If your wallet breaks down, is erased or lost, a seed phrase, seed recovery phrase or backup seed phrase is a list of words which store all the information needed to recover the access to your cryptocurrency funds on-chain, by restoring your private keys within your wallet.
Wallet software will typically generate a seed phrase, which consists of 12 to 24 words (some even support 25, such as Ledger hardware wallets), and instruct the user to write it down. It is not safe to email these words to yourself, to take a photo with your phone or to store them digitally in another way, because your words can then easily be stolen without your knowledge. The perpetrator might not even act on it right away, but wait for your wallet to amass a nice portion of coins before stealing them from you, so just because nobody has stolen them yet, it does not mean that your wallet has not already been compromised if you stored your seed code digitally (same goes for keeping your crypto private keys safe).
- Do not email your seed phrase to yourself or anywhere
- Do not take a photo of it or store your seed phrase in your phone
- Do not store your seed phrase digitally
- Do not let anyone see your seed phrase
- Had you done any one the mistakes mentioned above, your wallet could potentially be compromised. In order to be certain that your crypto funds are safe, buy a proper hardware wallet, take suggested precautions and send your funds from the old wallet to the newly created hardware wallet’s address whose private keys are safely stored on the designated device.
Read more: How to keep your seed phrase safe
How to Store Your Seed Phrase
Your wallet will indicate that you must write the words on a sheet of paper. This is indeed way safer than storing your words digitally, however, while that protects you from hackers, it does not protect you against water, fire, condensation, oxidation, heat and age, which can all pose a real danger to you losing your seed phrase and access to your crypto over years.
Crypto Steel or a Similar Solution
By writing / engraving your words on a thin plate of inox steel, or another strong and element enduring metal, you can be sure that your backup words are still easily readable even after decades and more. Imagine losing your house, your crypto wallet, as well as the recovery seed words to it in an unfortunate fire…
You can either buy a finished product, or depending on how handy you are, might want to make one yourself. While the former will probably look nicer, and certainly be easier to acquire and more convenient to set up, making one yourself will likely be cheaper. The choice is yours.
- Do not save your seed phrase on a piece of fragile paper that might get destroyed or lost over time
- Engrave your seed phrase into a hard inox steel plate
(Will put a link to a good but affordable crypto steel product here once tested and verified)
Premium crypto steel products:
Billfodl by PrivacyPros
BIP39 Passphrase Users
For advanced users who use an optional “BIP39 passphrase“, it should be saved and handled just like your 24-word mnemonic, since in this case, your BIP39 seed would be derived from both your 24-word AND your passphrase. Losing your passphrase is just as bad as losing your 24 words, it would mean losing access to all your crypto assets!
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