It’s a situation no-one ever wants to be in where you are forced to give up your Bitcoin in a brute force, $5 wrench attack.
Just the thought of having burglars turn up at your house, threaten your family and rob you of everything is a terrifying thought.
However, if you keep everything you have on a single wallet then you could risk losing it all in this situation.
That’s where duress wallets come in to at least make sure you don’t lose everything.
A duress wallet is a wallet that you keep a small amount of Bitcoin on that you are not afraid to lose in the worse case scenario.
It can be a totally separate hardware wallet to where you keep the majority of your Bitcoin or it can be on the same device but accessed via different PIN number.
The easiest approach is to have multiple cold wallets and with the wallet with the most Bitcoin on stored safely out of your house in a safe deposit box somewhere else.
Then you have a wallet with a smaller amount on that won’t hit you as hard if you have to hand it over.
However, if you just have the one wallet then make sure that it gives you the option to set up a duress wallet.
This will usually take the form of creating a different PIN number on the device to access different wallets that it creates but check the guide from the manufacturer.
If you do decide to create a duress wallet with a second PIN, consider how you’d be in the situation to enter the duress wallet PIN when under threat.
Obviously, one of the last things you want is to give away all your Bitcoin when in a very high emotional situation by putting in the wrong PIN or the robber suspects something when you enter a duress PIN.
If the robber is savvy enough, he could notice it’s a decoy and not stop there.
However, the absolute worst case scenario is losing your life over it – your Bitcoin can be replaced over time but you can’t. So you might just have to hand it over and live to buy another day.
The “lower risk” option is to have a separate wallet which you would be “OK” with handing over should the worse case happen. Then keep the rest of your Bitcoin on different wallets that are securely locked up in safe deposit boxes outside of your property in dedicated vaults.
You’re probably a little worried now and that’s good, it means you are aware of danger and can prepare by upping your Bitcoin protection.
Having said that, the likelihood of you needing a duress wallet for a physical attack is relatively low compared to an online threat, as long as you don’t dox yourself, particularly in public places and make yourself a target. Although this does depend on where you are in the world.
Doxing is when you put your Bitcoin holdings on public display and they can be tied to you in real life. The more exchanges and services you use, the more chance your details could end up in the wrong hands with a hack and your details leaked.
Thankfully, we have some security tips to help you up your safety game so you don’t leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind you both online and offline.
The aim really is to make it as difficult as possible for any attacker to get your Bitcoin. This will slow them down enough which could lead them to getting caught if they have to drive you around to different vaults, especially if those vaults are only open during business hours. Plus added complexity to get your Bitcoin if the wallets are in different locations.
By doing these things you will increase the difficulty for an attack to get your Bitcoin by multitudes, which could end up saving them.
Hopefully you will take this opportunity to assess your current Bitcoin security situation and keep yourself safe.
Where Can I Get a Duress Wallet?
Below is a list of companies that manufacture Bitcoin duress wallets that we’re aware of and we’ll add to it as we discover more.
These aren’t referrals or endorsements, you will still need to DYOR on these products:
|Ledger (Advanced Passphrase)||https://www.ledger.com/|