The Nr. 1 Unique Way to Secure Your Crypto Wallet Key
Your key is your money. Not your Keys, Not your Bitcoin— Andreas Antonopolous
Whether you’re a long term crypto wallet owner, or the recent 61st million wallet owner and new to the space, the most important thing out there in Bitcoin land is the storage of your seed key, or wallet key.
Security is one of the main challenges in the crypto space. Many exchanges, like Coincheck, have been hacked in the past. Projects like Verge or Bitcoin Gold have been 51% bombed the hell out of them, and in 2019 a group of hardcore hackers managed to proof flaws in hardware wallets.
These are examples that show constant improvement is needed when it comes to creating a 100% secure environment for our future peer to peer exchange of tokens, smart contracts and other Blockchain wonders.
One of the biggest challenges will be bringing trust to the mainstream.
Decentralization boils down to being your own bank. And when you lose your private key, there is no customer service.
But what if there is an amazingly simple way to secure this golden key to the vault of your Bitcoins and Altcoins?
There is, and I am going to present it to you right now.
The key to your money on a piece of paper
The best we have come up with currently is the advice to store the 12, 18 or 24 sequence of words on a paper. But then the question is: where to store that paper?
You need to find a place that you remember 10 years from now, that cannot be discovered by your children, dog or housecleaner, that is fire-free, tsunami-free, earthquake-free, insect-free and burglar-free.
A vault is probably the most logical place. Hhmm, but maybe not. A vault has an access code, that you, again, need to store somewhere. It is just moving the problem. Than a vault in a bank? Haha, so to become unbanked we need the banks again, doesn’t make sense. And who can tell that your bank and all its assets don’t get confiscated in something unimaginable like a great reset?
You probably notice that I skipped other options like desktop wallets, hardware wallets, mobile wallets, web wallets and paper wallets. I want to focus here on the last resort, the code to enter your wallet of any kind, online or offline. The secure key, private key or seed key to your wallet where you own your coins, so, not any exchange.
Some people came up with cutting this code into 4 pieces and store the 4 pieces in 4 different places. That multiplies the problem x4 because it creates a 4 x more likely that one of those papers gets lost. Also, you need to remember which paper came first etc.
Another option I have found online is installing the wallet on an old laptop, with no other software, or on a phone, with no other applications. The cold storage approach. Sounds pretty safe to me, but what happens when the hard disk or processor of the laptop suddenly dies, because it is old. Or the phone ends up dead or you drop tea over it, or it gets lost when you move house. Again, you would need to store your old laptop or phone in a safe, dry, secret place. Again you have the fire, tsunami, burglar etc issue.
Store your key in the safest place on earth: Your head
The only real safe place for the secure key, the only place that dies with you when you die, that is waterproof, unhackable, untraceable is: In your head.
You will need to store the words in your own hard drive. And there is software available to do this. The best program I have found is my imagination. In fact, I practised remembering my 21-word code for a week with a good friend and now can flawlessly reproduce the sequence.
How does this work?
My friend read the words for me, and I trained myself to see an image with each word. How absurd they may appear, I tried to remember that first exact image. In most sequences, there are some words like coin, fire, or shoe. These are the easy ones, you see them right away. More difficult are words like growl, shout, king or present.
When my partner would read growl to me, the first thing I see would be a big bear. Then, when the next word would be ice, I would see a growling bear eating ice cream. Maybe the next word is granny… what would you imagine now?
It turned out to be a really fun exercise. When you don’t have anybody available or trust nobody, you can record the words, and delete them later.
It took me a few days to really repeat the sequence without much effort. I practised it the first moment I woke up, that seemed a good time for me to have access to my subconsciousness.
OK, you are right. I have no clue how long this memory will be stored. I need to repeat it over time. I find it a great exercise and test, and I feel inspired to apply it to for example passwords, key codes, the birthday of my granny etc.
Train your Brain
We can train our brains to do immaculate things. The above example with the howling bear eating ice cream while chasing my granny is actually a well-known method that is called the Mnemonic peg system. This makes use of the brain associating between words and in doing so linking them. But in this system also nouns are used and even choosing numbers that rhyme with the noun. That’s already too complicated for our seed key example.
The system of imagining random images associated with any word that comes up seems to work best for me. Probably in each seed key, there are sequences of 2 or 3 or even 4 words that make a small storyline like the bear example. Those are the easy parts. For the more difficult seemingly very random combination of words just use your imagination. You will discover that your brain is able to make a combination of almost any two words.
In the end, our brain, imagination and logic sense remains the best quantum computer there is.
And I am sure my seed key is now stored somewhere safe in the bits and bytes in my head, firing neurons that can be accessed at any place, time and situation by my own will. And it is for free!
I realize that whenever I would leave this lovely planet, I would take my secret with me. I would make sure the coins would have been spent wisely or given away. For this issue, a dead man’s switch is a solution. Also, in case of a sudden ascent, my friend knows my key, as I know hers. Some human trust should remain in our coming trustless blockchain society.
The cold storage method: Choosing the Trezor or Nano Ledger
It is advised by the industry to store any amount above $1k of Bitcoin or another crypto on a hardware wallet called Trezor or the Nano Ledger. They come as a USB stick, hence the name hardware wallet. Also, cold storage means offline, and hot storage online.
The problem here, of course, where to store this USB wallet? I’ve lost many USB memory sticks in the past, in fact, almost all of them.
When going through the software installing your BTC on your external USB ledger, you’ll come across the point where you need to make a back up of, again, a seed key for your USB stick. Again, you’re asked to write this down o a piece of paper, so here we go again.
For sure the hardware wallet solution is probably the 2nd safest around. But Nr. once remains your own hardware, your brain.
This proves the remember-in-your-mind solution is still the best one. Even when you wallet solutions, you can train yourself into remembering your key, just to keep on freshening up your memory and training your brain muscle.
It’s fun to do, keeps your grey cells in shape, and when you wake up James Bond style in some kind of Chinese prison cell, you'd still have access to your money and buy your way towards freedom.
Just one practical use-case. Make up your own. I am sure you’ll be happy to have followed my advice.