One of Bitcoin’s greatest features is also one of its most dangerous. The ability to have complete control of your assets without a custodian brings with it considerable risk. With cryptocurrency, your private key is everything. If you lose it, you lose access to all your coins, and whoever finds it gets full access. For those using certain software wallets and hardware wallets like a Ledger or Trezor, the private key is accessible through a 12-24 word seed phrase that serves as a recovery key. As this seed phrase serves as a master key, it needs to be backed up securely and protected at all costs. When setting up a software or hardware wallet for the first time, recording the recovery seed phrase and keeping it safe is an important part of using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Writing the seed phrase down on paper is often a recommended option and is preferable to recording it electronically or online, where it may be at risk to hardware failure and hacking. Paper is obviously not the most durable material and is susceptible to damage by water, fire, and any number of other elements. Engraving the recovery seed on a metal plate solves this problem and gives the key more durability and permanency. You will still need to be diligent in keeping the metal plate secure, which may mean keeping it in a safe, safety deposit box, or somewhere hidden.
Why you should use a metal plate wallet to store your recovery seed phrase:
1. Offline: safe from hardware failure, no counterparty trust required, safe from online hackers
2. Rugged and Durable: fireproof, waterproof, rust and corrosion resistant (for stainless steel and titanium plates)
3. Transferable: can be given to your loved ones or heirs, your coins are always recoverable with the seed key
The following metal plate wallets are designed for backing up a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency recovery seed key in a physical and highly durable form.
Cobo Tablet Steel Seed Backup
The Cobo Tablet is a heavy duty metal wallet made of 304-grade stainless steel and is fire-resistant to up to 2650°F. It can hold up to 24 BIP39 words using etched steel pieces that are secured by a screwed down metal cover. All the necessary equipment is included, such as 252 letter tiles, screwdriver, spare screws, and security sticker. There is also a keyhole that can accommodate a small lock. The Cobo Tablet is one of the easiest to use seed wallets, and it has an excellent price for one of the more full-featured products.
SafePal Cypher Seed Board
The SafePal Cypher Seed Board has a similar structure as the Cobo Tablet and is made of the same type of stainless steel. It is one of the most affordable seed wallets and includes 288 letter pieces. I recently ordered one of these for myself and was completely satisfied with it. It comes with everything you need for a 24-word seed and feels very sturdy.
ColdTi Titanium Metal Crypto Seed Storage Wallet
The ColdTi titanium wallet is a more affordable alternative with some advantages. It has a higher melting point than stainless steel in excess of 1650°C (3000°F), and it is rustproof. It includes two titanium plates (with space for 24 words each) as well as two binding post sets and uniquely numbered holographic stickers to seal the wallet and provide a tampering indicator. The downside is that it is not as easy to use as other options, as you need to engrave or stamp the seed words into the titanium plates. Buyers have reported that the wallet includes numerical stamp tools but not letter stamp tools, so to record a recovery phrase you will need to convert your seed words to numbers, which you can do here for BIP39 seeds, or you can buy letter stamps or an engraving tool separately. Some people have reported difficulty with stamping the titanium plates. See this YouTube video for tips.
Blockplate Stainless Steel Recovery Seed Wallet
The Blockplate is a simple ANSI 304 stainless steel option that includes two plates that can record 12 recovery words each (6 words per side). Rather than using number or letter stamping bits, the Blockplate uses a single center punch tool to indicate the order of the letters (labeled on the plate) for each word. For an additional layer of protection, you can keep each plate with half of the seed phrase in separate locations.
Billfodl Stainless Steel Crypto Private Key Backup
The Billfodl has the same stainless steel design as the Cryptosteel (below). One of the advantages of the Billfodl is that it comes with more tiles than the basic Cryptosteel MNEMONIC model which only comes with capital letters. The Billfodl includes over 350 tiles with capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and blanks. This allows it to support alphanumeric or hexadecimal keys in addition to a 12-24 word seed phrase. It is made of 316 stainless steel versus the more common 304 type seen in other metal storage wallets. 316 stainless steel is more corrosion-resistant against chlorides like seawater. Billfodl also sells accessories on its website like the Fodl Hodler hiding mount and tamper-proof stickers.
Cryptosteel Stainless Steel Bitcoin Crypto Wallet
Cryptosteel is a highly rated metal wallet made of 100% stainless AISI 304 steel. Cryptosteel is a good option for those who want the easiest to use and most hassle-free metal seed wallet. Its rugged features include being fireproof up to 1200°C (2100°F), waterproof, and shockproof. It is double-sided and holds 12 words per side. Like other backup wallets that use tile pieces, it actually holds only the first four letters of each word, but that is all you need for BIP39 seeds. When in the closed position, the wallet has a hole that can accommodate a padlock or anti-tampering tag. The Cryptosteel website also offers several versions for other forms of private keys and passwords.
It is highly recommended to use one of the above metal seed backup wallets with a cold storage hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S, instead of a software or web wallet, for the best protection against hackers and online threats.