Billfodl is a secure way to create backups of your Bitcoin (BTC) or hardware wallet seed words.
Normally, when you set up a Bitcoin (BTC) hardware wallet, you are directed to write down a 12 or 24-word backup ‘seed’. These words can be used to recreate and restore your crypto wallet in case your hardware wallet is lost, stolen, or damaged.
The Billfodl is made from stainless steel and has laser-cut and engraved tiles. The user places those tiles in the encasing to save passwords and mnemonic phrases (BIP 39) from risks like water and fire.
Recovery seeds written on paper may seem like they are the safest and most secure way of storing your money offline. Most hardware wallets come with a piece of paper that directs you to write your seed phrase down.
For instance, the Ledger hardware wallet comes with a paper like the one shown below:
What this paper doesn’t protect against are natural events like house fires or floods.
Such an event could easily destroy your paper backup, even if it’s stored inside a safe.
There are many other downfalls of paper. Ink tends to fade over time, leaving you with an unreadable mess of ink.
A piece of paper also happens to look quite ordinary which is a problem if someone cleans out your desk or mistakes it for a piece of trash.
You don’t want to end up like this guy who had his seed thrown away by his cleaning staff.
On the Billfodl website, there are stories of investors who made the mistake of thinking that they were securing their private keys properly:
I had my seeds written in a paper notebook that I put in my safe which was 4 1/2 feet off the ground. During Hurricane Harvey, we got 6.5 feet of water. I had $1 million of cryptocurrency, now I have nothing.
Here is a video of an extreme example of what the Billfodl protects against:
As you can see in this video, the laser cut and engraved tiles are still readable after being melted by a torch.
But that’s not all - Billfodl was even independently tested against 600 gallons of burning jet fuel (twice) at a Department of Transportation testing site.
And it is still readable after!
We feel that anyone with a significant amount of crypto assets who is relying on paper seeds as backups should consider a Billfodl.
In most cases, this will be hardware wallet owners of the Ledger Nano S, Nano X, TREZOR Model T, TREZOR One, Trezor 3, or KeepKey.
Having a multiple backup strategy for $80 to $160 is a rather cheap insurance policy against many potential threats that paper backup seeds introduce.
You never know when misfortune will strike and there is no reason to be unprepared when the risk can be easily eliminated.
The price of a Billfodl was recently lowered. It is currently the cheapest steel tile design backup device for 24 words at $99 with free shipping in the USA.
Customers from outside the USA get free shipping when ordering two or more devices.
When you first get your hands on your Billfodl box, you’ll note it is quite heavy.
Slide the inner casing out and let’s get started:
After removing your Billfodl from its box you will see that the second layer under the stainless steel apparatus is laser engraved character tile sheets. Just punch out each tile as you need them.
Once you have a tile in your hand and your Billfodl in the other, it’s time to place the tiles.
Take one tile and insert it into the flathead screw on the top left of the flipped-open device.
Take the same tile and insert it into the safety level in the bottom right and pop open the slide.
If this part is confusing you should watch this video of the Billfodl team opening it up. It took me a minute to understand, but once you figure it out, it’s very easy:
Once complete, your seed will look something like this:
When setting up your Billfodl, you will notice that there are 96 total character slots available. That is because you only need 4 letters for each word in your backup phrase.
This can be confusing to many users because many of the backup words have more than four letters.
Not to worry.
Each word in your backup phrase comes from the BIP39 word list. Each word in that list is unique within the first four letters. That means that there are no two words with the same first four letters.
When you go to restore a wallet, usually the word will be auto-filled for you once you input the first four letters. That is why the Billfodl (and basically all other backup devices) only have you back up the first four letters.
While the Billfodl does protect against the EMP blasts of nuclear explosions, it does not protect you from the temperatures of a nuclear blast zone.
However, if you or your seed is inside of a nuclear blast radius, you probably have bigger problems to worry about than losing your seed.
Also, if you lose the Billfodl, you’ll still need either another copy of your seed phrase or the hardware wallet itself.
So it may be worthwhile to have some backups on paper, some on Billfodls, and your hardware wallet.
Finally, the Billfodl does not protect against individuals who find your Billfodl and take the seed. If someone has your seed, they can take your coins, and the Billfodl cannot stop this.
That said, they do have a product called the Multishard that protects against the threat of someone finding your seed. You can learn more about that product in the ‘Multiple Backups’ section below.
The Billfodl Multishard is Billfodl’s upgraded solution to backing up a seed phrase. Other backups do not protect against someone finding the backup and stealing your coins.
The Multishard solves this problem by providing an easy way to distribute your seed phrase into parts so that you need at least 2 of the 3 pieces to gain access to your coins.
To achieve this, the Multishard comes with three separate units, each labeled to include 16 of the 24 words.
The user then hides each shard in a different location.
If someone finds one of the shards, they only have 16 of the 24 words necessary to gain access to the coins.
They would need to find one of the other two shards to gain full access.
Review by: Jordan Tuwiner
A password that needs to have numbers and letters is alphanumeric.
A recovery phrase is a series of words that can be translated into the private key to a cryptocurrency address, giving you access to your digital assets.
Read our detailed comparison of the two wallets.
Hexadecimal code is used for simplifying binary codes. Computers do not use hexadecimal code; it is used only by humans to be able to understand more easily the binary code.
Cryptotag is a metal wallet backup where you can stamp letters for each word of your recovery phrase.
BuyBitcoinWorldWide writers are subject-matter experts and base their articles on firsthand information, like interviews with experts, white papers or original studies and experience. We also use trusted research and studies from other well-known sources. You can learn more about our editorial guidelines.