TL;DR - The secret recovery phrase is the key to the wallet: if someone has the key, they have complete access to the wallet. Do not share it with anyone and store it safely - Zelus has no access to it either and we won’t be able to retrieve it for you.

Crypto wallets differ from physical wallets because they don’t hold any actual currency or assets - only the passcodes needed to retrieve them from the blockchain address (account) where they are safely stored. These passcodes are unique for each account, cannot be changed, and consist of three things:

  1. a public wallet address

  2. a private cryptographic key

  3. a secret recovery phrase

You can think of a public address as a bank account number that you may decide to share with people you trust to receive transactions. One big difference comes from the transparency principle upon which blockchain is built: anyone knowing your public address can also see your transaction history and what assets you own.

A private key is the security solution used in the blockchain to restrict access to your assets. Like a strong password, it generally takes the form of a long, randomly generated set of characters and it is unique for each public address. Because it can’t be changed and it’s almost impossible to remember, crypto wallets include a recovery phrase.

A secret recovery phrase is a human-readable version of a private key. Although it is called a ‘recovery phrase’ it is not an actual full sentence but a sequence of words. Zelus Wallet, as many other crypto wallets do, uses a 12-word recovery phrase.

It is ‘secret’ because only you should know it. Anyone knowing the recovery phrase has access to everything stored in the associated address. We at Zelus don’t know your recovery phrase or private key. If you lose your wallet's private key and secret phrase, there's no way of recovering access to the wallet. You can't just click a "forgot password" button, and there's no 2-factor authentication. Instead, you need to write it down and store it somewhere safe - to ensure your assets will still be accessible even if your device gets lost.

One of the other big differences between blockchain and the traditional internet is that you can actually take your wallet's private key or secret recovery phrase and use them with a totally different wallet app. If you decide Zelus wasn't for you, then you can easily take your passcodes and use them somewhere else. You could even have your wallet (and thus all the assets contained by it) in two places or apps at once!

Summing up:

  • Because the blockchain is public and decentralized, anyone with your public address can see your entire transaction history. Only share a wallet address with people you’re comfortable with them knowing this information.

  • Store your recovery phrase somewhere safe. Remember that the recovery phrase is the only thing that could let you back into your wallet if you lose access.

  • Never share your secret phrase with anyone. Accidentally sharing your recovery phrase means that your wallet and assets are exposed. You cannot simply reset your password, private keys and recovery phrases are unchangeable. There is nothing you (or us) can do to retrieve your assets if they get stolen.

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