When securing large amounts of cryptocurrency for long term holding, you have several options.
Insured custody with centralized vaults is probably safe short term, but not only does it run contrary to everything the blockchain is about, you also can't be sure the company will be around in 5 years, let alone 20.
You can put the crypto on an exchange, but that's even worse with the exchange churn we're seeing.
Or you can put the crypto onto a self-generated address and secure it additionally with a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S. Even if the Ledger dies as electronics tend to do, there's always the seed phrase backup which will restore the wallet onto another software or hardware wallet easily. But what piece of mind can a little piece of paper give a person? How can you trust that it won't get wiped in a fire or a flood?
A CryptoTag is a titanium (yes, titanium) metal plate that you hammer your seed phrase into with the supplied equipment. In fact, their official tutorial does a good job of demonstrating this: https://cryptotag.io/tutorial/
The box itself has a high class premium feel. Its black exterior and extraordinary weight make it feel like a truly rpic tool, a blacksmith's heirloom more than something discardable.
According to the website this beast can withstand temperatures up to up to 1665°C. For comparison, a massive California fire maxes out at 800°C in the middle of the searing heat, with house fires maxing out at barely 600. That means the only easily-man-made fires on Earth capable of harming this are a maxed out Bunsen burner (which would just sear it, not damage it, given that it maxes out at some 1500), a prolonged exposure in a crematorium (1400-1800°C) or an oxy acetylene torch for welding, which goes way beyond that, into 3000°C territory (regular torches won't harm it).
Fun fact: not even lava would destroy a CryptoTag plate: most magma tops out at 1600°C at the most, so the worst it would do is some searing and then encasing in stone. Finding the plate after being dropped into a volcano, however… that would be a different problem.
The starter pack comes with everything you need. A 1 kg hammer worthy of Thor himself…
Metal stamps, as robust as the hammer itself. It would be tough for them to survive the hits otherwise.
The plates, of course, and a handy stand to place them in, along with a stamp holder. There's no holding stamps by hand when using this tool – all will be perfectly aligned and stable. Additionally, there's an engraving on the stamps themselves which tells you which way to face them so you don't hammer letters upside down.
One gripe I had with this stand was that when hammering the plates REALLY hard (see next section), the plates tend to get stuck in the stand and quite a bit of force is required to get them out. In my case, I needed to hammer the back side to forcibly punch them out, but admittedly I may have hammered those letters in a bit too eagerly.
Don't worry about the noise too much – the package even contains ear plugs.
Let The Hammer Fall
When hammering the CryptoTag, it's important to Let The Hammer Fall.
A good strike can mean the difference between a scrape and an engraving. You don't want chicken scratches on your plate – they're easy to mix up with other chicken scratches from wear and tear that might happen in the case of a flood or, even worse, a curious toddler.
Once you're done with this hammering, burn your paper backup phrase. The matches are included 🔥
It's hard to trust in a single point of failure. That's why you can apply the following additional layers of protection to your CryptoTag:
Keep your plate in a safe.
Any standard issue safe will do, even a gun safe is fine if you travel a lot, but a wall or floor safe when at home base is best. Just make sure it's hidden from prying eyes – you don't want all this security for someone to just take a snapshot of your plate and run off with your money. That's why it's important you always store the plates facing each other, locked in position with the included braces.
Order an extra board or two and only log some words on them. Distribute the boards with trusted friends and family, or even in a bank safe.
Yes, this makes it almost impossible to use the money on short notice, but one would argue that you're not supposed to be able to use large long-term holdings on short notice.
If your safe is portable, spam its insides with GPS tags like those used for pets, or even some Tiles. On the off chance that your safe does disappear, having hidden tags inside would let you find it at least a little bit easier until those who stole it break and discard it.
Better yet, while it will take away from CryptoTag's premium feel, you can superglue or weld those same tags onto the plate itself. It'll look hideous but it'll be a pain to remove, giving you precious time until you find those who stole your backup. You'll probably have lost the money if the thieves acted fast, but least you can find them.
The CryptoTag kit is a seed phrase backup solution that's more robust than a tattoo on your back. Sure, it's overkill for most people and likely makes for nothing but a novelty gift in the vast majority of cases, but for the few of us who are long-term HODLers, there are few options more appealing than a titanium plate that's the basis of a recieve-only crypto wallet, ready to accumulate funds long into retirement.
Sure, you can buy aluminum credit-card sized metal plates online and follow up with a much cheaper stamp set, but those plates would barely survive a stove fire, let alone something more serious – not to mention moisture or just plain bending.
And if push comes to shove, hey, maybe Cryptotag will also save you from a bullet 😏
@lopp Will your stress test include bullet stopping power?
— CRYPTOTAG (@CRYPTO_TAG) May 15, 2019
If you'd like your own or are already thinking about the coming gift-giving season, grab yours here.
Note: the unit in this review has been provided by the CryptoTag team.