How to Securely Backup a Seed Phrase

Many newcomers to the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space are interested in holding their own private keys. As we know, not your keys not your coins.

Dangers

In order to spend Bitcoins, a user must have access to their wallet or to the seed phrase that was created alongside the wallet. Likewise, an attacker only needs access to one of these things in order to steal the coins.

A crypto seed is essentially the master key to a crypto wallet, usually in the form of 12 or 24 words. If the wallet is lost, the seed can be used to regenerate every private key in the wallet.

Many articles exist on how to choose a good wallet. No matter the wallet, there will always be a seed phrase that needs to be backed-up securely. For this reason we will talk about som options that users have.

Options

Like choosing a wallet, choosing a method to store seed phrases depends slightly on the user’s technical abilities and personal needs. Here are some different options and their pros/cons:

  • Paper
    • Pros
      • Can’t be hacked digitally
      • Free
    • Cons
      • Easily destroyed (eaten by dog, burned, soaked, etc)
      • Easily lost
      • Can be physically stolen
      • Vulnerabilities increase as the need to store more seed phrases increase (multiple seed phrases for different wallets)
  • Metal – Etched into steel, or a tool like CryptoSteel
    • Pros
      • Hard to destroy
      • Can’t be hacked digitally
    • Cons
      • Potentially expensive
      • Hard to setup
      • Easily lost, copies are hard to make
      • Can be physically stolen
      • Vulnerabilities and cost increase as the need to store more seed phrases increase. (Multiple seed phrases for different wallets)
  • Qvault – Digital Password Manager
    • Pros
      • Hard to lose – Encrypted vaults are easily copied and stored on multiple devices.
      • Hard to destroy – Every device that contains the vault file would need to be destroyed
      • Hard to steal – An attacker needs the vault file, the master password, and the Qvault key card (if applicable)
      • Can be used offline to ensure hacks are nearly impossible
      • Qvault cards can be used to add an additional encryption key and master password recovery option.
      • Free and open source
    • Cons
      • Susceptible to malware – If a vault is opened on a device that is both connected to the internet and contains specific malware, then there is a possibility of the seed being compromised.

Every person and organization will have different preferences for how to store seed phrases. Factors that should influence this decision include amount of crypto being stored, technical abilities of the owners, and tolerance for inconvenience.

We built Qvault in order to provide a free and open source option that will appeal to many typical users. Qvault offers a consumer-friendly and easy to use option with a great balance between security, recoverability, and ease of use. That said, Qvault is still in beta and is improving everyday. Let us know what we can do to make it better!

By Lane Wagner

Download Qvault: https://qvault.io

Star our Github: https://github.com/q-vault/qvault

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