How to store private keys and mnemonic seed

Entering the world of crypto might seem complicated and twisted at first, but as soon as you understand the basics, there is nothing to be afraid of. In this article, we will present you with the most important things you need to know about protecting your wallet through the safe storage of the most private information every crypto enthusiast has: the .

What are private keys

You’ll get to have your own private keys as soon as you create a cryptocurrency wallet. In addition to the wallet address (which is supposed to be disclosed to the public, but we’ll talk about that later), you’ll also get a  which is the private key itself. It plays the same role for your crypto wallet as the PIN does for your bank account, when you want to withdraw money from an ATM.

However, private keys are much longer and complex than any PIN to a debit/credit card for . In a bank, you’ll actually need the card itself to proceed to the cashout, while an electronic . For this reason, private keys are supposed to be as complex as possible to provide your funds with the highest level of security.

Here is an  of BTC private keys : 1EHNa6Q4Jz2uvNExL497mE43ikXhwF6kZm.

Anyone who knows this combination will be able to access your wallet and make transactions. Don’t use the above example as private keys to your wallet, since it has already been shared with public.

Thus, , and to receive and send coins, you’ll also be provided with public address containing the  and accessible for anyone. As long as you keep your private keys , nobody will be able to take control over your funds.

What is a mnemonic seed phrase, and why it is important

When creating a new wallet in Atomic, you will be given a 12 words .For example: “round blade service action buzz unlock ladder knee promote proud dutch object”.

it contains exactly twelve characters, and the word order is crucial in this case. Every word is tied to a number, so the phrase can be turned into a sequence of numbers which in turn  for the wallet.

In Atomic wallet, mnemonic seed is generated automatically: all 12 words of the seed are taken out from a  which provides you with 2048^12=5e39 possible seed phrases and is unimaginable to hack.

Why do you need a mnemonic phrase

Mnemonic seed (or seed phrase) is necessary to  and the data stored from a  or in case the  gadget you used has been . Basically, you type your mnemonic seed on a new device and are able to . One seed is able to recover all your addresses which is very convenient. However, it is both a  to your storage and  of giving full access to your assets if anybody gets ahold of your seed. For this very reason, it is important to be extra careful of where and how you store the recovery seed because it is the only back-up for your non-custodial wallet!

Mnemonic seed and private keys

To understand the , let’s refer to a metaphor of a tree. In this case, the seed is similar to the : it shouldn’t be visible to anyone, and it serves as the  for all further information about your wallet. The seed phrase is able to generate private keys for every address you have, so you’ll be able to 

How to store mnemonic seed and private keys

Good Practice

 to avoid the risk of hacking, information leakage or equipment fault. Stay aware of any devices around you that might be recording your actions, like a microphone or a camera.

 phrase with all the words in the . It goes without saying that you shouldn’t rely on your memory as there is only one chance to write it down.

, it is a piece of paper on which you print information on your accounts such as its public and private keys. Some people prefer to laminate their paper wallet to make it waterproof. However, remember to store your paper wallet in a safe place where other people wouldn’t find it, for example, in a vault.

 (similar to a flash drive) designed specifically to keep private keys secure. Such wallets generate for you public and private keys.

If you don’t have any hard wallet at the moment of registration of your account, it is also possible to store private keys in a flash drive itself, but this option is safe as long as the drive stays in your hands. Cases are known in which  was eaten by a dog or hidden somewhere by a child. Also, you can use a specific flash drive encrypting the data to enhance the level of security.

Good practices: how to store your seed phrase

After saving the seed offline, you need to think of how to protect it. There might be many potential threats to a piece of paper, like water, fire or even sunlight, let alone the odds of throwing it away by mistake. For this reason, many users prefer to  their recovery seed to minimize the environmental influence. However, you have to make the lamination yourself which implies purchasing specific tools, but normally, they are quite cheap, and the process doesn’t take up a lot of time. As to where to keep it, you might like the idea of a vault or a safety deposit box in a bank.

When the phrase is physically protected from potential threats, there are still some rules as to how to . In today’s digitalization and Internet of Everything, you should always stay aware of the risk of being recorded at the moment when you type or write down the phrase, so make sure there are : don’t expose your seed or key in any public place and enhance the device security by using only reliable browsers, updating the software and changing passwords every now and then.

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Wrapping it all up

The security of your private keys and mnemonic seed is crucial for the safety of your funds. While private keys are a signature to your wallet allowing to spend the coins, mnemonic seed helps to recover the old wallet or access it from a new device. To enhance their security, it is recommended to keep the keys and the seed offline, in a hardware or paper wallet, protect the storage device from any environmental influence, and not to take pictures or screenshots of the code to avoid possible hacking. Now that you know how to store your wallet’s keys and seed, isn’t it time to buy some crypto now?