With Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies gaining popularity among the general public over the last 12 months or so, we'd like to emphasise the importance of setting up a Hardware Wallet to keep your funds safe.
In this article we will go over the importance of cold storage for your bitcoin, and also go through some important things to keep in mind when using your Hardware Wallet.
You can think of a Hardware Wallet as a personal safe for your crypto. It is a way to store your private keys in a secure hardware device. Hardware Wallets are a must for anybody with any significant cryptocurrency holdings.
Try not to keep any more bitcoin in your mobile wallet
than you'd be comfortable carrying as cash in your pocket.
The main reason is for security. A good way to think about how to use bitcoin is that software/mobile wallets are for spending and transacting with on a regular basis, and Hardware Wallets are used to store your bitcoin savings.
Mobile wallets are known as "Hot Wallets" because they are online or somehow connected to the internet. Because of this they can be subject to hacking or other vulnerabilities.
Hardware Wallets can be referred to as "Cold Wallets" because your private keys are stored in the device securely and offline. This means it is much less vulnerable to attack and much safer for securing larger amounts of crypto.
Keep your savings secure on your Hardware Wallet
and use your mobile wallet as your daily spending account.
Hardware Wallets are so secure that even if somebody stole the physical device there is no way they can access your funds. You can then restore your account on a new device using your unique seed words.
Since there are several different Hardware Wallets on the market, we'll go through some key points which are common to all.
You should only buy from the official website, or an authorised or reputable reseller.
If you make your purchase on Ebay or Gumtree you are increasing the chances of getting scammed or hacked. Best to stick with the professionals when it comes to security and money.
Ensure the packaging has not been tampered with.
If the packaging appears to have been opened do not use the product. Contact the manufacturer straight away for guidance. Also note that the seed word card MUST be blank. If the seed words have been prefilled you are being scammed.
Don't save your back-up seed on your computer.
Whoever has access to the seed has complete access to your wallet so be very careful to only write it down by hand and to store it securely offline. Typing it into your computer leaves you vulnerable to keylogging malware, so pen and paper (away from any cameras) is the go.
If something doesn't feel right, stop.
This is the internet after all, and there are many crafty scammers out there. If something doesn't add up or you're just not sure, check with the official documentation or contact the hardware wallet company and confirm your suspicions before proceeding.
If you'd like any recommendations, or even just have some more questions, feel free to contact us and we'll point you in the right direction.