Mnemonic phrases play a crucial role in the world of cryptocurrencies. They are also called mnemonic seeds, mnemonic recovery phrases, or seed words.
A mnemonic phrase is a secret group of words generated whenever crypto users create a new wallet. When arranged in a particular sequence, the mnemonic phrase can be used to access the funds in the crypto wallet. Usually, the mnemonic passphrase will constitute 12, 18, or 24 words.
How do Mnemonic Phrases Work?
Mnemonic phrases contain all the information needed to access the fund in the crypto wallet. If your wallet is misplaced or damaged, you can use the seed word to recover your digital assets. However, you must ensure you write the phrase down in the exact sequence as it was created. Also, it would be best to keep the phrase secret since anyone with access to the seed words can access your crypto wallets.
Mnemonic phrases are generated automatically through the BIP-39 specification. Most wallets use the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP39) to generate seed words. The generation starts with the creation of random sets of bits, known as initial entropy. The length of the initial entropy determines the length of the mnemonic recovery phrase.
Next, the entropy is encoded in words by adding a checksum to it. This helps to make it more human-friendly and catch any mistakes in it. Finally, the mnemonic sentence is converted to the mnemonic seed phrase using the PBKDF2 hash function.
How to Store Mnemonic Phrases
Here are a few tips to help you store your seed words safely:
- Write it down and store the paper in a safe place
- Make several copies of the paper with the seed phrase for safety
- Store the recovery phrase offline to prevent hacking
- Engrave the seed phrase in something more durable than paper. An excellent example is a stone or metal tablet.