Let's review the top three crypto wallet backup devices that help keep your private cryptocurrency keys safe.
Keeping Private Keys Private: Crypto Wallet Backup Device
Previously, we spoke about the key differences between Cold and Hot storage wallets. From the advantages that each of these enjoys, and some of the best kinds of both that users can try out for the beginning of their cryptocurrency investing journey.
So while each of these has their positives and negatives, one thing that is incredibly important, no matter which type you choose, is the private key and just how you store it.
For some products out there, like Ledger and Trezor, their hard wallets come with papers that allow you to write down these pieces of information. But unless you decide to get it laminated or store it in a very secure location, they're far from being ideal, long-term solutions. During the course of onboarding with one of these wallets among others, you'll be shown your private key. This is more than just for your information, it's a vital password/passphrase to obtain access to your wallet and, by more critical extension, your assets.
As the race starts smart custody continues, these three options in the CryptoSteel, Billfodl and CryptoTag, are leading the way as the most secure cryptographic private key and seed backup devices.
This guide will break down the three premium crypto backup solutions to see which is the best option for you and your autonomous offline storage of cryptoassets.
The other solution is to get hold of a storage solution that's much more reliable and secure. These include some of the following that we'll be taking a closer look at right now.
CryptoSteel – Ironclad key Storage
Positioning itself as the “Master of all Backups,” CryptoSteel is, as the name suggests, a solid steel storage solution for your keys, and actually does come with particular models from Trezor in order to get users into good habits from the outset.
“Cryptosteel is the premier backup tool for optimal offline storage of private keys, passwords and wallet recovery seeds without any third-party involvement.”
This is a critical part of any key storage; online wallets, with the exception of one or two, aggregate their private, secure and seed keys through a third party company. This means that there is a serious question of sovereignty between users and their keys.
The CryptoSteel capsule provides sovereignty for a new medium in a pretty old-fashioned way – solid steel, which claims it is stainless, waterproof, fireproof and shockproof. CryptoSteel wallets are made from 100% 304-grade German Stainless steel, meaning that any security keys are protected from the elements in a very literal sense, according to the company.
Should it ever be involved in something as catastrophic as a house-fire, for example, even at its hottest (1,500 degrees Fahrenheit): a CryptoSteel wallet would not suffer any kind of damage or warping.
The CryptoSteel capsule comes in four different variants; solo ($82 USD), duo ($132 USD), trio ($183 USD) and quintet ($302 USD).
CryptoSteel – How it Works
If you've decided to buy a CryptoSteel Wallet for your secure keys, you can rest assured that the process of actually purchasing one of these wallets and getting it set up is pretty straight forward.
First, you can choose what kind of internal set-up you want to use the wallet for. These consist of different word sets such as Hexidecimal, Mnemonic or a mixture.
“The set contains one double-sided Cryptosteel stainless steel cold-storage wallet and over 285 tiles optimized for hexadecimal passkeys. These include uppercase letters ABCDEF, numbers and the lowercase x.”
One interesting caveat about these CryptoSteel wallets is the fact that you can make yours stand out a little more by adding an engraving. Depending on what you intend to use it for, this can include Cryptocurrency icons like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc. Alternatively, you can choose to get something a little more commemorative; specifically the Genesis block code.
Let's fast forward to actually opening up the package, each one should consist of the aforementioned cryptosteel wallet, but also, a set of alphanumeric letters for you to slide in.
Now, let's move onto actually getting this thing fulfilling its purpose for you, fortunately, the CryptoSteel wallet is pretty straightforward to use and even edit as your keys change.
One critical drawback to consider is that while you're filling in your codes or changing them, you need to be very mindful of where these letters are. This is because they are incredibly small and fidgety, so it's best to fill this wallet on a hard surface that color contrasts with the wallet itself.
All you need to do is copy down your private key and slide the corresponding letters into your wallet. Once you've managed to place these inside your wallet, you slide to lock it and you're good to go!
As a form of private key store, the CryptoSteel is very straight forward to buy, unpack, input your pass into and lock it up for safekeeping.
Here is a video explaining how the CryptoSteel is assembled and works, then we will transition into the Billfodl and Cryptotag options:
Sporting the headline of ‘Backup your Crypto in Steel' pretty much summarizes BillFODL as a wallet solution. Much akin to CryptoSteel in terms of looks, BillFODL is a steel wallet manufactured using 316 Marine Grade steel, offering an extensive amount of protection from water damage, to even fires.
Sounds impressive right? But the burden of proof is on the company both to assert itself against rival wallets out there, but also to demonstrate that it can withstand things like extreme heat.
