Billfodl is a secure way to create backups of your Bitcoin (BTC) or hardware wallet seed words.
Normally, when you setup a Bitcoin (BTC) hardware wallet, you are directed to write down a 12 or 24 word backup seed words. These words can be used to recreate and restore your crypto wallet in case your hardware wallet is lost, stolen or damaged.
The Billfodl is made from stainless steel and has laser cut engraved tiles. This together allows you to place those tiles to save passwords and mnemonic phrases (BIP 39) in its stainless-steel case that is very resistant to shockproof and to potential dangers like corrosion and water damage and it is also fireproof.
This short video provides a nice overview of the Billfodl:
Paper recovery seeds may seem like they are the safest and most secure way of storing your money offline. In fact, most hardware wallets come with a piece of paper that they direct you to use to backup your private keys. Like this cold storage that comes with the Ledger Nano S or Nano X:
What it doesn’t protect against is when something unexpected happens such as fire and/or flood damage.
A flood could easily destroy your paper backup, even if it’s stored inside a safe. A fire could also wreck your recovery seed in a heartbeat.
There are many other downfalls of paper. Ink tends to fade after a long time and can leave you with a blank piece of paper over time.
A piece of paper also happens to just be a piece of paper. When someone sees a piece of paper with a bunch of random words their first reaction to it is that it could just be trash, and for many that’s what’s happened. You don’t want to end up like this guy who had his seed thrown away by his cleaning staff.
Here is an extreme example of what the Billfodl protects against:
As you can see in this video, the laser cut engraved tiles are still readable after being melted by a torch.
On the Billfodl website there are stories of investors who made the mistake of thinking that they were securing their private keys properly:
I had my seeds written in a paper notebook that I put in my safe which was 4 1/2 feet off the ground. During Hurricane Harvey we got 6.5 feet of water. I had $1 million of [cryptocurrency], now I have nothing.
We feel that anyone with significant amount of crypto assets who is relying on paper seeds as backups should consider a Billfodl.
Having a multiple backup strategy for $80 to $160 is a rather cheap insurance policy against many potential threats that paper backup seeds introduce.
You never know when misfortune will strike and there is no reason to be unprepared when the risk can be easily eliminated.
The price of a Billfodl was recently lowered. It is currently the cheapest steel backup device for 24 words at $99 with free shipping in the USA.
Customers from outside the USA get free shipping when ordering two or more devices.
When you first get your hands on your Billfodl box, you’ll note it is quite heavy.
Slide the inner casing out and let’s get started:
After removing your Billfodl from its box you will see that the second layer under the stainless steel apparatus is laser engraved character tile sheets. Just punch out each tile as you need them.
Once you have a tile in your hand and your Billfodl in the other, it’s time to place the tiles.
Take one tile and insert it into the flathead screw on the top left of the flipped open device. Take the same tile and insert it into the safety level in the bottom right and pop open the slide. If this part is confusing you should watch this video of the Billfodl team opening it up. It took me a minute to understand, but once you figure it out it’s very easy:
Once complete, your seed will look something like this:
The Billfodl does protect against the EMP blasts of nuclear explosions, but not the temperatures of a nuclear blast zone. Also, if you lose the Billfodl, you’ll still need either another copy of your seed phrase or the hardware wallet itself. So it may be worthwhile to have some backups on paper, some on Billfodls, and your hardware wallet.
When setting up your Billfodl, you will notice that there are 96 total character slots available. That is because you only need 4 letters for each word in your backup phrase.
This can be confusing to many users because many of the backup words have more than four letters.
Not to worry.
Each word in your backup phrase comes from the BIP39 word list. Each word in that list is unique within the first four letters. That means that there are no two words with the same first four letters.
When you go to restore a wallet, usually the word will be autofilled for you once you input the first four letters. That is why the Billfodl (and basically all other backup devices) only have you backup the first four letters.
Anyone who can find your Billfodl has access to your coins. It is a backup, after all. For that reason, you should hide your Billfodl somewhere no one will likely find it. Because the Billfodl is almost indestructible, that means you can get pretty creative with where you put it.
One user reportedly placed it in his pool filter. Since the Billfodl is made of marine grade stainless steel, it was perfectly safe there and was an unlikely place for someone to look.
However, some people opt to use another product from Billfodl called a “Multishard”. This allows users to split their seed phrase up into 3 parts, of which you need any two of them to recover your coins. This means that if someone finds one of the shards, they cannot take your coins.
The Multishard also acts as a backup in case one of the Billfodls is lost (such as in building rubble after a fire).
Either way, you should have several backups of your seedphrase, so that means you should probably have a few Billfodls or a Multishard.
Review by: Jordan Tuwiner
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