This guide explains how to create an analog backup of a cryptocurrency wallet using the Bitcoin standard BIP39 (Mnemonic code for generating deterministic keys).
Modern cryptocurrency wallets calculate all keys from a single secret, the master seed. From that, an unlimited number of currencies, accounts and addresses can be derived. This means that you only need to back up the master seed once, and the whole wallet, including all future transactions, can be recovered from this backup.
This single secret is a very long random number. To make it easier to write it down, the secret number is encoded into 24 English recovery words:
Before starting to write down your recovery words, be aware that this is a backup of your private keys and anyone who knows these words has full control over all your funds secured in the corresponding wallet.
Already think about where to safely store the backup card before writing down your recovery words. Depending on the value you're securing, choose an appropriate location, for example a locked drawer, a safe at home or a safety deposit box.
Be aware that the physical security of your recovery words is more important than that of your hardware wallet. A hardware wallet protects your cryptocurrencies even in the hand of a thief, but these recovery words allow direct access to your funds.
One way to additionally secure your backup is to use an optional passphrase and store it separately. Just be careful: the recovery words have a built-in check to detect if it's a valid backup, but the passphrase does not. Every passphrase is valid and even a slight mistake (think
I ) leads to a totally different (empty) wallet.
Now you're ready to write down the recovery words. Depending on the hardware wallet you use, they can also be called "recovery phrase" or "mnemonic seed", and the process is a bit different for each model. We'll cover the BitBox02 here, see additional instructions below.
You can now put your recovery words inside the backup card and seal it with the included cold-lamination card. Put your backup into your safe storage location as soon as possible.
The backup card contains concise information about how to restore this backup. Additional details are available at shiftcrypto.support/restore.
Please be aware that you should only restore the recovery words on a hardware wallet, never directly on a computer. If someone asks you to enter the recovery words on a computer or smartphone (for whatever reason), be on high alert and immediately seek assistance, for example through firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have lost or misplaced your Backup Card, its physical security can no longer be guaranteed. You should set up a new wallet and move your funds to this new wallet immediately. Once the funds have been transferred, the old Backup Card becomes useless.
For situations like this, we recommend to have a spare BitBox02 at hand.
You can order additional backup cards individually, or in a set of three from our shop.