What are hardware wallets?
They are all the rage these days. Basically it is a device, that when plugged into your computer, have full access to their coins on there – Bitcoin, Etherum… the list of coins goes on. We have purchased all the types, studied them, even hacked them if you will. The main problem for us is that they cost at minimum $100, sometimes much higher. The same type of device could be made for less than $10, or free if you have a spare USB stick sitting around
Alright, Lets make one
We will be doing this on a windows computer. The instructions are pretty much the same no matter the OS. Make sure you download the correct OS version of the apps
- USB stick – Any size will do. Here is a 16GB one on Amazon for $7
- Coin Wallet – We will be setting up BTC cold storage using Electrum. We will also briefly go over Exodus (for multiple currencies)
- Eraser – This is where we will be doing secure moves, and deletions. The files will never be able to be recovered.
- If you want to go very secure, download and install Veracrypt
- Phone App: Authy – alternative to Google Auth, where you can do backups of your keys with a solid password
Now that we have everything downloaded and installed, we will get started
- Plug USB Stick in.
- Open up Electrum and create a new wallet, click next and next until you get the seed, copy it to a nope pad. Click back, and back, and then go forward again so you get a new seed. Copy that down.
- Repeat Step 2 at least one more time. The more random words, the better. It should have a extra long string of words like this by the end: dish birth brick alert myself jewel palace diary rookie coyote elegant office engine goddess recall suit aspect stereo use physical true snack text drum noodle cool hood tuna client history field soft salad combine slim sweet
- Create a new 2FA Wallet. When you get to your seed, click Options and check the box to “Extend the seed with custom words”. Follow through until you have a new wallet.
- Once you have a new wallet, go to Receive and put description “Cold Storage” or something and click save. Copy that address to notepad and save that.
- Next, go to C:\Users\*YOURUSER*\AppData\Roaming\Electrum\wallets – NOTE: The your user is the user you are currently logged in as
- Close Electrum. Right click your cold storage wallet, and with Eraser click secure move. Move it to the USB device, or a folder in there if you would like.
- Unplug the USB, open Electrum and ensure the wallet is not there. You can create a “watch only” wallet with the address you saved earlier
- Copy all addresses down in notepad and note which coin they are for
- A little less secure, but offers more coins. Install and create a new wallet. File -> backup private keys
- Navigate to USB, put them there
- Download Revo Uninstaller, do an advanced uninstall on Exodus and delete all files.
- If you want to access them again, download and reinstall exodus, and import the private keys. The problem with this is they save on your computer again. You cannot just load a wallet for anywhere
Other Coin Wallets – as long as they create a wallet file, that contains your private keys, just repeat the above steps (except change to where ever the wallet is located). Or if you can install the wallet directly on the drive, including the file and private keys, that would be best. The issue is, many wallets, no matter where you install it, put their info in somewhere like the user/AppData folder.
You now have a Hardware wallet. The coins are unable to be spent unless you plug the USB drive into your computer, and sign into your wallet
Want to make it crazy secure? To the point where all the information is encrypted? Then Veracrypt is for you. Here is how to get it done:
- Open VeraCrypt
- Go to Volumes -> Create new volume
- You want to Create an encrypted file container, click next. Standard is good, click next
- Volume Location – Navigate to the USB Stick and save there. Name it whatever you want
- AES is great. Any choice is great. I always go crazy and select the most complicated/highest encryption algorithm. Click Next.
- Make the size a few GB, or half the size of the USB Drive
- Create a password, keep everything unchecked.
- The rest is straightforward, follow the instructions
- Once it is created, on the main VeraCrypt screen select a random Letter to mount to. Where it says Volume, navigate to where you just make the encryted volume. Inputting the password, and it will mount it as “Local Drive” on that letter.
- You mount it every time you want to use your wallet, or dismount it when you are finished.
Now, not only do you have a hardware wallet, but you have a fully encrypted hardware wallet. It is impossible for anyone, including yourself, cannot send any coins from your wallets in the USB stick without going through multiple layers of security
We opt for security, so this is the way we do it. Hardware wallets such as Ledger Nano or TREZOR are great and use-ability are amazing. We prefer to have full control over every aspect of our coins, including storage, so we made our own. If you want to opt for a hardware wallet that is easier to use, go for the Ledger Nano or TREZOR.
If you would like to add other wallets, please comment below and I will try and make instructions on how to add it to the hardware wallet.