Hardware wallet – external hard drive

Bitcoin Questions and AnswersCategory: General questionsHardware wallet – external hard drive

Jonf asked 1 year ago

Is it good to use an external hard drive as a hardware wallet?

1 Answers
Steven Hay answered 1 year ago

Hi Jonf,
It’s not possible to use anything but a hardware wallet as a hardware wallet – it’s a specialised piece of tech. Hardware wallets (such as the products made by Trezor, Ledger, Keepkey, etc.) are devices designed to generate a random private key and securely store it, such that the private key can never be accessed by any other device.
Hard drives, USB sticks, DVDs, etc. are all designed for file storage and reading. Even if you place your private key (whether in file or seed phrase format) in an encrypted file / drive, at some point you’ll still need to decrypt it in order to access the funds it controls. At that point, your privkey could leak.
So, while you can use an external drive for backup purposes, you won’t achieve anywhere near the same level of security as you will by using a hardware wallet. The best approach is to generate a new wallet using a hardware wallet, backup the hardware wallet’s seed phrase in a secure, physical permanent manner, then send your existing coins to an address controlled by that hardware wallet.

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