the blockchain network (in the case of the Bitcoin network, for example, across thousands of computers).
Are the coins in my hardware wallet?
No, coins are not stored in your hardware wallet. Your hardware wallet only stores and protects your private keys.

As the private key grants access to your cryptocurrency, it should, by definition, remain confidential. Much like you wouldn't share the key to your bank safe with anyone, you shouldn't share this private key with anyone. As per the golden rule of the crypto world, "Not your key, not your coin," losing your private key often means losing ownership of your crypto assets. Safeguarding your private key securely is a paramount task and prerequisite when exploring the world of cryptocurrency.

Distinction Between Access and Ownership:
When you log into your preferred exchange, it may appear that you genuinely own the coins in your account, as logging in is necessary to access them. However, in reality, you are merely logging into an interactive interface capable of relaying instructions to the exchange. You are instructing the exchange on how to use the private key to interact with the blockchain. The ownership of the private key remains in the hands of the exchange throughout.
This essentially means that they can have significant control over the cryptocurrencies in your account. While a reputable exchange may not engage in malicious operations with your assets, platform bankruptcy, technical glitches, and hacking attacks could potentially render you unable to access what is supposedly "yours."
In the decentralized world, one is advised to be one’s own central authority safeguarding your assets, rather than relying on banks or platforms. Therefore, independently managing your private keys is considered the safest approach, often referred to as "self-custody."
However, taking control of your keys comes with a significant responsibility: ensuring that you are the sole possessor of these private keys and guaranteeing that they are not stolen.
Ledger: The Security Baseline for Web3.0
Ledger ensures your financial security in Web3.0 and blockchain, wishing you a safe landing in the world of Web3. The flagship standard in the realm of security; we do it better than anyone else.
Purchase Ledger
Previously, many users in the Greater China region chose to purchase LEDGER products from overseas due to difficulties in domestic purchasing. However, this approach had long shipping times, required self-clearing customs, and carried the risk of customs delays. Additionally, users were concerned about the authenticity of the products they were buying. Now, as top channel service experts, ShangYi Group aims to address these issues comprehensively. Products will be shipped from Hong Kong with fast logistics and no customs risk. Furthermore, the products are sourced directly from the French headquarters to ensure authenticity and eliminate the risk of counterfeit products.
By purchasing through the official channels in mainland China, customers can also access official after-sales services, providing assistance with any questions or issues that may arise during use.
As the authorized distributor for Ledger in China, please verify the official website at www.sy-collection.com or visit the LEDGER website to get redirected to authorized reseller, clicking on the Greater China region to access the Shangyi official website. For customers in the Greater China region, it is advisable to make purchases through official channels to safeguard your digital assets.