What if we tell you that keeping your cryptocurrencies safe is not as complicated as you might think it is?
To answer this, we created an easy-to-read article, which includes the definition of a seed phrase, how it looks, what’s the difference between public and private keys, what kind of wallets have a seed phrase, how to generate one, and most importantly, why you should keep a watchful eye on it.
We’re going to start with a very well-known saying: Not your keys, not your coins. We follow this motto, and you should, too. To explain this in just a few words, we advise you to hold a non-custodial wallet, so that you hold a pair of private and public keys, a seed phrase, and can access your funds anywhere and make whichever transactions you want, but with a very important note: you have full responsibility of your wallet.
As there are still a lot of people who keep their assets in a custodial hot wallet, on crypto exchanges that are third-party custody, we strongly suggest you should move to a non-custodial one and mind only one thing: keeping your seed phrase safe. We’re going to show you below how to properly do that, so let’s dive in!
You might have seen several names for it.
Seed Phrase = Secret Phrase = Secret Key = Recovery Phrase = Backup Phrase = Crypto Seed = Mnemonic phrase = Mnemonic sentence
If the above names are not enough, you can also call it the “Master Password” for all crypto accounts you own. Typically, it’s a set of 12 to 24 words long, depending on the wallet provider. This sequence of random words is generated when a wallet is created. After that, it serves as the key to your wallet and proof of ownership for the assets. You will only use it later in case you want to restore your crypto wallet, if you lose it or it’s stolen, allowing you to regain access to your funds. It’s the only backup you have in that bad scenario. This is why it’s so important to keep it safe and secure.
Even if the "mnemonic" word implies that the phrase should be memorized, we recommend you not to. Your memory, even if you think it’s super strong, should not be in charge of such responsibility. It’s a gamble, and it’s risky to memorize the seed phrase. The decision about the way you store it should be carefully thought ahead.
Seed phrases are long strings consisting of groups of random 12-24 words. The order of the words is very important because mixing the words would give another seed phrase. The phrase is usually generated by the wallet software automatically, so you can’t customize it.
These words are taken from the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 39 (BIP39) list, which contains 2048 unique words. To avoid mistakes, similar words will not be included in the same seed phrase.
A Seed phrase is an easier way to convey a complex number from the private key, expressed in simple, readable words. Each word represents a series of bits from the private key.
BIP39 (Bitcoin Improvement Proposals) describes the implementation of a mnemonic code or mnemonic sentence, a group of easy-to-remember words, for the generation of deterministic wallets. It consists of two parts: generating the mnemonic and converting it into a binary seed. This seed can be later used to generate deterministic wallets using BIP-0032 or similar methods.
The list has 2048 words that can be used to create seed phrases. The modern wallets generate seed phrases drawn from this 2048-word list. At this point, you may wonder: But how safe are these 2048 words? Are they enough? Isn’t it easy to guess a seed phrase with only 12/24 words from this list? So here’s how it goes: even if 2048 words might seem like a small number, it’s not. It’s impossible to guess the sequence of words from a seed phrase. There are more than a decillion (2048 to the power of 12) word combinations for a seed phrase. Take that worry off the list.
Because both Seed Phrase and Private Key are ways to access a cryptocurrency wallet, they are often seen as the same thing. Despite being related to each other, there is a difference between a Seed Phrase and a Private Key. Let’s see!
A Private Key is a long string of characters (letters and numbers) used for transacting cryptocurrencies and proving ownership of the funds in a wallet. When exporting a private key, you gain access to the assets in that specific wallet.
You can create multiple deposit addresses (i.e. private keys) using the same seed phrase. By exporting your seed phrase, you will be able to access all wallets with the same seed phrase (each with its own separate private key). Due to its length and difficulty in reading and remembering, you don't usually handle your private key directly. So, public keys are encoded in the form of a seed phrase.
