Cold Wallets - Solutions for storing your cryptocurrency recovery seed phrase - Gadgetstash
Cold wallet, Cryptosteel

Cold Wallets – Solutions for storing your cryptocurrency recovery seed phrase

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum has made many people VERY rich! But they have also made some people very poor, or even lose their riches in a second.

How so?
Well, one has to remember that while cryptocurrency puts power back in the hands of the individual when it comes to their money, as they say…
“With great power comes great responsibility”
No one can access your funds except you… and anyone else that knows your recovery seed phrase. It’s like having the keys to a bank vault – you need to keep that phrase 100% SECURE!
Technically, if you were a wanted criminal or even a champion for good (being persecuted by the wrong people), you could cross borders with billions of dollars in your brain in the form of a seed phrase.
But what if you forgot the phrase? Then too bad – you wouldn’t be able to access your crypto assets ever again.
Even if you’re not some international stealth agent, keeping your seed phrase safe is super important in case your computer, smartphone, hardware wallet, etc. breaks or get lost so that you can regain access to your money on another device.

Different Types of Danger for Recovery Seed Backups

Most people say to write down your recovery seed on a piece of paper as a backup but the paper isn’t always safe…
Light can be dangerous for recovery seed backups. Ever look at an old book? The pages start to get yellow and more fragile. If you’re not careful, your paper backup of your recovery phrase could end up the same way. Next thing you know, you touch it and it falls apart. It might also become hard to read. There’s a reason museums keep old books in special exhibits.
Fire of course is another concern. Paper can do a lot of things but it can’t withstand a fire. In the case your house, your safety deposit box, or wherever you’re keeping that nifty paper-based recovery seed backup goes up in smoke, you’re SOL. Even for non-paper backups, a lot of things cannot survive the flames of a fire. For example, you might’ve seen backups made of aluminum – unfortunately, the melting point of aluminum is not that high! Steel is a good alternative.
We need water to survive. But our recovery seed backup doesn’t. If you keep your recovery seed backup on paper or something else susceptible to water, I hope it’s in something waterproof because even spilling a glass of water could make your recovery seed unreadable and unusable.
Even without things like light, fire, or water, you have to worry about ACID if you have a paper backup of your recovery seed. (We mean the acid from the environment and paper) If your backup is stored in a place with pollution (most places these days…) it can degrade faster because of acid corrosion. Acid also is present in paper itself, depending on the kind of paper.
Impact is another concern. What if you the box or drawer you keep your recovery phrase backup in gets crushed, and the backup along with it?
Electrical damage. Ok – so maybe you didn’t listen to your wallet and write down your seed phrase on a piece of paper. You have it stored on your computer somewhere or on a removable hard drive. What happens if there’s a short circuit that fries your device (and your backup)? We hope you made a backup of the backup because most people don’t.
Radiation damage is another type of damage you need to worry about when your backup is exposed to the sun. Paper, wood, and other materials like certain textiles are all prone to this type of damage.
Lastly, TIME is another form of damage that could affect your recovery seed backup. Many kinds of material degrade over time.

Metal as the Solution

With all these things in mind… metal is the best all-around material for your recovery seed backup because it is more resistant to all the types of danger listed.
We’ve tried a few solutions on the market and prefer Cryptosteel.
For us, Cryptosteel had the following benefits:
1. High durability
This was really a big factor because one of the main issues with paper isn’t durable. So if you’re going to spend money on something more durable, it should be the best right?
Cryptosteel uses stainless steel from Germany that is even used in marine (water) environments, where metals can corrode very easily.
2. No special tools needed
This was also convenient – you can just do everything with your hands by following Cryptosteel’s instructions.
3. No special skills needed
Same as above – you don’t need tools or some skill like knowing how to engrave stuff into metal, which was a plus.
4. No danger of injury
We would imagine you have the potential to get injured if you were trying to make something like Cryptosteel yourself with tools like hammers. Cryptocurrency is no fun when you don’t have a finger.
5. Mistakes can be corrected
The way Cryptosteel works, it comes with characters that you arrange depending on what your recovery seed is. So if you get it wrong, you can just re-arrange them instead of re-ordering.
6. Device can be reused when migrating to a new recovery seed phrase
Similar to being able to correct mistakes, you can just rearrange the Cryptosteel characters if you create a new wallet with a new recovery seed – very convenient.
7. Standardized font on the letters
This is something you might overlook but we’re sure that we’re not the only ones with bad handwriting. Having font that is standardized (e.g. all As look the same) is definitely helpful for people who aren’t familiar with your writing like heirs or other people that you might give access to your recovery seed backup.

What about other backup solutions?

Here are some other backup solutions we tried but weren’t satisfied with for one reason or another.

Crypto Key Stack – Crypto Key Stack looks cool if you like black. The main thing that turned us off was that you need to engrave your seed phrase on Crypto Key Stack yourself. They do include an engraver but a lot of things could go wrong (see numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 above). The quality is also low and since it isn’t mentioned where the product is sourced, we think like most products these days, it comes from China (not known for quality).
ColdTi – ColdTi uses titanium, which is a super durable metal. Like CKS, you have to do your own engraving or punching of your seed phrase, but ColdTi doesn’t even include any tools to do that. So numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are issues that could arise with ColdTi. Also, when we received the product, it smelled rather strange, like rotten fish.
Bitkee – We didn’t even bother to order Bitkee because while Cryptosteel, Crypto Key Stack, and ColdTi leave it to you to input your seed phrase, with Bitkee, you send them your seed phrase with your order (they laser it onto the Bitkee). Sounds like a great way to get your crypto stolen (we’ve heard reports of some peoples’ funds disappearing this way). Delivery delays have also been reported.
CryptoHex – We wanted to try CryptoHex because it was cheaper than competitor products (though you still had to engrave or punch your seed phrase in yourself). The problem was that it never got released (scam?).
All of the other backup solutions we tried had something about them we didn’t like, especially not for backing up our crypto!

So while there are a lot of solutions for backing up your cryptocurrency seed phrase out there, for now, Cryptosteel to us is the clear winner thanks to its combination of high durability and ease of use for non-specialists.
They were the first on the market for durable recovery seed backups and it seems that they are not just pioneers but still the market leaders with a real focus on quality design that also looks cool! Meanwhile, other products like we said have problems like low quality, weird smell, delivery delays, and difficulty of use for non-specialists.
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