Cryptosteel is a simple, reliable way of storing cryptocurrency private key backups.
- Simple key and recovery seed storage
- Highly durable key backup
- Options for storing hex keys, recovery seeds and more
Not so great for:
- Anything except physical backups
Check out our full list of pros and cons or read on.
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Learn more about Cryptosteel
What is Cryptosteel?
Cryptosteel is simple. It’s a piece of stainless steel that comes with a lot of tiles bearing numbers and letters. You can slot all these little numbers and letters into the main Cryptosteel piece in any order you want.
This lets you “write” your own seed phrases or cryptocurrency keys into an almost indestructible device where you know they’ll be safe.
Depending on what kind of information you want to “write” into your Cryptosteel, you can order a different pack of tiles with your Cryptosteel.
There are four different options, ranging from the more simplistic US$79 (approximately NZ$115) “Hex” to the $199 (approximately NZ$290) “Mix” pack.
The difference between them is how many tiles you get with it, and the kinds of characters that are stamped onto those tiles.
This option is designed to store raw cryptocurrency private keys that usually consist of a lot of lowercase x’s and numbers. It comes with over 285 tiles optimised to that end.
The information on Cryptosteel Hex will generally allow access to individual wallet addresses for individual cryptocurrencies.
This option is Cryptosteel’s bestseller. It’s specifically designed for storing the seed phrases that back up cryptocurrency wallets, which generally take the form of a set of random words.
It’s designed for you to write full words, or up to the first four letters of each word in a phrase, into the device. But you can write anything you want.
It comes with over 245 uppercase letter tiles for acronyms and words.
The information on a mnemonic Cryptosteel will generally lead to a multicurrency cryptocurrency wallet, which can contain many different individual addresses.
This option is a cold storage system designed to let you write almost anything you want, including special characters and both uppercase and lowercase letters. It also includes blank characters to represent spaces, and you can use it for passwords of all kinds.
This option comes with over 370 tiles.
This combined option comes with over 655 character tiles. It combines the Mnemonic character set with the Anykey character set.
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You can order several different models of Cryptosteel. The difference between them is what kind of numbers and letters come with it. Across all devices, you can write up to 96 characters, divided across six separate lines, each of which can store up to 16 characters.
It’s a double-sided device with three lines on each side.
Where to buy Cryptosteel in New Zealand
You can buy Cryptosteel online through the Cryptosteel website.
Cryptosteel is literally just a piece of extra-durable metal, making it about as secure as a key backup can possibly be.
- Fireproof up to 1,200°C – good enough to survive most house fires
- Impact resistant
How does Cryptosteel work?
When you create or set up a cryptocurrency wallet, you will always get at least one address and a “password” known as a private key.
Cryptosteel, private keys and seed phrases
- Private key. This private key allows access to the contents of a single cryptocurrency wallet. The Cryptosteel Hex is designed to store these private keys directly.
- Seed phrase. But in many cases, you will get an entire list of words variously known as a “seed phrase,” a “back-up phrase” or a “recovery phrase.” This is often the case with cryptocurrency hardware wallets and other multi-currency crypto wallets. That list of words will unlock the entire multi-currency wallet, and allow you to import all the contents of that wallet to a new device. The Cryptosteel Mnemonic option is designed to hold these phrases.
What else do I need to know about Cryptosteel?
Recognising the real need for a highly secure physical backup in the cryptocurrency world, Cryptosteel turned to crowdfunding in 2015 and reached almost three times its funding goals.
It has continued to be a popular option since then, and has been recommended by a range of high-profile figures in the cryptocurrency world.
Billfodl is a similar product that works almost exactly the same as Cryptosteel. It also starts at a similar price point.
There are some key differences though.
- Steel grade. Cryptosteel uses 304-grade stainless steel while Billfodl is made of 316-grade stainless steel. The difference there is that Billfodl’s 316-grade steel has 2% molybdenum added, which gives it some additional corrosion resistance compared to Cryptosteel. Functionally, this means Billfodl is more resistant to acid solutions at high temperatures, chlorine and salty environments. This means it might fare slightly better outdoors in coastal areas or in the ocean for extended periods of time.
- Tile make. The Billfodl tiles are laser cut while Cryptosteel tiles are stamped. This means the Billfodl’s tiles are slightly more uniform, which can make it quicker and easier to load them.
- Tile distribution. Your tile arrangement will depend on which model of the Cryptosteel you get, while the Billfodl gives a standard distribution each time. The Billfodl works for all hex keys and seed phrases, while your options for the Cryptosteel will depend on the tile set you’ve ordered.
- Simple. Like other products of its type, Cryptosteel is almost as simple as cryptocurrency backups get.
- Durable. Like other backups, Cryptosteel is one of the most robust ways in the world of storing cryptocurrency seed phrases.
- Tile variety. The different tile set options mean you can get a bit more flexibility with Cryptosteel.
- Semi-random tile sets. The tile sets are semi-randomised, and so what arrives might not perfectly match your seed phrase. It’s possible to generate your own suitable seed if needed though.
- Non-competitive pricing. The Cryptosteel is not the most competitively priced option for storing recovery seeds.