Bitcoin Seed Storage Stress Test & Review by Jameson Lopp

Bitcoin Seed Storage Stress Test & Review by Jameson Lopp

Bitcoin is one of the few “assets” in the world that actually allows unrestricted ownership without counterparty risk. However, with self-custody of Bitcoin, you also bear full and sole responsibility and have no way of ever regaining access to your coins if you lose your private keys.

A solid and permanent backup of the private keys or the recovery seed phrase is therefore essential. Not only should good accessibility and readability be guaranteed. For peace of mind, the back-up should also be prepared for all possible extreme cases (primarily house fires, floods and mechanical stress).

Bitcoin Steel Wallet Review

Jameson Lopp provides an insightful overview of the resilience of Bitcoin Recovery Seed Back-Ups in extreme cases in his blog “Metal Bitcoin Seed Storage Reviews” . As part of fire, corrosion and strength studies, Lopp Steel Wallets tested a wide variety of designs and sometimes pushed them to the load limit. Many solutions that seemed safe at first glance turned out to be inadequate back-up options.

When designing SEEDOR, we considered all possible solutions that were available on the market at the time and also incorporated the findings from Lopp's tests into our design.

Lopp himself summarizes his key takeaways in the blog post “A Treatise on Bitcoin Seed Backup Device Design” as follows:

  • Best material: stainless steel or titanium
  • Shape: as small and thick a form factor as possible
  • Construction: a single solid piece of metal
  • Embossed or electrolytically etched data
  • Integrated hints for decoding the data

We would agree with Lopp's key takeaways except for the point - that the structure should be made from a single solid piece of metal. Lopp's recommendation results from the failure of the "cassette solution" with pre-embossed insert letters. If the construction is e.g. B. destroyed by a house fire or mechanical stress or opened carelessly and unintentionally, the result is a jumble of letters with 9.9 x 10,149 possible combinations, so that the recovery seed would not be able to be restored even with the help of the brute force method and the Access to Bitcoin would be lost forever.

Lopp draws the conclusion that in the case of a multi-part backup, one seed word with the corresponding numbering should be recorded for each element. This is exactly the solution we used at Seedor.

Advantages of a multi-part steel wallet

We see two main advantages in a Steel Back-Up consisting of several parts (assuming: one word with numbering per element). On the one hand, the backup can be relatively easily destroyed temporarily or permanently. On the other hand, there is another significant advantage in the application: if the steel back-up is made of a single piece of metal, an error in use is penalized and you have to rely on an entire new back-up to correctly display the data to buy. An update of the recovery seed can only be done by purchasing a new backup.

In addition, the multi-part nature of the SEEDOR safe makes it possible to customize the back-up to a certain extent and thus comply with Lopp's recommendation to store potentially required information for decoding the wallet directly in the back-up. The hardware wallet used, the year or alternatively the derivation path can be noted on an extra disk (28 disks are always included in the delivery), which makes it easier to restore the wallet at a later date.

Seedor Safe – James Lopp approved?

After Lopp put a total of more than 70 products through their paces, he unfortunately ended the series. We would also have liked to see our SEEDOR Safe in its test series. That's why we had to take action ourselves and also carried out fire tests, corrosion tests and tested the mechanical resistance at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. You can access the full test result via the following link: Bitcoin Steel Wallet Stress Test

We were all the more pleased to have met Jameson Lopp in person at BTC Prague 2023 and to have been able to obtain his personal feedback. In a nutshell: SEEDOR is “Jameson Lopp approved”! 😎✅

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