Acquiring cryptocurrencies is one thing and securing them is another. That is where crypto wallets come in.
A cryptocurrency wallet stores your private keys, which keeps your crypto assets safe and accessible. When you set up your crypto wallet for the first time, it will generate a seed phrase—a random assortment of words. Put simply, it is your wallet’s “master password” to access everything within. You could employ a number of wallets, but they all contain the seed word as a key component.
Practically speaking, if you misplace your hardware wallet (stores user’s private keys in a secure hardware device) or delete your mobile wallet by mistake, you may replace it and use the seed phrase to verify the authenticity of a blockchain address. This establishes your ownership of the crypto and gives you access to it through your new wallet. The wallet contains private keys and digital evidence of ownership, whereas the actual “coins” are held on the blockchain. This feature enables recovery through a fresh wallet, which means you can always access your crypto as long as you have your seed phrase intact.
How does the seed phrase work?
A seed phrase is generated automatically when you activate your wallet. The phrase is a long series of random integers presented as human-readable characters. It enables the wallet to produce the private keys required to transmit and receive cryptocurrency.
Things to remember
- Because humans are far better at dealing with phrases than random lengthy strings of numbers, the sentence is written in words. However, one must not rely on memory alone to preserve seed words.
- The seed phrase is chosen from a list of 2,048 short phrases. These were adopted following the establishment of BTC Improvement Proposal 39.
- The adoption of a standard ensures that all main systems are inter-compatible. If you wish to change wallets, simply input your seed phrase into the new wallet, and you can also access your coins there.
- If you lose a hardware wallet, you may recreate it using your recovery phrase.
- Anyone who owns cryptocurrency should keep their recovery phrase safe.
Seed phrase pass
A seed phrase “pass,” is the 13th or 25th word you can designate for your wallet in addition to the completely random 12 or 24 words. It gives an extra layer of protection though it is rarely used. However, it comes with the same drawback as the original phrase: you lose it, you lose your coins.
That said, security provided by the initial seed sequence will suffice for most crypto users. However, it is good to know that this option is available if you so desire.
How to use a crypto seed phrase
It is pretty simple to use a seed phrase. For instance, you may have misplaced your hardware wallet and need to locate your crypto. All you need to do is buy a new bitcoin wallet and transfer the old seed phrase. As you retrieve your secret keys from the blockchain, the program inside the wallet will reinstate your prior account balance.
The recovery mechanism would come in handy in a number of situations. These could include losing a wallet, deleting the browser from a web wallet by accident, a program wallet that failed due to a computer issue, or buying a new system.
Keeping the seed phrase safe
You can safeguard your seed phrase in several ways. Here are some you can consider.
- In principle, you can divide your seed phrase into bits and store each half in a safe deposit box. This might sound difficult, but it would help to keep the seed phrase as secure as possible.
- Some individuals like to engrave their seed words in materials like stainless steel to preserve the phrase. However, you should keep it safe.
- Many individuals prefer to write the phrase down a few times and save it securely to recall it as required. A lockable box or safe would be a great option.
- If you use a mobile wallet, it would keep a copy of the seed phrase on Google Cloud or another cloud-based service.
Your primary concern should be the safety of the seed phrase. If you lose your seed phrase, you will lose all rights to your crypto. If no one else stole your phrase, it will stay on the blockchain, but no one can ever access it.
To ensure the safety of the seed phrase, you must store a duplicate of your seed phrase somewhere secure, such as a safe-deposit box. That said, you should never make your seed phrase public or post it online. Treat your digital wallet as if it were a real wallet. In other words, disclosing or losing your seed phrase would be like tossing your wallet containing all your cash on the ground.
Why the seed phrase is important
Hopefully, you can see the value and importance of employing a seed phrase. Here’s how it can be beneficial.
- Protection against both online and offline threats
- Seed phrases are available for free
- Allows you to switch wallets in case of theft, deletion, or just getting a new wallet.
- If you have the seed phrase, you can prove ownership of the coins regardless of whatever transpires.
The downsides of using a seed phrase
- You need to safeguard the seed phrase at all times.
- Difficult to remember because users do not select the seed phrase.
- It is difficult to modify the seed phrase.
What does a seed phrase look like?
Seed phrases function the same way across wallets. If you’re using cold storage (holding crypto tokens offline) or a wallet to keep your crypto and the wallet doesn’t require you to use a seed phrase, you should consider switching to a more trustworthy wallet.
The number of words required to form a seed phrase can vary. There are many kinds of wallets to choose from, such as desktop wallets, web wallets, mobile wallets, and hardware wallets. Here’s a 24-word random seed phrase used by a hardware wallet.
The seed phrase looks something like this:
example excuse lunar
worry mimic culture
boy person mule
admit flock decrease
option hand clerk
earth skill jacket
water logic afraid
bundle define trouble
If you’ve lost your wallet and need to buy another, you would have to place these phrases in the identical sequence you used them initially. Once you provide the correct sequence, your possession of the digital assets is validated, and all your crypto holdings should reflect in your new wallet.
Guessing a seed phrase
Take the example of a crypto seed phrase, consisting of only 12 words. People tend to think that it is easy to guess a seed phrase. However, remember that the possible word list contains 2,048 distinct words. Guessing a 12-word seed phrase in the proper sequence has a probability of 2048 to the power of 12.
Wallets that generate seed phrases help to keep your assets safe. The most crucial thing you should focus on is protecting your coins and the seed phrase. If it is stolen, hackers will wipe your wallet clean. To sum up, the seed phrase is of utmost importance in protecting your cryptos.
What is an example of a seed phrase?
An example of a seed phrase could be a sequence of 12 or 24 words like: “witch collapse practice feed shame open despair creek road again ice least.” It varies depending on the wallet provider, and it’s crucial to keep it secure and confidential.
How many words are in a seed phrase?
A seed phrase typically consists of either 12 or 24 words. Some wallets may also use other lengths, but 12 and 24-word seed phrases are the most common and widely used for wallet backup and recovery purposes.
Is a 12-word seed phrase safe?
A 12-word seed phrase is generally considered secure if it is generated by a reputable wallet provider and kept confidential. However, longer seed phrases, such as 24 words, offer greater security against brute force attacks. It’s important to store the seed phrase in a secure place and avoid sharing it with anyone.
How do wallet seed phrases work?
Wallet seed phrases work by using a mnemonic system to generate a series of words based on a specific algorithm. These words are randomly selected from a predefined list. The seed phrase acts as a master key to derive the private keys for your cryptocurrency wallet. By entering the seed phrase into a compatible wallet, you can restore access to your funds and transactions associated with that wallet. It’s crucial to keep the seed phrase secure and not share it with anyone, as it provides complete control over your wallet and assets.