There are 2 types of wallets: custodial and non-custodial wallets. We made a really in-depth analysis in a previous article: Custodial & Non-Custodial Wallets. If you choose a centralized exchange like Binance or Coinbase, you don’t need to have a seed phrase. That’s because your assets are in the custody of the exchange (hence the name of the custodial wallet). You actually don’t have full control of your funds, in this case. All of your private and public keys are generated and stored on your wallet app, by a third party. You can't access them in any way.
But in case you opted for a non-custodial wallet where you are given full control and ownership of your funds, you will also have a seed phrase for it.
Most crypto wallets automatically generate a seed phrase when you set them up for the first time. So, if you hold a Ledger, it will generate the seed phrase of your wallet. If you set up a wallet in an app like Maiar App (soon to be XPortal), this will generate your seed phrase. There aren’t other chances available, because the process is automatic.
So you can't really manually generate the secret phrase for any hardware wallet, nor for most software ones, at the moment it is initiated. Using pseudo-random words for the seed phrase of a hardware or software wallet could be possible, but it’s tricky. However, your wallet might not accept it if the last word is a checksum and you don't know how to calculate it.
If you are curious about how a seed phrase is generated, let us tell you the process!
It’s simple and heartbreaking. You are in danger of not owning your assets anymore.
In the first case, when someone has your seed phrase, he can access your wallet with it. If it has access to your wallet, it could also do anything with the funds. So he could transfer all of them to his wallet and steal your money. It’s that easy to understand. This is why you should absolutely protect and store well your seed phrase.
If you lose it but didn’t give access to anyone else, it’s still bad news. Usually, you can’t do anything about it.
There is a way, though. If you've lost your seed phrase for your MultiversX blockchain wallet, you can still access it if you use the web wallet, with the json file. So make sure you keep that in a known folder, in case you need access. So if you don’t have your seed phrase anymore, but still have the json file, you can access the wallet. After that, make sure you transfer the funds to another wallet of your own. And protect that wallet’s seed phrase. If you only use the Maiar App and not the web wallet, you'll need to have previously entered your seed phrase in the web wallet, in order to recover your wallet.
What is the best way to keep safe a seed phrase?
At the moment you set up your wallet and your seed phrase is generated, you have 2 options. Either you have to note down the 12/24 words and store them well, or it’s encrypted in your cloud. For example, Maiar App offers you the possibility to make a backup of your seed phrase in your Drive. Even if it’s online, the fact that it’s encrypted makes it safe. You will have to set a password for the encrypted file, so it’s your mission to keep that one safe.
On the other hand, Ledger will ask you to note down one word at a time. Ledger also has some papers in its package for this purpose. After you note down all the words on the paper, it’s your final mission to keep them safe. What’s the best way to do that? You know we’ll say this - Kryptodots! If you haven’t heard of it, you should know Kryptodots is a device. Not an electronic one, but a very solid one made of stainless steel. Its scope is to protect your secret phrase - therefore, your digital assets.
Now comes the interesting part… your secret phrase’s 24 words - or 12, by case, can be converted into dots, using a bip39 word list. After that, you mark the dots on the plate, following the instructions you find within the Kryptodots kit.
What’s neater about this product is that you can apply any scrambling/encoding algorithm you can think of to the passphrase, so only you know how to extract the information.
So, to sum up, Kryptodots is the best way to ENCODE, STORE, and PROTECT your digital assets. The only reasonable alternative to the Kryptodots is a piece of paper. But we all can imagine its weaknesses. It can easily degrade, catch fire, or get wet and become useless. And it’s not just that. Let’s say you choose to make a laminated paper that's impermeable. It’s true, you get a higher level of protection, but not the best one. It still can burn easily and also your words wouldn’t be encoded. Owning a Kryptodots assures you of this protection, too.
Clearly, you should not give it to anyone. Even if you have a problem and need help from someone, you should still NOT share your seed phrase. There are many scams in crypto around this issue.
Secondly, you should never store it somewhere digitally. That means you must assure you don’t make screenshots of it, note it in Notes or any other app. Also, don’t keep it in your gallery, and don’t take photos or videos with it. Keep it only offline, away from digital “view”.
