Bitcoin Origami: Poetry of the Wallet

When you create a digital cryptocurrency wallet, you are issued with a ‘seed’ phrase. This is a guide explaining what this seed is, and how and why you should store it properly.

> Making a paper backup for a Cryptography Key sounds super hard, right?*

* [Like some sort of nightmare alien quantum Sudoku?]

But it’s not – and it’s as fun and easy as folding paper.

Folding a fresh piece of A4 paper into thirds to fit inside an envelope is one of those pleasant and civilised things that one should never tire of. 

Each time you create any new Bitcoin wallet, you will be issued with 12 new words, and all you have to do is to write them down and store them.

These are not just any twelve words – this isn’t dada poetry – these are twelve words issued to you at random by the digital bitcoin elves when you create the wallet – it’s part of the magic. The Bitcoin wallet system converts the letters of the words into binary – 01000001.

Each letter converts to eight ones or zeroes, and with twelve words, with let’s say 5 letters per word, you would have a string of {5 x 8 x 12} = 480 binary characters in length.

How Are They Chosen?

Using Bitcoin as the example, the words are chosen randomly from a pre-defined dictionary of 2,048 English words. These are listed in full here, and the wiki for the ‘seed phrase’ topic as a whole is here.

Example seed phrase on paper.

Once you’ve written the words down in the order they were given, taking care to number each word –  you fold it up, and write the wallet name on the outside so you can link it to the account if you ever need to.

Then, you take out another fresh A4, and duplicate the first A4 – exactly the same. It’s as simple, poetic and un-technical as that – nothing more to it. 
Except, remember, don’t ever type these words into your computer or phone. *

That’s it! 

* This is the goal – they are issued once and once only, and you write them down at the time of issuance, and store them. To access whatever account you’re creating – a Crypto Wallet, or a Blockchain ID for some other service, you will create a separate normal day-to-day password and login like your other accounts. Storing these day-to-day login details is where a high grade reputable password manager comes in, like Hacken AI for example.  

Storing the ownership ‘keys’ is what we’re doing here with the paper. 

When would you ever need these words, or keys?

If you ever lost your mobile phone with your hot wallets or crypto accounts.

If you hard drive just died and you couldn’t get the data back. Also, no backup. 

Those two sound like they could happen, right? 

And if you did lose those very special, almost magical, ultimate keys, then no-one, not you nor anyone else, would ever be able to crack the code that those words contain. No one could hack the account to get back in. Not possible. 

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> What Next? 

You can store one of these folded papers somewhere else – like in a bank storage, and you can keep the main one in a new manila envelope marked ‘Wallets’ where you keep your other documents – passport etc. 

These words are also referred to as a ‘seed phrase‘. 

It’s because, believe it or not, once you convert those letters in the twelve words into numerics, you have a number complex enough to never be broken. 

> Further Simple Safety Learning

If you’d like to get more involved with this in a fun and very instructive way, check out Hacken.Ai – they’ve launched a cool new app that teaches you about passwords, and allows you to let it take over the management of all your passwords. 

This will certainly be a helpful educational tool to help people manage their personal data – because it will become your responsibility. 

[There’s also Dashlane, but I haven’t used them. ]

> Let’s take Passports as an example. 

You absolutely cannot mess about with passports, and the same attitude must be applied to your personal keys each time you create a new blockchain type account, a process MUST be followed. It’s a similar type of attitude to signing legal documents, for example. 

They are serious, and are ownership keys – ownership to something that could last as long as there is electricity and humans. 

This is a new thing to have to think about, and it’s poetic.

This enveloping ‘ceremony’ is the best way of procedurally making sure nothing can ever go wrong, and that you will never have to feel angry with yourself for not knowing enough, or not being diligent enough. 

And, if your house does burn down or get washed away, there’s always that duplicate paper backup elsewhere. In extreme cases, you could of course memorise them as a brainwallet.

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Celsius NetworkUnstoppable DomainsBRAVE BrowserCoinbase

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