What Does “Not your Keys, Not Your Crypto” Mean?

Updated January 3rd, 2023

Have you ever heard someone say, “Not your Keys Not your Crypto”? It is a term that is used a lot in the crypto space.

“Not your Keys, Not Your Crypto” basically means that if you don’t hold the keys of your cryptocurrency wallet then you are not the owner of the cryptocurrency.

It applies to when people have their crypto in centralized exchanges like Binance, Coinbase or Bitfinex. Since the exchanges have the keys to the crypto in their wallets, they have complete control over it.

When you send crypto to these exchanges, in reality you’re just letting them have control over it for a brief period of time. Essential like lending but with risk. The only benefit is that users are able to trade cryptocurrency. This is the only rational benefit aside from having them manage your crypto.

People say this (“Not your keys, not your crypto”) in an effort of convincing users to remove cryptocurrency from exchanges to mitigate hacker risk. This is because exchanges are at risk to being hacked and when they do get hacked. Well, something bad happens; customers funds are stolen.

“Not your Keys Not Your Crypto” is advice for people to not leave their digital assets in exchanges because exchanges are hacked often, and people can lose their money and assets. Crypto also gets stolen sometimes from the very own employees and owners of cryptocurrency exchanges.

For example there have been many crypo exchange hacks which lead to customer losing tons of money. Kucoin for Example, was hacked in 2021 for 150 Million. Fortunately, customer funds where not lost.

Kucoin Hack

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