With cryptocurrency, each of us is becoming our own bank. While this provides many benefits, such as increased control over digital assets and privacy, it also means that the responsibility of securing them falls entirely on us.
Any loss of access to your crypto wallet, whether due to theft, damage, or simple human error, could end up in the permanent loss of your assets. To prevent this from happening, you must back up the hardware wallet.
In this article, we will provide tips on how to back up your hardware wallet like a pro and how to restore your Ledger and Trezor using recovery seeds. So, if you want to learn how to keep your cryptocurrency investments safe, keep reading!
Why do I need to back up my Hardware Wallet?
You can store the private keys that provide access to your funds in different ways :
- using a software wallet (hot wallet),
- or in a hardware (cold) wallet. We advise hardware, as it enables you to protect your keys from any online hacking attacks.
Any damage to the wallet or loss of it could result in a permanent loss of your assets.
Therefore, your recovery keys should be properly backed up and stored in a safe, preferably offline place.
What is a recovery seed?
A recovery seed of your hardware wallet is used to recover your wallet if lost, damaged, or stolen. And this is the code we want to back up.
The recovery seed (also known as seed backup, recovery phrase, seed words, mnemonic phrase, secret words, backup, or many other names) is a series of words used to restore your wallet to a new device.
It looks like a string of 12 or 24 random words: house plane spaghetti run glass light road map...
They are critical components of crypto custody. Storing your seed phrase is just about preserving a list of these words in the most secure way.
Besides that, you should regularly repeat the backup verification process to ensure your backup remains accurate and up-to-date.
With that, you not only ensure access to your assets in case you lose your wallet or if it gets compromised in any way but also ensure that you have quick access to your funds and prevent significant losses in case of sudden.
Best Practices for a Safe Hardware Wallet Back up
There are several best practices that you should follow to ensure the safe custody of your crypto assets.
One of the first and foremost essential rules is that you never enter or share your recovery seed online. Do not take a picture of it; type it on your devices connected to the internet, save it to cloud storage, or share it with anyone.
Once you set up your hardware wallet and write down your recovery seed, the next step is to store it safely.
Make sure to copy down the recovery seed correctly. Take care of the typos and the correct order of the recovery words.
Here are some practices that you can use and that we are also using:
1. Storing offline on a piece of paper
Writing the seed down on paper is the most basic way of backing up your keys. You write it down on paper (usually, it also comes with your hardware wallet) and save it in a secure place. Make sure that you write it with clear handwriting.
You can write it on two or three papers and store it separately. For additional security, you can also break the phrase down; for example, store 12 of 24 words in one place and the rest in the second or third.
Saving your seed on paper is ok, but not the most secure way as the paper could get damaged, or ink may fade over time.
2. Encrypted on a hard drive
You can save your words on the hard drive in an encrypted file.
2. Stainless Steel Recovery Seed backup plates
You can back up your recovery seed on Stainless Steel plates. These plates are made for storing your seed and preventing destruction from the outside. They are protected from corrosion, fire, and other natural or unnatural disasters that could destroy paper backups.
You can buy them separately or in a bundle with your hardware wallet, like ELLIPAL Mnemonic Metal, Ngrave Graphene, Trezor's and Ledger's Cryptotag Zeus, Cryptosteel Cassete and Capsule, Billfodl, and many more.
Whatever security measures you use, make sure they are clear for you and not too complicated and confusing.
You can combine the steel plates with paper, depending on how many cryptos you hold. Just keep them secure, and don't try to bet on your brain only, and memorize them.
How to restore your Hardware Wallet from a Backup?
If you need to restore your hardware wallet from a backup, follow a few straightforward steps. They differ slightly based on the wallet you use, but the general steps are the same. Let's look at how this is done with our favorites, Ledger and Trezor.
Ledger Nano X
- Turn on the device by pressing the button next to the USB port until the Ledger logo appears.
- Follow the on-screen instructions, using the right button to proceed and the left button to go back.
- Select Restore from recovery phrase, and press both buttons simultaneously when prompted.
- When choosing a PIN code of 4 to 8 digits, press both buttons to begin and validate each digit. Confirm your PIN code by entering it once more.
- Choose the length of your recovery phrase. Make sure the correct recovery phrase length is selected. Always enter all words of a recovery phrase.
- Select and enter each word, and press both buttons to confirm. Once setup is complete, press both buttons for 3 seconds to open the Control Center.
Trezor Model T
- Choose the 'Recover wallet' option during the second step of setting up your device and select the 'Recover wallet from seed' window, which informs you that the entire process is done using the device touchscreen:
- Select 'Start recovery' and confirm the action using the device touchscreen.
- Choose the number of words in your Recovery Seed phrase and enter it using the device's touchscreen.
- Click on 'Continue' in the 'Recovery completed' window once the process is finished.
- Complete the remaining setup steps and access your crypto funds in the wallet associated with the Recovery Seed phrase.
Proper key management is essential to the security of your cryptocurrency assets, as any loss or theft of your private key can result in a loss of funds.
When creating a hardware wallet backup, it's important to securely store the backup of your private key and seed phrase and ensure that you have a secure location to store your hardware wallet.
Be sure to follow the best practices for creating and verifying backups and test the restoration process in advance to ensure you can recover your assets in an emergency.