How to Create a Secure Brain Wallet - Store your BitCoins in your Memory

in bitcoin •  11 months ago
You can store your BitCoins and other cryptocurrencies in your head. With a strong encoding of your private key and memory techniques you will be able to travel with your BitCoin wherever you like and no one will be able to take them away from you.

brain wallet

Since the beginning of BitCoin there is the discussion going on about how to create a save and secure wallet for your assets. Next to soft- and hard wallets there is always the option to commit your private key to memory. For an untrained person this sounds impossible or at least very difficult and risky. For a memory coach this task sounds more like playing with Lego before breakfast.

How to Create a Secure Pass Code

This article will not teach how to memorize a private BitCoin key as it is. Instead we will use the SHA256 method to encode your key into words which you then later can decode back into your key. This is a common way to make the long and complex key more digestible. I am no programmer or hacker but I read into the topic and for your own safety you should follow these rules:

  • Never use a previously published text phrase.
  • Never create the words yourself.
  • Use at least 12 randomly created words.
  • Use a SALT.

There are voices that think Brain Wallets are insecure. There is even an open source hacking tool called Brainflayer to prove that a brain wallet is hackable. But the reason why it is able to brute force passphrases is because people use poor security. They either use just four words instead of twelve, which is far less entropy and therefor much easier to crack. They also often use self-picked words instead or random ones which makes a huge difference. Or they use a common (or even less common passphrase as you can see in the example below):

Just lost 4 BTC out of a hacked brain wallet. The passphrase was a line from an obscure poem in Afrikaans. Somebody out there has a really comprehensive dictionary attack program running.

Luckily all of the mentioned methods are integrated into the brilliant website

Please read ALL steps before you take any action:

Step 1: Download

You never know if your computer is compromised. So in order to be super safe you should download the on GitHub to make it available when offline. You also should backup that website in case something happens to the website in the future.

Step 2: Go Offline!

Now disconnect from your internet access. Unplug the LAN cable or deactivate your WIFI. This way there will be no unwanted communication about your activity.

Step 3: Open Private Browsing Window

Open a new private browser window to prevent any cross-communication of Facebook and other spyware even though your are offline.

Step 4: Open

You can open the offline version by dragging the html file into your private browser window. By clicking on the __random__ button you will create 12 random words for your passphrase. Click again to change the words. You should do that until you are relatively happy about them. If there are very difficult words you can barely imagine among them I would do that.

Important: Don't choose the words yourself! I know it is tempting but if you do, hackers might eat your passphrase for breakfast.

Step 5: Choose a SALT

You can read up what a SALT exactly is but in short in is an extra layer of security to make brute force attacks much more difficult. It is like a password and you choose basically anything for that. Three options are available: login info, personal info and generic. Only "generic" is really safe in my opinion. The other information is easy to acquire these days. You can even select a file and upload it which will create a unique code for you. I don't like that method because it requires you to have that file. This is not what I understand as a true brain wallet. But if you choose this option be aware that it will override any previously generated words so you need to start with this process and generate the words afterwards.

One of the advantages of using a SALT is that it is deliberately slow to decode so brute force attacks cannot act as fast as they otherwise could. This is very important since your BitCoins are just waiting for a clever hacker to be taken. With SALT it will not be feasible anymore.

Step 6: Generate your BitCoin wallet

After you set up everything you can now generate your new BitCoin wallet. To be super secure you should probably check on an online computer if it is still available although the chances are very good that it is. Just copy the code into any Block Explorer and check if it is a new wallet.

Now you need to memorize the 12 words and the SALT. With memory techniques this is really easy but don't be mistaken: If you forget the words you will loose any BitCoins stored in that wallet forever. Don't be a fool and make sure to have it fully committed to memory. Below you will find a detailed explanation of how to do that.

Don't use the print function. That would defeat the purpose of a true brain wallet. Instead make sure that you remember the passphrase throughout the next days before your transfer any BitCoins onto the wallet. If you are in a hurry repeat the passphrase several times on the first two days and then gradually less often in the following days after that. Make sure to repeat your passphrase regularly or it WILL FADE AWAY.

Step 7: Memorize the Passphrase and SALT

Before you finish the process and close the window you need to memorize everything. I will now demonstrate this process with a very simple but super effective method. We will need a memory palace for that which is dedicated only for this task. The easiest memory palace we can come up with is the body list. You will basically carry your passphrase on your body parts.

First we need 13 locations on our body (12 words plus SALT). That can be any body part but it should follow a certain logic to be easy to use again. My favorite approach is to start on the top and go to the bottom. You can replace any body part you like or even increase the size by adding more locations. This is my suggestions for our Brain Wallet:
  1. Forehead
  2. Eyes
  3. Nose
  4. Mouth
  5. Chin
  6. Neck
  7. Chest
  8. Heart
  9. Belly
  10. Butt
  11. Legs
  12. Feet
  13. Hands (they are not on the center line and therefore serve well as number 13)

Like I said before, this list is arbitrary and can be arranged by you in any way you favor. Make sure it follows a clear logic and is easy to remember.

