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A few questions before setup my coldcard

Hi guys!

Recently I bought a coldcard and I was only testing it. Now, I want to setup it correctly and use it as my official cold storage. Before that, i have a few questions:

(About PIN)

1-I readed that it’s recommend to use a 4-4 pin but a 3-3 pin it’s still safe? Because 3-3 pin could be more memorable.

2-Do you recommend backup the pin on paper? Obviously not with the seed backup. Anyway, if you forget the pin, while you have the seed you just could bought another coldcard or wallet and you can recover / move your founds.

(Passphrase)

3-Do you always recommend to use a passphrase? I mean, it’s cool that if anyone find your seed, you are still safe because you have a passphrase and it gives you time to move your founds but I have fear of forget it. Other option it’s backup the passphrase on paper like the pin, but it’s good?

(About seed)

This step really it’s optional. I want to manually generate my seed to “don’t trust anyone” and to have a really randomly seed.

4-I “manually” generated a seed following the next guide [seed generation](https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/diy-bitcoin-private-key-project). I followed all steps but in a tails USB and in an old computer that i don’t use. The “problem” could be that after that, i used this computer to navigate on internet. Always with tails and tor but it could be unsafe, really? Another option that i thinked it’s generate a 23 seed with the dices, manually convert the binary to decimal numbers and write the words. After that, i could enter the 23 words and use one of the options that coldcard offers (the checksum of 23 words). I think that it’s more safe because you don’t have to use a computer or any online device.

For now there are all my questions. I hope that anyone can help me and give me your opinion.



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3 Comments

  1. 1. 4 is more entropy than 3, so it’s safer. All this pin is doing is allowing you to access wallet.

    2. No. The pin just allows access to the cc. If you lose your pin, you have multiple tries to unlock before it bricks the wallet. You can always buy a new hardware wallet and input seed to recover funds.

    3. Yes. If someone discovers your pin, has access to your cc and you don’t have a passphrase your money is gone. This is one of the major advantages of having a hardware wallet.

    4. This is a device designed for the super paranoid. It’s up to you to decide how far that paranoia extends. I mean this wallet has air gap functionality. A self destruct pin, fake wallet pin. Passphrases, secure logout, multi-sig and a bunch of other features I can’t remember. It has “shoot this” printed on the secure element to assist with physical destruction. Only you can answer how much opsec is enough.

  2. 1. Don’t know the device, so can’t comment.

    2. Up to you. If you feel you might forget it, you could back it up. You can store it with the seed, because the seed alone is enough to gain access to the funds if you don’t have a passphrase configured. Knowing the PIN adds no further information.

    3. If you use a passphrase, you should back it up somewhere. And somewhere other than your seed back up.

    4. The only way that the past history of the computer can affect your Tails sessions is if some malware on one of the existing HDDs or SSDs in the machine is executed by Tails. This is incredibly unlikely unless you do it manually. If you want to exclude these fringe cases, you can disconnect all storage devices, then boot the Tails USB, generate your keys and then securely erase the USB stick on the same machine. If it won’t let you do that while it’s in use, you can always physically destroy it. But those measures are probably way beyond what is necessary.

What do you think?

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