Crypto Coach: How to protect your seed phrase


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 component when it comes to the security of your cryptocurrency. If someone gets it, they have access to all your cryptocurrencies and can delete your account. Intentionally or unintentionally giving your seed phrase to someone is equivalent to giving someone your debit card Y pin code.

In this post, I’ll explain how to protect your opening sentence and show you some tools I use to protect mine.

A seed phrase is a series of 12 to 24 words generated by your cryptocurrency wallet. For example:

Steve Warren

Write down your opening sentence and keep it in a safe place. It is your key to unlocking your wallet in the future if you ever need to restore your wallet to a new computer or replace your hardware wallet.

Four things you should never do:

  • Never store your opening phrase online.
  • Never enter your seed phrase into any online application without your due diligence.
  • Never give anyone your opening sentence.
  • Don’t lose your opening sentence.

These are some products I use to protect my opening sentences. Stored offline, these products can withstand water and/or fire and a host of other harsh or extreme conditions. They are stored physically (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 how many 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 I might simply write a seed phrase on a Post-It note and slip it into the bottom of your desk drawer, or keep it in your safe deposit box.

All of that is true, but accessing your cryptocurrency is not the same as accessing your online bank account – if you lose it, you lose it! There is no way to retrieve or reset your seed phrase. Clicking “I forgot my password” is not an option. You can watch your funds online all day and watch them accumulate value, but that’s all you’ll be able to do without your seed phrase. Being in that situation is very painful and depressing. If you’re storing $5,000, $10,000, or any amount of crypto, you can afford to protect your seed phrase properly.

For our example, let’s use Stonebook as the opening sentence protector and arc like the hardware wallet. Stonebook, as its name suggests, is waterproof and tear-resistant, and has enough pages to support more than 50 crypto wallets. Plus, at $45, it’s the best value of the three.

cc4-2.png

Steve Warren

Stonebook is a simple way to store all your crypto seed phrases offline. You can keep this little book in a bank vault or any safe place of your choosing. It has the following specifications:

  • 100% offline and safe from hackers
  • 80 page craft grade stone paper notebook.
  • Works with any pen.
  • Organize seed phrases and private keys.
  • Shieldcrypt paper encryption for maximum security
  • 3.5″ x 5.5″ stone paper notebook

Here is an example of how to use Stonebook by setting up the Arculus hardware wallet.

cc4-3.png

Steve Warren

Go to the app store and download the Arculus Wallet app. Tap “Start” and then place the Arculus card on the back of your phone to activate it.

cc4-4.png

arc

Create a PIN code to secure your device and you are now presented with your 12-word recovery seed. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to show you the seed phrase.

cc4-5.png

Steve Warren

You will now be prompted to re-enter the seed phrase to confirm that you typed it correctly. Once confirmed, your Arculus hardware wallet is set up. Now you can add digital assets to it.

cc4-6.png

arc

Before sending assets to any wallet, I delete the entire wallet and test the recovery process. I never want to have funds in my wallet that I can’t get back. For Arculus in particular, I’ll go to “Settings” and choose “Restore New Card”. It will ask me for my 12-word seed phrase. I will enter the phrase and confirm that I can restore it. Once confirmed, I feel comfortable sending funds.

cc4-7.png

arc

NOTE: If you try to take a screenshot of your seed phrase, Arculus will delete it. (Well done, Arcus!)

One accessory ShieldFolio offers is the Ghost pen ($15), which lets you write opening sentences using the included blacklight-revealing invisible ink. Let’s write the same opening sentence with the Ghost pen.

cc4-8.png

How do you protect your seed phrase? Let me know in the comments.