How to do crypto self-custody | 2-min explanation

Which hardware wallet you should pick and best practices in storing your seed phrase.

David Head
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Show Notes

This post assumes you're figuring out the best way to improve your crypto security beyond browser wallets and storing your seed phrase on paper.

The following are the two core pieces of my personal playbook. Links are Amazon affiliate to help fund more blog content.

Buy a hardware wallet

You should have most of your coins stored on a hardware wallet, because it's the hardest for a malicious actor to steal from.

You can use hardware wallets as your login for browser wallets like Metamask too. It's a little more of a pain to use hardware wallets here, since you have to type in your passcode every time you want to make a transaction. So I recommend using your hardware wallet for whatever you consider larger transactions to be. Then for smaller more frequent transactions, you can keep in the browser wallet.

I started with a Trezor, then switched to the Ledger Nano X.

Ledger Nano X

Security

The Ledger security is about as good as it gets. Supposedly Trezor is technically better, but they seem to be so close it’s splitting hairs.

UX

This is the main reason the Ledger, and specifically the Nano X. It's very important the UX is good. If your wallet is a pain to use each time, you're not going to want to use it and you'll prefer the browser based wallet instead. That happened to me at least.

The reason Ledger UX is better is that it's compatible with most pieces of the crypto ecosystem. Trezor seems to continuously lagging behind in ecosystem support.

Examples of lack of support are that Ledger stores way more alt coins than Trezor. Then I wasn't able to use my Trezor to store my keys when staking my ETH.

I kept finding more restrictions with Trezor, which is why I switched.

Store your seed phrase on steel

I use steel plates and etch the phrase in. The reason this is good is that water, fire, smudging, etc can be ruled out as a way to loose the seed.

My rationale for going more extreme here is that the phrases would theoretically be stored for decades, so may as well store it on something lasting.

I specifically use ColdTi plates and write the phrases with the Easy Etcher. The ColdTI plate here also has stickers you can hold the plates shut with. So you'd need to rip those off to see the phrase. Then you'll know if the phrases have been compromised.

Steel plates for storing your crypto seed phrase

If you have any other questions about my playbook here, feel free to reach out. This is useful since I can then update this post with my answers as well to help everyone else.

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