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In this educational post we show a sample 24 word secret phrase; explain how the secret phrase works to generate your private keys and blockchain addresses; how NOT to manage your 24 word secret phrase; and the correct way to store them safely.
1. Sample 24 word secret phrase.
Below is a sample 24 word secret phrase that Emerald generates for you when you create an Emerald wallet with a seed or mnemonic phrase.
If you don't have Emerald, download it here: https://emerald.cash/download
Warning: Do not use this secret phrase in this example as secret phrases are unique for each user and wallet. You need to generate your own secret phrases when using Emerald.
2. How the 24 word secret phrase process works.
The 24 word secret phrase is a critical component of your crypto assets' security as it is the initial step to generate or restore your wallet and blockchain addresses in case you lose your machine or phone, or they break, or you lose access to your wallets.
As may be seen in the image above, the secret phrase is the starting point in the process to generate or restore your addresses or public keys inside the various blockchains we support.
When you enter the 24 words in order into Emerald, it uses them to generate a "root private key". Once this root private key is created, Emerald then passes it through HD Paths to generate your private keys and addresses on the various blockchains.
These addresses are the ones to which all your crypto assets are associated.
Lesson: As the 24 word secret phrase is sufficient information to create your private keys and addresses inside the various blockchains, its security management is of utmost importance.
3. Do NOT store your 24 word secret phrase on cloud services.
The first thing you must NOT do is to store your 24 word secret phrase on cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, or any of the others.
As may be seen in the example above, Dropbox has a policy of accessing your files and data you store with them. This is a norm which is general in all tech services and apps everywhere in the world.
Their terms read:
"Like most major online services, Dropbox personnel will, on rare occasions, need to access users’ file content (1) when legally required to do so; (2) when necessary to ensure that our systems and features are working as designed ... or (3) to enforce our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy. Access to users’ file content is limited to a small number of people."
The above conditions are totally subjective, so online cloud services may access your private keys. Not only this, but their employees may go rogue, as it frequently happens, or they may be hacked and your secret phrases stolen.
Lesson: Never store your 24 word secret phrase on cloud file storage services, or ANY online services for that matter.
4. Do NOT send your 24 word secret phrase by email or text.
The second thing you must NOT do is to send your 24 word secret phrase through email services such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, ProtonMail, or others.
Neither should you send it by text services such as Messages, Messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat, or any other text app or social media platform.
Just as the cloud file storage services, all emails and text messages are captured, seen in clear text, and stored by the tech companies, and this information may be shared for legal purposes, seen by their employees, or used for their own purposes. Not only this, but, as with cloud services, their employees may go rogue, they may be hacked, and your secret phrases stolen.
Lesson: Never send your 24 word secret phrase by email or text, or ANY online communications services for that matter.
5. Only store your 24 word secret phrase on paper and in a safe place.
The best way to store your 24 word secret phrase is to write it down manually on paper and to store it in a safe place so it never touches your computer, phone, or even the internet.
As may be seen in the example above, the 24 words of the secret phrase given by Emerald were written on paper and then stored in a safe place.
Each individual or family has their own way of keeping their stuff safe. It is recommended to put the 24 word secret phrase in the same place where you keep your important documents and valuables.
Another useful tip may be to make a copy or two of your secret phrase on paper and to put each copy in different safe places.
Lesson: Always write down your 24 word secret phrase on paper and put it in a safe place where you keep your important documents and valuables, and NEVER store them in electronic, cloud, or communications systems.
To start using Emerald, download it here: https://emerald.cash/download