Detailed Instructions

You're ready to secure your Bitcoin investment?  We're happy to guide you through the process:

  1. If you're already familiar with Paper Wallets, skip to the next step.  If not, here's a great primer on paper wallets.  Please read through it.  We recommend using the original, most respected paper wallet generator from BitAddress.org.  Note the most important things: you should create your paper wallet private code on a secure computer, and when you redeem a paper wallet to spend the funds therein, you should "sweep" the wallet; that is, you should transfer the whole quantity of bitcoin out of it in one transaction, otherwise the remaining funds can be lost.  Before proceeding, we suggest trying it out with a small fraction of Bitcoin, to ensure that you are comfortable with the process.
  2. If you're already familiar with BIP38, proceed to the next step.  BIP38 is an encryption method for situations just like ordering a Bitcoin fire safe.  It combines the security of a randomly generated private key with a pass phrase known only to the owner.  The company producing your secure Bitcoin storage device only needs the encrypted key, which is useless without the phrase, ensuring the security of your coins in the event that the device producer's security was compromised or the communication with that producer was compromised.  The standard paper wallet generator software includes the BIP38 encryption and decryption technology.
  3. Keep your BIP38 pass phrase safe!  By itself, it provides nothing, so having this stored in multiple locations is not as dangerous as storing your Bitcoin private key in various places.  Relying on memory is an option, but if the phrase is forgotten, the Bitcoins stored "in" the fire safe will be forever lost.  Either way, be 100% certain you will not lose the pass phrase before committing funds into your new safe.  Also, store your public key, which is used to deposit and check funds stored in the safe.  Our favorite method is to bookmark the public address's page on Blockchain.info.
  4. Order a Bitcoin Fire Safe.  Our initial offering is a 1/4" thick Aluminum plate with your encrypted private key embedded as a QR Code in a 3 dimensional relief.  Contact us to begin your order, discuss options, and we will explain how to securely provide us with your encrypted private key.  In about a week, we will ship your new, custom fire safe.  Advanced custom options can take more time, and we will communicate that up-front.
  5. After placing your order, the encrypted private key can be safely deleted from your computer and any other digital storage medium.  This is a matter of preference, but it is highly advised that any retained copies of your encrypted key are stored "offline" and not on a computer connected to the Internet, and separate from the pass phrase if the location is not 100% secure.  A way to double your security is to purchase two fire safes at the same time, and store the second one off-site, with trusted friends or family, etc...  We offer a discount for multiple quantities of the same safe!
  6. Upon receipt of your new Bitcoin Fire Safe, scan and verify your code.  If your phone's default QR Code scanner will not import the code, try downloading an alternative client and scanning again.  As this is most likely a "cold storage" scenario, your funds are accessible as long as you can scan it with some software, even if not your favorite software.
  7. Once you are satisfied that your Bitcoin Fire Safe works, and you have your pass phrase securely stored in a few locations, you can begin to store funds "inside."  Simply transfer a quantity of Bitcoin to the public address you recorded earlier.  You can repeat this as often as you like!
  8. When you are ready to retrieve the funds from your safe, be sure to transfer the full amount in a single transaction.  The private key on your safe can be scanned with a normal cell phone and the code, along with your private pass phrase can be used to import the wallet and retrieve the funds with a variety of wallet software.

A couple notes on security...

  • Never share a photograph and never insecurely store a photograph of your safe with any of the QR code showing.  A partial QR code can contain enough information to reveal a key, because the QR Code standard includes error correction.  If you have a preference on the amount of error correction included in your safe, we can discuss those options as well.
  • If you wish to withdraw and sweep funds from your Bitcoin Fire Safe, and you intend to re-use that safe in the future, it is highly advised to use your own installation of Bitcoin client software on a secure PC, rather than using an online wallet, as that process will involve sharing your private key with a third party.

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