After following Restore bitcoin wallet and Cryptocurrencies for a few years, one thing became very obvious to me. It’s so incredibly easy to lose access to your private keys. The hacking risk is still to be taken seriously and the measures describe here help mitigate that risk as well.
This page is meant to list conventional best practices on hold to hold crypto-currency in an secure manner. Full disclaimer: I have an affiliate link for Trezor below. Someone could impersonate you and steal your funds within minutes, while you are sleeping. You will not get your coins back if that happens. Get yourself a Trezor or Nano Ledger S.
A hardware wallet allows you securely receive and perform crypto-currency transactions even on a malware-infested computer. Make sure to buy your hardware wallet from an official source. Do not use the hardwaret wallet if it comes with a scratch-off card! Properly securing that passphrase is the most important step of the setup. This is the passphrase that you will stamp onto a plate of metal to preserve it for decades to come. Losing or destroying your hardware wallet would not affect you in any way, as long as you safeguard that recovery seed, you will still have access to your funds. You must be the only person to see your recovery seed.
Do not ask someone else to stamp it into metal for you. NEVER enter your recovery seed into any electronic device, file, website, or even a password manager. The recovery seed will be shown to you ONCE on the screen of your hardware wallet, but never leaves its memory. You may write it down on paper temporarily in a private location, until you have a chance to secure the materials for stamping on metal.
You MUST practice recovery of your hardware wallet. Once you’ve written down, or stamped the recovery seed, wipe out your hardware wallet, then restore it to ensure you’ve copied the recovery seed correctly. Do this before you send large amounts of funds to the hardware wallet. And repeat this every time you duplicate your recovery seed onto a new medium. On the Trezor, there is an option to have an additional password, but I didn’t enable this option. I don’t trust myself to remember this password 10 years down the line. This means keeping your recovery seed plates out of sight is extremely important.
This means it can survive even a sustained, severe house fire. Properly securing and storing your recovery seed is much more important than securing your hardware wallet. In fact you should treat your hardware wallet as a disposable, fragile device which can be lost, destroyed, or wiped out any time, but can be replaced with a small amount of money. Your recovery seed cannot be replaced. I have another set of plates in a separate geographical area, in a trusted location, should I completely lose access to my main location. Some people suggested safety deposit boxes, though there’s some debate about how safe those are.
Given the risk profile of my geographical location, I rate this probability as low. If you want to obscure the purpose of the plates, buy some more time in case of theft by an uneducated thief who doesn’t understand crypto-currencies, you could coat your plate in plastidip. You can always peel it off if you need to read your seed, but it’ll be a lot less obvious to a thief what to do with the plate. I’ve found that this requires around 5 generous layers of plastidip before the engraved letters are obscured. Titanium or Steel Plates Here is one way to stamp your recovery seed onto metal plates. Please scroll down to see alternative methods.
Whether for use with a software wallet, or a hardware wallet like the Trezor, having the recovery passphrase stamped onto corrosion-proof and fire-proof metal plates minimizes the risk of loss of private keys. The stainless steel plates can be ordered from Lasergist using instructions below. They are laser-cut from 3mm stainless steel or any other thickness available on lasergist. Technically, the middle plate is the only one required and has laser markings indicating passphrase word ordering. By having additional plates cut, the passphrase can be hidden from sight and zipties can be added to prevent tampering.
The titanium plates were ordered as a custom-made item from Calti Wallets using the same designs available below, I believe he plans on making more of those available. Build Instructions Design Files Below is a description of the Adobe Illustrator files used to place the order from Lasergist. If you just want the passphrase plate with the 25 locations to stamp words, the two files below are all you need. And finally this files contains all above designs on different layers, which may be useful if you wish to customize the design further.