What Are Private Keys?
A private key is like a password to a digital bank account, and you can have as many private keys as you have assets. Exodus makes it easy so that 90% of the time, you never have to worry about your private keys. Your private keys are hidden inside Exodus, and they can only be exported using our developer menu - this way, you're the only one that has access to your private keys.
Private keys are different from your public receiving address. You can give your public address to anyone that asks for it, but you must never give your private keys to an untrusted source (not even to us). There are many scams out there that will ask you for your private key - Never give out your private key, no matter how "safe" they say it is. If you'd like to learn more ways of protecting yourself from scams, and other safety tips, check out this article.
This is an example of what a private key looks like after it's been exported.
When you first opened your Exodus wallet, your private keys were created. It was actually your private keys that mathematically generated your public addresses, so they are connected. You can think of a private key as the proof that you own a public address. Without the private key, you cannot prove that the funds in the public address are yours.
Private keys are also different from your 12-word backup phrase. You have a private key for each of your assets (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, etc), but a 12-word phrase has control of all of your private keys - the private keys essentially live inside of the 12 words. This is why it's important to always keep your 12-word backup phrase safe, and to not share it with anyone, not even support staff at Exodus.
If a person half-way around the world gains access to either your 12-word backup phrase or any of your private keys, they'll be able to steal your assets without having to input your Exodus password.
If you'd like to learn how to export your private keys, please reference this page:
However, please remember to delete the exported file after use, as you may put your assets at risk if you leave the unprotected file on the desktop.
To learn more about private keys, please take a look at these videos: