A public key is a unique string of characters that serves as a user’s virtual address on the Bitcoin network. The public key is used to receive funds from anyone who owns a Bitcoin wallet. When someone sends Bitcoin to a user’s public key, the wallet stores the transaction in its database and the funds are credited to that user’s account.
Public keys are created using a mathematical algorithm based on a private key. The private key is a randomly generated sequence of numbers and letters that is kept secure and is used to sign transactions. The private key and the public key are mathematically linked, but no one but the owner can access their private key.
The public key is not directly used for transactions but it is used to derive the wallet address from it. This wallet address is then used as the actual sending or receiving address for crypto transactions. Public keys are also used for other cryptocurrency networks; for example, Ethereum also uses public keys which are associated with user addresses.
Private keys are important as they give users economic control over their assets; this is why users should always keep their private keys secure and never share them with anyone else.