Blueprint of a private key
Vault12 Blog

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.
Vault12 Blog

Not Your Keys, Not Your Coins #Proofofkeys

Not Your Keys, Not Your Crypto

Discover More

Featured Articles


Vault12 Crypto Security

Social Recovery Vault for Digital Asset Security + Digital Inheritance for protecting the future of money.


Backup and Inheritance for Bitcoin

Vault12 Guard Explainer
Get the Vault12 Guard app onto your phone
QR code Vault12 Crypto/NFT InheritanceDownload Vault12 on App StoreDownload Vault12 on Google Play
Vault12 app mockup
Scroll down

Vault12 Product Demo

Get The Vault12 App Onto Your Phone

Download Vault12 on App StoreDownload Vault12 on Google Play
Screenshot of Add Inheritance in Vault12 Guard App

Inheritance: Get ready today.

Vault12 Digital Inheritance is the first solution to deliver an effortless and secure method for transferring a variety of digital assets — including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), other cryptocurrencies, and data — to future generations.

This innovative system enables users to appoint either a person or a mobile device as a guardian. The designated guardian is entrusted to protect the user's comprehensive collection of digital assets, encompassing seed phrases, private keys, and other confidential information, safely stored within a decentralized digital Vault.

This process not only mitigates potential risks but also removes the necessity for regularly revising asset inventories or modifying instructions, which often leads to breaches in privacy.

Screenshot of Vault12 Guard apps - Add an Asset screen

Secure Decentralized Backups and Storage.

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

Note:The Vault12 Guard app is not a crypto wallet and does not hold cryptocurrency. Using a non-custodial approach, a digital Vault safeguards your Bitcoin or Ethereum wallet seed phrases, private keys, and other essential data.

The Vault12 Guard app enables secure decentralized backups and provides inheritance for all your digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, crypto wallets, and other digital data.

Collectors, ensure your Art is protected for the future.

Collectors, ensure your Art is protected for the future.

Whether your digital art is suitable for a phone, or represents much higher resolution multimedia, make sure that you have backed up a copy in case the resource link is disrupted in the future. Digital art can easily be added to the Vault either via the mobile app or via the desktop utility. Once you have stored your artwork in your Vault, it will also benefit from inheritance once you activate that in your app.

Screenshot of Vault12 Guard app - Adding data into the Vault

Protect your home and family's data.

Whether you are at home or away, make sure that essential data about your home and family - including IDs, medical records, insurance information and home safe combinations - is backed up and available at your finger tips.

With a secure decentralized backup Vault, you can ensure that, in any event, you always have access to important information, wherever you are.


Step-by-step guides for setting up your digital Vault and adding assets, inheriting and restoring Vaults. Vault12 Guard helps you inherit and back up all assets stored in your Vault, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, crypto, private keys, seed phrases, digital wallets, and essential home & family data.

Teacher explaining how to to use Vault12 Guard

Vault12 Digital Inheritance is the first solution to offer a simple, direct, and secure way for all types of investors to ensure that all of your digital assets can be accessed by future generations.

The Vault12 platform provides protection, backup resilience, and security to your digital assets. Vault12 Digital Inheritance enables you to designate a beneficiary (an executor, trustee, or other chosen beneficiary) who can inherit the entire portfolio of digital assets that you choose to store in your Vault. There is no need to continually update an inventory or to issue updated instructions.

Decorative Background

Get started now.

Vault12 Guard is now available from the iOS and Android App Stores.
Download Vault12 on App StoreDownload Vault12 on Google Play
Start protecting your digital assets: Free 30-day trial available today.