In this article, I’m going to run you through all the features of EOS accounts and keypairs, and I’m also going to show you how to keep your EOS account as safe as possible – by using separate active and owner keys, and by setting up Telegram and Email alerts on your account to notify you of any changes to your account before it’s too late.

Despite having been involved in EOS for a while, I’ve only just got my head around how the whole EOS account and keypair structure works!

It’s quite different to other blockchains, but shares some characteristics of other blockchains as well as characteristics of account permission structures found in online banking and other software.

So, here goes:

Wallets

Wallets store your keypairs and can show the details of one or more of your accounts. They are usually protected with a password. Wallets in EOS can also be used to stake/unstake system resources – such as CPU and bandwidth, and also vote.

Accounts

Accounts are 12 character human-readable names. Accounts are what actually store your EOS. They are also what you use when you want to transfer EOS to somebody. Instead of sending to their public key, as with most cryptocurrencies, you send directly to their account name.

Keypairs – Owner Keys and Active Keys

This is where things get a little trickier. Keypairs control accounts in a similar way to how passwords control your regular accounts. Each keypair has permission to perform certain actions on the account.

Your “active key” can transfer EOS, vote, stake or unstake, and purchase RAM. This means that for everyday transactions, your active key is all you need.

Your “owner key”, on the other hand, has more power. With the owner key, you can change both the active key and the owner key of any account. This means that if you think your active key has been compromised, you can change your active key to a new one.

To begin with, your account will probably use the same key for both active and owner, but I’d highly recommend setting up a new, offline owner key, and then changing your owner key to that one.

This is like having a master password on your account that you can use to control your account even if someone steals your everyday password.

Multi-sig accounts

To take this security even one step higher, you can actually create a multi-sig account on EOS. This means that an account could be controlled by two other accounts – and that both accounts would need to give their permission for a transaction to take place.

However, at present this isn’t that easy to do – so we won’t worry about it for the moment.

Putting it into practice

Before anything, I’d recommend that you keep all the EOS in your account staked on either bandwidth or CPU (or both) as this will mean that if someone gains access then it will take them at least 3 days to unstake your EOS before they can transfer it out of your account.

Watch the following video to see how I change the owner key on my account using the EOStoolkit and Scatter.

How to change your EOS owner key to keep your EOS account safe

Once you’ve created new owner keys for yourself, and added them to your account, I highly recommend the following tool by EOS Authority which sends you alerts any time a change is made to your account, either by EMAIL or TELEGRAM!

https://eosauthority.com/alerts

If you’ve got your EOS staked, and a separate owner key, then with this alert you will have plenty of time to change your EOS active key and lock out the intruder!

Thanks to Dallas Rushing for recommending this tool!

Arbitration Forum

That’s it! With all these features, plus the ability to seek action through the EOS arbitration forum (ECAF) if something really does go wrong, then EOS is probably one of the safest cryptocurrencies on the market today.

If you do have a disputed transaction, you can contact ECAF here: https://eoscorearbitration.io/

Further reading

If you haven’t checked them out yet, read my other articles on EOS:

https://trybe.one/the-ultimate-guide-to-eos-tools/

https://trybe.one/how-to-vote-for-eos-block-producers-the-ultimate-guide/

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Responses

  1. CryptoJoe

    How do we know if that key generation tool you’re using in that video is safe/secure? Call me a skeptic but if the developer is keeping logs of all the key pairs those could be used to gain access to accounts down the road.

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  2. Eric

    Very helpful, though I must admit being lost near the end with updating the owner key back to Scatter.
    Helped me understand owner/active compared to public/private keys.
    What would be perfect would be a diagram like a flow chart showing these steps and what tools do what, and what is happening in the wallet and what is happening in the app or blockchain.

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