When using crypto we get to enjoy the independence of managing our own funds and not worry about central institutions hijacking those assets. Yet, with this freedom comes great responsibility. We need to know how best to manage and protect our “bank” information. The methods and tools we’ll discuss will help you store your seed phrase worry-free.
Managing crypto assets is not easy, so it’s common for us to be negligent when storing the information associated.
The best way to store one’s seed phrase is by using multiple methods. This is to ensure that if theft or damage occurs you have a backup of it in another form.
Do NOT: Store seed phrase online
It is highly stressed that you do not store your seed phrase online. There are multiple threats on the internet such as malware, viruses and unauthorized access.
Unfortunately, it is possible for anyone to gain access to your information online, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. No phone, laptop or cloud storage.
Seed phrase storage methods
Pen & Paper
Pen and paper storage is the most standard method you can use. Paper has been used to store information for centuries, which proves that it works. The downside of paper, however, is that it is not durable. It easily gets wet, burns or gets thrown away.
So, how do I make my paper durable?
Paper can be preserved by encapsulation: storing your paper between acid-free sheets of plastic. Unlike with lamination, the paper will not disintegrate over time. Make sure to keep the paper out of hard light and high temperatures.
Ghost pen is a method of storing your seed phrase using invisible ink. It is a waterproof marker that comes with a UV light attached which enables you to see the invisible ink.
To keep your paper storage more hidden, you can store it in a coffee container. Most people aren’t interested in searching the contents of your coffee container, so it is quite secure.
Put the paper in a ziplock bag to make sure that it doesn’t get stained.
Buried in the garden (or pot plant)
For this method, you would need a container that is completely resistant to the environment underground.
Storing it in a garden is especially secure as nobody would know where to look. Make sure that it is totally concealed.
The downside of this method is that it is hard to access. If you have a large garden you may also forget exactly where you buried it.
Metal storage is the most recommended means of storage. Metal is highly durable and resistant to moisture and heat.
When looking for a metal to use make sure that it:
- withstands high amounts of heat, such as a house fire (600C)
- corrosion resistant
Some metals with these properties are titanium and stainless steel.
Ledger makes steel capsules which you can use to store your seed phrase.
Seed phrase splitting
Seed phrase splitting is the method of sectioning a seed phrase into different parts and then storing each section separately.
Combing this method with metal storage is probably the most effective way to store your seed phrase as it means if anyone manages to find your storage, they will only have one “piece”.
24-word seed phrases can be stored in 3 sections where you only need to find 2 to complete the seed phrase.
Here’s an example of how it can be done:
- 1st Piece: Words 1-16
- 2nd Piece: Words 8-24
- 3rd Piece: Words 1-8 and 16-24
This method may compromise your security because if one capsule is found, a hacker will only need to crack 8 words.
Methods like CD, USD drive, and SD card are all memory storage devices.
When storing your seed phrase on these devices you need to also encrypt them. So, if they are accessed, someone would still need to figure out how to get in.
While it may be useful to have these storage units, they are not foolproof.
The risks associated with digital storage are loss, file corruption or damage (physical and electrical).
Artwork is a great way to store your recovery phrase because nobody is really going around inspecting the art in your home.
You can engrave the seed phrase on the inside of the artwork’s frame or place it under a secure sticker.
Methods to avoid
Don’t: Use a Password Manager App
Password manager apps usually require simple passwords to be accessed. Cybercriminals have the skills to crack passwords and even override the login system of such apps.
What’s more, is that you could lose the passwords in your app instantly should your phone or the app crash. Password managers are best used for less important login details.
Don’t: Take a picture of your seed phrase
Your pictures can be viewed by anyone who has access to your phone which makes pictures extremely risky. Nowadays, people back up their pictures automatically to cloud storage.
Cloud security breaches are common, so it’s best to avoid pictures at all costs.
Don’t: Use an online seed recovery site
Seed recovery websites are an obvious target for cybercriminals. Though some may have very strong security measures in place, they still exist on the internet where skilled people can eventually access them.
Cybercriminals may also pose as a “seed recovery” service to trick you into giving them your seed phrase.
Though there are trusted platforms, online storage is unsafe by rule of thumb.
Securely storing your seed phrase
When storing our seed phrase, we want to ensure security but we don’t want to complicate the process to the point where we forget how we stored the seed phrase in the first place.
With more layers added to your security, you are bound to confuse yourself and eventually lock yourself out of your own security system.
It is best to keep it simple.
Make sure to do a risk analysis for each method in your own life then choose what will work best. Also, consider that one method of storage may get lost. So, make decisions accordingly.