How I used BitSent (and MoneyButton) to store my wallet seed phrases on the BSV block chain.
I just used BitSent and MoneyButton to store permanent, redundant copies of all my current HD wallet seed phrases on the BSV block chain. Sounds kind of crazy right? Well, yeah(!!), but not as crazy as writing an article to tell people about it! Right?
Actually, I'm not worried about telling people, because I did take some serious steps to make sure that the data on the block chain is only valuable to me. So what did I do?
Firstly, here's the link to the BitSent upload tool that I used. I had never used it before, so thought I would give it a try. One "catch" with the tool is that part of the Tx fee gets routed to the developer (as far as I can tell), which is fine with me; if you create something with utility that people use, then you should be rewarded. Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the site or the developer!
Now, taking a step back for a moment, with all the wallets I have been testing (Centbee, HandCash, RelayX, ElectrumSV, Bitcoin.com, Jaxx, and also tools with integrated wallets like Yours, Money Button, Memo.sv etc), it adds up to a lot of seed phrases. At one point I had all these seed phrases written on paper and stored in a safe, but it wasn't redundant and it was also a literal mess. There had to be a better way. So at that time I decided to make use of the encrypted off-line computer that I have set up for my ElectrumSV cold-wallet (see the relevant article here: https://www.yours.org/content/a-method-for-storing-bitcoin-sv-securely--without-a-hardware-wallet-5d79a8066c42) and save all my seed phrases in *.rtf files (document files), one file for each wallet type. e.g., I have multiple HandCash wallets and therefore multiple HandCash seed phrases, so there is one *.rtf document for several HandCash wallets. One document for Centbee wallets and so on. All saved on the encrypted off-line computer.
Having all my seeds in *.rtf files on my encrypted off-line computer makes managing the seeds easier; if I create a new wallet, I either create a new *.rtf file or enter a new seed into an existing document as the case requires. Now, however, with my wallet experimentation phase mostly out of the way, I am more or less settled in what I am doing, so I wanted a better way to keep redundant copies of these seed phrases. I already back up the seed phrase documents (to another encrypted hard disk), and also to an encrypted TrueCrypt container on a USB (that lives in a hidden safe), but even with that level of redundancy I still didn't feel like I was covered for something like a house fire, say. The off-line computer would probably burn (if I couldn't get to it in time, or I wasn't home) and the USB in the safe might fail due to heat exposure. So I needed something a little more redundant and secure for that extreme event scenario*.... enter the BSV block chain.
* I hear you say that I could have used another encrypted USB at a family member's house, but I really couldn't be bothered trying to explain it and also relying on another person to realize the importance of the item that they would be in possession of. Plus it's money to buy a USB (I'm tight) and I really have no handle on how reliable USBs are over the long term either.
So what I did was...
- Take all the *.rtf files (bearing in mind I was working on an off-line machine) and used 7-zip with ultimate compression to zip them down to about 15KB. I also used AES256 encryption to secure the 7z file.
- Next I created the smallest TrueCrypt container file that I could (FAT32, 292KB). I created this as a triple cipher container using AES, Twofish and Serpent. Mounting that container it provided about 25KB of available space, and I copied into it the 15KB 7z file from step 1, and also a readme.txt with a password hint for the 7z file). Then I unmounted the TrueCrypt container.
- Then I created a readme.txt file that accompanied the TrueCrypt container, with password hint, and I used 7-zip again to create an AES256 encrypted archive file (with the TrueCrypt container and readme.txt file), but this time splitting it at 81,920 bytes (80KB). This resulted in four files with a net 5 layers of encryption. No password hint for these files.
- I then copied those four files to a USB and brought them over to an on-line machine where I used BitSent to upload the files to the BSV block chain. (I did NOT use BitSent's encryption feature; as everything I uploaded was pre-encrypted).
- After the files were uploaded I checked that they could all be downloaded from the block chain successfully, then copied those downloaded files back to the USB, sent them back over to the off-line computer and verified that they could be re-constituted into the original seed phrase documents. I'm happy to report that it all worked flawlessly!
Now, instead of a wad of paper with seed phrases manually written down, that is extremely sensitive (security wise), and carries no redundancy, I have one piece of paper with bitsent links (which include the tx ids) to the files I uploaded, which isn't sensitive at all. I will put this piece of paper in my safe, but I could technically leave it anywhere and it wouldn't matter. Even if I lost the piece of paper, all I would have to do is remember roughly when I uploaded the files to the block chain to be able to search for them in transactions on a block explorer. In fact I can find all of the files with a simple search using the oyo.cash search engine. Even better!
Bearing in mind that these files on the BSV block chain are to add extra redundancy to my existing system of backed up, encrypted *.rtf files, I now know that if a fire occurs and everything gets wiped out, I can still access all my BSV funds (so long as I don't create any more new wallets). :)
Astute readers will likely note that whilst all this does provide extra redundancy it's still not fool-proof, especially with respect to legacy planning. Firstly, to get into those seed phrase files, and indeed my locally encrypted copies, I still need to know the encryption password(s). So technically speaking, now the passwords are the point of weakness. I can personally remember my passwords (and also have them redundantly stored/secured using various techniques), but if a house fire wiped out the house and me too, the BSV would still likely be gone. My family would miss out. The legacy planning issue is quite a difficult one in the crypto space and one that I may write about in future if I get the time. In the meantime, it's a risk management process. Take actions to cover the possibilities that you can reasonably cover, with a reasonable amount of effort! Stay safe!
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