When you set up a new crypto wallet or register for a new crypto exchange account, you will receive a public wallet address. This is also referred to as a public key. Both terms have the same meaning.
Can you publicly share this public wallet address (public key) with anyone online?
Yes, you can. You can share this with anyone if it is a public wallet address. You are supposed to do this for others to send you cryptocurrency for various reasons, such as accepting tips, payments or donations.
Your bitcoin public wallet address does not reveal any information about which software/hardware/online wallet you use, and its whereabouts. The intended purpose of a public key is to SHARE with others so that transactions can be facilitated.
Where can I find my Bitcoin wallet public address (public key)
When using a non-custodian wallet like Exodus (software wallet) or Ledger (hardware wallet), you will have both the public and private keys.
Private keys are for you and yourself ONLY. Private keys are the only way to prove ownership. This should NEVER be shared with anyone unless you intentionally want another custodian to have full access to your crypto funds.
When using a secure cryptocurrency exchange like FTX or KuCoin, you will only get a public key because the exchange stores your crypto fund securely under their custody. You can commonly find it under the <Deposit> section. Click on it, and your public wallet address will be shown under the cryptocurrency of your choice.
Most crypto exchanges use the word <Deposit> to explain this is a public wallet address and that others can deposit crypto funds to you.
How can I differentiate between a public key and a private key?
When dealing with Bitcoin addresses, you can quickly tell from their formats.
Bitcoin public addresses always start with the number 1, 3 or bc1, and there are three (3) different formats, namely P2PKH, P2SH and Bech2.
Bitcoin private keys are typically 51 or 52 characters long and begin with 5, 6, K or L.
To know more, I have written an entire article on how you can easily spot their differences based on their formats.
Can someone steal my Bitcoins or Cryptos if I share my public wallet address?
A public wallet address alone cannot be used to steal your crypto fund away from you.
You can always share your public key, BUT you must NEVER share your private keys.
Is Blockchain Wallet ID the same as Public Wallet Address (Public Key)?
No, they are not the same. You SHOULD NOT share your Wallet ID with anyone.
A wallet ID is a string of random letters and numbers that acts as a username.
For instance, Blockchain.com offers a free bitcoin wallet where you will be given a Wallet ID. This acts as your unique username. Together with your password, you can then get access to your wallet.
Therefore, since a Wallet ID is a unique username required to authenticate yourself as the actual owner of a wallet, thus you should not share your Wallet ID (unique username) with anyone.