Every Abra wallet is a bitcoin wallet that is used to store, send, and receive money. Like all bitcoin wallets, Abra uses special codes called “private keys” to authorize transactions. Anyone who has the private key to a bitcoin wallet can authorize transfers to other wallets. It is therefore very important to keep the private keys to your wallet safe and secure, away from prying eyes, in case anything happens to your wallet.
Abra provides users the private keys to their wallet using a recovery phrase. The recovery phrase, sometimes called a “wallet seed” or “backup phrase”, consists of thirteen words that need to be written down and stored in a safe place. If anything happens to a user’s Abra wallet or the phone that the wallet is installed on, the recovery phrase can be used to restore and recover all funds stored in the wallet.
Without the recovery phrase, users will lose their funds if anything happens to their wallet.
It is therefore very important to us that users are made aware of the risk and are diligent about verifying that they have saved a copy of their recovery phrase.
We recently implemented some important changes to how the Abra wallet’s private key recovery phrase is presented to users. Users are first introduced to the recovery phrase concept when they create their Abra wallet, and are then given a set number of reminders before Abra requires them to verify that they have saved their recovery phrase.
We call this system “Educate, Remind, Enforce.” Our goal with this system is to ensure that users have a copy of their recovery phrase that can be used to recover their funds.
When you are ready to verify that you have saved a copy of your recovery phrase, the steps to take are quick and easy.
Step 1. Show your recovery phrase
There are several opportunities to have the app show you your recovery phrase, including when you first install the app, when you are reminded to verify your recovery phrase, and when you press the “Backup” button in the main menu of the app.
When you select the option to show your recovery phrase, you will be shown a screen with thirteen words to copy. These thirteen words are your recovery phrase. The recovery phrase is unique to your phone – no one else has a copy.
Step 2. Write down a copy of your recovery phrase
Write down the recovery phrase on a piece of paper and store it in a safe place, such as the same place you store your birth certificate, cash savings, and other valuables.
You may be tempted to take a screenshot but if you lose your phone, you may also lose your recovery phrase. Remember that anything stored online is more vulnerable to hacking. See https://bitcoin.org/en/secure-your-wallet for some additional tips.
Step 3. Verify that you have saved a copy of your recovery phrase
Once you have stored a copy of your recovery phrase in a safe place, go to the next screen and type the words back into the app in the correct order, then press the “Confirm phrase” button to verify your recovery phrase. If you typed it correctly, you will receive a confirmation notification.
Your wallet is now protected!
After you have verified your recovery phrase, you will no longer receive reminders to verify your recovery phrase. You can now use the copy that you saved to recover the funds in your wallet if you get a new phone or have to reinstall the Abra app for any reason.