Seed phrase: What is it and how should you preserve it?

seed phrase

What to do if you lose access to your crypto wallet? Would you lose access to your crypto finds forever? The answer is no, because your crypto wallet generates something called a seed phrase or a recovery phrase for you when you create said wallet, and this can help you gain access back to a lost crypto wallet. 

In this post, I’ll do a deep dive into crypto seed phrases!

What exactly is a seed phrase?

A recovery phrase (also known as a seed phrase) is a string of words generated at random by a crypto wallet that enables users to access the crypto stored there. The recovery phrase is comparable to a ‘master password’ for your wallet. Even if the wallet is deleted or lost, gaining access back to every cryptocurrency linked to it is still possible as long as the recovery phrase is used.

The idea of recovery phrases came from the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 39 released back in 2013, which brought forth a standard for a ‘deterministic wallet’ where one recovery phrase would control all private keys kept in the wallet. 

What does a seed phrase look like?

Seed phrase

Source| What does a seed phrase look like?

The seed phrase is automatically generated by a cryptocurrency wallet, and it cannot be modified by the user. A recovery phrase contains anywhere between 12 to 24 words and does not carry any numbers, as long strings of numbers can get pretty hard for people to remember. 

The words in a seed phrase are drawn from a list of 2,048 simple words. The recovery phrase can include terms like “energy,” “journey,” or “free.” However, these randomly generated words do not use word pairs like “man” and “men” in the same recovery phrase to prevent mistakes. A hypothetical 12-word recovery phrase is as follows: Humanity, Toddler, Planet, Loose, Typical, Anxious, Difficult, Joyful, Never, Alternative, and Regret.

Through the creation of seed phrases, the aforementioned BIP-39 proposal unifies all major wallets and makes them interoperable, enabling users to simply load the recovery phrase to a new BIP-39-compatible wallet in case they want to switch wallets. Their crypto holdings would now immediately be accessible through the new wallet.   

How to Safely Keep Your Crypto Seed Phrase

Here are a few ways you can ensure the safety of your seed phrases:

1. Split the Seed Phrase and Store Them in Multiple Places

Splitting your recovery/seed phrase into two or more portions and securing each section separately is known as seed splitting. This is possible both physically and virtually. However, since it negates chances of cyber attacks or system failures happening, physical storage is typically safer for your recovery phrase. 

2. Choose Materials like Stainless Steel or Capsules

Many choose to secure their seed phrases by engraving them on stainless steel plates or choosing capsules. You can pick Ledger’s Blindfodl steel plate or Cryptosteel capsule to store your seed phrases. TREZOR and ELLIPAL also provide similar, efficient products. 

3. A Hard Disk

Hard drives, like a normal USB stick, are also great for storing seed phrases since they let you save your seed phrase offline. In contrast to some other storage choices, they are also very accessible and reasonably priced. Unlike engraved plates or capsules, you can find hard drives in almost every tech store, but they do have a glaring drawback: they’re not made to be secure.

So long as your hard disk is kept extremely secure, you should be fine. But, if it were to fall into the hands of a criminal, they could readily acquire your seed phrase by plugging that disk into any laptop or computer. You may spread your seed phrases across two or more hard disks to make access more difficult, but if discovered, they will always be simple to breach.


Arguably, the most important part of a crypto wallet is its seed phrase. As long as you keep your seed phrases safe, you can never completely lose access to your crypto. Therefore, it is integral to ensure the safety of your recovery phrases. Using any of the aforementioned methods should help you with exactly that!

I hope this post has helped you understand seed phrases and their importance. Want to find out more informative articles on the world of crypto and blockchains? Give my blog a visit today!


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