It is incredibly important that you know how to keep your Bitcoin safe. Bitcoin itself is revolutionary in its security features, but where you store your Bitcoin and how much information you share is critical to the security of your crypto assets.
It’s an exciting time to be buying crypto. As part of human nature, naturally we want to share this enjoyment! However, it is crucial that you’re wary of what you’re saying and anybody that may be listening or watching you, as you use this information.
For example, if you post on social media that you’ve invested in Bitcoin, and have since posted celebrating a 2x,3x or 5x return, you may be making yourself vulnerable to malicious online attacks just by gloating.
You should also be aware of how much of your personal data is available publicly on social media. If someone is able to trace your activity and behaviours using information found online, you are vulnerable to attacks both physically and digitally.
We’ve created a detailed guide for you, including 7 top tips, (plus a bonus extra tip!) so that you know how to keep your Bitcoin safe. We want to ensure that all our readers have a secure and positive crypto experience.
We’ll explain the terminology and discuss “hot” wallets used for spending and “cold” wallets used for hodling and the differences between various types of crypto storage. We want you to be confident in your digital security throughout the entire process of buying, selling, storing and saving your Bitcoin.
How To Keep Your Bitcoin Safe
#1 Secure Browser/VPN
What is a secure browser?
A secure browser blocks tracking devices called cookies, which collect data and information from your browsing habits on the internet. Cookies are used as standard with the majority of websites, primarily so a business has detailed information to improve user experience online. However, when transacting with cryptocurrency it is always best to avoid any data or information being collected from third parties.
What is a VPN?
A VPN provides online privacy and anonymity through a private network made from a public internet connection. A VPN masks your IP address so that you are practically untraceable. VPN services provide secure connections which are encrypted, so you can browse with even more privacy.
Why use a secure browser/VPN?
When using fiat currency online, few people consider the security precautions taken by banks every day to prevent malicious attacks.
With cryptocurrency, you are your own bank. Using a secure browser and VPN is the first security step in your crypto journey, giving you the best chance of keeping yourself and your Bitcoin safe from the start.
Which secure browser/VPN should I use?
There are a number of safe and secure browsers and VPNs available on the market, however you should always be weary of unsafe and potentially dangerous software that can be downloaded to your device.
Beginners Crypto Guide uses Brave browser daily, we love it so much we’ve written a post about it here! There are loads of different secure browsers to choose from, however Brave allows you to earn crypto simply browsing the internet, and rewards you for watching adverts you choose to see.
It displays the number of blocked ads and trackers and displays them on your homepage along with your BAT earnings. BAT (or Basic Attention Token) powers the Brave browser and can be traded just like any other cryptocurrency.
TOP TIP: Whether you’re using a regular browser or a secure one, make sure the website starts with https:// when completing any monetary transactions. Another way to check if the website is secure or not is by checking for the padlock sign at the end of the URL bar.
#2 New Secure Email Account
What is the difference between a secure email account and a normal one?
The information contained in a secure email is encrypted, so it can only be read by the intended recipients. In contrast, regular emails can be easily intercepted and can be read by just about anyone.
Why use a secure email provider?
When you’re ready to start investing in crypto, you’ll need an email address to verify any exchanges or wallets you use. You would also need an email address to contact customer support should you need to. These emails could contain sensitive financial information or data which should not be seen or shared with anyone else.
Which secure email host should I use?
TOP TIP: It’s always advisable to have a designated email address for your cryptocurrency wallet, one that does not include your name, and is not used for anything other than your crypto wallet/exchange.
#3 Secure Password
Having a safe password is an obvious precaution, but you may be surprised by how many people risk their digital security with memorable, obvious passwords. If you use a password resembling any part of the list below –CHANGE IT NOW – it’s like leaving your house unlocked for anyone to walk in.
Do not use:
- a password used before
- a password currently in use elsewhere
- password, Password or Password123
- birthday/car reg/house numbers/phone numbers
- family or pet name
- a combination of letters/numbers to resemble a word i.e P455w0rd
A strong password looks like:
- min 10 characters
- combination of letters, numbers and special characters (*!&£%)
- unrecognisable as a password
- difficult to remember
#4 Note book + Safe
The safest way to store or remember your password is with good old fashioned pen and paper.
Treat yourself to a new notepad to keep your information logged.
Is this really necessary?
