How EOS accounts work

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EOS has a different account structure compared to other cryptocurrency addresses. EOS uses account names instead of long wallet addresses. EOS account names are exactly 12 characters long. If an account name isn’t claimed by anyone else, a EOS user can create an account with that name.

For example, one of my EOS account name is littleboyeos. I hold full access to that account. If anyone sends EOS or other tokens to my address, they will become mine. This 12 character account system has some benefits. For example, if you misspell, your wallet software will show error that it is an invalid address. And checking a 12 character name is easier than 30 – 50 character addresses in other cryptos.

The 12 character name is similar to how ethereum or bitcoin public keys work. People use them to transfer funds to other accounts. Now, lets discuss EOS private key structure. All EOS accounts of two private keys. They are:

  1.  Owner key
  2. Active key

The Owner key is a 51 character key that gives you the right to access your account. It is the private key of your account and losing it will brick your account. It works like how ethereum or bitcoin private keys work. So, not your owner key, not your EOS. But using the owner key everywhere could lead to phishing and other security related problems.

That is why EOS has another permission level which is Active key. The active key can do everything but it can’t change the owner key. But the owner key can change it. If a user loses his active key, he can recover his account by changing his active key using the owner key. This key structure significantly improves the account security of EOS. In the screenshot below, I included examples of EOS account names and how transfers show up on a EOS block explorer.

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