Bitcoin Q&A: How do I secure my bitcoin?

Simple rule: if you control the keys, it’s your bitcoin.
If you don’t control the keys, it’s not your bitcoin.
Your keys? Your bitcoin. Not your keys? Not your bitcoin.
Your keys? Your bitcoin. Not your keys? Not your bitcoin.
Here’s the problem: a lot of people have no idea how to even start to decide if they actually control the keys.
So let me ask you a question…
How many of you control your bitcoin with your own control over your keys?
I’m counting myself here. Very good…
How many people do not control their bitcoin…
but have it in an online account?
Or somebody else is controlling the bitcoin?
Don’t be shy! It’s okay, we all started there. Okay…
More importantly, how many people have no idea how to answer that question?
You don’t know if you control it, right?
Okay, so let me give you some advice.
If you are running a wallet where, each time you do a transaction, it generates a new address,
… but when you started using that wallet, it told you something like “Write down these twelve words…” or
“these twenty-four words, and keep them as a backup.”
Those words? They generate all your keys.
The reason you have to write them as a backup is because you are controlling those keys.
If you lose those words, you lose the keys & the bitcoin.
With great power comes great responsibility.
If you have a wallet in which you were asked to write down the backup, you control the keys.
If you didn’t write down the backup,
when you go home tonight would be a good time
to open the settings, go to “Backup,” and write down those damn twelve words before you lose your phone…
or drop it in the toilet because you were trying to text while in the bathroom. We all do it…
You dropped it in the toilet and your bitcoin disappeared because your phone blew up, and then what?
You call the “Bitcoin help desk”?
There is no “Bitcoin help desk.”
You go on Reddit and [say], “I lost my keys! Please, can someone help me?”
And what are people going to say?
Did you write down the twelve words? You didn’t?
Sorry for your loss…
All right… How do you know how to do a backup?
How to control your own [keys]?
A lot of people don’t know how to start, so I’m going to give you a very quick, little tutorial
on how to control your own keys. Okay?
First of all, what is the most secure device you own?
Not your laptop! Definitely not your laptop.
How many here have Windows?
My sincere condolences…
You don’t own your Windows machines. Your Windows machines are owned by a combination
of viruses and trojans, that are controlled by Russian and Chinese hackers somewhere else in the world.
They’re not really your machines. They just let you use them occasionally. Do not put bitcoin on those devices.
That’s like making a donation to hackers.
They have software actively looking for Bitcoin software; when they find it, they take it. Or they put a key logger…
wait for you to do a transaction, enter your password,
and then they take it.
The most secure device you own is your smartphone.
Android, iOS? It’s the most secure device you own.
Operating systems on smartphones are far more secure than laptops and desktops, especially Windows.
Your smartphone is probably the best place to run a wallet.
if you have a lot of money invested in cryptocurrencies, or own a lot of bitcoin…
The word “a lot” means different things to different people, but if you feel like it’s “a lot”…
If right now I told you your bitcoin has just been stolen, do you [say], “Eh… I’ll get some more”?
Or do you start crying?
Or do you have to have a very difficult conversation with your parents and your spouse
about why your kids won’t be going to college?
Those are the variations in the word “a lot” of [cryptocurrency], right?
If you have a lot of [cryptocurrency], more than what you would be upset to lose,
you should buy a hardware wallet.
A hardware wallet is a USB device. I can recommend a couple of those: Ledger, Trezor. Those are really good.
* (now,, KeepKey… there’s a bunch of others.
They’re a bit difficult to buy right now, because apparently about a million people noticed
that the bitcoin price went up, decided to finally join this thing, then went out and tried to buy a hardware wallet,
so they’re out of stock. That’s a good problem to have.
A hardware wallet is a little USB device which keeps your bitcoin keys on a highly secure, special purpose device.
Even if your computer is absolutely full of viruses and hackers, you can use that device securely
because everything happens on the device, and the device itself can’t be attacked over USB.
Or it’s almost impossible.
So, buy a hardware wallet. If you can’t buy a hardware wallet, download software onto your smartphone.
If you have iOS, I could recommend Breadwallet, Mycelium, Copay, or Airbitz.
If you have an Android [phone]: Mycelium, Copay, or Airbitz.
I don’t work for any of these companies, and I haven’t taken money from any of these companies.
They are just ones that I’ve used; they’ve been around for a while, I trust them to be much better than
whatever else you are doing right now.
Download those wallets, install them on your smartphone, and then when it tells you to
make a backup of your twelve to twenty-four English words — don’t get smart, don’t get fancy.
Don’t say, “Well, I’ll write three of the words here…”
“… and then I’ll take the other three words, reverse them, put them in my phone book, hide them in my library….”
“…give them to my cousin-” Don’t get fancy!
Paper, pencil. Write down the 12-24 words.
The chances that someone is going to get hold of that and know what it is? Pretty slim.
Put it in a drawer, lock it. Put it in the safe, lock it.
Then you can use your phone. If you lose your phone, you have the words. If you lose the words,
you have your phone. Both are equivalent. Any time you want, restore from those words. All of your transactions,
all of your money, you get back.
Now you control your cryptocurrency.
These wallets, many of them- Jaxx is another one, if you have multiple currencies and not just bitcoin.
If you have ether, Dash, Monero, Zcash, LTC, whatever.
Jaxx. J-A-X-X.
Never heard of it. I don’t know if it’s-
That doesn’t mean it’s not good.
I’m just saying I haven’t personally heard about it. Okay…
Download one of those wallets. Write down the phrases, pencil on paper, right? If our civilization ended tomorrow,
in one month… two months, all of the CDs, DVDs, hard drives, USB drives, would be dust.
Okay, maybe not three months. But three thousand years? Dust. We’re still finding paper from the Egyptians!
Paper lasts, yes? Paper. Don’t put it on a USB drive. Paper. Simple, acid-free paper will last for
hundreds of years; if you’re extra paranoid, you laminate it so that it cannot get destroyed by water.
You buy a very inexpensive, fire-proof safe from your office store. You put it inside so it can’t be burned.
Flood, fire, theft… covered!
Now on that kind of system — of wallets, hardware wallets with your backup words — you can store…
… I know people who store millions of dollars (I’m not joking) on exactly that kind of of system.
Once you have control of your bitcoin, it doesn’t matter if there’s a fork, it doesn’t matter if your exchange decides
to go one way or another. It doesn’t matter. You should not be keeping your money on that exchange.
You should not be keeping your money [by trusting] someone else to keep it safe for you.
That’s just a bank. Part of the reason we’re doing this open blockchain is because we don’t trust banks.


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