How to safely store Bitcoin Recovery Phrase

Keeping your private keys safe is one of the main challenges with owning Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.  Once you decide on a hardware wallet part of the setup process is to write down your bitcoin recovery phrase (an encoded version of your private key in mnemonic format). What this article is going to focus on is how to keep your bitcoin back up phrase safe for years to come.

Your Ledger Nano S or other hardware wallets probably came with a card to write down your recovery phrase. While this is ideal for a quick set up it is not ideal for long-term storage as paper can be destroyed by anything from a flood, fire or even just time. While it’s tempting to store your bitcoin mnemonic online, this is not recommended as files can get lost, hard drives fail and it leaves you open to online attacks.

Luckily there are several long-term hardware options for storing your bitcoin backup phrase that we have tested to see which one is best.

Fun fact: You only need to write down the first 4 letters of a mnemonic, the rest just make it human readable

Cryptosteel

Cryptosteel Official Site

A Cryptosteel is a steel physical wallet where you can store the first 4 letters or your hardware wallets recovery phrase.

Pros

  • Solid steel construction
  • Stamped letters

Cons

  • Expensive ($180 CAD on Amazon currently)
  • Stamped letters can be a bit tricky to insert

BillFodl

Billfodl Official Site

Billfodl is very similar to a cryptosteel but at a lower price. They also have lots of other cool accessories like tamper-evident stickers and mounting brackets.

Pros

  • Solid steel construction
  • Laser engraved letters are easier to insert
  • Accessories available
  • Lower price than competitors

Cons

  • Laser engraving seems less permanent (although they have done some extreme tests)

Crypto Key Stack

Crypto key stack official site

The crypto key stack is a little more basic than the Billfodl or Cryptosteel but the concept is similar, a steel plate with the backup phase engraved onto it

Pros

  • Lowest cost
  • Can support multiple backup phrases (you can buy more plates)

Cons

  • Hand engraving with the tool provided took forever (I just used a Dremel)
  • Legibility is totally dependant on your woodburning skills
  • I am less convinced of its long-term legibility vs stamped or laser engraving.

When it comes to securing your bitcoin backup phase any of these steel options are safer than using paper. They are all fireproof, waterproof and strong, just make sure to keep these phsyical wallets hidden and don’t forget where you put it!

 

 

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