If you play a lot of video games, you are bound to build up your character with the highest amount of attacking power possible to finish of the minions and bosses in record-setting time. However, if exchange of this level of power, you will be sacrificing a lot of your defensive capabilities, thus making you falter at the slightest hit from enemies. Putting this perspective into the one about keeping your cryptocurrency safe should be easy enough. You can buy all the Bitcoins in the system and rule the market as a whale but if you do not have a defense system that is strong enough to withstand potential attacks and hacks, then all that effort in HODLing coins will be in vain.
You will need to focus on one primary aspect in concerns of protecting your cryptocurrency; your recovery seed. A recovery seed (or seed key or recovery key or seed phrase) is given to you after you set up your wallet, be it a software or a hardware variation. You are expected to have it copied or memorized and are advised that it is crucial in the recovery of the accounts that hold your coins, should anything happen to the account platform (wallets, software, servers). As recovery seeds represent your private keys, it is essential that you are the real owners of them -- meaning here that your private keys are not stored by a third-party.
So, the question to ask now is how do you keep your recovery seed safe and sound? Well, that is where we come in to share with you some tips and strategies.
Forget digital storage, Use paper and pencil
In the age of advanced technology, one is always tempted to benefit from the hassle-free procedures of completing daily tasks. From scheduling appointments with your doctors, down to memorizing your friends and family's phone numbers (I can store the numbers in my phone easily, why do I need to memorize them?). Often one forgets that technology is not forever and will fail and falter with time. One of the most recurring tips and strategies to keep your recovery seed safe and away from prying eyes to to have it in writing. No, we do not mean in a Word doc or in EverNote. We mean by pencil and paper.
Think about it, until this day archeologists around the world are still discovering pieces of paper from way in the past. Oppose that with a laptop or a server that will likely breakdown after the tenth year of usage.
Write down your recovery seed on a piece of paper (use a pen for extra longevity) and keep that paper stored and locked in a safe place only you would know. Now, do you think a cyber hacker can get through to a piece of paper tucked neatly in between your mattresses? Keep it simple.
But for the more intense and enthusiastic holders of cryptocurrency, you can also laminate the pieces of paper and keep them in a safe. You can never be too careful, or too safe for that matter.
Cloning and Resurrection
No, no. We do not mean the actually process of cloning a living being. We mean copying your recovery seed on multiple pieces of paper. And no, we do not mean using black magic to resurrect the dead. When you have multiple copies of your recovery seed stored away in multiple places (one at home, one at your office, and one in the car), you will always have it ready to be used should a natural disaster strikes or an accident occurs.
We also recommend you writing the recovery seed into 2-4 parts; write down the first 6 phrases on the first piece of paper, the next 6 on the next paper, and so on. Remember to number the pieces of paper according to the sequence of the recovery seed else you would not be able to access your accounts with the wrong recovery seed.
The Rise of Skynet
Be very afraid of the coming Terminators in the future. But for now, be wary of the loopholes and weaknesses of technology. If you search for more tips and strategies on how to keep your recovery seed safe, you will often chance upon many an advice that push you to keep your recovery seed away from anything in relation to technology. No screenshots, no keeping it in a computer, no uploading a document of it up to a server. Anything in relation to technology can be hacked, no matter how encrypted you make it. Keep your recovery seed as offline as you can. No digital copies, period.
A Little Bit of Customization Goes a Long Way
The Prokey Optimum has a feature that enables you to add on another layer of protection to your recovery seed, using the advanced recovery phrase (seen as passphrase). Passphrases act as another line of defense in concerns of protecting your cryptocurrency. Say that someone takes hold of your device AND your recovery seed; without the additional passphrase, they still can not have access to your accounts, rendering it impossible. This feature allows you to customize the passphrase to your liking, making it wholly your own. Have at it!
Here Comes Cryptosteel to the Rescue!
For all of you paranoid and extra-careful crypto-holders, a cold storage for your recovery seed will be your very best friend. Not only is Cryptosteel enduring to most external destructive factors (water, fire, electricity, disasters, accidents), it is also very cool and futuristic-looking. Let go of your pens and papers, people. Engrave your recovery seed on steel plates and bask in the superior safety and secrecy of the Cryptosteel!
Use Your Head for Once
No, we are not talking about what Phil said to Hercules in the classic Disney movie, although it does correlate, in a way. We mean to use the mnemonic pegging technique to memorize your recovery seed. Coined and invented by Henry Herdson, the mnemonic pegging technique is done by creating mental associations between two objects in a one-to-one fashion that will, in turn, be applied as to-be-remembered information. Say the first three phrases of your recovery seed are jail, wind, and mint. You can use one of the systems in the technique called the Rhyming Peg-word System. You visualize an association with jail, then with wind, then with mint eg: a man is in jail, a leaf flies with the wind, someone steps on a mint. Then you link these visualizations with a dramatic action eg: A man is sentenced to jail, because the wind made a leaf slap him in the face, making him step on a mint. It is actually quite a fun activity.
The Motto of the Wise is: Be Prepared for Surprises
We can never truly foresee something bad happening in our lives, be in the form of an accident or mere bad luck. Hence, regardless of your preparedness, sometimes life just throws you a curve ball and you would not have time to duck out of the way. Back in the day, there were a number of cases where a person passes away and their inheritors had no clue on how to gain access to the cryptocurrencies that were left behind. We recommend that you include your recovery seeds in your will or, to jump the gun, tell your most-trusted family member or friend where and how to find your recovery seeds.
Though we also have to give a fair warning that this tip is floating in dangerous territory. The possibilities of riches can render any sane person unreasonable and may push towards harming you to gain access to your accounts, provided that you have significant amounts in holding.
We have to again stress the fact that your recovery seed is everything in concerns of keeping your cryptocurrencies safe and sound. We can assure you that you can maintain a high-level of safety and peace-of-mind if you follow any (or all) of the tips and strategies above. It is always a smart move on your behalf to keep yourself and your crypto accounts from being vulnerable. You are responsible for them anyway.
We hope to have at least enlighten you with these tips and strategies. May your journey into the market be fruitful and may you be present when your coins are shooting for the moon.