Securing your bitcoin seed (BTC): The Cryptosteel steel capsule

Happy holder of bitcoins (BTC), you have a physical wallet (Ledger, Bitbox, Trezor …) to secure or sign transactions in complete safety. Yes, but here you go: you now know that the most important thing is to protect the 12, 18 or 24 words to restore your wallet if you ever lose your “physical” wallet. If Jameson Lopp has tested the performance of different steel or titanium wallets (corrosion, fire, acid or pressure), it is important to know if the different solutions are suitable for your budget and even your dexterity. Today let’s see the Cryptosteel capsule.

Why and how to back up private keys on steel?

We can never repeat it enough, if you don’t have your (private) keys, you don’t have your bitcoins (” not your keys, not your coins “). Your bitcoins and/or your cryptos are not stored on a wallet: it is the private keys by allowing access that are secure. This is how if you lose your physical wallet (Ledger or Bitbox), you do not fear much, especially if you have put a complex pin code. Indeed, your wallet will be blocked after a few intrusion attempts. These private keys are so essential that Ledger just offered the service Ledger Recover : this service proposes to keep the private keys of its users. The latter will be able to recover them in the event of loss against a KYC in good and due form. This new possibility goes against the ideals of financial sovereignty with peer-to-peer payments (without intermediary). Some citizens are so used to bank assurances that they find it hard to imagine that this time around with bitcoin there is no safety net in case the private keys are lost. It’s a bit like keeping physical gold at home, except that private keys take up less space and are much more discreet.

There are many products that offer to save the keys (called private keys) of your bitcoins. We had tested Zeus from Cryptotag or even Cypher from Safepal, these are mainly opinions related to use. For fire, acid and corrosion resistance tests, the reference site is that of Jameson Lopp.

cryptosteel bitcoin capsule
The Cryptosteel box a little closer: the capsule that can be sealed and the many small plates.

The Cryptosteel box

The box is full of steel plates: letters, numbers and special characters. There are one or two Cryptosteel capsules depending on the model chosen, separation pads (separators) as well as “blocking” pads (fasteners). A large poster offers a diagram: it is a user manual for the capsule, but also more general explanations on safety (all in English). Another diagram on the packaging tells you what each location of the plates corresponds to in the plastic box (recyclable). The whole thing looks a lot like a big construction game. If you’ve always hated puzzles or your patience reaches its limits fairly quickly, this capsule won’t suit you.

cryptosteel metal storage bitcoin
Already with 90 plates without separator, the backup will not be easy to read. You can save a wallet of 24 words (24×4 first letters, i.e. 96 pads) or two wallets of 12 words.

The principle of the capsule

With this solution, you don’t need any hammer or engraver. All you have to do is choose the tiles corresponding to your recovery words (for the list of words beep39, the first four letters are sufficient). Separate the words with ” separators » and especially at the end fix well all with the help of a fasten“. The design of this metal capsule presents the advantage of being reusable. Another advantage is that you can save one or more passphrases, several wallets (wallets), pin codes and other information. Pay attention to the meaning of the reading, however.

Do not overload the Cryptosteel, because the tighter the pads, the more difficult it will be to read the backup, although of course you can always use a magnifying glass. Properly blocking the pads is obviously essential: do not use flammable or fragile material!

cryptosteel metal storage bitcoin
See the quality tests of Jameson Lopp before buying a metal storage (metal storage)

Check the backup and think about your heirs (or not)

First of all, you have to check its backup. A simple solution: take a “physical” wallet, create a wallet, reset and restore the wallet. You will thus simply check if you have written down all the words in the correct order and in complete safety.

Then to make your choice between the different methods of storage on metal, you must:

  • Be sure of the quality of the material. (There cryptosteel capsule obtains the grade A-: at extreme pressure (20 tons), it is no longer possible to open it, the rod being integral with the cap. At the same time, protection against fire seems more important to me, unless you live in a place exposed to earthquakes).
  • Compare the prices (unless it’s a detail for you of course).
  • You have to know if it’s practical (for you and your heirs): your metal storage (metal storage) is it reusable? Easily readable? Understandable for your heirs?

Find all the video tutorials of Cryptosteel to properly manage your capsule. (How to properly use the blocking plate, read your backup (backup) or make a seal).

The Cryptosteel capsule has a much better rating than its previous counterpart the Cryptosteel cassette in terms of resistance, proof that the company cares about improving its products. It is elegant and ultimately not so difficult to handle. Nevertheless the weak point seems to me to be the blocking of the plates, a simple error can be expensive… And then the question remains open: should the name of the company be engraved on the object itself or not? Indeed, if our heirs do not know what it is, what will they do with it? While the internet could help them with a simple search of the company name. Between security and accessibility, the choice is not always easy to make… The capsule cryptosteel costs from 80 to 109 euros depending on the number of copies ordered, the different elements can be ordered separately.

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