Cryptosteel Review 2018
Table of Contents
Cryptosteel is the idea of Wojtek Stopinski, who calls his invention “The Ultimate Cold Storage Wallet”. This basically means that it is a perfect way to store information securely isolated from the internet.
His project was successfully launched in 2015 through a kick-start campaign and in cooperation with the hardware wallet manufacturer TREZOR.
What is Cryptosteel
Cryptosteel is a device that allows you to back up information fireproof, waterproof and shockproof – an eternal backup tool for any kind of information.
This will make Cryptosteel the perfect solution for a hardware wallet as it generates a recovery seed that should be kept safe. If your hardware wallet is lost or broken, you can use your Recovery Seed to restore your cryptocurrencies!
The product and its packaging is handmade on a tailor-made assembly line in Poland. Wojtek’s family has gained experience in metalworking since the 1970s and has created a number of different objects.
Detailed plans of Cryptosteel can be found at GitHub.
The different types of Cryptosteel
At the very first visit to the Cryptosteel shop it was difficult for me to understand the exact difference between the different variations and to find the right variation for my purposes. MNEMONIC, ANYKEY, HEX or MIX are just some of the products available.
But it is not really difficult at all: First of all, one has to realize that the main component is always the same, namely the cryptosteel itself.
Apart from the price, the individual packages in the shop differ only by the enclosed characters.
some special characters
some special characters
letters A to F
|MIX||655||combination of MNEMONIC and ANYKEY|
The cheapest set MNEMONIC is sufficient for storing the BIP39 recovery seeds of a hardware wallet in the form of 24 words! This is also the set that can be added to the shopping cart when ordering TREZOR.
If you open the plain brown envelope, the beautifully designed cardboard box will catch your eye. In addition, a blue thank-you card from the Cryptosteel team was enclosed with my delivery, which was beautifully designed by the artist Rafael Akahira. Mutant Letterpress takes over the printing by hand!
The entire packaging is made of recyclable materials and makes a very good impression.
The small sticker in the lower right corner of the front shows which package you have ordered. In my case, the MIX package was provided to me by the inventor Wojtek Stopinski.
The back side contains a short instructions for using Cryptosteel and other warnings due to the small parts that the package contains. It happened quite often that all the small particles were flown out when opening.
If you remove the plastic cover of the box, you can slide out the inner part.
The Cryptosteel itself is placed directly on top and can be removed.
The ultimate Cold Wallet Cryptosteel
Cryptosteel is 105x60mm and is hardly bigger than a credit card and weighs just over 200 grams. No wonder: Cryptosteel is 100% handmade of stainless steel (AISI 304). This makes it feel more stable than a brick.
If you look at the metal block from the side, you can see that it consists of different layers. The product can be opened by turning it counter-clockwise like a fan. This runs very smoothly and snaps through the two bolts.
Inside, there is space on both sides for 12 words with 4 characters each, resulting in a total of 48 characters per page.
These places can be filled with any information that gives the existing character set. For example, it is also possible to store passwords or the secret recipe of your pizza dough.
Charset for filling
The remaining part of the package is glued with two warning stickers, which once again indicate the small parts inside. This is to prevent them from falling out when you open the package.
If you cut the stickers, you will find the area with all the characters, which you can insert into the Cryptosteel. These differ depending on the variation selected. In most cases, capital letters are sufficient here (Cryptosteel MNEMONIC).
Above there is a printed note showing which compartment contains which signs.
The signs themselves are pressed onto small metal plates, which are usually printed on both sides. It is not without reason that engravings have been the most reliable way to store long-term information for centuries.
Each compartment contains the same number of letters for only half the plates: one letter on the back, the other on the front. However, there are enough letters for each recovery seed.
Using cryptosteel with a hardware wallet
Most wallets rely on a recovery seed in the form of 24 words for their backups. This is based on the standard of Bitcoin Improvement Proposal number 39.
BIP39 allows you to save a recovery seed in a defined list of easy-to-remember words.
But also BIP32 private keys, such as those provided by the Digital Bitbox, can be safely stored with Cryptosteel HEX.
In order to use the single characters, Cryptosteel has to be opened first. The instructions on the back are helpful, but in my opinion they are formulated a bit strangely. Basically, it’s not that difficult:
If the Cryptosteel is unlocked, you are able to insert your characters one after the other.
When setting up a hardware wallet, the Recovery Seed was usually recorded on paper. This is much better stored in the Cryptosteel!
When using the BIP39 Recovery Seed in the form of 24 words, make sure to use only the first four letters. According to Cryptosteel, the first four characters are sufficient to determine the correct word. All words in the BIP39 word list can be found here.
If one of the words consists of only three characters, a fill character should be inserted (see example above under “Any”). For example, empty metal plates can be found in the compartment for numbers. This prevents the characters from slipping later on.
It takes some time to insert them, because they have to be pressed into the rows with a little pressure. It is best to use a screwdriver or something similar, although this can also only be done with your fingers. Particles occasionally twist, and finding the right character can take some time. But that’s something I find bearable, after all, it’s usually only done once.
If you want to keep your information inside absolutely safe, you should destroy the remaining characters after insertion or at least keep them just as safe as the Cryptosteel itself. The remaining particles could be used to draw conclusions about the characters used and thus the information stored in the cryptosteel.
Resilience of Cryptosteel
According to their own statements, the information inside is protected against fire up to 2192 Fahrenheit, water and shock resistant. In addition, the information is safe from strong electric shocks or other disasters such as solar winds, nuclear attacks or microwave bombs.
The last one is hard to test, but Ofir Beigel from 99bitcoins.com has put Cryptosteel through a rigorous test of his abilities. And he couldn’t destroy the information inside.
Cryptosteel also impresses me with an extremely robust appearance, so I gladly entrust my information to this tool.
My personal conclusion
If you manage a large amount of crypto currencies with a hardware wallet, you should take care of your recovery seed accordingly. Because this is the key to all your digital currencies.
It is therefore very important to keep it safe. With Cryptosteel, your Recovery Seed resists the elements and can also be secured with a lock.
The setup takes some time and the price is not low – but for optimal storage of the recovery seeds Cryptosteel is highly recommended.
If you are not satisfied, the Cryptosteel team offers a Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee. This allows you to return your device for life without further questions.
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