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Blueprint of a private key
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Not Your Keys, Not Your Coins #Proofofkeys

Not Your Keys, Not Your Crypto


The best way to store your private keys

Keeping your private keys safe, secure and under your complete control is essential to ensure financial independence and autonomy, which is what attracted a lot of early crypto adopters and remains a key value in the crypto community. In addition to empowering monetary sovereignty, it also serves as a way to hold third-party services accountable by testing them for their solvency.

Proof of Solvency

Purchasing a digital asset means you're buying a key that represents ownership of such value. Requesting proof of that key is a useful method to determine potential risk with exchanges and other digital custodians. Exchanges are suspected of not holding onto the coins and actually failing to carry sufficient reserves. There's also the possibility that the exchange or wallet provider becomes insolvent, has its accounts frozen, or pulls a salacious exit scam. If a large enough volume of crypto is moved by a significant portion of asset holders, custodians are challenged to prove they can accommodate users' demands for ownership of their coins.

Recently, BitUniverse released an Exchange Transparent Balance Rank feature, which aggregates trading volume for the top 60 cryptocurrency exchanges. According to the list, the world's most popular centralized exchanges store at least 1.9 million BTC ($13.9 billion).

Chart showing most popular exchanges for leaving your crypto on

Research from Viewbase shows a similar ranking of leading exchanges for reported monthly trading volumes and ether balances.

Chart of exchanges by trading volume

The ability to verify the activity by these entities is the accountability that is built into blockchain technology, one of the greatest aspects of the technology. It is extremely important to pay attention to this due diligence because a huge disparity between the crypto balances and transaction activity can indicate foul play; in fact, 95% of total volume reported is faked according to a report by BitWise Asset Management.

While regulators are getting stricter, there is still a real lack of protection for exchange users whose funds may be exposed to hacks. In the event that a less-than-desirable event like a hack or fraud happens to the service you keep your crypto on, you may have no way of getting it back. But even custodians like Coinbase and Bakkt have full control of the coins and can refuse or limit withdrawals. Smaller exchanges have made no commitment to any safety standards.

The Outcome

With crypto, long time holders are reminded to be mindful of who truly owns the private keys, and those who are new investors should also be aware of the importance of moving coins away from the initial institution where they bought them. With crypto — you become the single point of failure — since you own the keys — — if you delegate the keys — you are increasing the risk. Make sure your keys are backed up elsewhere — the default is paper, but there are new solutions that enable you to encrypt your paper backups so that you always retain access to your assets.

About the Author:

Kyle Graden is a digital native who was born in what's considered the Millennial Generation. Kyle is a nomadic entrepreneur, growth consultant, and QryptoQueer, striving to make a more accountable, transparent, and equitable world. Kyle's experience in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry spans from marketing a crypto hedge fund to being named to the Top 100 Fintech for UN SDG Influencers list to speaking at conferences and participating in hackathons.

Recover, Back Up, and Inherit Digital Assets

(including Cryptocurrency Seeds, NFTs and Art)

Every digital asset you own should be backed up, protected and remain accessible. Cryptocurrency in particular is difficult to secure. With natural disasters, hackers, to badly implemented security, you are always at the mercy of others.

Vault12 Personal Digital Asset Security helps you recover, backup and provide legacy inheritance for all your digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, NFTs, other cryptocurrencies, private keys, seed phrases, digital art and of course, your crypto wallets.


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Recover, Back Up, and Inherit Digital Assets

Introducing Digital Inheritance

Pass on your Digital Assets to future generations

Vault12 Digital Inheritance is the first solution to offer a simple, direct, and secure way to ensure digital assets can be accessed by future generations. Digital Inheritance enables investors to designate an individual who will inherit their entire portfolio of digital assets stored in a secure Vault once the time comes, eliminating undue risk and the need to continually update an inventory or continually issue updated instructions.


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Personal Security for your Cryptocurrency and Digital Assets

Designed to be used alongside traditional hardware, software and online wallets, Vault12 helps cryptocurrency owners, ICO investors, professional cryptocurrency traders, and high net worth investors safeguard their digital assets without storing anything in the cloud or in fact any one single location. This increases the protection and decreases the risks of loss.


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Personal Security for your Cryptocurrency and Digital Assets

Easy to setup, easy to secure, easy to access.

A digital Vault containing your digital assets is assigned to trusted people or devices, known as Guardians. Your Guardians can be adjusted as needed in real-time so that the appropriate number are always guarding your digital assets. No one can access your assets and only you get access when you need.


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The Winklevosses came up with an elaborate system to store and secure their private keys. They cut up printouts of their private keys into pieces and then distributed them in envelopes to safe deposit boxes around the country, so if one envelope were stolen the thief would not have the entire key.

Nathaniel Popper, New York Times, December 19, 2017

20% of all Bitcoin is lost forever. That's $20B, in fact, in 2018 alone, $1.1B has been stolen.

Elliott Krause, The Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2018

The idea behind Vault12 is how do we essentially split that responsibility, make that problem of key control less a technological one by essentially making it into a social one with networks of people that they trust.

Terence Spies, former CTO, HP Enterprise, Data Security

Exchanges are the main target for hackers. Those are the biggest honeypots. So the number one rule in Crypto is, do not keep your money on an exchange, and if you're going to custody that money, you need to do it off of the exchange with a product like Vault12.

Joe DiPasquale, BitBull Capital

Security and usability are inextricably linked, the former cannot exist without the latter. Vault12 understands the need for end-to-end management of this experience as well as the importance of integrating into the prevailing crypto ecosystem

Sathvik Krishnamurthy, Founder and Managing Partner, Security Leadership Capital

As we move to a more open financial system driven by advanced blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, we need smarter ways to ensure that the system is trustworthy. Vault12 does this by addressing a foundational need -- ensuring that your crypto assets are not only protected by decentralized security, but also by your trusted inner circle. Your private key never exists in one place or with one entity, reducing risks from hackers as well as everyday accidents.

Vinny Lingham, Entrepreneur and Advisor

Security is the lifeblood of industry, commerce, and leisure. As more people use decentralized applications, they will need a way to back up their crypto wallets and exchange accounts. Vault12 provides a simple and natural way to reduce risks and combat the fear of forgetting seed phrases and private keys.

Jon Callaghan, co-founder of True Ventures

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The Vault12 app is now available from iOS and Android app stores.