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Self-Custody & How to Take Complete Control of Your Crypto

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Self-Custody & How to Take Complete Control of Your Crypto

Trust Wallet

By Trust Wallet

6 months ago
5 mins read
Self-Custody & How to Take Complete Control of Your Crypto

What is self-custody?

The term custody refers to the ownership or protection of something. Put another way, when you own or protect something, that thing is under your “custody”. In crypto, self-custody is when you are the true owner and protector of your cryptocurrency and digital assets – and the way you self-custody your crypto assets is by using a secure self-custody wallet such as Trust Wallet.
The opposite of crypto self-custody is when you allow someone else (like a company) to take custody of your crypto. Companies that hold and control crypto on your behalf are often referred to as crypto custodians. The distinction between self-custody and using a crypto custodian is important to note because letting anyone outside of yourself have control over your crypto carries a lot of risks.

Self-custody is the only way to have complete access and control of your crypto at all times, so let’s have a look at why this is.

Why is self-custody important?

Self-custody allows you to have complete ownership, control, and access to your crypto anytime you want. Full control over your crypto is important for many reasons including:

  • No company, person, or entity can freeze your funds, halt withdrawals, or take your funds without your permission.
  • You get to decide how and where to secure your crypto.
  • You never have to ask anyone permission on what you can do with your crypto.
  • Having control of your crypto allows you to participate freely on Web3 and access decentralized applications (dApps).

If you don’t self-custody your crypto, you don’t truly own or control it. This is because whoever owns the private keys to the wallet holding the crypto is the one who controls the crypto. So let’s look a bit deeper into how control of your crypto wallet works.

Not your keys, not your crypto: What does it really mean?

If you’ve heard the statement “not your keys, not your crypto” before, there’s a good reason for that, and here’s why.

  1. Every crypto wallet has a secret phrase that grants the wallet owner full access and control over the funds. This secret phrase is typically 12 or 24 words.
  2. The wallet’s secret phrase secures the private key for each blockchain address associated with the wallet. In other words, your wallet can have multiple private keys.
  3. Your secret phrase is the master key to all your crypto accounts (your private keys) – so whoever has control of the secret phrase, has control of the wallet and all the funds within it.
If you keep your crypto in a self-custody wallet like Trust Wallet, where you control the secret phase, then you have full control over your private keys – which means you have full control over your funds. But if you keep the crypto in a wallet where a company, such as a centralized exchange, controls the secret phrase, then you have no control over the private keys – meaning you don’t have true control over your crypto.
That’s why they say, “Not your keys, not your crypto!”.

Getting started with a self-custody wallet

The only way to have full control over your crypto is to use a self-custody wallet where you completely control the secret phrase and private keys. And the way you take self-custody of your crypto is by using a self-custody wallet. Self-custody wallets are also often referred to as “self-custodial” or “non-custodial” wallets.

Trust Wallet is a self-custody multi-chain crypto wallet that’s used and trusted by 60+ million people worldwide. It supports over 8.5 million assets, over 70 blockchains, and allows you to safely explore thousands of Web3 decentralized applications (dApps).

Let’s look at how to get started with a self-custody using Trust Wallet, in just a few steps.

Step 1: Go to and install the appropriate version of Trust Wallet for your mobile device or web browser.
Step 2: Open Trust Wallet and select “Create a new wallet”.
Step 3: Acknowledge the privacy policy, then continue.
Step 4: Choose a password/passcode, and then proceed.
Step 5: Backup and confirm your wallet’s 12-word secret phrase.

And that’s it. You now have a secure self-custody wallet!

Remember, the secret phrase is the master key to your wallet, so keep it safe and never share it with anyone for any reason!

Next, go ahead and transfer your crypto to your wallet address so that you have full control over all your funds.

Here are some guides to get you started:

Go here for a general guide to withdraw crypto from centralized exchanges to Trust Wallet

Go here to buy crypto directly within the Trust Wallet mobile app

Self-custody Do’s and Don’ts

Self-custody gives you complete control over your crypto, and that means you also have full power and control over what happens with your crypto. To help you keep your crypto assets as safe as possible, here are some key self-custody Do’s and Don’ts.

Self-custody Do’s:

  • Store your wallet’s secret phrase in a safe place: Make multiple backups of your secret phrase, store each one safely, and optionally use something like a Cryptotag or Cryptosteel for durability.
  • Write the secret phrase in the correct order: Be sure to write down the secret phrase in the same order it is given to you and double-check the exact spelling of each word. One wrong letter or the wrong will make your secret phrase incorrect.
  • Transfer your digital assets to your own wallet when possible: If you use a centralized exchange (CEX) to buy cryptocurrencies, just be sure to transfer them to your own self-custody wallet as soon as possible, so you can take full control of your funds.

Self-custody Don’ts:

  • Provide your secret phrase to anyone: If anyone asks you for it (even if they say they are technical support), it’s likely a bad actor trying to steal your funds.
  • Store your secret phrase in a place where it can be easily discovered: For example, don’t write your secret phrase down in a text file stored in your email inbox or on your computer.
  • Keep your funds in a custodial wallet: Centralized exchanges (CEXs) can be convenient for buying crypto assets, but they are stored in a custodial wallet where you don’t control the private keys. This can be risky as you could lose your funds in an unforeseen event.

Self-custody: The only way to truly own your crypto

The only way to guarantee the safety of your crypto is to keep your digital assets in your own self-custody wallet. When your assets are in a wallet where you control the secret phrase and private keys, you have true ownership of your assets and no other person or company can take control of your assets without your permission. True ownership of your crypto assets is not only critical for your own financial freedom and peace of mind, it’s also required if you want to participate freely in Web3.

With that in mind, here are some guides and links to help you dive deeper into the security and freedom of crypto self-custody using Trust Wallet.

A general guide to withdraw crypto from centralized exchanges to Trust Wallet

How to deposit crypto to Trust Wallet using Coinbase Pay

How to deposit crypto to Trust Wallet using Binance Pay

How to secure your Trust Wallet

How to buy crypto directly within the Trust Wallet mobile app

How to restore your wallet using your secret phrase

Why your secret phrase cannot be guessed


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