Whether you’re in a bullish cycle or a bear market, once you’ve acquired a sizable amount of cryptocurrency, you likely understand the rule, “not your keys, not your coins.” Then the importance of securely storing your private keys manifests itself.
There are so many ideas on how to safely store your private keys these days because even when you have a hardware wallet, you still need your passphrase to restore the funds.
The most popular method for storing these mnemonic phrases is a paper wallet. These can be laminated for more protection. However, paper wallets are very vulnerable and fragile; they’re not water-resistant or fire-resistant.
I recently enjoyed speaking with another remarkable figure in the crypto community, Brutus the Brick, a subscriber of The Dollar Vigilante and The Crypto Vigilante (SUBSCRIBE). In the spirit of keeping things open-source, Brutus the Brick shared his knowledge of storing private keys. He was inspired by Jameson Lopp, who took it upon himself to test every metallic backup in the market.
Brutus the Brick’s background is mechanical engineering. When he came across some copper plates being sold as cryptocurrency seed backups, he decided to explore how efficiently he could produce these useful tools himself.
So he started to brainstorm, aiming to make it inexpensive while also reaching established benchmarks. The initial features he pursued were fire resistance, water and corrosion resistance, pressure resistance, discreetness, and portability.
From the very start, Brutus intended this to be a creative and open-source endeavor rather than a capitalistic manufacturing venture. He says that this approach helps make the backups unique rather than uniform because if it isn’t discreet or personalized, everyone will know what the backup keys look like, so they’ll be easier to spot.
Metallic seed backups will have different environmental considerations than paper wallets. However, that depends on which kind of metals are used. Brutus worked with copper and zinc and experimented on each with acid and corrosion tests, burning tests, and more.
He asked himself what environmental effects people and their wallets would face in real life. Acid and fire are not the most common threats a person faces. One additional consideration is saltwater. There is saltwater in the air for people who live near the beach, and it may corrode some metals. This is an issue with automobiles near the coastal areas, so Brutus considered that when planning this project.
Now comes the issue of portability. The go-to model Brutus landed on is a keychain design chosen with a rivet in brass tubing, as shown in the video below. It isn’t something that screams “Bitcoin wallet!”.
Metallic seed backups have other portability issues, such as transporting in an airport and security possibly flagging the metallic object. So Brutus also sought some non-metal alternatives. One idea he had was using a pencil. A pencil is wood, not metal, but has six sides, where you can inscribe a 12-word keyphrase.
We also talked about the idea of scattering the phrase into different places. Some factors that came up are how long someone will keep the key phrase in a location and the risk of losing parts of the passphrase when hiding them separately. Brutus emphasizes the importance of redundancy.
Check out the full video interview here:
As noted, Brutus also tested the cost. Some non-reactive metals are prohibitively expensive, so he made a chart showing the least and most reactive metals and their associated costs.
Brutus recommends people have fun experimenting and making it their own. A mechanical engineering degree, he says, isn’t necessarily as informative as going out there and actually doing it.
Plastics are the next material Brutus is looking into now, so he will report back soon when he has more insight in that area.
However you decide to protect your portfolio, always HODL responsibly.
Brutus the Brick Crypto Seed DIY tutorial (IPFS link): https://bafybeibsdg522fv6jf7dl55q6aplqug2re3b7iul56an7zvsl524bgbfwy.ipfs.infura-ipfs.io/
You can also order a finished product here: https://bafybeibsdg522fv6jf7dl55q6aplqug2re3b7iul56an7zvsl524bgbfwy.ipfs.infura-ipfs.io/#contact
Get The Crypto Vigilante Summit videos: https://tcvsummit.com