You will need to create a new password (ideally a new email address too) for every new crypto-related signup. Each password should contain at least 10 random characters and be difficult to remember. Over the years you will need to reference multiple passwords and different types of security information. The safest way of storing this is OFFLINE.
Don’t get overwhelmed or lazy with passwords and leave yourself prone to attack.
Ideally, the notebook will be kept in a fire-proof safe, with back ups stored in another equally safe location.
TOP TIP: In the front of the notebook write a “Reward If Found” should you ever lose it. Think carefully about how much you would pay someone to return this notebook. How much do you value your security and cryptocurrency information?
#5 Reputable Exchange
It is your own responsibility to make sure you are buying Bitcoin through a reputable exchange or broker.
It’s always worth doing your own further research to choose which exchange will be best suited to your needs.
#6 Two Factor Authentication
What is 2 Factor Authentication?
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is the requirement of additional verification beyond a username and password.
Why use 2 Factor Authentication?
2FA adds a further level of security when logging in to your favourite exchange or wallet. It means that should a hacker get as far as logging in with your email and password, they would then have to further verify a random number to gain access to your account. Should that be the case, you’ll receive an alert either via text or email, advising someone has attempted to log in to your account.
Which 2 FA should I use?
After choosing your exchange, install a 2 factor authentication (2 FA) to log in.
There are a number of different types of 2FAs available, you can choose one that’s most convenient or that you feel is the safest. You have the option of receiving an email or text message with a code which is typed into the exchange site after a successful password is verified. Alternatively you can be prompted with a further random question about your personal information or a series of random words known as a ‘back up phrase’.
#7 Hard Wallet
What is a hard wallet?
Often referred to as cold storage, a hard wallet is an offline hardware device which can be kept under lock and key.
Soft wallet vs hard wallet
A soft wallet is an online wallet used for buying and storing small amounts of crypto, and can also be referred to as a hot wallet. These wallets are not ideal for hodling large amounts of crypto, as storage online can leave you vulnerable to attack. Think of a hot/soft wallet as your regular wallet – store enough cash to buy what you need, but don’t keep your life savings in it.
Why use a hard wallet?
Exchanges and mobile wallet apps do not always provide adequate protection from malicious attacks. Mobile phones can easily be lost, passwords can be stolen or hacked and public computers can be left wide open to attacks by users if they forget to sign out.
Which hard wallets are the best?
Again, the market offers a veriety of hard wallets, however we recommend keeping your cryptocurrency on a highly trusted hard wallet such as Trezor or Ledger. These two particular hard wallet manufacturers are held in the highest regard. With various secure backup methods, hard storage gives you confidence and peace of mind that digital assets are not going to be stolen or removed from an attack on an exchange. Think of it like your own personal vault.
#8 BONUS TIP
After writing this article, we felt it important to emphasise that the investing and exchanging of cryptocurrencies, as with all types of trading, can come with high risks.
Education and information are key before making any investment whether short term or long term. While the tips above give you the best tools available to stay safe online and protect your cryptocurrency, it is important that you only invest what you can afford to lose.
The vast majority of traders are unsuccessful and while cryptocurrency provides the opportunity for high stakes trading, with this comes high risk.
Greed and lack of education are a recipe for disaster. In today’s fast moving digital age, the influence of social media and other social/technological advances have encouraged short term gratification.
So many of us are looking for that next like, or the thrilling prospect of admiration after spending an hour trying to get the perfect selfie and more likes than your last post. Get rich quick, buy now-pay later. Phantom vibrations in your pocket when your phone is on the table. We’re addicted to the buzz, literally!
With the correct knowledge, cryptocurrency can be traded short term for profit, but we are often so consumed with instant gratification that many fail to see the long term picture for the cryptosphere.
This is a brand new, revolutionary technology. The value dynamics of cryptocurrencies in the long-term are exciting! With supply about to drop and demand increasing exponentially, the smart investor may consider hodling their crypto assets. The technical analysis around Bitcoin points heavily to a further increase in value.
Bitcoin has seen a 10,000,000x increase in value over the last decade.
While it may be tempting to make frequent exchanges in accordance with day-to-day fluctuations in the crypto market, it might also be worth considering the long term position of your assets.
As Ivan On Tech would say, don’t get rich quick, get rich for good!
This is NOT financial advice. Beginners Crypto Guide does NOT OFFER formal nor informal financial advice, and accepts no liability for such service. You should always do your own research before making any financial decisions.