This article explains what is Mnemonic phrase, why it is important, and how to store the mnemonic phrase safely. It covers the following topics:
- What is Mnemonic Phrase?
- What is the difference between a private key and a mnemonic phrase?
- How do I use a mnemonic phrase safely?
- What if my mnemonic phrase is leaked or lost?
- Why is there a "wrong mnemonic phrase" prompt when I recover my wallet？
- Why do my addresses change after recovering a mnemonic phrase?
- What if my S1 wallet or cellphone is missing or damaged?
- If a private key is lost or a wallet is stolen, can I ask to freeze the account?
What is Mnemonic Phrase?
Mnemonic Phrase, also called Seed Phrase, is a list of words, usually 12, 18, or 24, to store your cryptocurrencies. The words need to be typed in the exact same sequence they were created. It is the proof of ownership to your crypto assets. Once someone knows your mnemonic phrase, they can steal your crypto assets right away. Most people store their mnemonic phrase on a piece of paper and then keep it in a secure location. Some will store it on a metallic board like SafePal Cypher to protect the phrase against water, fire, and corrosion.
What's the difference between a private key and a mnemonic phrase?
To put it short, the mnemonic phrase represents a private key that is not encrypted.
A private key is usually a string of 64 hexadecimal characters. Here is a typical private key: afdfd9c3d2095ef696594f6cedcae59e72dcd697e2a7521b1578140422a4f890
On the other hand, the mnemonic phrase is a set of 12/18/24 words, which is easier to read, write and back up.
With either one of them, you can access your crypto assets. No matter which one you choose to use, we strongly recommend keeping it in secure locations.
How do I use a mnemonic phrase safely?
When you are creating a new mnemonic phrase, make sure to make multiple backups of the mnemonic phrase. During the backup, proofread the seed words multiple times to avoid misspellings or typos.
When you back up your mnemonic phrase, it is strongly recommended to use physical media, such as writing on a piece of paper or metallic board such as a SafePal Cypher.
For security concerns, do NOT take photos of your phrase.
Make sure the mnemonic phrase is kept in secure offline locations that no one can discover or access, such as a safe box.
What if my mnemonic phrase is leaked or lost?
A mnemonic phrase is a private key that is not encrypted. Anyone who knows your mnemonic phrase can steal your crypto assets.
As a decentralized wallet, SafePal does not store or access your mnemonic phrase. So once you leak or lose your mnemonic phrase, no one, including the SafePal team, can recover the mnemonic phrase or retrieve the stolen assets back.
If you notice that the mnemonic phrase is leaked or lost, the most important thing to do is to create a new empty wallet and move your assets (if they are not stolen yet) to the new wallet.
Why is there a "wrong mnemonic phrase" prompt when I recover my wallet？
It means that you have entered a wrong seed word that doesn't belong to the BIP39/44 standard. Please proofread and check the spelling error of the Mnemonic through this BIP39 word list.
All of my wallet addresses change after I recover the wallet using my mnemonic phrase. Why is that?
For this situation, carefully read this guideline to double-check if there are any mistakes made during the wallet recovery process.
What if my S1 wallet or cellphone is missing or damaged?
So long as your mnemonic phrase is kept safe, no one can take control of your crypto assets, even if someone gets your wallet. In the case of a wallet or cellphone lost, stolen or damaged, please recover your wallet with the correct mnemonic phrase on a new device. Here are the tutorials to recover your wallet:
- How to recover a wallet on the SafePal S1 hardware device
- How to recover a wallet in the SafePal App as a software wallet
If I lose my mnemonic phrase or private key, can SafePal help to freeze the account?
We feel very sorry if this bad case happens to you, but we can do nothing about it.
SafePal is a tool to manage your crypto asset and protect your private key. However, we will not access nor store any of your mnemonic phrases or private key. In fact, your asset is on the blockchain rather than on the server of SafePal. We have no idea about the relation between one user and one address and we have no personal information (phone number, address, social media) about the owner of the address.
As blockchain is decentralized, irreversible and anonymous, it’s almost impossible to freeze account or rollback transaction. It’s different from the traditional financial institution like a bank. SafePal cannot locate the hacker or freeze an address. So once it happened, please call the police to look for some offline clues.