A recovery seed is a cryptographically derived security code composed of a list of random words, typically ranging between 12 and 14.
A recovery seed is a cryptographically derived security code composed of a list of random words, typically ranging between 12 and 14, which allows anyone to access a cryptocurrency wallet on any device as long as they have the right software. This code must be safely stored and kept private to maintain the security of one’s digital asset holdings.
A recovery seed, which may also be referred to as a seed phrase or a backup seed phrase, can be used to retrieve control over a crypto wallet in the event of losses or damaged devices.
It is recommended that once a recovery seed is generated, the user should jot it down on a piece of paper and keep it close by without anyone knowing its location. Note that anyone who can access your seed phrase can have custody over your funds or outright steal them even if they don’t have your device.
There are other security features attached to a crypto wallet such as authentication systems that allow the owner to set a password as a secondary safety layer on top of the recovery seed. This security model requires a user to input both the recovery seed and password correctly in order to regain access to lost crypto funds. Losing any of the two would mean losing your funds, which makes it a double-edged sword.
A notable report that highlights the value of keeping a copy of a recovery seed is the story of Stone Man. In the report, a BitcoinTalk user shared his loss of 8,999 BTC (worth around $24 billion in today’s prices) after a single wallet file was wiped out of his drive. Unfortunately, the incident happened back in 2010 when recovery seeds were nonexistent.