Trezor setup for the paranoid


  • A regular sheet of paper, preferably acid-free
  • A piece of cardboard that you don’t want anymore
  • Four different pens
  • Four security envelopes (kids: a security envelope is an envelope that has patterns printed on the inside to make it hard for people to hold the envelope up to a light and see what’s written inside)


  1. Fold the paper in half, then in half again, so that you have four quadrants.
  2. Set the folded paper on top of the cardboard as a writing surface.
  3. Go through the first part of Trezor setup, writing the 24 recovery words on Quadrant #1 with Pen #1. Halt at the point where you’ve written down the 24th word and it’s asking you to verify them.
  4. Copy the words from Quadrant #1 to Quadrant #2 using Pen #2. The reason you use a different pen is that one pen’s ink type might be defective and fade over the years.
  5. Copy the words from Quadrant #2 to Quadrant #3 using Pen #3.
  6. Copy the words from Quadrant #3 to Quadrant #4 using Pen #4.
  7. Now go through the Trezor verification process, but check Quadrant #4. This way, if you made any errors in copying from 1-2-3-4, you’ll probably notice them.
  8. Rip up the cardboard (which now contains faint impressions of the recovery words). Flush some of it down the toilet, put some in the trash, put one piece in the garbage disposal… be creative.
  9. Rip the quadrants into separate pieces and put each in a separate envelope.
  10. Seal the four envelopes.
  11. Write something meaningful on the envelopes so you will know what it is when you find it five years from now, but that doesn’t alert anyone else that this is a copy of your recovery words.
  12. Sign the sealed part of the envelope, which will make it slightly more likely you’ll notice if someone tried to open it.
  13. Put each of the four envelopes in different places.
  14. Start using your Trezor!