Why Self-Custody Is More Important Than Ever Now by@gabrielmanga
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Why Self-Custody Is More Important Than Ever Now

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While centralized exchanges may be convenient for users to store their crypto holdings if anything were to happen to the exchange, there's no guarantee that anyone can get their funds back. This is why it is often recommended for users to store their crypto using a wallet that gives them access to the seed phrase and private key. Centralized exchanges control the private keys for a user's funds, so when they go down or get hacked, there is no way for a user to retrieve their funds. 

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Gabriel Mangalindan

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Recent events in the crypto market have brought up conversations about the importance of self-custody for users. According to CNN, major crypto exchange FTX declared bankruptcy, and at least $1 billion worth of users' cryptocurrency has gone missing. Before this, crypto lender Celsius also went bankrupt, losing over $4 billion worth of its user's funds, according to CNBC. 

While centralized exchanges may be convenient for users to store their crypto holdings if anything were to happen to the exchange, there's no guarantee that anyone can get their funds back. This is why it is often recommended for users to store their crypto using a wallet that gives them access to the seed phrase and private key. Centralized exchanges control the private keys for a user's funds, so when they go down or get hacked, there is no way for a user to retrieve their funds. 

For example, suppose someone downloaded a self-custodial wallet app, and it stopped working. In that case, the user can use the seed phrase to import their wallet into another wallet application and retrieve their funds. With centralized exchanges, this is not possible.

How crypto wallets work

To better understand this, let's look at how crypto wallets work. Crypto wallets signify the ownership of blockchain-based assets, including cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Wallets consist of a public key and a private key.

The public key allows anyone to receive transactions from another user. Public keys appear as a long string of numbers and letters and act as a destination address for incoming transfers. It's similar to how bank accounts have a sort code and account number that enables users to deposit money into the account. However, similar to the sort code and account number found in bank accounts, the public key cannot be used to spend funds from a crypto wallet; this is where the private key comes in.

The private key allows users to spend funds from their crypto wallets. They're similar to a card number, expiry date, and security code found on credit cards. If anyone gets access to a person's private key, they can also spend all of the contents of the wallet.

The wallet address is another way that users can receive crypto in their wallets and, in many cases, is a hashed (shortened) version of the wallet's public key. Since addresses are shorter, they are more convenient to use when receiving crypto. Users can also generate wallet addresses multiple times depending on their wallet app. This is because, as mentioned earlier, the address is simply a hashed version of the public key.

Finally, a seed phrase is a group of random words that are generated each time a new wallet is created via a wallet application. You can think of this as the proof of address and identification a bank asks you for when you call them up or visit them in a branch to prove ownership of your bank account. Therefore, users must keep a copy of their seed phrase offline and in a safe place (i.e., a piece of paper or a computer with no internet access and very few apps). 

The seed phrase is used as a backup for the wallet in case the wallet app stops working, a user loses the device containing the wallet, or any event that causes them to lose access to their wallet. In addition, users can recover their funds by importing their wallet into another app by entering the generated seed phrase.

Solutions

The best solution is for crypto investors to download and use non-custodial crypto wallets, keep their seed phrases safe, and not store large amounts of tokens on an exchange. Using centralized exchanges may be more convenient, but safety trumps convenience regarding large amounts of cryptocurrency.

Centralized exchanges should only be used for trading and converting cryptocurrencies into fiat currency, with a personal wallet acting as a personal bank account.

Private key wallets are used to protect digital assets, and digital currency users have access to various wallet solutions. However, due to the increased difficulty in remembering and using private keys, many users forget their login information, passwords, and wallets. As a result, when the owners of cryptographic assets suddenly or unexpectedly pass away, we will never know how much money was lost in those assets.

The inability of bereaved families to reclaim digital assets that have been locked away permanently is a loss for the whole ecosystem. This loss is compounded by users' inability to unlock digital assets.

Some platforms aim to tackle these challenges. For example, Serenity Shield aims to do so by providing the first seed recovery method that does not involve custody of the seeds. In addition, a "Digital Asset Legacy" feature allows users to pick who will take ownership of their digital assets when they pass away. Wallets will be easier to pass on as a result of this change.

The business uses a "StrongBox," which houses three NFTS, each of which stores one-third of the wallet's secret. The user will be responsible for safeguarding the first NFT, the selected successor will hold on to the second NFT, and Serenity Wallet will hold on to the third NFT.

This smart contract will transmit the key to the original user of the Serenity Wallet, or it will transfer it to the heir of the original user, depending on the information provided during the activation of the StrongBox. The Serenity Wallet is an encrypted data storage solution powered by the blockchain.

Software solutions are also a better way of protecting a user's assets by connecting and plugging them into the blockchain. For example, Serenity Shield uses blockchain technology to encrypt user data, helping to protect it from foul play by malicious actors. In order to ensure the continued success of blockchain and the development of its technological potential, we must find

Conclusion

While self-custody has always been an important practice for crypto investors, the benefits of it have become more apparent due to recent events. Crypto holdings are more secure when the user has access to the private keys and seed phrases, so their funds can be recovered anytime.

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