And even offline, we advise you not to keep it in only one place, just in case. Don’t just write it down on a piece of paper and put it in an insecure location.
Now you know why you should protect your seed phrase so well. So keep this in mind: Always back up your Secret Phrase in a safe offline place. Your seed phrase is the key to your wallet. Make your journey in the DeFi universe a safe one!2 years of Elrond Mainnet
Choosing a Staking Provider comes with quite an effort and research. You should consider a few criteria to make sure you make the best choice in accordance with your expectations and objectives. There are many options when it comes to staking providers (SP), so choose wisely before you stake your EGLD
First things first: what is Staking?
In the cryptocurrency world, staking refers to “locking up” a digital asset by “staking” it, agreeing to hold it in a wallet on a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain network. By agreeing to stake some or all of your holdings, you help ensure that the blockchain on which the assets are staked, operates correctly and securely.
In exchange for helping to secure a PoS blockchain network, participants who stake their coins receive a share in the block reward in the form of newly minted coins. Staking is an integral part of a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism and is designed as an alternative to Proof-of-Work that maintains the long-term security and reliability of a protocol.
Simply put, if you own some cryptocurrencies, you can “lock” them for securing the blockchain and get rewards in return. So, in the long run, you can earn a lot of coins. This is one of the easiest ways to have a passive income from staking crypto.
There are 3 ways of staking
You become a Validator
You create a node with at least 2500 EGLD locked in a system SmartContract (this is the minimum limit for creating a node until phase 4). The nodes are important for the Elrond network because they validate the transactions and they assure the efficiency and security of the network. The nodes are required to run on secure, reliable, and high-performing servers 24/7.
In order to stake a node, you need to have a significant amount of EGLD and you need to assure the nodes have 100% uptime, are installed on very secure servers, and run the latest software version on the mainnet. A freshly stacked node is not producing rewards immediately. It is added to a queue. Note that in staking Phase 3.5 there is a maximum of 3200 nodes in the entire network, so only when a node from these 3200 becomes jailed, or someone unstakes a node, there is the possibility that your node can become eligible.
If a validator has poor performance, the network will jail it, which means that it will no longer be able to participate in consensus, nor will it produce rewards. The node must be unjailed before it can resume its role as a validator.
This way of staking is highly unaffordable for most people due to the pretty high amount of EGLD needed.
You become a Staking-as-a-Service Provider
To become an SP you’ll need 1250 EGLD to start a smart contract and be able to accept staking from anyone. A node will be added to the queue once the staked sum reaches 2500 EGLD (1250 EGLD from initial SC + 1250 from outside staking). Note that the initial 1250 EGLD are locked as a network warranty and can’t be unstaked until all the delegators' funds are withdrawn and the initial SC is closed.
You will also need to run nodes in the same manner as a Validator + you’ll need to manage the Delegation System Smart Contract.
As this way of staking is still unaffordable for most people, and it’s not as easy to maintain the nodes without some technical background experience and constant efforts, you may consider the third way of staking which is the most accessible one.
You can stake your EGLD with a staking provider
This way, you are able to delegate your tokens to existing nodes operators and professional validators (staking providers) who accept delegations. They take care of the technical aspect of the staking process, which is the reason why the platform charges a fee - usually a percentage of the staking rewards.
The minimum amount of eGold that you can stake to any staking provider is 1 EGLD. Thus, it is accessible to everyone.
Now, what you should take into account when choosing a Staking Provider
We know that usually, you may refer to it as “a staking agency” but we choose to call it “Staking Provider”, as this is the correct naming.
There are a few key points:
Other key info you need to know
Staking is non-custodial. No one has access to your funds.
That means that no Staking Provider you choose to stake your digital assets with will have access to your funds or to your private key. Also, the provider has no control or influence over the funds. The staking process will run securely through a smart contract using the Maiar app or Elrond web wallet. The Staking Provider operates the technical part so that you can be stress-free from it. The charge for that is the SP (staking provider) service fee which is already included in the APR displayed in the Maiar app or on the Elrond Web Wallet.
