A private key, or a secret key, refers to a series of alphanumeric data that is assigned to a crypto wallet as soon as it is activated. A private key is inviolably necessary to access a wallet’s digital assets, and hence, should not be lost or exposed to other parties. Doing so may result in the loss of all funds attached to that wallet address. If a user happens to lose access to his private key, he or she cannot recover their assets anymore.
Private keys are used to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions on the blockchain. After a transaction is signed, it becomes finalized on-chain. In order to make private keys more consumer-friendly and safer, without the need to use them, most crypto wallets employ a derivative technology to establish a recovery seed, a series of 12 to 24 words in a unique sequence, that can be used instead to restore access to an address.