Crypto Seed Phrase Storage 101
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Ultimate Crypto Seed Storage Guide

Your seed phrase is the key to your crypto kingdom. It is required to generate private/public keys, and sign transactions. Simply put: you can't access your crypto without it.

If your seed phrase gets lost or compromised, you could lose all your crypto. So protecting your seed phrase is of the utmost importance.

And even if you use a hardware wallet like Ledger, Trezor or SafePal, you should still have a redundant backup plan. So let's go over the various seed storage strategies, so you keep your crypto safe and secure.

While the best crypto seed storage solution is a personal decision that only you can make, we'll try to order this list from least-to-most secure, and you can make up your own mind. So lets kick it off with the worst idea...

#8: Use your computer or mobile phone to store your seed phrase

By a long shot, this is the least secure option.

Many crypto newbies make this mistake: they generate a new wallet using an app like Trust Wallet, Terra Station or Guarda wallet. Then they type or copy/paste the the seed phrase into notepad, a word doc or similar. Some people will do this with the sole purpose of printing it to make an offline copy. Maybe they even delete the document they created. Sound familiar?

What many people don't realize is this opens them up to a huge number of silent attack vectors, because your device is connected to the internet and is susceptible to hackers.

Some attack vectors include:

  • Key loggers
  • Viruses, malware and ransomware
  • Unauthorized access

Unless your computer is air-gapped (i.e. never connected to the internet), you should avoid this seed phrase storage strategy at all costs.

#7: Take a screenshot or photo of your seed phrase

You might think an easy way to circumvent key loggers and malware is to just encapsulate the seed phrase inside a photo. You can't key log that, right?

While this strategy is slightly more secure than being typed into notepad, hackers can use Optical Image Recognition (OCR) to extract text from images. While OCR is slower than processing text, it's pretty easy to do. And most commercially available key loggers include the capability to take screenshots at various intervals (and also copy whatever is on your clipboard). So if your device is compromised, you shouldn't consider images as a "safe" storage strategy.

In principle, storing your seed phrase in a photo isn't much safer than storing it in a text document.

#6: Use your private cloud or password manager

Encrypted Cloud File & Password Managers Logos
Encrypted Cloud File & Password Managers

Whether it's Google Drive, iCloud, LastPass or BitDefender, using some sort of encryption or password protection is definitely more secure than a text file on your desktop or a photo in your camera roll.

Cloud storage offers a lot of convenience and redundancy, which is incredibly handy if you lose your phone, your laptop breaks or something else bad happens to your primary device. That is the obvious benefit here, which does make it tempting!

But ultimately, you're still saving a copy of of the seed phrase online, so it's prone to all the previous security risks and attack vectors. Key loggers are probably the biggest threat. Encryption is hard to break, but hackers using a key logger can easily get the password to your cloud storage, and then it's game over. And a new attack vector is the 3rd party getting hacked. Which does happen.

#5: Write your seed phrase on paper

Crypto Seed Storage Recovery Sheet with a Bitcoin
Crypto Seed Storage Recovery Sheet with a Bitcoin

A good old fashioned pen and paper is a lot more secure than storing the seed phrase on your internet-connected device. It's easy to do and costs you next to nothing. You can hide the paper somewhere safe. You can even make multiple copies and hide them in separate locations. Just keep in mind, as you make more copies, you do introduce more risk to unauthorized access.

The primary risks to this crypto seed storage strategy is:

  • Loss of seed phrase to fire, water, natural disasters, etc.
  • Over time, ink fades and paper deteriorates. Might not stand the test of time.
  • Physical discovery... hide it somewhere very safe!

If you choose to go this route, maybe get the paper laminated to protect from coffee spills. But if you want something that will stand the test of time...

#4: Store your seed phrase using metal

Ok, let's step it up a notch! Using metal is infinitely more durable than paper. And there are many great products on the market designed for crypto seed storage. The key things decisions here are: choice of metal and corrosion resistance.

You want something that can withstand a house fire, which usually maxes out at 1,200 °F, or 650 °C. And you definitely don't want to lose your seed phrase to rust and oxidation. This is especially important if you live by the sea. So... choose your metal wisely!

