Cryptocurrencies have become valuable over the last few years and hardware wallets are now a mainstay within the cryptosphere. More recently, steel-crafted wallets that store crypto keys on a hard piece of metal have become increasingly popular. The following is a look at the wide variety of so-called ‘doomsday’ digital currency wallets fabricated from metal components.
The Steel Wallet Trend
Steel crypto wallets have become a popular form of storage in 2019 and there’s a slew of products crypto proponents can choose from today. News.Bitcoin.com reviewed a few steel wallets in the past that were created by the startup Cryptosteel. In January 2017, our newsdesk looked at Cryptosteel’s first iteration, which safely stores private keys, BIP39 compatible seeds, and secret cryptographic messages. In November 2019, news.Bitcoin.com reviewed the Cryptosteel Capsule, a steel cylinder device with 800 lettered tiles.
Moreover, Casa CTO and software developer Jameson Lopp has published his “Metal Bitcoin Seed Storage Stress Test” series, which covers steel wallet products extensively. People like the idea of metal-grade wallets that can last a long time and sustain critical amounts of damage. For instance, if a crypto holder’s home was on fire, an electronic hardware wallet or a paper seed would surely go up in flames. Steel wallets, although not perfect, can withstand a lot more stress and easily sustain water and fire damage. For example, steel can sustain heat temperatures around 2500°F, as aluminum can only withstand roughly 1225°F. Plastics have an extremely low melting point between 320°F and 410°F. Most hardware wallets today are constructed of plastic and aluminum components, which can be easily harmed by fire and water.
Crypto Key Stack
The Crypto Key Stack is a wallet that is shaped like a card but is manufactured with black anodized stainless steel that offers extreme fire protection. The startup claims the product can withstand fire heat up to 2200°F, which is twice the average temperature of a house fire. Users who purchase the Crypto Key Stack engrave their seeds with an electric engraver and the wallets are also waterproof and rust-resistant. The Explorers Stack product costs $70 dollars and it contains three blank mnemonic plates. The Crypto Key Stack comes with an engraver and plates can hold 24-word mnemonic seeds.
The $28 “Universal Key Package” made by Crypto Keys is another engravable wallet for mnemonic seed storage. Crypto Keys are also made of steel and the set comes with 13 double-sided keys, punch set, and stamping jig. The company sells a few different packages for different types of hardware wallets or mnemonic phrases. Each key is designed to store two words so 12 keys would be sufficient for a 24-word mnemonic. The 3D printed plastic stamping jig is used to align the letters on the metal key so the owner can punch set the words. Crypto Keys are durable steel pieces that can resist damage from floods and home fires.
The Cyphersafe Cypherwheel is an interesting looking steel wallet that stores BIP-0039 and SLIP-0039 private keys or other sensitive information. However, unlike the $70 Crypto Key Stack and the $28 Crypto Keys package, Cypherwheel has a hefty price tag at $200 per unit. But unlike the others, Cypherwheel can be locked with a padlock adding more security and it has the ability to store up to 96 characters. The metal wallet can withstand 2000 degrees of fire-based heat, and it’s also rust-proof and waterproof. Similar to the steel products mentioned above, Cyphersafe does carry a cheaper wallet called the Cypherplate which starts at $49.95 and has a unique numbered seal.
Another metal wallet sold on the market today is Steelwallet, which is an offline steel backup tool that allows users to engrave a seed on two laser engraved sheets. Steelwallet packages are made of stainless A2 / ASIS 304 / SS304 steel and they can withstand fire, water, corrosion, and electricity. The two laser engraved sheets allow owners to store 12,18 and 24-word seeds or other types of encrypted secrets. The $65 Steelwallet package comes with a metal punching pen so customers can engrave their mnemonics. For a few dollars less, people can order two engraved steel sheets without the puncher.
The autonomous offline storage product called the Cryptosteel Capsule is a steel cylinder wallet that starts at $82. The capsule weighs 515 grams and there are 800 stress-resistant tiles included with the package. The shell is made of AISI 303 steel and has more than 99% coverage for hexadecimal strings up to 123 characters and random ASCII strings up to 55 characters. The company still carries the classic Cryptosteel Cassette products as well and they start at $92. Cryptosteel’s two steel wallet devices are also fire, water, and corrosion-resistant.
The Simbit steel wallet uses a rail system so pre-made steel tiles can slide into place much like the original Cryptosteel Cassette. Simbit stores up to 114 characters and the package comes with 400 tiles to choose from. The product can withstand “prolonged exposure” to heat 600°F hotter than the typical house fire. Simbit uses 316 marine grade stainless steel alloy and because it uses this type of metal it is more corrosion-resistant than traditional stainless steel. One Simbit and 400 tiles cost $110 and the company sells packages of two as well.
The Quadrat Register is another cylinder-shaped metal wallet much like the Cryptosteel Capsule, although the Quadrat Register is far more expensive at $330 per unit and another $155 for the steel protective tube. Quadrat Register also offers two-point encryption because users can generate 128 different symbols or words and tether it to the GENESIS code list. Just like the other steel wallets mentioned above, Quadrat Register is fire and water-resistant as all the metal parts are made from German stainless steel.
A Myriad of Different ‘Doomsday’ Protection Features
There are many other types of metal wallets and products on the market today. Other variations can be made of metals such as iron and titanium, like the products sold by bulletproofbitcoin.com. Many long term holders appreciate the idea of extremely durable wallets, because they can withstand far more damage than a phone or electronic device. These benefits have invoked startups to create a wide variety of metal wallets that offer a myriad of ‘doomsday’ scenario protections such as shock resistance, higher melting points, and waterproof features. To some people, the steel wallet process seems extreme, but others wouldn’t use anything less than metal-grade products.
What do you think about the steel wallet trend? Do you think a steel wallet is necessary or do you think steel wallets are a bit extreme? Let us know what you think about these products in the comments section below.
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Image credits: Shutterstock, Crypto Key Stack, Crypto Keys, Cryptosteel, Steelwallet, Cyphersafe, Simbit, and Quadrat Register.
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