The staking can be done by anyone through the Maiar app or Elrond Web Wallet.
The top-up and the queue list
The system is done in a way that a Staking Provider can start with an initial fund of 1250 EGLD (valid for Phase 3.5) and be open to accepting staking from anyone. When the amount of 2500 EGLD is reached, the first node becomes active and enters the queue list. As more EGLD enters in the contract, this EGLD will become top-up. When the amount of 5000 EGLD is reached, the second node could be activated if the SP wishes to activate more nodes (entering the queue list) or can remain as a top-up if the SP doesn't wish to activate more nodes. And this process can continue in the same way for the following nodes. It is worth mentioning that for every EGLD that is staked on a queue node that stake doesn’t produce reward therefore the SP’s APR is significantly diminished.
Capped vs uncapped Staking Providers
Any Staking Provider should maintain some top-up in order to safely operate their service. The top-up acts as a buffer - in case some users unstake their funds - the Staking Provider should have enough stake not to lose nodes.
The Staking Providers that have capped their staking don’t accept any more staking from other EGLD holders once their cap has been reached. They do this in order to maintain a relatively higher APR for the delegators by keeping a lower top-up per node.
For the Staking Providers that go with an unlimited cap, the APR can go down if more and more users stake their coins, because the Top Up APR comes with a small penalty to incentivize SP to care for more nodes thus contributing to a stronger and more secure network. However, since Phase 3.5 the Top Up APR and Base APR have been adjusted not to make such a big difference, helping the small SPs to catch up with the rest of the top SPs, helping the network decentralization.
The first 2500 staked EGLD to a single node is considered Base Stake, what is extra is considered Top Up stake.
As you can see, there’s a fine equilibrium that any Staking Provider should be able to achieve respecting his own business model by choosing the right amount of top-up per node or going uncapped.
It must be borne in mind that the network APR is a variable thing, depending on the total network stake and on the yearly issuance percentage/transactions volume. So the correlation is as follows:
The Staking Providers APR is tightly correlated with the network APR and also with each provider's interest and strategy.
Helping the decentralization
Thinking long term, any of us should have decentralization as our first goal because this guarantees us a fundamental and essential principle of the blockchain. Without this, the blockchain no longer makes sense. This means we encourage anyone to stake with small and trusted/reliable Staking Providers. DYOR (Do Your Own Research) to find out the SP that meets your needs.
All of these being said, you can be sure that now you know what to check when choosing a staking provider. Also, you found out that staking is non-custodial, even if you stake with a rogue SP, being a non-custodial service no one has access to your funds. All the damage that can be done is just the waiting time for the unstake period (10 days).
If you read so far and you are not a beginner anymore, not new in staking / or when you feel ready and are up for a bigger challenge there is always the next level: Staking-as-a-Service Provider. You can upgrade your IT skills and join the trailblazers: the validators’ team.
Any choice that you make on the staking provider must be documented, first.
There are several ways to make a passive income using blockchain technology. In this “groundwork” article, we will tell you the basics about staking and lending. You will also find out why investing in eGold is a great idea.
First, let’s have a clear understanding of some terms. What is blockchain?
Blockchain — is a shared immutable, digital ledger of transactions and tracking assets that are duplicated and distributed in the entire network of computers that are part of a blockchain.
Blockchain technology is valuable because it has many applications in many industries. Here are some that we find interesting:
Basically, any transaction that needs to be private, but transparent, that might also need to be auditable, can be made via blockchain technology without a third party interaction, with no fees and zero room for fraud.
A digital ledger like the blockchain is very useful in many industries, but can it be scaled for the whole world to use this technology?
