Something that I learned from years of editing stories about hacking and cybersecurity is that people lose their Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies all the time. There are several ways this can happen. Sometimes people don’t remember the passwords for their wallets, sometimes the exchange where they keep their cryptocurrency gets hacked, and far too often they are SIM swapped.
I don’t hodl any crypto myself, but if I did I would basically live in a constant state of panic of either getting robbed or losing track of my crypto wallet key. However, 404 Media reader and dear friend Zack Kotzer recently showed me a solution to both problems that is so aesthetically my shit I might just buy some doge: Hiding your crypto wallet keys in a VHS copy of The Wizard of Oz or a copy of Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64. And I don’t mean writing it down on a piece of paper and stuffing it into the cartridge, but in the media itself, so you have to boot it up to get the password.
The method is explained in a video by Adam Clegg, an owner of a small consumer electronics repair business. He created a QR code for the crypto key, then used an S-VHS recorder to insert it into a The Wizard of Oz tape. Play the tape, reach the part where the QR code will appear on screen, scan it with your phone and there’s the password…genius.
Another method Clegg shows uses an N64, a copy of Rare’s Perfect Dark, and an N64 Controller Pak, which you can use to save game data. To store the key here, Clegg created several save file names with the password, saved to both the copy of the game and the Controller Pak. Good luck getting these, SIM swappers.
Clegg warns that this method is less safe than the VHS method because if someone was to break into your home, they would probably steal your N64 and copy of Perfect Dark. I honestly don’t know about that, but I agree it’s a good game. I would be much more likely to steal Clegg’s DVD and VHS collection, which according to the video includes the first two entries in the rapture-themed post-apocalyptic Christian thriller Left Behind.
“I just like coming up with new ideas and see a need for something like this due to the unstable world situation,” Clegg told me in an email when I asked him why he made the video. “There may be people in parts of the world that are fleeing their country due to invasion and are met with border agents on other side that are taking advantage of the situation. I have heard stories of such situations in the past where people took gold only to have to give it to border agents just to cross. Everyone knows what hardware wallets look like so I thought it may help some out to cross with low value media.”
Technically speaking this is a clever but pretty primitive method for storing your keys. I can’t endorse it from a security perspective, but what is your crypto worth now anyway? Clegg told me that he personally has a little bit of crypto in a wallet somewhere, but that he bought at the height of the bull market, and that it’s not worth much today.