Private keys grant you access to your cryptocurrency on the blockchain, and that is why they are essential. These keys are proof of ownership, which means anyone who gets hold of them gains access to your cryptocurrencies. For this reason, it is highly recommended to store your private keys offline since they are less susceptible to hacks. But what are the best methods to save private keys offline? Let's take a closer look.
Best Methods to Store Private Keys Offline
Have you ever wondered how you can store private keys offline securely and at the same time get a good night's rest while doing so? Here are some of the ways you can ensure that your funds are as safe as they can be.
1. Buy A Hardware Wallet
Hardware wallets are one of the most popular cryptocurrency wallets you'll come across. They are hardware or physical devices (with a resemblance to a USB drive) that are used to store the user's private keys. Some of the best Bitcoin hardware wallets are Ledger, Trezor, and Keepkey. Each of these has several advantages over other wallets since it cannot be compromised by malware.
Despite these benefits, there may still be a need for the user to write down their private key on paper. But what happens if a piece of paper gets lost or burnt? It means the funds in such wallets can never be accessed anymore. As reported by Investopedia, a study shows that 20% of all bitcoins (BTC) in circulation is unrecoverable; lost forever as a result of lost private keys.
2. Generate A Paper Wallet
A paper wallet is offline or cold storage that is generated on a website using a web browser. The private key and public address generated are printed out on paper. A paper wallet can be created by following these steps below:
- Go to https://walletgenerator.net/
- Type some random characters in the 'Text box' or place your cursor on the 'Alpha-numeric section.'
- If you choose to rotate your cursor, continue until the characters countdown to 0
- Click on 'Print' at the right corner of the screen to save your wallet private key and public address.
Alternatively, you can create a paper wallet without the internet. However, you will need to download the WalletGenerator from GitHub on internet-enabled PC and then save to a USB stick. Then you can access the file on any other PC not connected to the internet. So you simply turn off connectivity from your PC's Network Settings.
To download WalletGenerator for offline use:
- Go to https://github.com/walletgeneratornet/WalletGenerator.net
- Click the Clone or download button
- Then click the Download ZIP button.
After a successful download:
- Access the zipped file from your storage device
- Extract Zip file to your PC
- Click to open the index.html file (opens your default browser)
- Follow the same steps, as mentioned earlier.
Keep in mind that while a paper wallet helps to secure your funds, its disadvantages include the use of a printer to transmit the private keys on paper. If the memory of such a printer is accessed, it could expose your private keys. Another problem with paper wallets is that they can easily be misplaced, especially when you get overprotective of them. There's also the risk of them getting burnt, or stolen.
3. Engrave Your Private Keys On CryptoHex
What if you could find a means to save your private keys and wallet recovery seeds offline more securely? A means that isn't destroyable by water, fire, ultraviolet rays, shock, and other environmental elements? CryptoHex happens to be a more viable solution to the questions above. That makes it one of the best methods for storing private keys offline. It is a stainless steel rod for storing private keys and generally, mnemonic phrases.
CryptoHex lets you safely backup your wallets since it is not susceptible to other elements that can affect hardware and paper wallets. You can also hide it discreetly and even in a hole if you choose to go that far. All you have to do is inscribe your private keys or phrase on it and then keep it somewhere only you access.
Unfortunately, you can't get the CryptoHex right now. However, you can follow the project here.
4. Backup Your Private Keys on Crypto Steel
Crypto Steel, as its name implies, is made of steel and as such, it is acid-resistant, rust-free, and fireproof up to 1200°C/2100°F. Therefore, it has been specially designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and the abuse it may be susceptible to. These properties allow you to store the device in a good number of places after your private key or seed phrase (supports up to 96 characters) has been saved on it.
With the assurance that the device won't get destroyed when you least expect, it is a better alternative to saving private keys on paper. Thus, you get all the benefits of using a paper wallet but with better durability.
Hardware wallets and paper wallets may have become prevalent in recent times, but they still rely on paper for their private keys to be stored. If properly protected, this can be a good option for storing your private keys. However, the funds can also be lost entirely if the paper is destroyed by fire, flood, chemical, etc. On the other hand, the use of durable devices made of stainless steel offers a better option for storing private keys offline securely.