The world of collecting digital art is a very exciting and uplifting place, but it is not without its dangers. Anytime you pack your suitcase and travel to somewhere unknown (in this case not to a foreign country or city but the metaverse) it’s important for you to learn what local scams might be waiting to befall unseasoned travelers like yourself.
But the good news is once you master the basics, you’ll be able to better protect yourself and your valuables… so you can focus on relaxing, exploring, and creating memorable experiences as you bask in the world of NFTs.
Here are my top 10 tips for keeping your wallet safe while minting NFTs:
- Have more than one wallet. Interacting with a website can give it access to not just the NFT you are minting, but all the valuables in your wallet. Creating a wallet specifically for minting and another specifically for storing can be helpful in limiting who has access to your account. Some people choose to create many wallets for different purposes. Find a multi-wallet set-up that works for you.
- NEVER EVER EVER share your seed phrase. Your seed phrase is a series of words that, when given in order, will let someone unlock your wallet. A seed phrase is the human-readable version of your private key. Scammers want to get your seed phrase so badly that they’ll pretend to be technical support from a reputable company (like Metamask!) or tell you that you’ve won a huge prize in order to get your seed phrase from you. DON’T GIVE IT OUT!
- Keep your private keys private! In addition to your seed phrase, each wallet has two strings of numbers called a public key and a private key. Public keys are just that, public. This is your wallet address that anyone can see, and that’s ok! But your private keys are keys to your digital assets only YOU should hold, so it is absolutely critical to keep them safe. If someone asks for your private key – DO NOT GIVE IT OUT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
- Do not store your private key or seed phrase on a computer or smartphone! Use a hardware wallet (like Ledger) to store them. If you cannot obtain a hardware wallet, write them down and store these handwritten copies in an extremely secure location. If you have terrible handwriting, consider using a number stamping kit.
- Do not copy/paste your private keys or seed phrase or otherwise type them on your computer! If you have a virus like a keylogger installed, your wallet may be compromised.
- Use a strong, unique password for your wallet and do not reuse passwords across different accounts. Avoid using easily discernible passwords, such as “password” or “123456.”
- Store top valuables in a cold wallet with extra security. (For example: a hardware wallet like Ledger.) A cold wallet is used very rarely and only to store things. You never interact with websites using this wallet but rather just send assets to it to hold long term.
- DO NOT interact with an NFT or other token that randomly appears in your wallet. Wallets are public ledgers – which means anyone can send something to your wallet. Some bad actors may send malicious scam tokens to your wallet in an attempt to make you interact with them in a way that will give them access to your wallet so they can drain it. An NFT sent to your wallet and just sitting there is annoying clutter, but can’t hurt you just by being sent to your wallet — the scammers are trying to get you to interact with it. Many people just ignore it.
- Ticking Time Bomb. Do NOT assume because nothing bad immediately happened after you connected your wallet to a website that everything is fine. Some malicious contracts wait until a wallet has many valuables in it before triggering a mechanism that empties the wallet. (See tip #1)
- If you want to revoke access to your account, many people use Revoke.cash. HOWEVER, be aware that there are many scam sites that emulate revoke.cash in order to actually get you to unwittingly give scammers access to your wallet.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but knowing these things is a good first step to keeping your digital art and collectibles safe in the metaverse.
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Do you have tips for keeping NFTs safe while minting? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!