Matthias Koller · 23/11/2022

How do I create a secure Bitcoin backup?

If a bitcoin wallet is lost, deleted, damaged or stolen, it is crucial to have a backup. This is because a bitcoin backup allows you to restore a wallet with the recovery phrase.

Many individuals think that their Bitcoin are on their wallet. However, this assumption is incorrect because Bitcoin are always stored decentrally on the bitcoin Blockchain. With a wallet, you only manage access to your bitcoin. Therefore, you can think of your wallet as a bunch of keys. You can use the recovery phrase to restore access to your bitcoin.

What is the recovery phrase?

The recovery phrase, also known as seed, consists of 12 or 24 words randomly generated by your wallet, depending on the wallet. Your private key is derived from these words. You can compare it well with the password to your eBanking.

However, an important difference between the recovery phrase and an eBanking password is that you can contact your bank in case you forget the password to your eBanking account. On the other hand, if you have a non-custodial wallet, you are your own bank. This also means that you have no customer support and no other contact person.

For this reason, keeping the recovery phrase safe is one of the most important aspects for people investing in bitcoin. Nevertheless, safekeeping is often neglected or underestimated.

Unfortunately, scams are on the rise in which recovery phrases are given to people posing as bitcoin company employees, for example. However, your recovery phrase is intended only for you. If someone asks you for it, you need to get suspicious right away.

How do you keep your recovery phrase safe?

Storing bitcoin yourself comes with a lot of personal responsibility. Anyone who has access to your wallet's recovery phrase can access your bitcoin. Therefore, it is important that you keep it safe and never give it to anyone.

Never write the words down digitally. The recovery phrase should always be stored offline. Also, do not write the words on a digital document and then print them out, as some printers archive your print jobs.

It is best to write the words numbered on a sheet of paper as given. It is recommended to write the words with pencil and ballpoint pen, because ballpoint pen can fade in the long run. It would be advantageous if you laminate the document afterwards.

Your backup should be waterproof and ideally even fireproof. Alternatively, there are useful accessories with which you can manage your backup even more securely (e.g. engravings in steel plate, fireproof and waterproof folders, as well as a classic safe).

Another option would be to deposit the recovery phrase, or a copy of it, with a bank or a notary. However, you have to trust these institutions and depend on them, which contradicts the ideolgy of bitcoin.

How can I use my recovery phrase to restore access to my bitcoin?

You can import the words you wrote down, your recovery phrase, into any wallet by entering all the words in the correct order. It doesn't have to be the same type of wallet you used before. Most wallets are built on the same standard.

You can order a new hardware wallet directly from us. Select your new wallet here and receive it within a few business days.

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