A list of words used in sequence to access or restore your crypto assets.
What Is a Mnemonic Phrase?
If you think back to your school days, you may remember being taught about mnemonics in English classes. Fast forward to the world of crypto, and they play a vital role in ensuring that your assets are kept safe at all times.
These phrases are usually 12 or 24 words long. Each word in the phrase tends to be unrelated to another. Wallet providers will usually provide you a mnemonic phrase when you open a new account — and it’s incumbent on you to write it down carefully and store it in a safe place… ideally in an environment that is not connected to the internet.
Mnemonic phrases come into their own in the event that your hardware wallet is lost, stolen or ends up getting damaged. That’s because it gives you a second chance to retrieve cryptocurrencies that would otherwise be lost.
Here’s an example of a mnemonic phrase:
balloon marmalade rotate umbrella elephant bounce winner never ice helicopter crazy obscure
As you can see, all of the words that star in this list are actually unrelated to one another. However, they need to be recited in the correct order for access to be granted.
The rationale behind mnemonic phrases is that it makes it far easier to humans to remember important information, in a way that’s more understandable than wallet addresses filled with random numbers and letters.
A more modern name for a mnemonic phrase is a seed phrase.
In non-crypto terms, an example of mnenomics could include MVEMJSUN, which helps children to remember the order of planets closest to the sun — Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. To help a child recite this in order, an example of a mnemonic could be: My Very Entertained Mama Just Served Us Nuggets.