Securing your seed phrase is a method to preserve your 25-word mnemonic phrase. There are an infinite amount of ways to accomplish this. However, some strategies are better than others. Below, we'll look at a couple of seed phrase recording methods that are considered good practice, but first, we will discuss several not advised.
Ways Not to Back up Your Seed Phrases
One approach that some people take is not recording their seed phrase—commonly called a brain wallet. A brain wallet is simply memorizing your seed phrase. There are some significant concerns with doing this, and it's certainly not a practice that we ever recommend. For most people, it's nothing more than making their own body a single point of failure, which will jeopardize their assets in case of an accident or medical issues.
You should never record your seed phrase on a computer, phone, or internet-connected device, and never with a cloud service! That means you shouldn't store your seed phrases in your phone's notes app, as a photo on your camera roll, or even in a password manager! Keep your seeds as far away from malware, phishing, and social engineering attacks as possible.
Ideal method to backup your seed phrase
A simple paper backup is the most common way to backup seed phrases. Write down your 25 words on a slip of paper and put the paper in a fire-proof box or safe. This method isn't the worst possible plan but still leaves you open to potential theft or damage.
The best way to store these 25 words with a bit of added protection is to inscribe them in metal. There are now dozens of different metal backup solutions available on the market that allow you to immortalize your seed phrase in a far more durable physical form. These products achieve the same end as a paper backup but with added durability. Make sure you stamp or engrave the metal backup yourself. Placing the backup in a tamper-evident container will help ensure that the seed phrase has not been compromised or copied.
Best Practices for Storing Your Seed Phrase
Once you have successfully secured your seed phrase, it is time to store it. Once again, there are many methods, but some protect you more than others.
Places not to Store Your Seed Phrase Backup
Never store your seed phrase:
- Out in the open
- A drawer, shelf, or unlocked storage area in your home
- A filing cabinet
- Your bag or on your person
- Your workplace
More Secure Places to Store your Seed Phrase Backup
A home safe, along with a metal backup, is one of the best places to store your seed phrase because you should never trust your seed phrases in someone else's hands when that seed phrase itself is a single point of failure. This method becomes even more secure if the safe is hidden in an obscure place on your property.
Another option is a metal container at an institution with active physical security: a safe deposit box. Notably, a safe deposit box may not be as secure as a hidden home safe as you must rely on the institution not to access your seed phrase without your permission. You may consider using a safe deposit box within a private vault rather than at a bank, which may allow you more legal protections in the confiscation scenario mentioned above.
A Note on Family Members
If you decide to share your seed phrase with a trusted family member or entity, always ensure they know the responsibility involved in protecting your seed phrases or hardware wallets. Also, note that, as mentioned earlier, possession of the seed phrase equals control of the assets, so the utmost care should be taken when sharing with others.