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Are We Ready to Manage Our Own Digital Treasure?

Updated: Feb 6

The mass adoption of cryptocurrencies has democratized access to financial self-management, allowing people to have full control over their assets without depending on intermediaries. However, with this freedom comes great responsibility: the safe custody of the private keys that control access to digital assets.


Every day, more and more people are venturing into the rigorous mission of being their own bank. Sovereign self-custody is reaching a new stage of adoption, with more and more people deciding to enter into what is undoubtedly a large-scale challenge.


In part this is due to the growth of the market, in part to the conjuncture of the times that are happening: bank failures, large fortunes blocked, governments out of control, restrictions on mobilization, and a long etc.


Every day we are more concerned about our privacy and the control of what is ours, but we must be self-aware since very few of us are trained to achieve this without making mistakes, and in this mission any mistake can mean losing everything. That's why before embarking on this long journey, it's important to take care of the steps we're going to take.



First things first.


Take control of your assets. "Not your keys, not your cryptos." If until now you were one of those Cryptos holders in any of the big exchanges (Binance, Kraken, Coinbase, etc.), you should know that they are the ones who have your keys that control your assets. In other words, you don't have full control, and nothing prevents them from using them for their own purposes without your authorization, just look at cases like FTX or Cuadriga.


Therefore, you need to take your keys out of there (Exchange Wallet) and bring them to a place that only you control (Cold Wallet). You will find numerous options on the market. Spend some time researching and choosing the option that best suits your needs and pay special attention to the security aspects. Once you have understood that the best thing to do is to buy a Hardware Wallet and you are clear about it (Trezor, CoolWallet, Ledger, Arculus, etc.), make sure to buy through the safest channel you have.


Ok? Now to follow the manufacturer's instructions, the goal is to migrate your keys from the Wallet you have Online to the physical Wallet you have purchased, you will surely find many videos according to your specific needs. Come on, plug the Hardware Wallet into your computer and create your recovery seed phrase. You read that right, many of these devices ask you to connect to the computer during the most sensitive process! 🤨 


If you have mistrusted this, you have your instincts well calibrated for this mission, you have no choice but to take all the measures you consider to ensure that your Hardware Wallet is really created offline, do not give in to this. At this point, you've taken control of your Cryptos, although it's very likely that your level of confidence in security is still low...




Now let´s think about your contingency plan.


When you created your recovery seed, the Wallet hardware manufacturer will have provided you with instructions (and even pen and paper) to store it analog. Surely it is not very good the feeling that has remained in your body since you have on a piece of paper at home, the clear key that controls all your digital assets: the dog, the vacuum cleaner, the cleaner, the vengeful ex-girlfriend and an endless number of possible risks that border the catastrophe, this has only just begun, and for how many years should it remain intact?Well, however believe it or not, this is the most widespread way to protect your seed today, you can improve it by graving the phrase in steel so that it lasts over time. There is no shortage of the brave one who memorizes the 24 words delegating the trust to his brain, good luck my friend.


But luckily, there's already a more elegant solution to all this: use a Cold Encrypter to encrypt the seed and store the result on an NFC card (like your credit cards). The best thing is that the whole process is done in cold, you never expose your seed to the cyber world and once stored, it is in the form of a cryptogram, stored in your own custody. There is only one such device on the market (it's called the Cuvex), although there is no doubt that

more alternatives will appear over time. With this we have gone from the problem of having your seed clear on paper, to having it encrypted in a 100% disconnected digital method, how is that security confidence meter going?





Can I be as secure as a bank?


Any self-respecting robber knows that in order to rob a bank he must take care of 3 aspects: the security system, the place where their goal is stored and hide their identity at all times. But even if he manages to do it stealthily, as soon as the custodians discover that "something is missing," a chase will begin.


In the digital world this is complicated since anyone can make a digital copy of the asset without taking anything with them, the custodian has it more difficult. But, if what he takes is a cryptogram and not the seed in clear, maybe it's not that serious, is it? If in the end you have decided to buy a Cuvex, you should know that your seed is encrypted with AES256, the algorithm used by the United States government, it would take thousands of years with quantum computing (when it matures) to be able to decrypt your secret.


Another advantage of the digital world is the ability to make "backups" and distribute them in separate locations. This adds redundancy in front of possible disasters. Here, too, the Cuvex device comes in handy, offering functionality to clone NFC cards and allow custodians to have as many copies as their security plan establishes. If you also use the multi-signature feature, to decrypt a cryptogram the signatories will be forced to be together and each one will have to enter their password. This is quite useful if you are ever cornered with a gun pointed at your eyebrow to hand over the cryptogram password. If at this point you are still not convinced that self-custody is your thing, you always have the alternative that a third party is the custodian of your keys, recently Bitkey launched a payment service in which with a framework authentication system they store your keys in the cloud. Similar solutions will be found in other hardware wallet providers such as Ledger, but Elon has already said it:

"not your keys, not your wallets 😉


Finally, always stay alert.


Technology is non-stop and since you have ventured into the world of digital assets, you are obliged to keep learning. There are always new vulnerabilities, there are always new measures, what is worth today, tomorrow may not. Have you ever wondered if the algorithm with which your seed is generated is legit? Will it be sending a copy online to the hardware manufacturer? How can we be sure that it doesn't generate the same seed twice to different customers?


Dirt always comes to the surface; the important thing is that you dodge it in time. The community does a great job on this, be a part of it and stay updated. Any supplier that makes its code public promotes a climate of transparency and even contributes to improving security. If it's supposed to be cold encrypted, there shouldn't be an encryption algorithm in the source code, right?And don't forget that your house has become a kind of financial bank, do bank employees eat in the room where the money is kept? You may know the story of Cyber Bunker; a group of computer techs bought a bunker to store their hosting service (for clients of dubious reputation). As you know, the security mechanisms to close a tremendous building are always operated from the inside, however, these guys came up with the idea that to go out to eat it was not necessary for anyone to stay and that it was enough to leave a padlock on the door. What's the point of having the safest infrastructure in the world if you don't watch your steps?


Well, what is all this for?


Well, the prize is to have sovereign control of your digital assets without anyone being able to prevent you from doing so, oblivious to all the troubles that afflict the different financial systems today. Self- custody of crypto assets is a powerful expression of financial freedom, but it is not without its challenges. Security processes, continuous learning and the necessary adoption of specialized technologies are essential for people to manage their crypto assets effectively. As technology evolves, individual responsibility becomes crucial to making the most of this financial

revolution.


If after reading all this, you have decided to go to a bank like XAPO so that they can be the custodians of your keys stored in bunkers distributed around the world, I don't blame you, I'm sure it's a solution that fits you.


Self-custody isn't for everyone and don't feel bad if you can't handle it, just remember that the industry is still maturing and there are some "false prophets" left to unmask, don't let your guard down.



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