When you first create your Self-Custody account, you are issued two keys: a public key, which you can safely share with others and use it to receive Bitcoin. The second key is known as a private key, which consists of a string of letters and numbers (and it should not be shared with anyone). The most important thing to remember is that as long as you — and only you — have access to your private key, your funds are safe. When you control your private key, you fully control your Bitcoin.
It’s extremely important to store your private key in a secure way, to guarantee that no one can gain control of your Bitcoin. With Self-Custody, your private key is encrypted with AES-GCM 256-bit military-grade encryption. If you lose access to your Self-Custody account, it is possible to restore access to your funds by using a 12-word recovery phrase. Like your private key, whoever has access to your recovery phrase will be able to gain access to your cryptocurrency holdings. Therefore, it is crucial to store your recovery phrase in a secure place.
We do not recommend taking a screenshot of your recovery phrase. Alternatively, we offer the possibility to store it directly on a password manager. Visit How To Choose a Secure Password to learn more about how Self-Custody integrates with password managers.