In the context of cryptocurrency, an air gap is a security measure used to protect digital assets by storing them in a wallet that is physically isolated from any network, particularly the Internet. This type of wallet is often referred to as a "cold wallet" or "cold storage." Here's how air gaps are used in crypto and their benefits:

Definition and Usage

  1. Physical Isolation: An air-gapped cryptocurrency wallet is stored on a device (like a hardware wallet, USB drive, or even a paper wallet) that has never been and will never be connected to the internet. This physical disconnection prevents online hackers from accessing the private keys.

Types of Air-Gapped Wallets:

  • Hardware Wallets: Devices specifically designed to store cryptocurrency offline. They can sign transactions in an offline environment and then transmit the signed transaction to the online network.
  • Paper Wallets: Physical documents that contain the necessary information to generate cryptocurrency private keys.


  1. Enhanced Security: The main advantage is the significant reduction in vulnerability to online hacking, phishing attacks, malware, and other cyber threats.
  2. Control and Ownership: Users have full control over their private keys and, consequently, their funds.


  1. Transaction Signing: Transactions are signed in the offline environment. The air-gapped device securely generates and stores the private keys, signs transactions internally, and then outputs a signed transaction.
  2. Broadcasting Transactions: The signed transaction is then transferred to a device with internet access (via QR code, USB drive, etc.) and broadcasted to the cryptocurrency network.
What is airgap


  1. Physical Security: While air-gapped wallets are highly secure from online threats, they require good physical security measures to prevent theft, loss, or physical damage.
  2. User Responsibility: The user must ensure the safekeeping of the device or paper and remember any passphrase or recovery seeds.
  3. Inconvenience: Air-gapped solutions can be less convenient for those who make frequent transactions, as the process is more involved than with hot (online) wallets.


  1. Not Immune to All Threats: While highly secure against online attacks, air-gapped systems can be vulnerable to sophisticated physical attacks or to compromise during the initial setup if the environment is not secure.
  2. Usability: Less user-friendly, particularly for those not familiar with the technical aspects of cryptocurrency storage.

In summary, air-gapped wallets in cryptocurrency are a form of cold storage offering high security for digital assets by physically isolating the private keys from networked environments. They are particularly favored for storing large amounts of cryptocurrencies or for long-term holdings.