Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
What is the backup plan?
Cryptocurrencies have now been around for more than a decade, and they are catching on. Millions of people are getting into the fold every day, however, there are a few problems that have limited the use of crypto. One of the major problems is the risk associated with crypto, the hacking risk, and most of all the “I forgot my password and now I can’t access my crypto risk.” Every other day we come across the news in which someone lost the password to their wallet and that has prompted a lot of people to stay away from crypto. Fortunes lost is not a new world problem. As early as 2700 BC, think of all the countless shipwrecks carrying gold, silver and jewels - lost to the bottom of the sea forever.
“Ooops” Can Literally Cost a Fortune
It is now the 21st Century and fortunes are still being lost to the depths, except today it is the blockchain abyss. Have we not learned to have a backup plan in place? Just last year news broke about a German programmer who lost more than $220 million worth of bitcoin because he forgot the password to his hardware wallet. This is a more common case than you imagine, in another case a man almost lost $3 million worth of Dogecoin because he forgot the password. He was saved by a password recovery service that he had to pay heavily for. This is a common problem, if these guys had just used the backup recovery seeds they wouldn’t have faced the problems.
A Plan B Never Hurt Anyone
A seed phrase, also known as a seed recovery passphrase or backup seed phrase, is a collection of words that stores all the information required to restore a hardware wallet and regain access to crypto on the blockchain. In most cases, when setting up the hardware wallet a user is provided a 12 to 24 word passphrase and instructed to write it down on paper. Yes paper! Also known as parch·ment /ˈpärCHmənt/ - more delicate and perishable than the electronic hardware wallet. An accidental spill of coffee or one curious two-year-old, can ruin your backup before fire even has a chance to destroy the gateway to your crypto wealth.
One promising newcomer to the market is Black Seed Ink. Taking a minimalist backup approach to protecting the seed, the product uses 304 grade stainless steel plates dipped in a matte black coating to protect against fire and corrosion respectively. These plates were put through Jamison Lopp’s epic recovery seed stress test and fared very well with an A rating after torching, acid bath, and crushing tests were performed.