Imagine that you have a bunch of cryptocurrencies in a wallet somewhere, and you have no idea how to recover it since you did not use it for a long time? Do you know what could help you in such a case? That is correct, that seed phrase that you have written down on that little sticky note in the location only you would know about…you did write it down right? No…well…here is why you should have, and why you should if you have not yet indulged into the world of crypto.
What is a seed phrase?
A seed phrase is a series of generated words that cryptocurrency wallets use so you can access that wallet. It is like a master password that lets you access all of your crypto that you have stored on the wallet, even if you accidentally delete it or lose it, which is pretty neat.
You are given the phrase word whenever you are creating the wallet for the first time when it is completely empty, and usually, you will be told to write it down, and not just copy-paste it into a notepad file, but physically write it down, as that is the best way to keep your crypto wallet safe.
By using the seed phrase, it embraces the whole idea of crypto, which is to keep everything anonymous, including the identity of the person behind the wallet. A seed phrase wallet will never ask for any private information, and you can safely access the crypto as long as you have the seed phrase.
Here are some seed phrase examples:
- czardom cellaret fulgent choker sallet raggedy reform shier codeine sememe sandman snuffle
- nelson disjoin recount luteal dethrone hoof hotel faradic stipel pyuria overfeed bejewel
- kingly easy lustring ileum paradrop moue albata rasorial quagga menial calomel inch
- ablution costa congeal loosen vexed quintain malt rivalry meanie ration bishop moray
What does a Seed Phrase protect?
We have covered what are seed phrases. But what do they specifically protect?
It is quite straightforward, any digital asset that can be transferred into a hardware wallet, like a Ledger, or a non-custodial wallet like Metamask, is protected by a seed phrase. These can include stablecoins like USDT and USDC. The godfather of crypto, Bitcoin and also alt-coins like Ethereum, Solana and Ripple.
If you are a crypto gamer, you are also covered as seed phrases can protect your gaming tokens such as $SAND, $AXIE and $TAMA.
It doesn’t stop there either, as NFTs are also transferrable to hardware wallets. Your BoredApeYachtClub and CryptoPunk NFTs are safe and sound too.
If you choose Ledger as your hardware wallet for crypto assets, then you are able to stake your crypto through Ledger live. Staking is a great way to earn passive income on crypto, so why not do so with maximum security thanks to your uniquely generated seed phrase?
But since there is no identity, how does it know what is yours?
Well, the name is not just a random phrase. The word seed represents itself quite literally, as it is the first thing that is related to the wallet you are creating, and the word phrase represents the name of that seed. It is completely unique, and there are no others like it.
You might be wondering, why is it a string of random words and not numbers? The reason why the seed phrase is a series of 12 to 24 words is that it is just much easier to write down, and it is much harder to randomly guess if someone would try to hack a wallet by chance. Writing down words is easier than numbers, because it can be quite easy to misspell a series of numbers, compared to a series of words, especially in longer strings.
So, the main reason why you should write down your seed phrase is that without it, you cannot really access your wallet. What is a wallet? Well, in our crypto wallet explained text, we mentioned that it is essentially like a piggy bank for all of your crypto, and private keys associated with it. It stores everything from cryptocurrency to NFTs.
Seed phrase vs private key
We already said that the seed phrase is like a master password for your crypto wallet. However, a private key is a slightly different thing, as there are various keys inside a crypto wallet. They are basically used to do a crypto exchange or some other transaction. It is like looking at the seed phrase like a key ring, and private keys like…keys on the key ring. We know, it is not the easiest to understand, but it is quite easy to understand once you start using a crypto wallet.
Seed phrase recovery
One of the biggest and most common questions related to the seed phrase is “Can I recover it?”. Well, the unfortunate, or fortunate depending on how you look at it, is that recovering the seed phrase is not possible. By losing the seed phrase, you will lose ALL of your crypto on that wallet.
This is why it is important to keep the seed phrase somewhere that you will never forget, and that no one will be able to find it. We personally suggest carving it into a metal or wooden object which you can always get a hang of and that no one would be interested in.
Over the years there have been some true horror stories of people losing their seed phrases, ultimately losing access to all of their crypto assets in the blink of an eye!
Back in 2021, The New York Times made a point regarding the value of Bitcoin that has been lost thanks to forgetting seed phrases. At the time, it was recorded that 20% of the Bitcon circulating at the time had been lost – valued at $140 billion. Bitcoin’s price is somewhat similar to that of 2021 thanks to the volatility of this type of asset. However, that is a lot of money and the overall percentage of Bitcoins lost by users could easily be higher than 20% now in 2023 as crypto is still a popular investment.
Can you avoid using a seed phrase?
We understand that it is quite scary to even think of losing a seed phrase, as you cannot recover it. There are some solutions to this problem, such as using the Coinbase app for example, as it does not use a seed phrase. You can start using it the first time you get into crypto, but as your crypto starts growing in value, we really suggest that you move them to a wallet like Wax wallet or Ronin wallet that has a seed phrase, as it is the best way to keep it safe.
More times than not, many exchanges and platforms are subjected to attacks from crypto hackers. For example, the Ronin Bridge was hacked back in 2022. When this happened, a staggering $600 million worth of Axie Infinity NFTs and Tokens were stolen due to a fault in their security.
Similar attacks have happened to Binance and Coinbase, although these attacks are not regular nowadays. Whilst most assets are retrieved or given back out of the goodness of an organisation’s heart, you really do not want the stress of your crypto and NFTs being potentially stolen.
We recommend acquiring a seed phrase for peace of mind!
Seed Phrases – Summarized
We have gone over a lot of information regarding Seed Phrases in crypto and how to keep your digital assets safe. Below we will summarize what this article has covered for a concise revision:
- Seed phrases are a long string of words that make up a passcode used to protect your hardware wallet. Here you have access to your crypto based assets such as cryptocurrencies and NFT collectibles.
- Seed phrases are completely unique to your specific wallet. They cannot be replicated and give you access to only your hardware wallet, no one elses.
- Seed phrases cannot be recovered. This means you must keep your phrase safe from other people. It is best to write it down on a piece of paper and lock it away. If you lose it, you lose access to all of your assets!
- Seed phrases, if you want to remain the safest possible on the blockchain cannot really be avoided. If you want to avoid them, the only solution is storing your assets in a non-custodial wallet or storing them on your chosen decentralized exchange. Be aware though you are not the safest you can be if you opt to not have a seed phrase.
Overall, we hope this crypto seed phrase guide has explained what seed phrases are, how they protect you and ultimately why so many people use them to keep their Web3 assets and collectibles safe.
Crypto is no joke, and with the little regulation in place and the autonomy placed on the individual, your security on the blockchain is down to you and the choices/routes you decide to take.
Of course, if you only hold a small amount of crypto, a seed phrase and hardware wallet may not be for you. However, if you are actively, trading, swapping and using cryptocurrencies and NFTs, we recommend you use a seed phrase to ensure you are not left behind. Remember your funds are not retrievable if things go south!
To learn more about crypto, NFTs and blockchain be sure to check out our other articles and guides!
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