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Tips to Backup your Bitcoin Wallets and 2FA keys

Tips to Backup your Bitcoin Wallets and 2FA keys

Backing up your Bitcoin Wallet and 2FA keys and other crucial PC data is often overlooked. Your writer recently had a PC failure not long after making a £2000 transaction and the coins had not yet been moved to hardware wallets. With 500 Litecoins in the balance, recovered by a simple application of the wallet seed.

At minimum, backups of your wallets should be encrypted and stored on: Multiple PCs or devices you own, for example backup your encrypted wallet.dat to your phone’s SD card, memory sticks etc. Ensure the passphrase is strong. If you put it in the cloud, ensure that the passphrase is STRONG with good entrophy!!!!

Seeds for hardware wallets should be written down and stored in multiple locations, or remembered by reciting over and over. They could be encrypted and stored on memory sticks for added convenience, but keep them on offline only PCs, if stored on an online PC for backup ensure the seed is strongly encrypted and only ever decrypted on an offline PC. Same goes for restoring the seed.

Never store unencrypted copies or type and seeds on an online PC. If you are using a seed for a wallet like electrum for a ‘hot’ wallet, import the same seed on electrum mobile for your phone and tablet, not only does this streamline funds access, this can add an extra backup.

Note the seed for 2FA electrum wallets holds 2 of the 3 keys so if you restore a 2FA electrum wallet this way you no longer get the benefits of the trustedcoin 2FA protection. If you backup the wallet file in electrum for these as I did, you can still take advantage of the 2FA protection upon restore, the wallet file only has 1 of the 3 keys. You must still keep the 2FA seed safe incase trustedcoin goes bust.

Coins safely moved from hot wallet to hardware wallet, which the hot wallet not long after the customer paid without backups would have been forever lost. Backup, backup, backup!

As for google authenticator keys, i scan all my authentication QR codes to my phone, tablet, and iPod touch all of which are encrypted with passcodes. I store encrypted copies of all 2FA keys on a disk and USB stick.