What are the Safest Ways to Store Bitcoin?

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  • Paper Wallet: A printed piece of paper with information stored in the format of Keys & QR Codes
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Those interested in the safest storage should consider using a non-custodial cold hardware wallet for all of their long-term bitcoin and cryptocurrency storage. Users can lose bitcoin and other cryptocurrency tokens due to theft, computer failure, loss of access keys, and more. In its annual analysis of cryptocurrency theft, blockchain analysts at Chainalysis found that 2022 was the worst yet in terms of the total value of crypto stolen-$3.8 billion. Considering you may be able to purchase one for about $200 to secure cryptocurrency worth far more than that, they can be worth it. Many products and services have been introduced which make it more convenient for those that use or are new to crypto; however, the increased rate of adoption and use has led to an increase in hacks and thefts. Bitcoin and crypto use is growing the most in lower and middle-income countries; it is used to send remittances, preserve savings, and act as a substitute when financial services unique to the countries are hard to access.

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However, the wallet you use stores your private key, and wallets are generally software on a hardware device, which is hackable-thus, the weak link lies between the blockchain and the user. This is still a secure method; however, ink can bleed, paper can deteriorate over time or be lost, or someone can steal it. These are also relatively safe if you can disable the connectivity after using them if they don’t automatically do so. One of the original ways to store keys was to write them down on paper and place it in a safe. Many of these wallets store your private key and come with software that works in parallel to your wallet device or program. The latest version of wallet software will have updated definitions and fixes in place, thereby increasing the safety of your bitcoins. When used with safety in mind, these commercial storage methods are safer than storing your keys in the wallet on your connected device.

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In this arrangement, the custodian stores your private keys for you, guaranteeing their safety and sometimes providing insurance on holdings up to a certain amount. Your hot wallet’s public address can be seen by anyone, as can the amount you have stored in it. When you purchase bitcoin, you’re given ownership of the amount you bought. Cold storage (or offline wallets) is one of the safest methods for holding bitcoin, as these wallets are not accessible via the internet, but hot wallets are still convenient for some users. Of all the options available to you for storing your keys and securing your bitcoin, the safest methods will always be those you manage yourself without a connection to the internet. Cold wallets, by definition, are not connected to the internet or another device, so they cannot be hacked. Also, don’t use websites that will generate codes or anything for you-you never know how your information is being stored and used on a website, and they are notorious for being hacked or hijacked. In the past, some users used QR code generators, printed the keys and QR codes on paper, and then stored them in safes.

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Custodial wallets like these have been the target of many attacks since users began using their services; exchanges have taken measures to harden their services, such as moving users’ keys into enterprise-level cold storage so that they cannot be accessed. A wallet running on non-updated bitcoin software can be a soft target for hackers. This can still be done, but you’re allowing additional software access to your keys. Keep your software up to date. These words are easier to memorize and/or write down and store than the 64-digit hexadecimal keys. Your keys are encrypted and a series of words are generated from that encryption that gives you access to your wallet. A cold wallet (also called cold storage) is a wallet that is not connected to the internet; therefore, it holds far less risk of being compromised. Yes. Examples of cold storage might be a piece of paper you’ve written your keys on, a device no bigger than a USB thumb drive, or one that resembles a small cell phone.

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