Bitcoin is the historical cryptocurrency connected to blockchain and due to its fame and market interest, it became “the” main use of blockchain in the eyes of many. We said “historical” because it was the first one, but also because it is considered to be outdated since it uses “proof of work”. This means that all transactions and assets’ tracking in the Bitcoin blockchain is done using powerful computers for problem-solving — “mining”. Once the problem is solved and a “miner” has the “proof of work” for it, he earns bitcoins. “Proof of work” is not scalable and the computers involved require immense amounts of energy. This makes it unsustainable in the long run. The mechanism was ingenious 10 years ago, but now it doesn’t justify the CO2 footprint it generates, considering the increasing number of transactions.
Thinking of the future, developers have created a more scalable and environmentally friendly method, called “proof of stake”, which calculates the reward based on the coins held by a miner.
Proof of stake is a collaborative approach that splits the reward between validators, while proof of work is a “winner takes it all” approach that bears less when it comes to network development and growth in general. Proof of stake makes transactions faster and less computing power is needed, therefore less electricity, too. Thus, proof of stake is the future.
In the American gold rush, the gold diggers started with a simple shovel and a kitchen strain. Once the gold became scarce, they had to use more advanced tools. It is said that the ones who truly got rich those days were the shovel and jeans makers. The comparison might lack creativity, but digging for Bitcoin went through a similar timeline: at the beginning, you could use an average computer, but then once the coin scarcity increased and the problems became more difficult to solve, while the transactions number increased, the miners needed more powerful computers, specially designed for this purpose. You missed this train! Is too expensive to join the Bitcoin miners-band now and the community is exclusivist.
As with classic coins, crypto can be bought and lent and the borrowers pay interest to you. For example, the BlockFi platform acts as a marketplace (middleman) and the interest rate for Bitcoin is 8%. By lending, you avoid the volatility of the crypto market and you can make a passive income.
Some cryptocurrencies also pay rewards (the blockchain version of the classic dividends), such as Tezos, VeChain, NEO, and Cosmos — via the Coinbase platform. The payout of rewards is small but steady.
If you own cryptocurrencies that operate on proof of stake, you can stake your coins. This is another form of lending, but you don’t need borrowers or a third party. You stake your coins to the network to secure the network and validate transactions. You receive rewards in additional coins from the network, like earning interest. The more you stake, the more coins you receive.
Staking is the REAL passive income between mining, lending, or trading. Once you stake the coins, you don’t need to invest any time, energy, or brainpower in managing the coins.
Staking is as profitable as mining or trading, minus the risk. Of course, it’s important to choose the coin you stake wisely. It should be one that has low inflation and volatility and has a sustainable blockchain infrastructure, long-term projects, etc. Many PoS (proof of stake) cryptos are available for staking currently — e.g.: Titan, DASH, Tezos, EOS.io, etc. We recommend Elrond / eGold and you can read on to find out why.
Here are 4 important things to consider when choosing the coins you invest in and then stake:
Here is our take on this, at Disruptive Digital — official staking provider with a successful track record in staking eGold from Elrond:
“The profitability for staking EGLD varies between 12% and 17% depending on how many people are staking. This is short-term. In the long term, the economic model is deflationary, meaning that fewer coins will enter the network each year.
There is a “catch” though. If the fee that is generated by the projects that are run on the network overpasses inflation — meaning the number of coins that are generated by the network is covered from fees — then the network becomes self-sustainable and the capitalization will stay on a lower level than the one proposed.
For example, right now there are about 19.5 million EGLD (July 27, 2021). Every year, a certain percent of EGLD is entered into the network. Let’s say in 2 years there will be enough projects that will generate enough fees and inflation will be 0.
Then the existing EGLD can remain at, let’s say 25 million, and it will not increase as long as the fees cover that inflation. Getting back to profitability — called APR (annual percentage rate) — if the EGLD generated from the fees will be in a bigger volume than the inflation, then the APR can increase without a limit. It’s like this because all the income from the fees generated in the network will go to the validators minus 10% which is Elrond Foundation’s commission for development.” — Daniel Sîrbu, Founder and CEO, Disruptive Digital