What are XPUB, YPUB and ZPUB?
We all know that any bitcoin wallet has two types of addresses - public and private. Actually, the first one is not a manager and can be used for transferring to other people, and the second one is considered as a "keeper" of your funds and can only be with you, because it gives access to transactions with your cryptocurrency. In this article, we will delve even further into address technology and understand what XPUB, YPUB and ZPUB are.
- WHAT IS XPUB?
XPUB is an extended public key which is part of the BIP32. It can be considered "read-only", because with it, you cannot make any changes to the system or manage the account. It provides only access to view the account information.
It is worth noting that such a key, in contrast to the usual public ones, allows you to view not only the history of a single address, but all the addresses that have been created in the wallet. The BIP32 standard is part of the HD wallets, which generate new addresses for transactions not randomly, but with a binding to the parent address. Accordingly, with XPUB, you can trace any user's transactions back to all of their addresses that were once generated. You can read more about HD wallet technology in one of our publications.
Actually, we recommend to trust your XPUB only to trusted users. Otherwise, all your transactions will be like in the palm of your hand to an outside observer, which will deprive you of anonymity.
- WHAT IS YPUB?
A YPUB is also an extended key, but of a different type. Whereas XPUB is of the BIP32 standard, YPUB is of the BIP49 standard. This standard was developed specifically for updating SegWit and the wallets that support it.
- WHAT IS ZPUB?
ZPUB is essentially the same as YPUB, which is used with SegWit wallets after the introduction of BIP49. That said, the very designation Z in the name indicates that the wallet does not use the address backward compatibility scheme. This technology is not widespread in the community, so today it is used very rarely.
- SECURITY RECOMMENDATIONS
Despite the fact that all XPUB, YPUB and ZPUB keys are public, you should not advertise them to everyone. Of course nobody can steal your money or perform any other operations with them, but if you provide somebody else with your private key you expose him the history of your transactions, transfers, deposits, etc. This can have negative consequences.
For all transactions it is better to use a normal public key, which is generated for each new transfer. This way you can keep your address history secret, but still provide all the necessary information to the user who will transfer your cryptocurrency.