Most people don’t yet know what a blockchain is, even less how to interact with one. For those who do venture into the unknown crypto space, it can feel a little intimidating at first. When trading cryptocurrencies and storing your funds, you need to watch your step or you risk losing it all. Poor UX is one of the main reasons why mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies is still years away.
This is also why crypto investors can seem a little paranoid when it comes to securing their funds. In a world without banks, where mistakes are irrevocable and your money is lost forever if stolen, you learn to appreciate things like private keys, cold storage, and hardware wallets.
I believe that if you have any amount of money invested that you would feel less than happy about losing, to find peace you need to start thinking about how your crypto-illiterate loved ones will be able to access your portfolio if something was to happen to you, and how they can convert it into cash.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
This is why you should write your crypto will, which basically has to be a step-by-step, ELI5 guide on how to do just that. Remembering that the intended audience for your will has absolutely no knowledge about cryptocurrencies, it needs to include every little detailed step on the way, from accessing the funds on your hardware wallet, to sending them to an exchange, trading them into fiat, and finally transferring them to your linked bank account.
Remember to include all your usernames, passwords, PINs, and keys, and how to access your 2FA codes. Now, it’s not until you actually sit down and start writing this that you are going to realize the complexity of it all, and how unavailable this whole crypto-economy market still is to most people.
I’m aware that there are certain ‘digital inheritance’ services being developed that want to handle the whole process of passing your assets on to the rightful inheritors for you. I haven’t tried any of these myself yet as I would like to see blockchain technology and the ecosystem mature a bit more before I’ll be comfortable handing over this responsibility to someone else.
And I don’t know of any services that are solving the main challenge, which is the recovery process itself. How to trade those funds into fiat when you know nothing about crypto.
Planning my death (sort of)
That’s why I recently spent a couple of days writing my own testament. I wanted to see if it worked so I asked my wife if she could test the process through. I’d consider it successful if she’d manage to transfer some of my funds over to my bank account. Now, my wife isn’t a total crypto noob, I’ve explained the basic concepts to her and she kind of gets the tech, however she doesn’t have any hands on experience with crypto herself.
She was able to access my ledger with the PIN that I had written down, navigate through its menus and open the Ethereum Ledger wallet on my laptop. From there she sent a small amount of Ether to the exchange that has my bank account linked. Next step was to log in to that exchange and make an ETH-EUR trade. Remembering how I struggled myself when I first started trading I expected this to be the tricky part.
It didn’t take her more than a minute to orientate herself to find the correct buttons and make the trade. I guess it’s not that hard when you know what you’re looking for. Final step was to make the withdrawal to my bank account. No problem there.
The whole thing went surprisingly painless and I recommend all you hodlers out there take the time to do the same. And keep both digital and paper copies of your guide in safe places. For traders having funds on every exchange out there and multiple cold wallets, this probably means you’ll have to do separate guides for each of them but it shouldn’t take too long once you’ve done the first.