Secure seed storage is essential for any cryptocurrency investor to understand. Losing the keys to a wallet, exchange, or account can be frustrating – and possibly expensive.
Steemit, for example, recently got some users steamed (myself included) when it split its wallet from the Steemit application. This made logging in on both Brave and Chrome tricky, even with LastPass enabled.
I did eventually get everything straightened out, but since I’m also using services like DTube that feed into Steemit, it was a bit of a fiasco.
Forgetting passwords is frustrating, and it’s even worse when the only way to recover it is in your hands. I don’t trust paper wallets personally (although I do still have a few), so I pulled in a few metal seed backups to figure out how easy they really are to use… and whether they are actually more useful than just carving seeds into my own furniture.
Man of Steel
There are a ton of metal wallets on the market, and I got three of them sent to me earlier this year to play around with and understand. Although I got each product free to review from the manufacturer, there are no affiliate links in this article.
Each seed storage has a few minor differences, but each performs the same basic function of protecting your seeds for much longer than a piece of paper ever could.
ColdTi – ColdTI is a $20 set of two titanium plates that support stamping of BIP39 wordlist/numbers. The full word/number can be input, but that’ll depend on your handwriting or whether you’re willing to invest in metal stamps.
Titanium has a high melting point (over 3000F/1600C) and has a gorgeous rainbow color when anodized. Since house fires are estimated to burn at 1000F/538C, it’ll easily outlast anything life (or even gods themselves) throws at you.
It’s the smallest of the three products, and it comes with two stickers so you’ll notice if your seed has been tampered with (you only get one shot, so seal at your own risk!).
Blockplate – Blockplate is a $62 metal seed storage solution made of 304 stainless steel, which melts at a respectable 2500F/1370C. It’s a tablet that you use a metal punch to mark the appropriate grid boxes for each corresponding number/letter.
Unlike ColdTi and Billfodl, Blockplate leaves the seed ultimately exposed. It would take a lot for someone to decipher without you noticing though, and it’s still a safe solution to store these keys for long-term usage.
If you think you’re likely to lose the seeds, storing them on a Blockplate could be a great way to keep them easily accessible and in plain sight without being so obvious.
Billfodl – Billfodl is somewhat similar to ColdTi, but it costs $80 and can be a bit messy for what’s ultimately a bunch of spare parts. Instead of engraving or stamping, you get a box of pre-stamped letters to spell out the first four letters of each BIP39 seed.
The extra weight of these keys alone explains the high price tag, although it also uses 316 stainless steel, which resists salt and water corrosion better than 304. The functionality and form factor are otherwise the same (i.e. two connected plates that swivel and stickers to seal).
It’s safer than paper documents stored in a safe, but the price is hard to justify unless you really want all those spare tiny letters (although the spare stickers are nice).
Overall, there are options for anyone looking to store the crypto seeds needed to generate their keys and passwords. They’re portable, somewhat easy to set up, and so much safer than storing anywhere digitally or writing on a piece of paper.
If you do write your seeds down, It’s probably a good idea to laminate the paper and keep an eye on it over the years to ensure it’s still readable. Your crypto seeds will outlast any password you’re currently using, so its storage should too.