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Its the season of the bulls and everyone is excited, well, everyone except those who have no single Crypto to their names. Nevertheless, it's an exciting season all the same, whether you have any crypto investments or not because its the dawn of a new beginning, the era of decentralization, where the people would have more say in their lives than in the past, where the government's power and authority over the people will be restricted where it shouldn't have been in the first place.
Now if you are reading this, I assume you have some Crypto holding to your name because you are presently reading this from a crypto-based blog, but if you don't have any yet, your intention is to have some right? So let me ask you, do you have total control of your crypto wallet? I mean the ones you have earned or bought, do you have them totally secured? And the ones you intend to buy or accumulate, do you know how to secure them?
When it comes to cryptocurrencies, there is usually more noise about earning, buying, investing and accumulating them than there is in securing them. I mean it is easy to be sidetracked thinking it is all about owning it when half of the effort (for the vigilant) goes into making sure it is safe.
Securing your online assets is a job on its own and if you let your guard down, you lose all your assets.
I know your mind might go straight to hackers when you read about losing your online assets, well that is one way to lose it but that isn't the only way and from experience, it is easier to just misplace the keys to your assets than losing them to hackers.
Yeah, now I am gradually arriving at the point I am trying to drive home with this article. Our crypto tokens are virtual assets, which means they are there but you cannot touch them, you can only see the figures going up and down but you can't actually feel them, you can't hide them away under your bed or in that safe deposit box in your house (or can you?) but what you can feel and touch are the keys and passwords with which you have secured them on the internet by writing them down.
WRITE DOWN YOUR PASSWORDS & PHRASES IN A JOTTER
Yes, keys, passwords and recovery phrases, terms you get to deal with every day in the cryptosphere. These phrases and keys are mostly gibberish of random words and numbers which means it is easy to lose your assets if you don't write them down and keep them safe. Why were these passwords designed to be hard to remember? Why do they have to be so much long phrases of nonsense? Why do they have to be 12 random words? Why are we usually asked to write them down? There is one simple answer to all these questions - Security.
A working, efficient and effective security system is supposed to be difficult to bypass, isn't it? Is not supposed to be porous, the passcodes aren't supposed to be guessed right, even in 1 million trials. That simply is the idea behind these long gibberish passwords and phrases. Now, these platforms, websites and apps have done their part by generating these un-guessable phrases, your part is to write them down and secure them, and you should if you are serious about not losing your assets online.
What motivated me to write this article? 5 days ago, I realized I couldn't get back into my leofinance.io account after I had logged off. It was a relatively new account but I had posted 3 articles there and had already accumulated some $. When I tried to log back in, I realised there had been some phrases generated for me at the time of my signup that I didn't save, I was careless and it just dawned on me that I had lost that account forever because there is no recovering of password through email or phone number. This realization immediately took me back to the many crypto tokens I had gotten through airdrops in 2017 but ultimately lost because I could no longer remember my Login details. I had forgotten where I had written the backup phrases to some of those accounts. Yeah, I wrote them down alright, but because I thought some of those coins wouldn't amount to anything (we called them shitcoins) I wasn't careful about keeping those phrases as safe as I should have.
I had gotten 270 dogecoins when it was worth around $0.00023 per token (now $0.054 - 0.08 when Elon Musk hyped it) I also got about 23 WAVES when it was below $1 per token (now $11 per token).
So in these two token alone combined, I have lost around an estimated value of $500. I have lost them and there is no getting them back, but I am sure I am not alone in this as this happens more often than it is talked about.
There are millions in BTC and other coins and tokens locked away safely, lost to their owners because of a situation like mine - CARELESSNESS.
Actually, I didn't lose my DOGECOIN because I couldn't remember my Login, I lost it because I left it on Cryptopia, which is the Exchange I had used to receive the airdrop. Cryptopia was hacked in 2019 and crypto assets worth around $16million was stolen and the exchange didn't survive that hacking, neither did my Dogecoin. This brings me to another point in the measures you should take in securing your coins and tokens.
DONT HODL IN EXCHANGES
If your goal is to HODL on to your coins or tokens for a long time, make sure you are not hodling on an exchange because there are factors and variables at play that are way beyond your control and you could just lose your assets. One of the ways you could lose your assets HODLED on exchanges is through de-listing. An exchange for whatever reason might just decide to remove a particular coin from their platform but before they do this, they are likely to inform you through E-mail and give you a 30 days notice to transfer out your coin or risk losing it. What happens when this mail ends up in your spam box and you don't get to see it? One of the main reasons why I was reluctant to send out my Dogecoin was, I didn't really know where to send it to. I mean I had wallets then but I wasn't sure if my wallets could store Doge because I had gotten into a bit of discussion with one of my airdrop buddies then and he told me how he had lost a particular coin because he had sent it to a wallet address that doesn't support such token. So, this brings me to yet another security measure you should always take in securing your coins and tokens.
KNOW THE WALLETS THAT SUPPORT YOUR TOKENS
There are universal wallets that support a long list of different tokens and coins and there are dedicated wallets that support a few dedicated tokens and coins too. You just have to know where your assets can be stored safely without being lost. You don't have to know it by heart or try to memorize them, there are lots of wallets and many types of tokens on various networks ERC-20, BEP-20 etc, you just have to always do a quick internet search when you are feeling a bit confused right before sending out your coin.
USE COLD WALLETS
Cold wallets are the most secure means of storing your crypto assets as there are no chances of hacking and any form of internet compromise because your coins and tokens are stored in a physical device which only comes on when you wish to send or receive coins. So like we mentioned somewhere at the beginning of this article, it seems you could physically hide your crypto assets after all. Cold wallet or Hardwallets as you could also call them are primarily USB devices that help you generate and store your private keys offline, outside of the internet.
Using 2 Factors Authentication is one of the ways to guarantee you don't lose your assets to phishers and hackers. What it basically does is confirming that whatever action is being carried out on your wallet is initiated by you, just the way OTP does. This works best when you have your 2FA app on a device different from the one you carry out your transactions on. So what would happen in this case is, the code required to complete a transaction on gadget A is generated on gadget B, this guarantees safety and security for your assets. Each generated password becomes useless after a few seconds and you will have to wait for the app to generate a new one. There are Google Authenticator and Authy, which are the two most used 2 Factor Authenticator apps on the internet.
DONT CLICK ON EVERY LINK YOU SEE
There are many ways hackers can get into your device and steal your personal information, one of them is through Phishing and this is done by indirectly making you click on obscure links. Sometimes you could stumble upon links with inviting captions on the internet and you could ignorantly click on them without knowing you are handing over the keys to your castle to hackers. Fact is, many people don't know how they are hacked but I would say this technique comes up 7 times in every 10 hackings. Treat the internet like s*x, don't click anything you see, or you run the risk of losing your assets.