A seed phrase, also known as a recovery phrase or mnemonic phrase, is a list of words used to access cryptocurrency wallets. Since most cryptocurrencies are decentralized and therefore cannot be recovered by a third party if lost, it is imperative that users take care to store their seed phrase in a safe place. In this article, we'll discuss some tips for keeping your seed phrase safe.
What is a seed phrase in crypto?
A seed phrase is a list of words that are used to access cryptocurrency wallets. These phrases can be used to restore your wallet if you lose your private key. The phrase typically consists of 12-24 words and is generated by a software program and written down by the user.
Seed phrases can be used to recover a lost or stolen cryptocurrency wallet and are therefore essential for anyone who stores their funds in a digital format. Most cryptocurrencies are decentralized and therefore cannot be recovered by a third party if lost. This means that it is up to the user to make sure that they store their seed phrase in a safe place.
Seed phrases are also considered to be inherently relatively safe and not prone to random hacking or guessing the string of words. Why? To put it into perspective, even if a hacker knows all the words that you have in a 24-word seed phrase (it could also be 12 words long), there are 620,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ways to arrange them. It would take a high-end gaming computer over 4 million years to go through all permutations, apart from the energy and resource consumption which wouldn’t make it worthwhile. At this stage, the chances of someone randomly figuring out your seed phrase are very slim, to say the least.
You should be aware that seed phrases are only used to import a wallet and for nothing else. You never need it for tech support, connecting to a website, entering any giveaways or using a CEX/DEX, so be careful of scams claiming you need to do so.
How to keep your seed phrase safe
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your seed phrase safe:
- Store it offline: As we mentioned above, one of the best ways to keep your seed phrase safe is to store it offline. This could be on a piece of paper, in a physical ledger, or on a hardware wallet.
- Keep it secret: It is also important to keep your seed phrase secret. This means that you should not store it in an online account or anywhere else where it could be accessed by someone else.
- Make multiple copies: Another good idea is to make multiple copies of your seed phrase and store them in different locations. This way, if one copy is damaged, lost or stolen, you will still have another copy that you can use to access your wallet.
- Split it up and store it in multiple locations: Another option for keeping your seed phrase safe is to split it up into multiple parts and store each part in a different location. For example, you could keep half of your seed phrase on your computer and half of it written down on paper. This way, if one location is compromised, the attacker would only have access to part of your seed phrase and would not be able to use it to access your wallet.
- Encrypt seed phrase: Another trick you can use is to encrypt your seed phrase in a way that only you can recognise it. For example, say you have the word ‘dog’ in your seed phrase. If you have a dog called ‘Fluffy’, you can write ‘Fluffy’ instead of ‘dog’ when you write your seed phrase somewhere.
Where to store your seed phrase
Here is a list of places where you can store your seed phrase safely:
- Write it down on paper: One of the ways to ensure the safety of your seed phrase is to write it down on paper and store it in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe or safety deposit box. While this may seem old-fashioned, it's actually one of the most secure methods for storing your seed phrase since it doesn't rely on any computer system that could be hacked.
- Store it in an old mobile phone without internet access: Another option is to store your seed phrase in an old mobile phone which doesn’t have internet access. However, you might need to make sure to keep this phone safe, and multiple copies are always important as if your phone gets damaged, you might lose everything all together.
- Use a password manager: If you're looking for a more convenient option than writing down your seed phrase on paper, you can use a password manager to store it. This will allow you to keep your seed phrase in an encrypted format and access it with a single master password. However, it's important to make sure that you use a reputable and well-reviewed password manager, as there have been cases of malicious software masquerading as password managers in order to steal users' information.
- Stainless steel units: More expensive options are storing it on metallic units designed to keep sensitive data safe from fire, flooding, corrosive conditions, electric shock and impact from accidents. Such an example is Cryptosteel.
How to recover your wallet
In the event that you have lost access to your wallet, if you have a backup of your seed phrase, you can use it to restore your wallet and regain access to your funds.
- Find your seed phrase backup: The first step is to find your seed phrase backup. If you followed our advice above, this should be stored in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe or safety deposit box.
- Use your seed phrase to restore your wallet: Once you have found your seed phrase backup, you can use it to restore your wallet and regain access to your funds. Most wallets will have an option to import or restore from a seed phrase, so simply follow the instructions on your wallet of choice.
- Move your funds to a new wallet: Once you have regained access to your funds, it is important to move them to a new wallet with a new seed phrase. This is because if someone else has access to your old seed phrase, they could also access your funds. By moving your funds to a new wallet, you can ensure that your funds are safe and secure. Once you have moved your funds to a new wallet, you can also delete your old wallet.
- Change your passwords: If you have used the same password for your wallet as you have for other accounts, such as your email or social media accounts, it is important to change those passwords as well. This is because if someone has access to your wallet, they may also have access to these other accounts.
How to recover your lost seed phrase or wallet
If you have lost your seed phrase and did not store a copy of it, there is no way to recover it and you will not be able to access your wallet. That is why it is important to make sure your seed phrase is safe and accessible to you.
Keeping your seed phrase safe is crucial if you want to maintain access to your cryptocurrency wallet and plan to stay in the DeFi space. As seen in our list above, there are several different methods you can use to achieve this; including writing it down on paper, using a password manager, or splitting it up and storing it in multiple locations. No matter which method you choose, just make sure that you take the time to safeguard your seed phrase so that you don't lose access to your funds.