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How to protect your seed recovery phrase

The seed recovery phrase is critical as it gives complete access to your master seed and your account.

Your master seed and account enables you to authorize approvals - including logging in, initiating transactions, and, importantly, approving custodian requests over someone else's transactions.

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It is imperative that your seed recovery phrase is stored securely.

If you lose access to your phone for any reason, the seed recovery phrase allows you to regenerate your account and sign your approvals.

This article explores your options for securely storing your seed recovery phrase.

What is the master seed?#

When you first set up an account with Qredo, one very large number is generated called a cryptographic seed or master seed.

This one big number — the master seed — is stored securely on your phone and is protected by your biometrics. From the master seed, a signing public/private key pair is generated. The private key is used to sign all your approvals, whilst the public key is uploaded to Qredo so that your signatures can be verified.

The seed recovery phrase is a 24 word sequence that enables you to recover your account in case you lose access to your account.

This is why it is so important to write down the full 24 word sequence on a piece of paper.

Paper is a free and easy way to store your seed phrase but can also be easily destroyed.

Let’s explore some of the ways you can keep your seed recovery phrase safe.

Online storage#

Password manager#

It is not generally advised to store your seed recovery phrase online as this increases the potential of exposure to malware and being hacked. However, many people do store their recovery seed phrase in a Password Manager. You may consider some of the better known ones such as LastPass or 1Password

Offline storage#

Write it on a piece of paper and store back-ups in multiple locations#

You may consider laminating the paper to add durability. You may also consider splitting up the seed phrase onto several pieces of paper and placing each piece in a different geographical location. Bear in mind that the correct order of the phrase is necessary to recover your wallet.

PROS: Easy, cheap, convenient, can’t be hacked.

CONS: Easily destroyed. Paper might degrade or be damaged in a fire, flood etc.

Engrave the seed phrase in steel#

Small stainless steel units designed to store seed phrases are available from retailers e.g. cryptosteel. Multiple units can also be purchased as back ups or to split the recovery phrase.

PROS: Resistance to fire, flooding, corrosion and impact, portable, no ongoing costs, can’t be hacked digitally.

CONS: Can be expensive, hard to setup, can be physically stolen.

Store the phrase on an external hard drive#

You can store your seed phrase offline on an external hard drive, you can keep it offline and only access it when you need to.

PROS: Affordable, no monthly fee or maintenance

CONS: Risk of damage.

What if I lose my seed recovery phrase?#

If you lose your seed recovery phrase, you won't be able to recover your account. Additionally, once you've lost it, it's impossible to view your seed recovery phrase again.

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The only option is to delete your account so that you can re-register.

If you can currently login, withdraw all assets and approve any outstanding custodian approval requests.

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Make sure that, if you are a fund's custodian, deleting your account will not prevent anyone from accessing their funds.

If you are unsure, contact everyone in your trusted network before deleting your account.

To arrange for your account to be deleted, please send an email to [email protected] from the same email address that's on the Qredo account you want deleting with the following:

Email

SUBJECT: Delete Qredo account

BODY: Please delete the Qredo account belonging to the email address that I am writing this email from. I confirm that I have no assets in that account that I am not prepared to lose and that I am not the custodian for anyone else’s account that would prevent them from accessing their funds if my account is deleted.”