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What is a 12-Word Recovery Phrase?

Every cryptocurrency holder wants to make sure their coins are safe from thieves. Hardware crypto wallets remain the best tool to keep funds safe from savvy hackers. 

Hardware wallet manufactures like Trezor and Ledger continuously update firmware to stay on top of security.  Many wallets also add another layer of protection by requiring a PIN to access funds. These types of ‘cold’ wallets are more advantageous than their ‘hot’ counterparts as they do not connect to the Internet. Private keys are never exposed to a computer. 

A crypto user who has set up any type of crypto wallet has undoubtedly run into the ‘12-word recovery phrase.’ Many see the randomized list of words and wonder how it plays into overall wallet security. Some assume they will never need to know the order of the phrase at all. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even though a  crypto wallet recovery phrase might seem a bit mystical, especially to those new to cryptocurrency wallets, it’s one of the most important components of keeping cryptocurrency safe.

 

Public Vs. Private Keys And How The 12-Word Secret Phrase Fits In

What is a 12-Word Recovery Phrase? by Shieldfolio

To better grasp the importance of a recovery phrase, it’s vital to understand the difference between a cryptocurrency private key and cryptocurrency public keys. A cryptocurrency public key allows a cryptocurrency holder to receive a transaction. They usually come in the form of a crypto wallet address, which is a shortened form of the public key. Public wallet keys are safe to share so you can send and receive coins. 

Private keys are a different story. While they’re paired to a cryptocurrency public key, a private key proves you are the owner of a particular wallet. Private keys are in the specific crypto wallet and are not on the blockchain network. One of the biggest advantages of a secure crypto wallet is it gives you total control over the keys, which are also used to ‘sign’ transactions so they can be authenticated and completed. 

Where does the 12-word secret recovery phrase play in? They are generated in conjunction with a cryptocurrency private key or cryptocurrency public key pair. This phrase is used to derive or generate the private keys for an infinite number of accounts. It’s a lot easier to remember or write down a 12-word phrase instead of having to recall a private key, which can sometimes take the form of a 256 character long binary code or a 64 digit hexadecimal code. 

A lost 12-word recovery phrase is a nightmare scenario for a cryptocurrency holder. A hacker or thief could then access a user’s digital wallet and siphon off money. Nothing is more important for digital wallet security than keeping the 12-word recovery phrase safe. 

All virtual wallet users should carefully note down the words in the recovery phrase in their exact order. Double check you’ve copied the exact phrase correctly without spelling errors. 12-word recovery phrases should never be stored on a phone or computer. Ideally, they will be securely stored in a safe, deposit box, or another protected location separate from the wallet.

 

Protect Your Recovery Phrase And Private Keys With The Shieldfolio Stonebook

What is a 12-Word Recovery Phrase? by Shieldfolio

Many wonder if a hacker could guess a recovery phrase. Fortunately, this is essentially impossible even if a thief managed to somehow find a portion of the words. 

Statistics are on the crypto holder’s side. Most recovery phrases are generated from a set list of 2,048 words. According to Trust Wallet, this means a “12-word seed phrase has a possible combination of 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 while a 24 word seed phrase has even more combinations.”

What happens if the recovery phrase is lost or stolen? If stolen, you should always move your cryptocurrency as soon as possible to a new address. If you’re still able to access your virtual wallet with a PIN or another login method, you should be able to find and re-record your recovery phrase. 

If you’ve lost your secret phrase and forgotten your virtual wallet login, then you’re out of luck. A virtual wallet manufacturer will not be able to help you get your funds back. They do not store PIN codes or recovery phrases. This scenario underscores the importance of keeping your 12-word recovery phrase safe. 

But what if you feel like writing down your phrase on a piece of paper or notecard is not secure enough? That’s where the Shieldfolio Stonebook comes in.

 

Protect Your Recovery Phrase And Private Keys With The Shieldfolio Stonebook

What is a 12-Word Recovery Phrase? by Shieldfolio

The Stonebook is a 100% offline notebook featuring water and tear resistant pages. It’s a valuable and rugged tool to note 12-word recovery phrases and other crypto-related passwords. The Stonebook’s Shieldcrypt even hides certain characters of your private key after writing, making it impossible for a thief to piece together the words if they happen to snatch your Stonebook. 

Many Stonebook users jot down their secret phrases with the ShieldFolio Ghost Pen, which uses special invisible ink only visible via UV light. However, the Stonebook can still be used with any type of ballpoint pen. 

Understanding the importance of keeping your 12-word recovery phrase safe is an essential element of ensuring crypto wallets stay safe from hackers. Visit ShieldFolio’s website to purchase the Stonebook and Ghost Pen to back up your sensitive information.