A public-private key pair (also known as asymmetric key pair) is a tool used to encrypt and decrypt messages. A public key can encrypt messages and is published so that anyone can send a particular receiver a secure message. A private key can be used to decrypt messages encrypted with a matching public key.

In the context of blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum, public keys are known and essential for identification; while private keys are kept secret and are used for authentication and encryption.

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