Frequently Asked Questions

Scroll down for advice regarding emergency recovery

What are Hodlinox plates?


Hodlinox single plate with blue case

Hodlinox plates are stainless steel plates designed specifically to store the seed phrase of your bitcoin wallet. A handheld electric engraving pen (see below) is used to engrave the seed phrase in the stainless steel plates.
Hodlinox plates are roughly the size of a small mobile phone.

We sell two different types of plates: double plates and a single plate with optional case.

 

What’s the difference between the double plates and a single plate?


Hodlinox double plates

Both plates have the same function: to back up your seed phrase. Both types of plates are made of the same type of stainless steel. Which type of plate you choose is mostly a matter of personal preference, but there are two reasons why double plates are the slightly safer option:

  1. While a single plate can be ordered with a plastic case and plastic padlock seal to secure it, the double plates consist of all metal parts, including the security seal.
  2. The double plates can be disposed of separately once your wallet is empty. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to restore the wallet and reconstruct your transaction history.
 

What is a seed phrase?

A seed phrase, also known as ‘mnemonic phrase’ or ‘recovery seed’, is a list of 12 to 24 words in which all the information to recover a bitcoin wallet is stored. It’s created when you first initialize your wallet and serves as a backup in case you need to restore your wallet, e.g. if you lose your hardware wallet. Each word in the seed phrase has 3 to 8 letters.

More information about seed phrases on the Bitcoin Wiki.

Example of a 12-word seed phrase:

novel interest powder ocean meadow act doctor toast element ability goddess april

Wallets that use a seed phrase are called HD wallets (Hierarchical Deterministic) and are based on a standard wordlist called BIP32. The BIP32 word list contains 2048 words in total.


Which wallets use a seed phrase?

Trezor hardware wallet
Trezor hardware wallet

Most modern wallets are HD wallets and thus use a seed phrase. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:

  • Coldcard
  • Trezor
  • Ledger
  • Electrum
  • Wasabi
  • Samourai
  • Green Wallet
  • Blue Wallet

Because the above wallets all use the same standard, you can always restore your wallet using any compatible program or hardware device, even if your seed phrase was generated somewhere else.

 

Why should I use Hodlinox plates?

When setting up your bitcoin wallet for the first time, you’ll probably write down your seed phrase on a piece of paper and store this. But in case of a fire, flooding or other catastrophes, a piece of paper will be easily destroyed. Stainless steel however, will very likely survive any catastrophe as it’s water and fire resistant, and can endure extreme cold, physical force, electromagnetic pulses and various corrosive acids.


Why are Hodlinox plates better than other, similar products?

Hodlinox plates boast a unique combination of features that can’t be found in similar products:

  1. One-screw lock
    Hodlinox double plates consists of two plates that are interlocked with a single screw. Locking or unlocking your seed phrase with a screwdriver is very easy, while an extremely tight fit is guaranteed.
  2. Security seal
    Both the single and double Hodlinox plates can be sealed with a tamper-evident security seal. The double plates even sport an all-metal seal. A security seal allows you to always verify that your seed phrase hasn’t been compromised.
  3. Immutable seed phrase
    Because the words on the Hodlinox plates don’t consist of single letters or movable type, but are engraved in the steel (using an easy to use pen-like engraver), it’s not possible to accidentally change or remove the seed phrase after it has been carved into the plates.
  4. Extra thick stainless steel
    Hodlinox plates are made of 1.5mm (0.06 inch) stainless steel. This is much thicker than needs to be, but ensures that your plates will withstand most impact and, in case of fire, resist heat more easily.
  5. Eight letters
    You’re not limited to just 4 letters per word. Since the words in your seed phrase can be up to 8 letters long, there’s room for every letter of every word.

How do I write my seed phrase onto the Hodlinox plates?


Dremel 290 engraving pen

Engraving your seed phrase onto a Hodlinox plate is very easy when using a handheld engraving pen, such as the Dremel 290, which can be purchased online for less than $20 (Buy at Amazon or find with Google).
Using an engraver is like writing with a large pen and it doesn’t require any special skills, practice or additional tools.

Always engrave your seed phrase yourself; never ask anyone else to do this for you.

 

 

What is a passphrase?

A passphrase is a word or phrase that can be added to your seed phrase when initialising a wallet. It’s an extra password to encrypt your seed phrase and provides an extra layer of security.

Some general guidelines for using a passphrase:

  • Choose a word or phrase that’s easy to remember, but difficult for malicious actors to guess.
  • Do not use words from the BIP32 word list.
  • If you don’t trust yourself to remember the passphrase, we recommend storing it in your password manager. Never store the passphrase with your seed phrase.


What can I do to keep my bitcoin safe?

  • Rule #1: never leave your bitcoin on an exchange, but always transfer to a wallet of which you control the private keys.
  • If you have an exchange account, always enable 2-factor authentication (2FA). Don’t use SMS-based 2FA.
  • Use a hardware wallet such as Coldcard, Trezor or Ledger and secure it with a PIN code.
  • Store the PIN code to your wallet in a password manager such as 1Password or Lastpass.
  • Add a passphrase (also known as ‘25th word’ or ‘wallet extension’) to your seed phrase. Never store this passphrase with your seed phrase.
  • Engrave your seed phrase on Hodlinox plates.
  • Never share your seed phrase with anyone and don’t make digital copies (e.g. a photo).
  • Do not speculate but HODL.


Disaster recovery


My hardware wallet is stolen/missing

Assuming that you secured your hardware wallet with a PIN code and your PIN code is not compromised, this is not really a disaster.
What to do: Use your seed phrase to restore your wallet on another wallet (any HD wallet will do). Next, get yourself a new hardware wallet, configure it with a new seed phrase and transfer your funds to this new wallet. 


My seed phrase has been compromised / is missing

Your seed phrase is more important than your wallet: immediate action is required!
What to do: Get a new wallet straight away (any HD wallet will do), initialize it with a new seed phrase and immediately transfer your funds to the new wallet. 


My computer is infected with malware

The right course of action depends on the type of wallet you’re using:

Hardware wallet
Your computer can still be safely used for sending bitcoin, but make sure to always check the recipient address on the display of your wallet before confirming the transaction.

Software wallet
  1. Immediately disconnect your computer from the internet, switch it off and don’t use again until your funds are safe.
  2. Use your seed phrase to recreate your wallet on a trusted device and transfer your funds to the new wallet as soon as possible.
  3. Get a hardware wallet, configure it with a new seed phrase and transfer your funds to the hardware wallet as soon as possible.

I forgot the PIN code to my hardware wallet

This is not a problem, just restore the wallet with your seed phrase, you don’t need the PIN code for this. You will be asked to choose a new PIN code (which is best stored in a password manager) during the recovery process.


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