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.
- 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
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.
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.
Next Up From Vault 12
Inheritance and long term storage for CryptocurrencyVault12 Explainer
Vault12 Product Demo
Vault12 Digital Inheritance is the first solution to offer a simple, direct, and secure way to ensure cryptocurrency, NFTs and other 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 which can result in privacy leakage.
Designed to be used alongside traditional hardware, software and online wallets, Vault12 helps cryptocurrency owners, 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.
The Vault12 app helps you recover, back up, and provide legacy inheritance for all your digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, NFTs, other cryptocurrencies, secrets like keys, seed phrases, PIN codes, digital art, and of course, your crypto wallets.
As a creator you can use Vault12 to safeguard not just your NFT and crypto wallets, but also original digital artwork. Project creators will always have to deal with multiple wallets - inventory, treasury as well as future royalty wallets.
Vault12 safeguards your project assets, increasing protection and decreasing the risks of loss, whilst ensuring that everything is ready to go to be passed onto future generations, when the need arises.
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 set that up in your app.