Where does private key come from? Do I generate it myself? Will Coinbase generate my private key and send it to me?
Hi Mary Adams, these are very good questions, thanks for asking!
Bitcoin private key is a secret number generated to allow you to spend Bitcoins. When you receive a Bitcoin address, a private key is also issued at the same time. You can read more about private keys in this article.
Since Coinbase is a hosted wallet they hold your Bitcoins for you in their own “cold storage” wallets. This means that they can not supply you with the private key to your wallet. If you want full control over your wallet you may want to try an independent wallet like Greenaddress or MyCelium. You can take a look at the Bitcoin wallet comparison page in order to find the most appropriate wallet for you.