Hodlr One is punch style backup 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 Hodlr One is made from titanium and has acid-etched markings. The whole disk is 2mm thick, making it easy to transport, hide
The way the backup works is the user stamp dents onto the chassis using a punch pen. These dents correspond to a number on the disk (which corresponds to a letter of their seed phrase).
Recovery seeds written on paper are the most common 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.
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.
One guy even had his seed thrown away by accident by his cleaning staff(1).
The Hodlr has one very nice thing going for it - $49 for a titanium backup.
Other backups made of titanium run you at least $130.
And for EU customers, this includes the VAT tax, so even better!
When you first get your hands on your Hodlr box, you’ll note it is quite heavy.
And once you open it, you are treated to quite a lot of goodies - Hodlr is trying to pack in value here.
In the box, you will see the following:
Users find each of their backup words inside of the BIP39 wordlist.
They then find the corresponding 4-digit number next to that word.
They will then write down that number on the conversion sheet using the provided pencil.
Once they have all 12 to 24 numbers, they can use the permanent marker to pre-fill all of the dents they will eventually make. The whole point of doing this step is to prevent any permanent mistakes from being made during the punching phase.
After all markings have been made, the user can choose between the punch pen or the hammer stamp to make the dents in their disk. The hammer stamp will make deeper, more obvious dents but take longer, while the punch pen is much faster and easier to use, but makes much more shallow dents.
After choosing the punch method, the user will put the disk into the rubber stamping surface and make the dents where the black markings are.
Once completed, I used one of the optional tamper-evident stickers over one side of the disk. Normally you would do both, but I wanted to see how the burn test would affect the disk with and without the sticker on it.
While set up was very fast and easy, this will come at a cost later on, which we will cover a bit more in the next section.
We ran our heat test on the Hodlr One, and it survived.
To perform this test, we let a propane BBQ pit warm up to 750 Fahrenheit (399 Celsius).
Once it got as hot as possible, we set the Hodlr down over the flame for about 20 minutes.
NOTE: an average house fire tends to be about 600 degrees Fahrenheit at eye level (2), but even hotter at the roof (3). I cannot test fires at roof temperatures, so you will need to refer to manufacturer tests for that data.
This is what it looked like after the 20-minute burn.
And this is what each side of the unit looked like after removing the residue of the tamper-evident sticker.
As you can see, the backup survived but it is somewhat hard to read.
I think this is because the residue from the sticker got so hot that it liquified and melted into the small indents in each cell.
We feel that anyone with a significant amount of crypto assets who is relying on paper seeds as backups should consider a backup of some kind, like the Hodlr One.
It is possible to make a mistake when setting up your Hodlr.
This is not a huge deal…if you only mess up once.
However, if you were to make several of these mistakes, it could become a problem for you in recovery.
Mistakes are also more costly with a product like the Hodlr than they are with other backup products because you cannot undo them. Every dent you make is permanent (by design), so if you make a mistake, you either need to accept it or pay for another Hodlr.
Also, if you lose the Hodlr, 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 extra Hodlr backups, and your hardware wallet.
Finally, the Hodlr does not protect against individuals who find your Hodlr and take the seed. If someone has your seed, they can take your coins, and the Hodlr cannot stop this.
This goes for all steel backups and not just Hodlr.
Review by: Jordan Tuwiner
The Hodlr was very easy to set up and punch. Its titanium casing also makes it a very strong backup candidate.
The tamper-evident sticker made recovering after a fire seemingly impossible without great effort on the part of the user.
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