This article gives an overview of your private keys in Hive.
By the way, as a reminder, if you had a Steemit account, then your Steemit keys are the same as your Hive keys. Just use your existing Steemit keys to log into Hive. We recommend you use the Hive Keychain extension, as it is way easier.
If you signed up for a new Hive account with the Esteem app, you will receive an email with your Hive account name and a password. This is your master password. Your master password controls everything in your account, but this is where Hive is different from other websites such as Facebook or YouTube. The Esteem app that sent you your master password in an email doesn’t store your password in a central server the way that Facebook and Google do.
Save Your Keys On A USB Stick
You should save this master password, and ideally, you should copy and paste it to a document (like Word, or Pages), then save that document to a USB stick or flash drive. Also print out your master password and put it somewhere safe.
To see all your private keys, we recommend that you use the Hive Keychain for a desktop computer. We will write a different tutorial for Hive Keychain that is more in-depth. If you’re only on mobile, you won’t need to really think about keys.
4 Private Keys Plus A Master Password
Here’s where things get a bit more complex. Each Hive account has 4 different keys plus a master password. Each key controls a different aspect of your Hive account. If you’re using the Esteem app, you won’t be aware of these different keys because it is all happening in the background. However, as you start to learn more about Hive, it’s important to understand the private key system. There are four private keys in your Hive account: Owner, Active, Posting and Memo, plus your master password. The reason there are different keys is because of security.
The master password is used to derive all keys.
A hashing function calculates the corresponding private and public keys from the master password, the account name and the key type. Having the master password enables you to retrieve all private keys of an account. Don't use the master password to log in, or in any other application. Never copy the master password into posts or transaction memos. Use the lower privilege keys to maintain the security of your account.
Your Owner key is the key required to change all the other keys. You can vote, send tokens, and even change all your private keys with your Owner key. It’s very important to keep this copied and stored in a safe place.
Because Hive is a social blockchain, there are many daily activities that people do on Hive that have nothing to do with money. For example, when you write a blog or comment on someone’s post, you’re not transacting any money. You’re simply doing social media stuff. There’s a key for just these activities, it’s your Posting key. When you use your Posting key, you can’t send money to anyone. That’s because the Posting key has rules baked into it. If someone were to hack you and get your Posting key, they couldn’t steal your Hive tokens. The only thing they could do would be posting and replying to comments.
If you want to send your Hive tokens to someone or to an exchange, you have to use your Active key. Your Active key controls the movement of tokens in your account. If you want to give a tip to an author, you must use your Active key. But upvoting content doesn’t require your Active key, just your Posting key.
Memos are used in the Hive network for a variety of purposes: description of payment reason, deposit to/from the exchange account, direct message, encrypted message.
Here’s an example of a memo we wrote to someone recently when we sent them 1 $Hive for a contest:
One of the most common uses of memos is when you send your Hive tokens to an exchange. For example, let’s say you want to send some of your Hive tokens to the Binance exchange. Binance’s Hive account is deepcrypto8. But how will Binance differentiate your Hive tokens from someone else’s since the only Binance account on Hive is deepcrypto8?
The memo. But in order to get your memo ID for Binance, you have to go to your Binance account on Binance.com. So, when you’re in your Binance account, you go to the withdraw section for Hive. Binance will give you Binance’s Hive deposit account name and your memo ID. When you send your Hive tokens to the Binance exchange, you must type in both the account name and also your unique memo that you get from Binance. For example, Binance memos look like this:
Pro-tip: when you send your Hive tokens to an exchange for the first time, do a test send of a few Hive tokens to make sure it arrives in your account. Don’t send a lot of tokens! Always do a test send before sending larger amounts. You don’t want to screw this part up.
This concludes our overview of your keys in Hive. It can be a bit overwhelming if you’re brand new to Hive, but we hope this explains it for the beginner.