Best Ways to Keep your Recovery Phrase Secure
|— Since your recovery phrase can be used to gain access to all of your crypto, it must be handled with extreme care |
— Losing your recovery phrase can mean losing your cryptocurrencies
— It’s important to keep it in a secure place and you could consider breaking it up into several pieces to enhance security
— Keep your recovery phrase on a metal backup for the ultimate protection against the elements
Your recovery phrase serves as the backup to all of your crypto assets. If anything ever happens to your hardware wallet, it can be used to regain access to them. It’s vital to keep it secure for that exact reason – and in this article we’ll go over some best practices.
Why it’s important to keep your recovery phrase secure
When you start your Ledger – or any other hardware wallet – experience, you’ll be asked to write down a set of words. In Ledger’s case, this would be a list of 24 words. This is known as your recovery phrase, which is the backup to all cryptocurrencies you’ll manage with your device. This means that if anything would ever happen to your Ledger device, you could always regain access to your crypto assets through your 24 words. Your Bitcoin or Ethereum would not be lost as a result of it malfunctioning or losing your device thanks to your recovery phrase.
It’s absolutely vital to keep this safe for a two key reasons:
– If anyone can ever get access to your recovery phrase, they can get access to all of your cryptocurrencies: they could steal your precious Bitcoins.
– If you’d lose your recovery phrase and anything were to happen to your hardware wallet, you’d no longer have access to your cryptocurrencies: they would be lost.
To put it simply: losing your recovery phrase could mean losing your cryptocurrencies. As such, it’s important to keep it secret and to keep it safe at all times.
We strongly recommend everyone to get familiarized with recovery phrases and to read this article to learn more about them.
Keeping It In A Secure Location
1. Keep your recovery phrase in a safe place
First of all, this means it must never be entered into any smartphone, computer or other device that can connect to the internet. If it’s available on your computer, someone could hack it and uncover the secret to all of your cryptocurrencies – even if it has only been entered a single time. The same goes for taking pictures of your recovery phrase.
2. Never share it with anyone
A recovery phrase must never be shared with anyone and be kept out of anyone else’s reach. A safe, hidden place that only you know of and only you can get to would be best.
3. Be prepared for anything
A safe place doesn’t only mean somewhere out of sight. Your recovery phrase should also be kept in a place where it wouldn’t be facing the elements. For example if you’re keeping your 24 words on a piece of paper, anywhere close to water pipes could be an issue if there’s ever a leakage.
Best Out Of Three
A clever method of keeping your recovery phrase secure is by splitting it up into multiple parts. This could drastically increase the security of your recovery phrase if done correctly.
In this example, you could have three pieces of your recovery phrase: Part A, Part B and Part C. Each would only have a few words of your entire recovery phrase written on it. This means that with only one part, you still wouldn’t be able to reconstruct your recovery phrase. Having Part A and C or Part B and C would be enough to recreate your full list of 24 words. You can see an example of these three parts here:
In this, you could put all three parts of your recovery phrase in different places. If one of the three parts would be lost or stolen, you’d still be able to get your entire recovery phrase. On the other hand, if someone steals one of the three parts, they’d still not be able to take all of your cryptocurrencies.
Of course, this method isn’t limited to 2 out of 3. You could make this into as many parts as you’d like. The most important part is to do it correctly: you must remember where you’ve kept every part and have broken up your recovery phrase into correct pieces.
Ultimate backup: fireproof and water-damage resistant
So you wrote down your list of 24 words on a piece of paper. While it can be kept securely, a piece of paper isn’t exactly the most durable material. Ink can wear off, water could leave it illegible and fire could completely destroy it. There’s a solution to this, however: solid Steel Backups.
Accessories like the Cryptosteel Capsule Solo and the Billfodl both allow you to record your recovery phrase on a steel back-up, making it resistant to fire, water damage and other physical threats to your crypto access. That means your private keys stay private – and your recovery phrase stays discrete, safe and secure on a medium that cannot be destroyed.
Taking care of your recovery phrase is the biggest responsibility you’ll face when dealing with crypto, but by continually educating yourself on best practices and the tools available to you, you’ll leave yourself free to enjoy the spoils of being your own bank, without the stress.
Knowledge is power – so keep on learning! If you enjoy getting to grips with crypto and blockchain, check out our School of Block video Smart Contracts for Beginners.