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Why should you care about NFT and Crypto Inheritance?

Some approaches to cryptocurrency and NFT digital asset inheritance are risky -- Vault12 can protect, back up, and recover your digital assets with much less risk.


When applied to digital assets, traditional inheritance approaches create complexity and risk. Among the biggest risks are:
(1) failure to correctly create or maintain an up-to-date inventory of digital assets, resulting in inaccessible assets; and
(2) trusting a weak third party with credentials to access your digital assets. If you choose the wrong person, they could lose the assets, pass them on to an unauthorized third party, or attempt to access them before they are entitled to do so.


Risks in a traditional approach to crypto asset inheritance

Here is a Traditional Approach:

1. Select a beneficiary.

2. Write instructions on how this person can access your assets.

For each digital asset, these instructions should include the information on where the asset is stored and all the pin-codes, seed-phrases, and passwords applicable to the asset.

RISK - You incorrectly document assets and access codes or you simply omit some.

If two-factor authentication is enabled, link the Authenticator on his or her mobile phone to your crypto wallet.

RISK - You have now given access to your assets to your beneficiary and anyone else who sees the instructions, and they are now able to access them

Talk to this person and make sure that your instructions are clear enough.

RISK - They don’t understand the instructions fully, or lose them

3. Keep instructions updated.

Your portfolio of digital assets is continually changing - you cannot rely on doing an inventory once, or for that matter continually, without assistance. With traditional approaches, you would need to amend your instructions each time you add a digital asset, together with all access details. Any errors or omissions could result in inaccessible assets, not to mention time wasted in documenting.

RISK - You forget to update the list of digital assets or the associated access information

4. Pay for a safety deposit box in a bank.

RISK - Safety deposit boxes are not completely safe or accessible (such as during pandemic bank closings), nor are they insured in the event of loss or theft

5. Make a written Will in order for this person to legally inherit the assets from the owner’s estate.

You also have to endure that the detailed (and continually changing instructions) are not accessed by staff or other unauthorized people. In fact, it is imperative that these instructions are protected from theft.

Personal Stories

There is a steady drumbeat of these stories happening with worrisome regularity:

  • In April 2018, Matthew Mellon, heir to Mellon family banking fortune and former chairman of the NY Republican Party finance committee, and cryptocurrency proponent died. Prior to his death, he held an estimated $1B in Ripple (XRP) - all of this remains were inaccessible as he left no instructions, even though he protected the cryptocurrency via cold storage in multiple locations around the US in different people’s names.
  • In 2017, an unidentified young crypto investor in Colorado died with a small fortune in cryptocurrency held in a coinbase account. The family, however, had no access to the account and eventually had to petition Coinbase directly. Eventually, the assets were released after a lengthy process. If the account holder had not been a U.S. Citizen, this would have been a much more complicated process.

Introducing Vault12 Digital Inheritance

Our CEO and co-founder, having spent time working on early crypto industry deals at Andreessen Horowitz (one of the first VCs in the blockchain space), observed that there was clearly no end-to-end solution for backing up and securing seed phrases and private keys, and also that in the event of death or incapacitation, there was no mechanism to directly pass on assets to a designated individual.That brought the genesis of Vault12!

One of the painful consequences of such “death events” in the crypto economy is that they permanently and forever remove large amounts of coins from circulation, reducing the total available resources for all future users. Left unchecked, this might develop into a far bigger issue for the crypto industry as a whole since just as the industry enters mainstream use in the coming years and decades, the supply of resources available to new entrants will be shrinking.

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

  • Traditional approaches to the inheritance of assets, when applied to digital assets, cause complexity and risk.
  • Your portfolio of digital assets is continually changing - you cannot rely on doing an inventory once, or for that matter continually, without assistance.
  • This simple and direct approach reduces the uncertainty around assets not being available to the designated recipient. It also avoids having to approach and petition each service individually during probate to gain access.

Introducing Digital Inheritance

Watch the video below for a brief introduction to Digital Inheritance.

How does Vault12 Digital Inheritance work?

  • Built by Vault12, Vault12 Digital Inheritance is an app for protecting, backing up, and securing your digital assets. It enables you to designate a beneficiary who can inherit your entire portfolio of digital assets stored in your Vault when the time comes - no need to continually update an inventory or to issue updated instructions.
  • Digital assets, including cryptocurrency, financial login information, legal documents, medical records, and more can be added to a Vault12 Digital Vault.
  • The Vault is protected by a network of Guardians - these are friends, family, and business associates - people that you know and trust.
  • A beneficiary is designated by the Vault owner from amongst the Guardians, and a declaration is digitally signed and transmitted to the beneficiary and lawyers as needed.
  • Upon the passing of the Vault owner, when the beneficiary is ready to access the digital assets, a designated number of Guardians approve the request, and the assets are restored with access granted to the beneficiary.
  • Should the beneficiary attempt to access the assets prior to the owner’s passing, the owner can veto the request.

Vault12 Digital Inheritance has been designed to reduce the risks associated with managing digital assets and preparing them for future transfer:

  • Comprehensive Digital Asset Inventory: Designed to accept all forms of digital assets. When used to secure and backup an investor’s full range of assets, it provides an up-to-date inventory to be inherited.
  • Direct access for the designated individual: Offers a simple and direct way for the designated individual to gain access to digital assets without having to petition multiple services or financial institutions.
  • Privacy Protection: Ensures that, unlike with multi-sig solutions, information about the digital assets is kept private - even from lawyers.


Wasim Ahmad

Wasim is a serial entrepreneur with five exits, and an advisor in the fields of AI, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and encryption solutions. At Vault12, he led the private and public fundraising efforts, and focuses today on expanding the Vault12 ecosystem. His crypto experience began with AlphaPoint, where he worked with the founding team to launch the world's first crypto trading exchanges.

Previously he was a founding member of Voltage Security, a spinout from Stanford University, that launched Identity-Based Encryption (IBE), a breakthrough in Public Key Cryptography, and pioneered the use of sophisticated data encryption to protect sensitive data across the world's payment systems. Wasim serves on the board of non-profit, StartOut, and is a Seedcamp and WeWork Labs global mentor.

Wasim graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and French from the University of Sussex.


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