Tech billionaire Elon Musk has often made it a point to prove he is a cryptocurrency supporter, tweeting his support to virtual coins. So when he speaks about the crypto industry the world pays attention to him. In his latest tweet, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO has offered caution and advice to all cryptocurrency investors wrapped in a single word.
Bill Lee, the founding partner at West Coast Holdings, who is an investor in some of Musk’s ventures, responded to a tweet that talked about reducing dependence on crypto trading platforms, saying an investor cannot claim assets in their digital wallet until they own the keys to the wallet. Musk doubled down on the suggestion, with only one word “exactly”.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2021
The advice came after MyDogeWallet, a crypto gateway, tweeted about its vision to “break the dependence on CEXs like Binance and Robinhood and let Shibes take custody of their own coins”. The word “Shibes” here refers to the followers of the Shiba Inu mascot that has become synonymous with Dogecoin.
To this, Bill said, “Not your keys, not your crypto”. And Musk commented on the thread, “Exactly”.
All digital wallets use a pair of digital signatures, called keys, for every transaction. One of these cryptographic keys is private while the other is public. These keys help track ownership, receive or spend cryptocurrencies. A public key allows other crypto users to make payments to a particular wallet from which the key is derived. And a private key enables the wallet owner to spend the cryptocurrency.
If a user loses their private key, they can no longer access the wallet to make transactions like spending, withdrawing, or transferring coins. It is, therefore, wise to keep the private key in a secure location and not lose it.
Also, not owning the private keys could mean the wallet owner has entrusted a third party to keep their assets safe. In this sense the expression “not your keys, not your crypto” was likely used by Bill and supported by Musk.