Well, BillFODL provides a video to showcase just that which you can view right here. It should be pointed out that you do see the alloy on the front start to warp after a little while. But this could be down to the fact that the burner used could reach exceptionally high temperatures.
In order to really back up its claim to offer a steel-clad level of protection for crypto holders, the company espouses both quick shipping for users internationally, but also a pretty generous refund policy, 125 percent's worth of refund policy, in fact.
“If you don't love you Billfodl, we'll pay YOU!”
One of the positives that BillFODL offers for its users is that its wallet/s offer a multi-seed key storage solution through its dedicated wallet known as the Multishard.
BillFODL – How it Works
The company offers a couple of products, but these typically consist of multiples of its hard wallets. Specifically the singular BillFODL, which costs $79 on its own, and the MultiShard – which gives users the ability to split their seed key phrase/s for greater security – and costs $185.
Fortunately, one of the places that these products have an upper hand against companies like CryptoSteel is the fact that users can easily obtain access to instructions on how to set up your wallet.
Much akin to CryptoSteel, all you need to do is slide in the specific metallic letters in accordance with your seed key. Once you have these all added, you just slide the metal hinge up to lock them into place, and slide the front plate into place as well.
The metal letters are also a point of contention to consider as well – both the styling and size of them means that users will need to be vigilant with where they place them and holding them. Also, from their appearance, deriving which words are which can present the risk of misspelling a particular part of your seed key.
But these are small factors to consider for what amounts to a durable hard wallet.
Here is a video overview of how the Billfodl setup process works to get started with:
Now that we have covered the CryptoSteel and Billfodl, let's review the next popular cryptoasset backup option, the CryptoTag.
“We have devoted our time and resources to create the best backup in the world. No compromises made here.”
When it comes to CryptoTag as a business, it is certainly not lacking in visual flair or promises to its end-users. The former is certainly on display from the front page of the website, which boldly shows the CryptoTag wallet in a very heavy duty looking box.
So where does it differ from competing crypto wallets out there? The most prominent of these is, of course, the packaging and what comes with it:
These interesting accessories and packaging for the CryptoTag is more than just visual, and it all comes with a significantly higher price-tag in comparison to the previous hard wallets. At €169.99, the details of what's in the box become make or break for if it's worth that much.
The taste for the visual flair is something that carries over to CryptoTag's testing for its hard wallets too, luckily. And much like BillFODL and CryptoSteel, CryptoTag has conducted, and gleefully showcased some of the tests that they've performed.
On its websites ‘testing facility,' the team lists off some of the very rigorous durability tests that it's [successfully] performed on its wallet. Among these are the following:
To put a number to this strenuous testing, CryptoTag believes that these hard wallets have all the staying power be exposed to temperatures of up to 1,665 degrees centigrade. Which puts it in a league of its own compared to BillFODL which stops short of listing heat resistance, and CryptoSteel's 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Along with these heat tests, CryptoTag takes the time out to point to the support of aviation engineers, cryptographers, etc, these wallets have also had their fair share of stress tests at the hands of:
High pressure testing”
Obsessed about quality indeed. This testing also includes firing different calibre rounds at the wallet to stress test it against some of the more ‘internationally' appropriate markets. Needless to say that if this wallet ever fell down in its function as a wallet – you can repurpose them as armour plating.
CryptoTag – How Does it Work?
Within each box is not only your CryptoTag hard wallet, but also a hammer, and a range of alphanumeric pins. Your guess is as good as ours on how you etch in your private keys, and that's to literally hammer them into the steel sheet provided in order.
It has to be said that there's something particularly impressive and permanent feeling about literally stamping your private seed into steel that you don't get with the other wallets listed here.
The downside is that, with the other wallets, one mistake means you just slide the metal letter back out. Make a mistake on Cryptotag and you'll have it there permanently, something that not even 1,500 degree temperatures or bullets will change apparently.
This extra degree of caution comes with the incredible security of having your phrases stamped into exceptionally well-tested steel, so there are pros and cons.
Here is a video explaining how to use the CryptoTag:
Final Word on Private Key Crypto Backup Devices
There you have it, a complete side by side comparison of how the Billfodl, CryptoTag and CryptoSteel private key backup devices work. We will be buying each of these premium crypto backup devices to put them to the test and update this guide at a future date as there is no better insurance plan to make than keeping your coins safe and protected by having multiple backups available just in case of an emergency or unfortunate circumstance.
Let us know if you have any questions or comments about the top 3 cryptocurrency backup devices on the market today.
I'm Aziz, a seasoned cryptocurrency trader who's really passionate about 2 things; #1) the awesome-revolutionary blockchain technology underlying crypto and #2) helping make bitcoin great ‘again'!