Do you want to lose your bitcoins just because of a silly mistake?
If your answer is “No, definitely not”, then read on…
This guide is part of our Bitcoin wallet series. If you are someone who just has purchased Bitcoin from any Bitcoin exchange like Binance, CoinMama, Kraken, CEX, WazirX, or others, go through these important guides first:
- Best Bitcoin Wallets
- What are HD Wallets? (Deterministic Wallet)
- Bitcoin Private Keys: Everything You Need To Know
While setting set up your wallet, you are asked to note down the recovery seed. This is usually 12 or 18 or 24 random words.
Note: It’s also called the seed key, recovery key, seed phrase, etc. They all mean the same thing.
This recovery seed is the most important thing for the safety of your bitcoins. (Note: I’m assuming you are using one of the wallets where you are the real owner of your private keys. If you do not own your private key, you need to move to a wallet where you do. See this post.)
In case you lose your hardware wallet or your mobile phone, it’s only by using this recovery seed that you will be able to recover your bitcoins. Many users make the mistake of ignoring this step while setting up a Bitcoin wallet and end up losing access to their bitcoins in the long run.
If you haven’t taken a backup of your wallet’s recovery phrase, you should do that right now.
Now, you may ask where should I keep this recovery seed?
Tip: Store your Bitcoin recovery phrase offline.
The best thing is to note it down on paper and keep it away from fire or water. (Hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano X, Trezor Wallet usually come with a “recovery sheet” to write down your seed key)
Here is what the default seed phrase recovery sheet of Ledger wallet looks like:
Even though this recovery sheet is a good start, it is not ideal for long term as it is a paper sheet. In case of natural disasters such as fire or flood, this recovery sheet could become useless. There are solutions for this, which I have shared below.
Many users like to take photos from their camera or take screenshots to save seed words, which is a really bad way to secure your seed phrase. You should also never store your crypto wallets or Bitcoin wallet recovery seed on a note-taking app like Google docs, Evernote, iOS Notes, or any other easily hackable and losable device. This includes cloud storage places like Dropbox.
The point here is, your seed words should always be offline if you do not want to lose your precious crypto.
Also, it’s not a bad idea to put your key on a brand new USB drive that doesn’t get used for anything else. But only do this after you’ve written it down with a pen and paper. USB drives fail all the time. Don’t rely on technology for something this crucial (goes only for your keys and passwords).
If you’re looking for a place to store your bitcoins for a long time (months or years), follow this guide and keep your keys safe.
Best Tips for Storing Your Bitcoin Recovery Seed Safely
Here are a few important things that you should do:
- Don’t think too hard. Just take a pen and paper, and note down your recovery phrase. Don’t underestimate the power of a pen and paper. For ages, the paper has proven to be one of the most secure ways of handling important data. Archeologists still discover pieces of paper that are hundreds or thousands of years old. Contrast this to a computer, which will likely break down in under 10 years (tech updates).
- Create more than 1 copy of your recovery phrase and keep them all in different (but hidden) places. In case of a natural disaster (fire, flood, etc.), you will still have access to your other copies.
- Don’t take a screenshot or mobile photo of your recovery phrase because someone can simply hack into your computer/mobile and copy it.
- Never make a digital copy of your recovery phrase or store it on email or cloud services.
- If you are HODLing a significant amount of Bitcoin, keep your recovery phrase sheet laminated inside of a fireproof and waterproof vault because you never know when BTC becomes a million-dollar coin.
- Divide your recovery phrase into 2-3 parts. Put the first 4 words on a piece of paper, another 4 words on a different piece, and so on. Don’t forget to number the paper pieces because if you alter their sequence, you will not be able to access your coins.
- Use the “advanced recovery phrase” feature, which allows you to add custom passphrases to your recovery phrase. By doing this, you will secure your recovery seed for even longer, because even if someone gets hold of your recovery phase, you still hold your custom passphrase. This makes it impossible for the attacker to access your coins. Trezor wallet supports this feature.
- Memorize the recovery phrase using the mnemonic pegging technique (See brain wallet).
4 Best Ways to Keep Your Seed Phrase Safe
An offline paper recovery sheet is fine as long as it remains dry and safe. This is where you should be using something as strong as steel to withstand the battle of time. Even if you want to use the paper version, there are smart ways to safely store seed words.
Here I have collected the best methods of storing seed words:
1. ELLIPAL Mnemonic Metal
ELLIPAL is the premium backup tool for 12/15/18/21/24 Mnemonic Phrases (Recovery Phrases). This is also one of the most usable seed phrase backup tools that you can use right now. It costs about $49 and ships within 1-2 days after you place an order.
2. Capsule Duo
If you are paranoid about losing your Bitcoin funds, store your key on cold storage options such as Cryptosteel. This will keep your key engraved on steel plates.
Here is a video guide that explains how to use Capsule duo:
This device costs $152 for a set of 2 that also allows you to make payments in cryptos.
Billfodl is a solid steel case to store and protect your 24-word recovery phrase, which is designed to resist fire, water, and other elements. Using character tiles, you recreate your recovery phrase in the steel unit, creating an almost indestructible backup.
Billfodl is available in the Ledger store for $100.
4. Stonebook Notebook for Cryptocurrency Seed Words
If you need extra security, Stonebook by Shieldfolio is your go-to option. The Shieldfolio Stonebook is a 100% Offline Notebook that allows you to back up your entire Digital Fortune on durable water and tear-resistant pages. You can bundle this with a Ghost pen that lets your seed words be seen only under UV light.
This way even if you leave your seed words in plain sight using Stonebook, you keep your seed words safe from prying eyes. Make sure to order the Ghostpen to use the invisible ink feature.
I will keep updating this Seed word safety guide to add more ways to safely store wallet seed phrases.
How To Secure Your Cryptos, Bitcoin, and NFTs for Eternity?
I cannot stress more that your seed key is everything when it comes to keeping your Bitcoin, Crypto assets, and NFTs security.
To make sure your bitcoins stay around for a long time, you need to be smart and follow these tips.
If you somehow land up in trouble following these tips to keep Bitcoin recovery seed safe, you have done something wrong. Always make sure that you’re being smart and not putting yourself in a vulnerable position.
If you don’t understand what I’m saying in this post, ask someone who does before you do anything. Follow this advice at your own risk. Ultimately, you are the only one responsible for your Bitcoin holdings.
That said, I hope these insights will help you in securing your cryptos for ages!
What techniques or tools are you using to keep your cryptocurrencies safe? What other tips can you add to this list? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below!
If you like this post, don’t forget to share it on Twitter and Facebook.
Here are some hand-picked articles for you to read next:
- Best Bitcoin Wallets For Android OS [Latest Edition]
- Best Hardware Wallets For Bitcoin ( + Altcoins Supported)
- Exploring The Top 7 Bitcoin Desktop Wallets
Harsh Agrawal is the Crypto exchanges contributor for CoinSutra.
He has a background in both finance and technology and holds professional qualifications in Information technology.
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