Associate the Body Parts with the Words

Now we need to translate our 12 words and the SALT into images. Most of the words are already concrete nouns like cat, shoe and house. These are easy. Imagine them as they are. Others are more abstract. But don't worry, it works for all words. Here are my examples for the BitCoin wallet above:




Imagine that you cut your forehead with a blade.




A mean person is stabbing your eyes.




An ocean is flowing out of your nose.




Your mouth is giving birth to nature: Plants grow out of it.




Imagine something old: Your chin has a build-in vintage camera ever since.




Imagine something moving toward something: A slowly walking turtoise.




You are showing off your naked chest on the college campus.




Your are pushing our your heart with pure muscle power.




Your are tossing something onto your belly button. (don't focus on what exactly)




You have shiny gems coming out of your butt.




Your legs are on fire.




Your feet sparkle in the moonlight.



Whatever your SALT is

You get the idea

Make Sure you Never Forget

Very few people will ever consider this way because they are afraid to loose their assets. And rightfully so. It is crucial to repeat these associations like crazy. Your brain WILL create powerfull connections that last but only if you repeat the information over and over again. Doing so takes less than a minute but IT MUST BE DONE. I am not responsible for you loosing your fortune so use this method wisely and read other sources before you do it.

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Yay, three hours later and I still talk to myself. Thank you Steemit for supressing small authors and funnel everything to the top. 100% upvote for this comment because it is just me here anyway.

This post has received a 28.86 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @flauwy.

Congratulations! This post has been upvoted from the communal account, @minnowsupport, by flauwy from the Minnow Support Project. It's a witness project run by aggroed, ausbitbank, teamsteem, theprophet0, and someguy123. The goal is to help Steemit grow by supporting Minnows and creating a social network. Please find us in the Peace, Abundance, and Liberty Network (PALnet) Discord Channel. It's a completely public and open space to all members of the Steemit community who voluntarily choose to be there.

If you like what we're doing please upvote this comment so we can continue to build the community account that's supporting all members.

Hi @flauwy, thanks for your valuable content about cybersecurity, upvoted! I think every cryptotrader must use a VPN network. I made a atricle about free VNP networks (mostly for beginners). Do you agree this must be the basic security for your transactions? I like your avatar btw ;)


Sadly your copy/paste comment has nothing to do with my article and my name isn't @mrosenquist. :(


Sorry mate, edited. Copied the wrong text beceause I always check it on spelling in Word (I'm not a native speaker) let me take the one I wrote for you. Oops :)

Hey man this is some really interesting stuff, thanks for sharing. Only problem is that I'll probably forget my entire passphrase after a night out drinking. Upvoted and resteemed.


That is not how the memory works. With the memory technique you get it temporarily into your long term memory. With repetition you are starting a process of protein wrapping around the according synapses, strengthening them and increasing speed. So no matter how much you drink one night, after sobering up your memory will be available again.


haha that's good to know. Thanks for that extra info, I never knew that. I find this kind of things pretty interesting so I'll defenitely go do some research on this topic.


I am mostly writing about memory techniques here so far so check out my older stuff. You can also check out for people who practiced that to an extant where they can memorize a deck of cards in under 15 seconds. And for memory training and coaching.


wow I'll definitely check that out.

This post received a 4.8% upvote from @randowhale thanks to @flauwy! For more information, click here!

This looks great. I love my Jaxx wallet :)


Thanks. I will check out this Jaxx wallet.

Hey @flauwy, I really liked your article. So much so, that I included it in my weekly collection of those I want to share with others:


That's awesome, thank you! :)


You're welcome! Thanks to you for writing this awesome post.

Nice work with good explanations. Reminds a bit if some Derren Brown techniques.


Might be. This is the most common technique at memory championships all around the world.

I got a bellyRub and this post has received a 12.05 % upvote from @bellyrub thanks to: @flauwy.

Awesome work, flauwy. This is the first time I have seen a credible approach to this most difficult and perplexing challenge. As one heading into age 65 however, I would be concerned about declining memory becoming a problem.


Well, declining memory shouldn't be too much of a problem if you keep the memory fresh and repeat it regularly. YOu can also pick a person of trust and make that person memorize it as well to have a back up.


I love your positive approach, flauwy, and really find your situation most interesting. Thank you for your great energy!


Thanks, @kerrydwalter. I try to keep up my energy and deliver, deliver, deliver. I had never so much fun producing content. :)