Your primary options are:

  1. Titanium
    • Best option, but the most expensive
    • Incredibly light, strong, durable and corrosion resistant
    • Melting point = 3,034 °F / 1,668 °C
  2. Stainless steel
    • Excellent choice at affordable prices
    • Heavy, but very durable
    • 300-series stainless steel includes at least 10.5% chromium, which resists oxidation and corrosion
    • Melting point >= 2,500 °F / 1,370 °C, depending on the grade of stainless steel used
  3. Aluminum
    • Cheapest option
    • Light, but not nearly as durable as steel or titanium
    • Melting point = 1,221 °F / 660 °C... so it might not survive a house fire

For the vast majority of people, using metal is the best crypto seed storage strategy. The general recommendation is to go with steel, or you can choose titanium if you want the ultimate in durability.

When shopping these products, you also have many form factors to consider. But if you want to save some time, this is our top pick for a crypto seed storage device:

Favorite choice: CRYO DOT Backup

Incredible protection, great value!

  • Simple to set up: convert your BIP-39 word list into numbers using the included booklet
  • Includes an automatic punch tool to easily mark your seed plates. No additional tools necessary!
  • Built from 2mm thick stainless steel, precision etched
  • Withstands temperatures up to 2500°F
  • Compact and discreet. Flip the front plate to hide the logo.

If you buy direct from the CRYO, use the coupon code "BESTCRYPTOCODES" to save 10% on your order!

CRYO | Crypto Wallet Recovery Seed Phrase Cold Storage Backup

#3: Split up your seed phrase

Multi-location crypto seed phrase storage strategy
Multi-location crypto seed phrase storage strategy

To add another layer of security, you could split up your seed phrase across multiple locations. There are added costs and risks associated with this, but for some people, this is the worth the tradeoffs. This is not recommended for 12-word seed phrases.

Let's take a 24-word seed phrase as the example. You could split it up into chunks of 8 words, and make 3 backups, preferably on metal.

  • Location 1: Words 1-8 and 9-16
  • Location 2: Words 1-8 and 17-24
  • Location 3: Words 9-16 and 17-24

Each location has 2/3's of the seed phrase. So if someone discovers the seed phrase, they can't immediately access your crypto (although it would be a lot easier to guess the remaining words using brute force). And if one storage location suffers a loss (fire, natural disaster, etc.), you can still rebuild the phrase from the remaining two locations.

In this example, we used 3 locations, but you could split this up into more locations using smaller word chunks and more backups. And if you own a Trezor Hardware Wallet, you could try using Shamir's secret, in which the wallet

This is a great way to distribute the risk, but you do need multiple secure locations. And you might even need people you can trust, if you don't own the storage locations.

#2: Memorize your seed phrase

This might sound like a tough task, but if you really put your mind to it, you can do it. And this might be the most important thing you'll ever memorize. Its nice to always have your seed phrase with you.

Some tips:

  • Break the words up into smaller chunks
  • Try to make a story or jingle out of the words, to firmly associate them together
  • Set a weekly or monthly reminder in your calendar to do a mental refresh

Important: memorization is a great mental backup to your physical backup. It should not be the only backup you have. You could forget it, suffer memory loss, a brain injury or death. And then your crypto might be gone forever.

#1: Secure digital storage

Earlier, we covered the many insecure ways to store a seed phrase on your computer or mobile device. However, you could use multiple hardware wallets as a method of seed phrase backup. The seed phrase is securely stored on the device. They are prone to fire and damage, so you'd need multiple locations. And some wallets, like Ledger, don't let you see the actual words after they have been initially generated, so this might not be suitable for everyone.

There are also some advanced methods to safely use digital storage. They are so advanced, that if you're reading this, they probably are NOT the right decision for you.

But this is the ultimate guide to crypto seed storage, so we'd be remiss if we didn't cover it. Here are a few of the most common options:

  • Make an encrypted, bootable thumb drive using Tails OS
  • Use an air-gapped computer, like a Raspberry PI, to store the seed phrase in a text document. You can then save that file to thumb drives for additional redundant backups

Wrapping up

And there you have it! A huge, comprehensive list of crypto seed storage methods and strategies. As we said in the beginning, the best strategies are the one that works for you. And no single strategy is probably enough. What's important is you can sleep easy at night knowing you've mitigated as many risks as possible.

Always remember: not your keys, not your crypto!

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