Hiding Your Bitcoin Wallet Seed Phrase


Disclaimer: I will NOT suggest where you should hide your seed. Sharing a good hiding place defeats the purpose of a good hiding place (And I implore others to not share that information as it will give future thieves ideas where to look). The safest place is one you came up with based on research, a bit of creativity, and common sense.

Don't put in places a burglar will look first.

  • Master bedroom: It's your personal place. Of course you'll want to have your valuables close to you.
  • Under the mattress: This might be the most advertised "good" hiding place.
  • Bedroom closet: Clothes and shoes can be sold. And who knows, there might be some money you left (or hid) in a pocket.
  • Drawers (dresser, desks, etc.): It's easy enough to open and quickly rummage through. Desk drawers contain sensitive documents and information that can be used to access your accounts or be used against you. Jewelry tends to be left there for your own convenience. Even your underwear drawer isn't safe.
  • Safes: Obviously. But if a safe isn't chained down or too heavy to lift, you bet someone will take the entire thing. So if you're going to use one, make sure it's hidden and permanent (or relatively difficult to move). Burglar's don't want to stay somewhere too long (average 8-12 minutes). That being said, they won't hesitate to stay longer if they know you're out of town or at work. (most burglaries take place between 10 AM - 2 PM)
  • Cabinets (bathroom, kitchen, etc.): Like drawers, it's easy enough to open a cabinet and scan through. And if you have prescription drugs, you bet they can be re-sold. They are already expensive enough as it is.
  • Refrigerator/Freezer: Think you're clever. Yeah, this has already been thought of. People tend to store valuables here in containers or wrapped in foil labeled as food.
  • Toilet tank: If you've seen it on TV, so has a burglar. I'm sure it's one of their favorite scenes. 
  • Vases and other decorative containers: It's simple to take a quick peak inside or give it a shake. Who knows, there might be something special inside.
  • Suitcases: Surprisingly, people use a suitcase as a not-so-secure safe. Burglars know this. Now you know this.

Safety Deposit Boxes

Verbatim from the Bitcoin white paper and Satoshi Nakamoto himself, "A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution."

A bank is a financial institution. So, take that as you will.

Obviously, banks are notorious targets for robbery. But, they are also notorious for screwing up and making clerical errors. (which I'm sure you've had experience with at least once in your lifetime)

Mixing up box numbers, bank branches closing, boxes being misplaced due to being moved to a different location, etc. are all possible common situations. You're trusting the bank and each and every person who works there. You're trusting them to not only protect your box, but also not make an mistake. Remember, someone doesn't need to physically steal your seed words, they can simply take a picture and you wouldn't know the wiser.

And remember. items in a safety deposit box are not insured. So if the bank messes up, you're out of luck (whether its your fault or not).

Take a look at a few articles below and make your own assessment on safety deposit boxes:

American Society of Appraisers - How Safe is Your Safe Deposit Box

New York Times - Safe Deposit Box Theft 

Customers Complain of BofA is Drilling Safe Deposit Boxes and Losing Valuables 

That being said, if you're going to use a safety deposit box, ensure the following:

  1. Store another copy of your seed elsewhere
  2. Encrypt your seed and/or use a passphrase

Above all, shut your mouth.

A thief is more likely to go after those who flaunt their money, valuables, and cryptocurrency. (Fun fact: did you know the prefix “crypto-“ originated from the Greek word “kruptós” which means hidden.) It could a person you had a conversation with or the stranger who eavesdropped on that conversation. The Department of Justice reports that between 2003 - 2007, over 65% of victimized homeowners knew the person who burglarized their home. Ensure there is a good reason to share information about your cryptocurrency holdings with someone (such as an inheritance plan with your spouse, kids, attorney, etc.) But in all other situations: keep quiet, keep humble, keep safe.

 

References:

1. https://www.rd.com/advice/saving-money/where-do-burglars-look/

2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/homeandgarden/features/2007/burglary-070507/graphic.html

3. http://content.excite.com/home-security/blog/5-worst-places-to-hide-your-valuables/

4. https://www.investopedia.com/safe-deposit-box-what-to-store-and-not-store-in-yours-4589854

5. https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/vdhb.txt