In this CryptoSteel Review, I am going to cover a few things that you may not see on any other reviews. This mainly consists of the quality of the product and if you have any other options out there to consider for an indestructible recovery seed backup. As a promoter of hardware wallets and complete offline cold-storage solutions, this was a no-brainer for me to try out for myself.
After all, I had recently met with a friend who was moving and found that his recovery seed was destroyed because it was in a toiletry bag and some shampoo leaked and removed the ink and made his backup completely worthless.
It was after he told me about this that I was really glad I already had my CryptoSteel in place and I felt relieved knowing that if my house burnt down or it got flooded, etc… That my precious seed words would not be lost or otherwise inaccessible. I do not wish that fate on anyone, because he had a size-able number of crypto attached to that recovery seed, but that was before any of these devices existed.
In the next section, I am going to go over, what this product does, who it’s primarily for, and how it compares to some of the other options out there. Stay tuned for the full article!
WHAT DOES THIS PRODUCT DO?
This product is designed for having a backup to your backup, essentially. When you setup any cryptocurrency wallet or bitcoin wallet (hot or cold), you will be prompted to enter in a 12-24 word recovery seed phrase. This is to protect your private keys and to restore your coins to a new wallet in the event that your hardware wallet proves to be lost, destroyed, or otherwise inoperable.
It comes with several little tiles that contain letters and a metal plate for your to slide them in to form the words. This process can be tedious, but it’s worth it to have peace of mind. It took me about 30-40 minutes to input my entire 24 word recovery phrase as the tiles are tiny and some are mis-shaped and not the same size. That’s the bad part.
Assuming that I don’t need to do this again for any other seed phrases, it’s really not that bad. The good news is it comes with enough tiles to have 2 two full phrases if needed, so you have backups for redundancy, or can fashion another device to use it with if you happened to have an additional plate.
It’s fairly simple to use once you find the tiles you need, but for me it was kind of reminiscent of getting an Ikea table and opening it to an 86 page instruction book and over 500 pieces that needed to be assembled. Sure, that is exaggerating but it can be a tad overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.
WHO IS IT FOR?
This device is for every single cryptocurrency or bitcoin wallet holder that has enough cryptocurrency that they cannot afford to lose. Unfortunately, paper just doesn’t cut it and even if you laminate it, it still wont be protected if there is a fire or any other type of destructive force, even if it happens to survive water damage.
As cryptocurrency is the wave of the future, it is extremely likely that almost every single person on the planet is going to have a bitcoin wallet at some point in their lifetime, and some people have many (myself included). It is only smart that if you are going to be self-sovereign with your finances, that you find a way to be responsible and have a back-up for the worst case scenario. There is no 1-800 number to call and complain to if you lose your “secret code words” to recover your bitcoin or other crypto.
Because it’s relatively cheap and most companies now even bundle it with hardware wallets, like Trezor, you can save money and have a backup and a hardware wallet for about $200, which is a small price to pay to protect your wealth and investment. It’s an entry level device and is one I would recommend if you currently hold more than $200 worth of cryptocurrency or you plan to in the future. This is a no brainer.
It’s also nice that it has a hole big enough to stick a padlock in there to lock out potentially nosey intruders, nice security touch!
HOW DOES CRYPTOSTEEL COMPARE TO THE COMPETITORS?
This is an entry level device and it absolutely gets the job done. I have found and tested this myself by having it sit in water overnight, and even used a blow torch to see if I could burn it to the point where I couldn’t make out the letters and it’s rock solid. It does everything as advertised and currently comes in multiples versions, depending on how much of a maximalist you are. For instance, the Cryptosteel Hex, features a unique way to secure just the private key without any seeds.
“Featuring just the right character combo to keep things “necessary and sufficient,” the Cryptosteel Hex allows users to store raw cryptocurrency private keys with no third-party involvement.
The set contains one double-sided Cryptosteel stainless steel cold-storage wallet and over 285 tiles optimised for hexadecimal passkeys. These include uppercase letters, numbers and the lowercase x.
If you’re a less-is-more pragmatist – here is all you need and nothing you don’t.”
This is rarely used, but it’s nice to know they have several other options, instead of just the standard mnemonic phrases that come with standard bitcoin wallets.
The premium level recovery seed backup wallet that competes with CryptoSteel is called the CryptoTag. This device allows for a different method of actually using a hammer to imprint your seed phrase directly onto the device and is made with much nicer quality titanium and has a cleaner look and finish.
This is NOT targeted for your average cryptocurrency user and is designed for the more seasoned and upper class investor. It is a fantastic device, but at $199, it is more than double what the Cryptosteel offers and essentially does the same thing. It also has a much nicer presentation, and an entirely different user experience.
In the end, you can’t go wrong with this device. It solves a proven problem and it is trusted and cheaper than the current competitor or CryptoTag. If you have the means, I would strongly recommend getting a CryptoTag, as it is a MUCH nicer version of this product, but hey, we all can’t necessarily afford that level of a premium product.
Someone asked me, “Can’t I just forego the hardware wallet and just get the CryptoSteel? After all, if my mobile wallet gets hacked, I can just use this seed to restore it to a new mobile wallet”. Here’s why that’s a bad idea. Sure, you could do that, and if your hot wallet does get hacked, it’s not very likely that you will be in a place where you can quickly access your CryptoSteel, setup a new wallet, and go through the full recovery process on a BIP39 compatible wallet before the “hacker” already transfers it to its own wallet with backup recovery.
It’s a smarter and better practice to have both, a hardware wallet AND a backup recovery seed device, whether it be CryptoSteel for the average consumer or the CryptoTag for the consumer that wants a higher end device that has a nicer feel and user experience. This will make it easier to have both devices stored in separate secure locations for when you need it most. That way, you never have to have the thought of your “Hot” wallet being hacked and rushing to your secure location when/if that scenario happens. Just my two satoshis…
What do you think? Do you think CryptoSteel is a good device for Recovery Seed Backup? Sound off below in the comments!
The Crypto Renegade
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