Plan ahead if you want your crypto to live on after you do

Posted: 30 May 2018 2:17 pm

You might have a plan for your estate, but does it include access to your digital assets or will your cryptocurrency be trapped if you die suddenly?

A recent story noted that a major cryptocurrency trader died unexpectedly and left his family with a giant hole where there used to be a couple of million dollars.

Matthew Mellon purchased $2 million of Ripple (XRP) saying he liked it because he was keen on using cryptocurrencies that worked with the traditional banking system. However, no one has been able to find his wallet or trading account passwords, meaning the funds are currently locked up and inaccessible to his remaining family, a wife and three children, and to those responsible for administering his estate.

That begs the question: have you made plans for who controls your wallets and accounts if you pass away unexpectedly?

If you've taken your account security seriously, you'll have a complex passphrase and two-factor authentication (2FA) to ensure your accounts remain safe even if your passwords are somehow compromised. While the idea behind these sorts of measures is that your account details remain confidential and safe, you do need a Plan B just in case.

After years of working in very security conscious environments, I'm going to suggest a very low-tech solution.

Write things down.

Put all relevant addresses, usernames and passwords on paper. Then put that paper into two envelopes and secure it in a safe or some other stronghold and only allow access through a trusted party. That party should be independent, so a solicitor or the executor of your estate is a good choice.

If you're using 2FA, then look at secure alternatives. If you use Google Authenticator for your 2FA service, then you can record a thing called your backup key. This is a code that allows you to set up a new Authenticator service if your phone is lost. But it could be used to create a second Authenticator account if access to your phone is lost after you die.

When you first set up some 2FA services, there's a QR code or some other information that's part of the process. Save a print out of that information in a secure location as you did with your usernames and passwords.

It's not pleasant thinking about your own demise but, as Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, "Nothing is certain except for death and taxes".

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds BTC, EOS, ETH, ETH, STR, LTC, TRX, BCC, ADA, XRP and GAS.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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