What are Hodlinox plates?
Hodlinox plates are stainless steel plates specifically designed to backup the seed phrase of your crypto wallet.
A handheld electric engraving pen (see below) is used to engrave the seed phrase into the stainless steel plates.
The plates are about the size of small mobile phone.
What is the difference between double plates and single plate?
Both plates serve the same function: to backup your seed phrase; and both plates are made from the same stainless steel.
The decision which one you choose is therefore mostly a matter of personal preference, but for two reasons the double plates are marginally safer:
- While the single plate can be ordered with a plastic case and has a plastic padlock seal, the double plates only have metal parts, including the security seal.
- The double plates can be disposed of separately when your wallet is empty.
This guards your privacy because it is very difficult for a malicious actor to reconstruct your wallet, and all previous transactions, with only half the seed phrase.
What is a seed phrase?
A seed phrase, also know as ‘mnemonic phrase’ or ‘recovery seed’, is a list of 12 to 24 words which store all the information needed to recover a bitcoin wallet. It is created when you initialize your wallet for the first time and serves as a backup that may later be used to recreate your wallet later if needed, for example if you have lost your hardware wallet. Each word is 3 to 8 letters long.
Wallets that use a seed phrase are called HD wallets (Hierarchical Deterministic) and are based on a standard called BIP32. The BIP32 word list contains 2048 words in total.
Which wallets use a seed phrase?
Most modern wallets are HD wallets and thus use a seed phrase. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:
Because all these adhere to the same standard, you can restore your wallet in 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 HD wallet for the first time you will be prompted to write your seed phrase on a piece of paper and keep that safe. But a piece of paper is easily lost in case of fire, flooding or other catastrophes. Stainless steel, however, will likely survive any disaster you can think of, it is resistant to water, fire, extreme cold, physical force, electromagnetic pulse and various corrosive acids.
Why are Hodlinox plates better than competing products?Hodlinox plates combine a number of features not found in competing products:
- One-screw lock
Hodlinox double plates consists of two interlocking plates fixed together with a single screw. It is thus very easy to lock or unlock your seed phrase with just a screwdriver while still ensuring a very tight fit.
- Security seal
Both the single- and double plate versions can be sealed with a tamper evident security seal. The double plate version even has an all-metal seal. A security seal allows you to always verify that your seed phrase has not been compromised.
- Immutable seed phrase
Because the words on the Hodlinox plates are not assembled from loose letters but engraved (using an easy to use pen-like engraver), it is not possible to alter or ‘remove’ the seed phrase after it has been applied.
- Extra thick stainless steel
Hodlinox plates are made from 1.5mm (0.06 inch) stainless steel. This is much thicker than needs to be but ensures that your plates will withstand most physical abuse and, in case of a fire, dissipate heat more easily.
- Eight letters
You are not limited to just 4 letters per word. Since the words in your seed phrase can be up to 8 letters long, there is room for every letter of every word.
How do I write my seed phrase onto the Hodlinox plates?
It is very easy to engrave your seed phrase into the plate using a handheld engraving pen such as the Dremel 290 which can be purchased online for less than $20 (See it on Amazon or find with Google).
Using the engraver is like writing with a large pencil and does not require any special skill, practice or additional tools.
You must do this yourself, do not ask someone else to do this for you.
What is a seed phrase extension?
A seed phrase extension or "13th/25th word" is a word or phrase that you can add to your seed phrase when initialising a wallet. It is an extra password that encrypts your seed phrase and thus adds an extra layer of security.Some general guidelines for using a seed phrase extension:
- Choose a word or phrase that is easy to remember but difficult for a malicious actor to guess.
- Do not use words from the BIP32 word list.
- If you do not trust yourself to remember the seed phrase extension, it’s best to store it in your password manager. Never store the seed phrase extension along with your seed phrase.
What are some best practices for keeping my crypto safe?
- Rule #1: never leave your crypto on an exchange but always transfer them to a wallet of which you control the private keys.
- If you have an account with an exchange, always enable 2-factor authentication (2FA). Do not use SMS based 2FA.
- Use a hardware wallet such as Trezor, Ledger or Keepkey 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. Do not save the passphrase together with your seed phrase.
- Engrave your seed phrase on Hodlinox plates.
- Never share your seed phrase with anyone or make digital copies (e.g. a photo).
- Do not speculate but HODL.
My hardware wallet is stolen/missing
Assuming that you have secured your hardware wallet with a PIN code and your PIN code is not compromised, this is not a very big emergency.
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 it.
My seed phrase is compromised/missing
Your seed phrase is more important than your wallet, immediate action is required!
What to do: get a new wallet right now (any HD wallet will do), initialize it with a new seed phrase and transfer your funds to the new wallet at once.
My computer is infected with malware
The course of action to take depends on the type of wallet you use:
Your computer is still safe to use for sending crypto but make sure to always check the recipient address on the display of your wallet before confirming the transaction.
- Immediately disconnect your computer from the internet, switch it off and do not use again until your funds are safe.
- Use your seed phrase to recreate your wallet on a trusted device and transfer your funds to it as soon as possible.
- Get a hardware wallet, configure it with a new seed phrase and transfer your funds to it as soon as possible.
I forgot the PIN code to my hardware wallet
No problem, just restore the wallet with your seed phrase, the PIN code is not needed for this. You will be prompted to choose a new PIN code (which is best stored in a password manager) during the recovery process.