If protecting your seed phrase is the only thing you learn from reading my columns, then I’ve done my job. The seed phrase is the most important element when it comes to the security of your cryptocurrency. If someone gets it, they have access to all your cryptocurrency and can wipe your account. Intentionally or unintentionally giving someone your seed phrase is the same as giving someone your debit card and pin code.
In this article, I’ll explain how to protect your seed phrase and show you some tools I use to protect mine.
A seed phrase is a series of 12-24 words generated by your cryptocurrency wallet. For example:
Write down your keyphrase and keep it in a safe place. It’s your key to unlocking your wallet in the future should you ever need to restore your wallet to a new computer or replace your hardware wallet.
Four things to never do:
- Never store your seed phrase online.
- Never enter your seed phrase into an online application without your due diligence.
- Never give anyone your seed phrase.
- Don’t lose your seed phrase.
Here are some products I use to protect my seed phrases. Stored offline, these products can withstand water and/or fire and a host of other harsh or extreme conditions. They are physically stored (offline) – away from online hackers – and are built to last. They range in price from $45 to $585, depending on the level of protection you want and the number of seed phrases you need to protect:
By now you’re probably wondering why you’d want to spend $110 on a stainless steel password protector. After all, you could just write a key phrase on a post-it and slip it to the bottom of your desk drawer or stash it in your safe.
True, but accessing your cryptocurrency is not the same as accessing your online banking account: if you lose it, you lose it! There is no way to recover or reset your seed phrase. Clicking “Forgot password” is not an option. You can watch your funds online all day and watch them accumulate in value, but that’s all you’ll be able to do without your seed phrase. Being in this situation is very painful – and depressing. If you store $5,000, $10,000, or any amount of crypto, you can afford to properly secure your seed phrase.
For our example, let’s use Stonebook as the seed phrase protector and Arculus as the hardware wallet. Stonebook, as the name suggests, is water and tear resistant and has enough pages to back up over 50 crypto wallets. Plus, at $45, it’s the best value of the three.
Stonebook is a simple way to store all your crypto seed phrases offline. You can keep this little book stored in a bank vault or any other secure location of your choice. It has the following specifications:
- 100% offline and safe from hackers
- 80-page craft-grade stone paper notebook
- Works with any ballpoint pen
- Organizes seed phrases and private keys
- Shieldcrypt paper encryption for maximum security
- 3.5″ x 5.5″ Stone Paper Notebook
Here is an example of using Stonebook by setting up the Arculus hardware wallet.
Go to the App Store and download the Arculus Wallet app. Press “Get started”, then place the Arculus card on the back of your phone to activate it.
Create a PIN to secure your device and now you get your 12-word recovery seed. For the purposes of this article, I will show you the seed sentence.
You are now prompted to re-enter the seed phrase to confirm that you have written it correctly. Once confirmed, your Arculus hardware wallet is set up. Now you can add digital assets to it.
Before sending assets to a wallet, I delete the entire wallet and test the recovery process. I never want to have money in my wallet that I can’t get back. For Arculus specifically, I’m going to go to “Settings” and choose “Restore to New Map”. It will ask for my 12-word seed phrase. I will enter the sentence and confirm that I can restore it. Once confirmed, I am comfortable sending funds.
NOTE: If you try to capture your seed phrase, Arculus will erase it. (Well done, Arculus!)
One accessory offered by ShieldFolio is the Ghost Pen ($15), which lets you write seed sentences using the included blacklight-revealed invisible ink. Let’s write the same seed sentence using the Ghost pen.
How do you protect your seed phrase? Let me know in the comments.