CRYPTOTAG is a device for securely backing up cryptocurrency hardware wallet recovery seeds.
The recovery seed is the string of words you are given when setting up a hardware wallet for the first time. It’s like a password of last resort for accessing the cryptocurrency on that wallet. It’s essential to keep it safe, because these words are used to restore access in case anything happens to your wallet.
However, if you just write those words on a piece of paper they can get lost or destroyed, and if anyone is able to see those words they can also use them to access your funds.
Recovery seed back-up devices such as CRYPTOTAG are designed to serve as secure, near-indestructible devices for backing up private keys.
What’s in the box?
In the hefty 3.6kg CRYPTOTAG box, you will find:
The titanium CRYPTOTAG device (silver, with CRYPTOTAG logo)
A “bitholder” (a small piece of metal with eight holes in it)
Find a solid base such as a strong table, with a clear workspace, and make sure you have your recovery seed handy.
Remove the clips from the top and bottom of the CRYPTOTAG device and separate the plates.
Place one of the plates into the anvil with the logo facing down. You should now be looking at a plate engraved with 24 numbered rows of boxes. Make sure it’s the right way up.
Click the bitholder into position over the first row.
You are now in position to start stamping your recovery seed into the CRYPTOTAG.
Setting up your recovery seed
Prepare the first four letters of each word of your recovery seed. These will be what you stamp into each section.
Insert the stamp with the first letter of the first word of your recovery seed into the first position of the bitholder. Make sure it’s the correct way around. The part with the engraving tip should be against the titanium plate.
Insert the earplugs provided.
Make sure the anvil is on a solid surface, then solidly hit the stamp with the hammer multiple times. It will probably take at least two or three strikes depending on how hard you’re hitting it.
Repeat these steps for each of the letters until you’ve copied out the first four letters of each word in your recovery seed.
Afterwards, you can perform the same process in the space provided on the front (logo side) of the CRYPTOTAG device if you need to permanently label it, in order to tell your back-up devices apart from each other.
Once you’re done, and certain that it’s correct, you can use the included CRYPTOTAG-branded matches provided to burn your paper recovery seed.
Compared to other recovery seed back-up devices, specifically Cryptosteel and Billfodl, CRYPTOTAG immediately stands out in several ways.
It’s made of titanium instead of steel
You hammer your recovery key into the plate rather than using provided letter tiles
It’s more expensive
Whether the extra cost is worth it depends on your needs, and how much danger you expect your back-up device to be in, but its titanium destruction does carry some additional benefits.
CRYPTOTAG claims to be able to take temperatures up to 1,665 degrees Celsius (3,029 degrees Fahrenheit).
This is much higher than both grades of stainless steel used by Cryptosteel and Billfodl, which start to lose their durability at around 925 degrees Celsius (1,700 degrees Fahrenheit).
What this means is that all brands would be capable of withstanding an average house fire, but only the CRYPTOTAG would be able to withstand a blowtorch if someone wanted to deliberately destroy it.
Material and build quality
Both titanium and stainless steel are highly corrosion resistant, but which is more resistant depends on the exact grade of composition of each. CRYPTOTAG says it’s made of “space grade” titanium, but all grades of titanium have use in the aerospace industry, so this doesn’t say much.
Titanium is also lighter than stainless steel, but the CRYPTOTAG weighs in between the Cryptosteel and Billfodl.
Despite its higher quality materials, one area where the CRYPTOTAG falls down compared to Cryptosteel is the storage of characters other than letters.
CRYPTOTAG can only be used to store recovery seeds, while Cryptosteel can directly store private keys and passwords of other kinds.
Ultimately, the main differences between CRYPTOTAG and its competitors are its elevated price tag, its much higher temperature resistance and its energetic set-up process.
Cost and where to buy
The CRYPTOTAG starter kit costs EUR€169, while expansion sets (2 additional plates) are €99 each.
You can buy it from the CRYPTOTAG website or authorised resellers.
You can keep it wherever you want, but given its prominent branding and shiny surface, you’ll want to keep it safely out of sight wherever you choose to keep it.
If you lose your CRYPTOTAG you should move your funds to a new wallet as soon as possible, because whoever finds it may be able to use it to get at the old wallet.
The CRYPTOTAG device with two plates is 11.3 x 6.8 x 0.6cm and weighs 277 grams.
The full starter kit, including the hammer, anvil and everything else is 35 x 26 x 9cm, and weighs 3.6kg.
Find cryptocurrency wallets to go with CRYPTOTAG
Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly
volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of
future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information.
You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory
requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may
have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.
Andrew Munro is the cryptocurrency editor at Finder. He was initially writing about insurance, when he accidentally fell in love with digital currency and distributed ledger technology (aka “the blockchain”). Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, and has written guides about everything from industrial pigments to cosmetic surgery.
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