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Digital USB cable
Crypto Security How-to's

How to back up your seed phrase to a local device (like USB).

It is tempting to just back up your seed phrase on a USB stick and drop it in a drawer. Here is why not to do that.

Storing your mnemonic seed words on an internet-connected hard drive is not recommended under any circumstances, but some people wonder whether it is sensible to copy their seed words to electronic storage that they keep offline. It sounds simple - and indeed, it is simple to initially perform, but it is very hard to do it in a way that will pass the "test of time."


Local media drives are subject to the same risks of theft and natural disaster as other backup forms like paper.

Local media drives will fail after some time, and the amount of time is not always predictable.

Encrypting data on a local drive requires thoughtful planning for not only how to store the data (hopefully, even encrypted, it would not be stored on an internet-connected computer), but how to store the decryption password.

Vault12 is far more reliable than relying on local drives.

Advantages and Disadvantages.


  • Convenience
  • Less risk of electronic theft than keeping the backup on an online drive


  • Increased risk of loss by physical misplacement or theft
  • Increased risk of hardware failure
  • Hard to protect from natural disasters

Location-related risks.

If not encrypted, data stored on a portable drive plugged into a compromised computer can be accessed or viewed by an unauthorized person without even leaving any indication that it has been viewed. (This is sometimes called "the Evil Maid Attack.").

Additionally, the internet is filled with stories of people who experienced loss or failure of their USB and hard drives - as simple as forgetting your PIN/password. Try not to join them.

Even if encrypted, physical backup media can still be misplaced or stolen. These risks can be greatly reduced by keeping backup media in a secure safe - but electronic media is more delicate, and more difficult to protect in a safe than paper is.

All electronic media eventually fails.

All disk drives eventually fail, and some types fail faster than others.

Physical drives vary in their robustness. USB flash memory drives and SD cards have high failure rates - they are not designed to be used as long-term storage. They are susceptible to damage if improperly ejected during use, and connector pins can rust. They can be accidentally reformatted and re-used if not clearly labeled and separately stored. External hard disk drives (HDDs) are vulnerable to mechanical failures, especially if accidentally dropped. Portable solid-state drives (SDDs) are more robust, but they, too, will predictably fail before many years pass. Backups can provide some insurance against failure, but every backup copy requires a separate plan to secure it, and age affects all backup copies.

Natural disasters present their own risks to locally-stored media, some of which can be prevented by storing an external drive in a waterproof, specialized data vault safe. It should be noted that standard fireproof safes do not stay cool enough in fires to protect electronic media.

Data security.

There are also some risks that are common with those related to backing up your seed phrase to the Cloud, namely:

  • Any computers used to type, store, or display the mnemonic phrase could have been compromised with malware, leading to theft of your phrase.
  • Protection can be added by encrypting your mnemonic phrase, but that requires handling it on a computer, and increases complexity and difficulty. You still need to keep track of and secure the password for decrypting.
  • Protection can be added by storing your mnemonic phrase in a password manager, but that requires handling it on a computer, and also increases complexity and difficulty. You still need to keep track of and secure the password for the password manager.
  • A locally-installed password manager software carries the additional risk of corrupted data - a risk which can be countered by backing it up, but this creates additional copies to be protected.

Vault12 offers a safer way.

Ultimately, a comprehensive, disaster-proof backup plan for storing electronic data on local media is extremely complex, and not practical for most people. The Vault12 platform offers a much better way.

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

Get started now.

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