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Securing the wallet: overview of the basics

There are 4 security mechanisms that prevent you from accidental loss or theft of your Bitcoin:

  1. 1.
    Two-part PIN on the ColdCard device
  2. 2.
    Seed Backup recovery codes
  3. 3.
    Seed XOR backup
  4. 4.
    Wallet passphrases

If you lose your ColdCard

  • The Seed Backup allows you to recover your Bitcoin wallets
  • Your Passphrase allows you to unlock the recovered Bitcoin wallets

WARNING

Both the Seed Backup and the Passphrase are required to recover a lost wallet. If you lose the Seed Backup OR the Passphrase, you will not be able to recover access to your Bitcoin if you lose the ColdCard device.

If someone steals your ColdCard

The PIN protects unauthorized access to your ColdCard device, should it fall into the wrong hands.

If someone steals your ColdCard and your PIN

They will be able to unlock the device, but they will not have access to your Bitcoin wallets without the Passphrase.
If someone steals your 24-word backup
They will not be able to steal your funds since they would require the passphrase. You can recover your backup using your Coldcard or the seed XOR backup.

If someone steals your Seed Backup recovery codes

They will not be able to recover your Bitcoin wallets without the Passphrase.

WARNING

If someone has access to both your Seed Backup or Coldcard and its PIN and your Passphrase, they can steal your Bitcoin! DO NOT KEEP A COPY OF THEM IN THE SAME PLACE!