Your crypto assets are targets to hackers, scammers, or any individual that wants to get rid of them from you. However, you can reduce the risk by getting informed about the levels of security surrounding crypto assets. One of which includes the Mnemonic Phrase and its counterpart, the Mnemonic Passphrase. These layers of security act as extra protection for your cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. In this article, you will learn what the mnemonic phrase and passphrase entail. In addition, you will also learn how to secure them to avoid future risks.
WHAT ARE MNEMONIC PHRASE AND MNEMONIC PASSPHRASE?
Although the two terms are interrelated, they do not mean the same thing. They are terms that perform different functions in the cryptocurrency world. Let’s take a look at what they individually mean.
WHAT IS A MNEMONIC PHRASE?
Mnemonic Phrases, Mnemonic seed, Mnemonic recovery, Seed key, Seed words, and Seed Phrases refer to the same thing. For the sake of this article, we shall use these words, “Mnemonic Phrase” and “Seed words” interchangeably.
In the literal sense, “Mnemonic” implies a pattern of words, letters, or ideas that aids the remembrance of something. Meanwhile, the term “phrase” refers to “a cluster of words.” However, the terms mean something entirely different in the crypto world. It simply refers to lists of words that store the information needed to recover your crypto assets.
When you create a new wallet for your Bitcoin or altcoin, the wallet requires you to store specific 12, 18, or 24-words in a secure place. It could be on a piece of paper, engraved on a metallic substance, or stored anywhere you believe is safe. One of the purposes of these words is to serve as a backup. For instance, when your hardware wallet breaks down or becomes useless due to some reason, it retrieves your crypto assets for you. Besides, they are easy to memorize, store, and manage in a safe location.
An example of a 12-word mnemonic phrase include
Frog study failure yacht hope many film times too baby grief shame
The seed words are like passwords to your crypto assets. Therefore, in situations where you damage your crypto wallet or lose it, you can use the mnemonic phrase (seed words) to recover your crypto assets.
WHAT IS A MNEMONIC PASSPHRASE?
If Mnemonic phrases secure your Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, what is the function of the passphrase? The answer is simple. To protect the mnemonic phrases and your funds! Why? Relying on a string of words to secure your funds is quite dangerous. Therefore, you need an extra layer of security that encrypts the mnemonic phrases.
Mnemonic passphrases serve as a sort of two-factor authentication for your crypto wallets. When you create a new wallet, it gives you a mnemonic phrase that you store safely. However, some wallet requests for another password to encrypt your 12, 18, or 24-word mnemonic phrase. This password is what we refer to as a mnemonic passphrase. It is also known as seed extension, mnemonic extension, salt, or 13th/25th word.
One thing about this passphrase is that it is a one-word password that you can memorize with ease. The one-word password is the key that secures and unlocks your mnemonic phrase and funds. Therefore, if an individual has access to your mnemonic phrase, they can easily access your funds. However, if they do not have your mnemonic passphrase (one-word password), they can’t access your seed words and cryptocurrencies.
The mnemonic passphrase creates extra security such that “something you have” (mnemonic phrase) and “something you know” – are required to unlock your cryptocurrencies.
WARNING: Forgetting your passphrase can result in the loss of the funds in your wallets. Therefore, ensure that you do not overestimate your memory abilities especially when you don’t use the word often. Pin it down somewhere. The following materials give you suggestions for storing your seed phrases and mnemonic phrases.
- PAPER AND PENCIL BACKUP
Mnemonic phrases and passphrases are natural languages embedded in the dictionary. Storing these words on papers is a better storage medium. Writing with a pencil is much better than using a pen to avoid smears. However, you should ensure that the papers are acid-free or the archival types. Also, store them in a dark place free of extreme heat and moisture.
- METAL BACKUPS
Metallic backups provide a long-lasting solution to the storage of mnemonic phrases. When engraved or stamped to metals, they become more durable than paper. Besides, they are resistant to threat models such as fire, water, extreme temperature, and more.
Other storage methods include memorizing, chiseling into a stone tablet, or other creative ideas.
Your mnemonic phrase and passphrase are keys to your crypto assets. Ensure that you get yours and store it in a private location.