One of the trickiest—and most essential—aspects of crypto is finding the best way to store the seed phrases for the wallets we use to safeguard our digital currencies.
A seed phrase, also known as mnemonic phrase, is a dozen or so words used to restore a crypto wallet’s assets. If someone has access to your seed phrase, they can potentially steal your funds. Likewise, if you commit the phrase to a piece of paper, or hiding it on a file on your computer, it can be lost or destroyed.
NGRAVE, a hardware wallet manufacturer based in Brussels, Belgium claims to have a better idea: Today it released its new Graphene backup solution as a way to record and secure seed phrases. The Graphene’s novel idea: instead of writing the seed phrase on paper which can be lost or damaged, a key-punch is used to cleverly store the phrase on a virtually indestructible device.
Here’s how it works. The Graphene, roughly 5 x 8 inches, consists of two stainless steel plates. The top plate has 64 columns, each with 16 hexadecimal characters (0–9, A-F) used to record the seed. With an included click-embossing pen, users punch the corresponding holes into the lower plate. The seed phrase is revealed when used together with the top plate.
The device is similar to a paper-based voting ballot which uniquely captures a voter’s vote, while preserving and protecting their identity.
Ruben Merre, CEO of NGRAVE, told Decrypt the Graphene was designed to address two problems: "The first problem is durability—paper is not durable, metal is. And the second problem is a single point of failure: If you find my metal wallet with all my words carved in it, you still have my key.”
“We decided to circumvent the point of failure issue by splitting the key into two parts," he added.
Though the Graphene is marketed as "the world's first recoverable private key backup," a number of other products offer other, clever solutions to the seed-phrase problem. The Cobo Tablet and the Ellipal Mnemonic Metal are both use a kind of metal wallet to store ones seed phrase in plain text.
The Graphene retails for USD $148.. The Cobo Tablet retails for USD $39 and the Ellipal Mnemonic Metal for $49.