This article demonstrates the use of a stainless steel backup plate to secure Bitcoin against fire, flood, and other disasters. This backup works to back up all BIP39 word sets and is specially tailored for use with Samourai Wallet.
Keeping your bitcoin in custody is serious business, it’s a radical responsibility. You and you are solely responsible for the security of your bitcoin.
Most wallets used to secure Bitcoin offer the user a 12 or 24 word seed phrase. This applies to mobile wallets, desktop wallets and hardware wallets. However, storing the wallet information in digital media such as a text document or an image file is risky as anyone with access to this digital file can withdraw the Bitcoin from this wallet.
Writing these words in sequence on a piece of paper is a great way to ensure that the information needed to recover your wallet is safe in a way that will never be accessible over an internet connection. But how safe is paper really? What happens if there is a fire in the area of this paper? What about a flood? Preventing the loss of Bitcoin by securing the seed words in a steel medium is a great way to protect yourself from such incidents.
A passphrase can also be used to add additional wallet security. Passphrases are a bit like a 13th or 25th seed phrase word, but only you know what the passphrase is. The passphrase can be any combination of letters, numbers, or special characters. And remember: no one can help you recover your passphrase, so be careful and back it up appropriately. If you lose your passphrase and need to recover your wallet, 12 words alone won’t be enough.
Introduction of the RoningSteel backup disk
Designed by the RoninDojo team, the RoninSteel backup plate is a steel plate for storing your Bitcoin seed phrase and protecting against disaster. Although tailored for Samourai wallet users, it works with any BIP39 seed phrase.
After receiving the RoninSteel backup you will find:
- An envelope with tamper evident seals
- A stainless steel plate measuring 6 and 1/4 “x 3 and 1/4” x 5/64 “
- A 12 word seed phrase template sticker for use with Samourai Wallet
- A passphrase template sticker
When using Samourai Wallet, the 12-word seed phrase will be die-cut on one side of the plate and the passphrase will be die-cut on the other side of the plate.
Alternatively, other 24-word seed phrase sticker templates are available. The idea is that you use both sides of the steel shield for the words and, if necessary, a second shield for the passphrase. You will find that there are places where the word number is given and whether or not a passphrase is used.
How to Generate and Secure a Bitcoin Seed Phrase with Samourai Wallet
I will show you how to use Samourai Wallet to generate a new seed phrase and passphrase and then secure them.
The basic steps to create a new wallet are:
- Step through the introduction
- Allow file access
- Gate . activate
- Connect a dojo if you have one
- Create a passphrase
- Create a PIN
- Create a 12-word phrase
- Claim a PayNym
Once the wallet is set up, the 12-word seed phrase and passphrase can be transferred to the Stahl backup. First collect the steel plate, the 12 word seed sentence sticker, a sharpie, a spring loaded punch and also the 12 words by navigating to the three dot menu in the upper right corner of the Samourai Wallet application, then “Settings”, “Wallet”, “Show mnemonic”.
Carefully place the sticker on the steel plate so that all edges are aligned. Then use the sharpie to mark the appropriate circles on the sticker. The AZ alphabet is horizontal and the 12-word columns are vertical. You only need the first four letters of each word as all words on the BIP39 list have a unique first four letter order.
Double check your work before using the spring loaded stamp. Make sure to also indicate in the lower right corner if you are using a passphrase. Then peel off the sticker.
Once the sticker is removed the information is obscured and just looks like random dots. If someone were to gain access to this sheet steel, they would not be able to determine the information contained here without a recovery sticker.
Next, you can stamp your passphrase on the back of the plate. Check that your passphrase is correct by navigating to the three-dot menu in the top right corner of the Samourai Wallet application, then “Settings”, “Troubleshooting”, “Passphrase / Backup Test”.
Then carefully place the passphrase sticker on the steel plate so that all edges are aligned. Again, use the sharpie first and then double-check your work before using the spring loaded stamp. You will notice that there are lines at the top and bottom that indicate which column the character for a given line belongs to.
Then peel off the sticker and the information will be obscured.
Now all of the information necessary to restore your wallet is backed up and disguised in durable stainless steel media. You can use the supplied red envelope and seal it with the supplied tamper-evident sticker. Then keep this in a safe place like it was gold or jewelry.
Let’s see how well this stainless steel plate can withstand incandescent temperatures close to the melting point of 1,500 ° C:
The panel survived the fire test, but let’s see if the information is recoverable:
The information was 100% recoverable! Even after the fire test, affixing a recovery sticker restored both the 12-word seed phrase and the passphrase. The recovery stickers are clear in the small circles so the divots are easier to see. With the tip of the spring loaded stamp I was able to locate the divots and push the sticker in to make it more visible.
Wallet recovery verification:
In summary, the RoninSteel backup disk is tough enough to withstand scorching temperatures and still protect your wallet recovery information. The panel is small enough to be easily hidden anywhere in your home.
One shield can be used for a Samourai Wallet 12-word phrase and passphrase, or multiple shields can be purchased for 24-word seed phrase / passphrase combinations. The tamper-evident seal on the envelope gives you the assurance that someone has accessed the steel plate.
Removing the stickers obscures the information in such a way that it becomes useless to anyone who is unsure what it is and cannot use the stickers. All in all, I thought this was a cool way to back up bitcoin wallet recovery information.
To learn more about Ronin Dojo, check out these resources:
This is a guest post by Econoalchemist. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.