You might have heard stories of people losing 10,000 BTC after their hard drive got damaged or other countless horror stories. Don’t let it happen to you! If you’re coming from ‘Baby Steps to Buying Bitcoin’ then we will be using the wallet you’ve already downloaded, Jaxx.
First off we’re going to set up a security pin so that other people can’t steal your funds if they have your phone. If you open the wallet you will see the homepage. press the menu button in the top right and select ‘Settings’, ‘Setup Security PIN’ and then type in a PIN you will remember (maybe the same as your bank card so that it’s easy to remember).
Now the most important step! backing up your wallet so that you can get your Bitcoin back if you lose your phone. Before you do anything turn off your WiFi and Data, this is just an extra precaution in case somebody has compromised your phone. Go back to the menu, select ‘Tools’, ‘Backup Wallet’ and ‘Backup Wallet’.
In the next step you will be presented 12 words. Write these down somewhere and keep them safe. This is your backup phrase. If you ever lose access to your wallet you can get it back by using this 12 word phrase, make sure every word is spelled correctly and in the correct order. You’ll be asked to type in the 12 words on the next screen to make sure you’ve stored them somewhere. I recommend keeping more than one copy of this 12 word phrase in different places. I personally also memorize the words by making a story with them, repeat the story in your head every week and you’ll never lose access to your wallet.
That’s it! You’ve successfully set up a PIN code and backed up your wallet.
Advanced: Private Key backups
If you trust yourself, are holding large amounts of bitcoin and want to be extra safe then you can copy down your private key (although if you’re holding large amounts you should probably store your coins on a hardware wallet or paper wallet, will explain this if there’s demand). Your private key is EVERYTHING. What I mean by that is if someone knows a wallet’s private key they can access it from any wallet software without needing the PIN or backup phrase. Under the hood it’s what ‘signs’ transactions. If you want to know more check out the general guide. See below on how to see your private key:
After a while your private keys will load and you can see the private keys that are associated with each of your public addresses (Jaxx changes your public address frequently to increase user privacy, you don’t need to worry about this). You can copy these private keys down or save them to a hard drive for safe keepings. DO NOT show anyone else these keys, if they have them they can access your funds. Keep them somewhere safe. You can turn your WiFi and data back on now that we’re done.
If you want to know how to buy other types of cryptocurrency like Ethereum or Litecoin Jaxx has a very user friendly in built feature called Shapeshift, see Baby Steps to Buying Bitcoin’s Buddies on how to use this.