Ep236: Security and Inheritance

In this special episode Darren and JJ talk about the idea of passing on your crypto after you die and the practicality of security.


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When it come to cryptocurrencies there are many options for most everything. There are many places to acquire most cryptos, there are many wallets to hold the crypto and there are many ways to add layers of security. While it might seem like good security to keep all of your information obfuscated and hidden, all that security can cause issues for your family or loved ones should an untimely death befall you. If you don’t plan on passing on your digital wealth then do what you feel is best. But if you do want a family member or loved one to inherit your crypto you should be planning for that now.

It starts with writing it all down in very simple terms and arranging for someone(s) to help your loved one make sense of the documentation. Think about fundamental access first all the way to the wallet or exchange where the crypto is held. In some cases this will mean that the first step is gaining access to the computer which could include a drive encryption password, computer login password, and login information for the wallet, software, or service. And then think about two factor authentication: what email or cell phone is linked to the exchange or service and what is the login information for that.

In a perfect world you could have some paper wallets or seed phrases held securely in a safe deposit box in a trusted location and a Will to make sure the proper information gets to the right person. But things rarely work out that well. On the other hand by spelling things out and documenting everything you are creating a new security risk. You will need to practice good physical security surrounding the location of your instructions.

There are several ways to hide the information in plain sight. You could encrypt the instructions and set up a dead man’s switch but this has its own problems like: what if your family just doesn’t check that email or can’t figure out the encryption? Don’t forget that loved ones may be distraught at the loss of you and are not thinking clearly. Some family members may not understand crypto or encryption; all the subtle hints you dropped and sage advice you rendered did not prepare them for this moment.

For clarity you ought to have very simple and exact instructions. Where is a copy of the wallet back-up located? What program should the user download and install? Is there a delay due to a blockchain download? Then what? Your family or loved ones may not want to hold crypto so they will need instructions on how to cash out.

Having a trusted crypto-savvy helper work with your family or loved ones would make all of this much easy but no you are trusting a third party. You ought to have more than one ‘helper’ as well — what if your best friend is slated to help your wife make sense of your crypto fortune and he just happened to be in the same car accident that killed you?

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