The company’s introduction to Billfodl introduces the concept of keys and seed words, immediately followed by the variety of ways in which those precious digits can be lost.
“Billfodl is the safest way to store your private key or seed words,” the developers wrote. “All major crypto wallets (Jaxx, Ledger, Mycillium, Trezor, etc.) use a system of seed words to back up your private keys. If your phone or hardware wallet gets destroyed, you will need this 12 to 24 word phrase to recover your funds. If you are like most people, you store your seed words on a piece of paper, probably in the same desk you put your phone on every night to charge. If there is a fire or flood, both the phone or hardware wallet and the piece of paper with the seed words on it will be destroyed. Or maybe your spouse, significant other, or child finds a piece of paper with random words on it and throws it in the trash, unbeknownst to you until you need it months or years later. You need something permanent, solid, and dependable to store your Seed Words on.”
Why Do I Need It?
No matter what kind of wallet you’re using – web, software, or hardware – a paper backup of your private key is recommended. Web and software wallets are prone to hacking and phishing attempts, while hardware wallets can be lost as easily as a set of keys or suffer electronic malfunctions. A paper backup ensures that your private keys are safe and offline.
Paper has its own set of drawbacks, however. Even if you’ve written down your private keys and stored them away, they are only as safe as the physical piece of paper on which they are written. Paper backups can be destroyed in floods, eaten by dogs, lost in fires, and more. Billfodl encodes your private keys into a tough little steel analog device. It’s a refreshing bit of hard, mechanical tech in an increasingly fragile and digital financial space.
What’s in the Box?
The Billfodl arrives in a neat package, sealed in cellophane with instructions on the back on how to setup the device.
After opening the package, you will see the unit in a cardboard holder held in place with stickers to protect it in transit.
Remove the Billfodl from the cardboard protector by cutting the stickers and you will see a container which is labeled with letters and numbers so you can easily find the tiles you need to compose your seed or keys.
How Do I Use It?
Setup is relatively straightforward. Of course, you’re going to have to have your private keys handy.
Slide the Billfodl device open to reveal the logo and the slots numbered 1 through 12. Then, grab one of the exposed tiles and twist the screw in the upper right corner of the Billfold to open the top latch. Press the same tile to unlock the bottom latch.
Once your Billfodl is open, choose your tiles from the tray and slide them into place to spell out your key or security words, using blank tiles as necessary to ensure each row is completely filled.
Once the latches are secured, put your Billfodl to the test. If you’ve filled all available spaces, it shouldn’t warp or shift. Verify that your data is accurate, and then store the Billfodl itself in a secure place. While the device is tough, nothing is lost-proof. Make sure it’s in a location that’s easily identified and accessed.
What Coins Does It Support?
Billfodl is as adaptable as a piece of paper. It can store both 96- and 156-digit keys, though using the 157-key configuration requires a bit of a fudge. Most keys only require the first four letters of each word, so Billfodl directs you to only store those first four letters. Since the Billfodl only holds 96 characters, it is helpful to think of it as a single coin backup.
Is Billfodl a Replacement for Hardware Wallets?
Billfodl does not encourage its users to replace their hardware wallets with Billfodl. Billfodl takes the place of a paper backup only. Since it is an entirely analog device, moving or manipulating your coins with Billfodl would take too much work to be practical on a day-to-day basis.
“While you could use Billfodl instead of a hardware wallet by creating new cold wallets and loading the private keys into Billfodl, in practice this is not the best way to use Billfodl, and if you transacted with any frequency, this method would become very cumbersome,” the developers wrote. “Instead, the Billfodl is meant to complement your hardware wallet by enabling you to store your seed words in a way that is as indestructible and safe from user-error as we could conceive of.”
How Tough Is It?
Tough, to say the least. Significantly tougher than the piece of paper it was designed to replace. Type 316 stainless steel is a marine grade, making it extremely corrosion resistant. Billfodl’s developers claim it can withstand twice the temperature of the average house fire, and it isn’t susceptible to EMP attacks because it has no digital or electronic parts. It goes without saying that there is no charging to worry about and no connection ports to damage.
“One of the primary drawbacks of the paper wallet is its poor longevity,” the developers wrote. “Ink can run in humidity, the paper dissolves in water, and in the longer term, paper degrades. Because of the high quality build materials of the Billfodl, you can be sure that your private data and crypto keys are safe from both the elements and time itself.”
What Does It Cost?
Billfodl retails for $79.95. Each Billfodl can store 24 words or 96 characters, making it appropriate for backing up a single wallet. If you have a variety of coins stashed in a variety of wallets, it can get rather pricey to back each one up with a separate Billfodl. However, it’s likely far pricier to risk losing all the cryptocurrency in those assorted wallets. If the value of your wallet exceeds $80, it’s probably not a bad idea to use Billfodl as a backup.
Billfodl’s competitor is Cryptosteel, which costs $149 which is nearly double the price so you can see that Billfodl offers much better value for money.
Billfodl also offers a variety of accessories, including stickers, holders, and multiple Billfodl package deals.
For what it aims to achieve, the Billfodl device accomplishes everything – it’s cheaper than the competition, uses better materials and is better designed. That makes it the best product on the market for storing your keys or seed words in a very durable material that will survive fires and floods. You might think that paying $80 for a product such as this is overkill, and you might be right, if you only have a few hundred dollars in cryptocurrency.
If however your holdings run into the thousands, you will undoubtedly have ( or should have ) a hardware wallet. If you then run into a problem with your device such as losing it, then you will need to rely on your seed words to back it up. If the paper storage of these fails, you have lost your investment. Billfold introduces an extra layer of protection which could prove invaluable in the long-run.