How to Choose Guardians Wisely for Crypto Asset Protection

30 Jun 2023

With social recovery wallets like Gridlock, you get to choose the best guardians to help secure your cryptocurrencies and NFTs. This article delves into what guardians are and how to easily set them up to create your own distributed wallet safety network for all your favorite cryptos.

What is a Guardian in crypto wallets?

In the world of crypto, a guardian is a trusted person, company, or even another device that assists in your crypto wallet functions. Also known as “key shares” or “key shards”, Guardians as a whole make up the encrypted key but individually they have no functionality. Only the wallet owner has custody of their crypto at all times.

Instead of just having one guardian - you have a group of guardians that round out a circle of security for your cryptocurrencies and NFTs. In the case of Gridlock, 5 guardians make up your secure network:

  • Guardian #1 - The wallet owner is you, the first guardian. Since you are the primary guardian, you are also the only one with powers to make transactions and control the other guardians. 
  • Guardians #2 and #3 - The second and third guardians in your security network are people or devices that you choose. They can be family members, friends, or any other trusted individuals. 
  • Guardians #4 and #5 - Gridlock provides the last 2 key shards and can provide either or both of them when you’re in need of re-establishing access to your crypto holdings. 

Remember: the only guardian to have authority to make transactions, change guardians, or recover a lost wallet is you. Your guardians are there to help you keep full control over your secured crypto, but they cannot access your holdings or change any wallet settings. 

You will employ your trusted guardians in various ways to improve security and enhance the experience of crypto investing, including:

  • Making transactions - When making transactions with your crypto and NFT holdings, 3 out of 5 guardians are needed to initiate the transaction. Gridlock’s wallet app actually allows you to function with just the 2 Gridlock guardians, but we strongly suggest you set up the full guardian network of five to ensure your crypto is safe. 
  • Wallet recovery - Gridlock allows users to recover their accounts through a social verification process instead of any centralized intermediary or the need to back up a seed phrase. Guardians are at the heart of this process. Any of your trusted guardians can easily invite you (and your new device!) back to your network in the case of a lost, compromised, or damaged device. That way you may continue to have full control over your crypto.
  • Guardian replacement - Even though you may have already selected your trusted guardians, it may happen that one of them loses their device or loses touch with you. Gridlock provides an easy-to-use guardian screen where the online status of your guardians is viewable. A “replace” button is available to you only when you tap on each of the guardians in your dashboard. Simply follow the prompts to replace the guardian and the former guardian gets a notification. 
  • Password resets - It happens to the best of us - we forget our password and lose access to our device or account. With Gridlock, when you forget your password, all is not lost. Simply contact one of your trusted guardians, ask them to sign in and head to the “Protecting” area, where they can open your profile and select two of the available reset links. It’s that easy.

Under the hood there are highly advanced cryptographic technologies and smart contracts making this all easy and secure. If you want to learn about the behind-the-scenes security features, you can read about Gridlock’s tech stack. But from the wallet user’s standpoint, the Gridlock wallet experience is sleek and simple to use while offering the best security available. 

The 3 out of 5 rule

For any of these actions to work, you must have 3 out of 5 of your trusted guardians online. For general wallet usage, this can simply mean you and the two Gridlock guardians. You as the wallet owner have full view at any time into which guardians are currently online. Having all 5 guardians puts your mind at rest while needing only 3 out of 5 for functionality improves usability and convenience. 

Are guardians “trustless” or “trusted”?

Some influencers have brought up the fact that you are “trusting” someone to custody your crypto. Just like with a centralized exchange where as we know, you don’t actually own or control the assets. 

The fact is that Gridlock guardians can not control your crypto, or do anything with it. They don’t even know what assets are there or what the seed phrase is - it is impossible for them to know. So, essentially, you are not trusting any centralized source with control of your holdings. Instead, you maintain control of your self-custody wallet while your guardians have your back in the case something goes wrong. 

How to choose the best guardians

Practically speaking, the best guardians are people you trust who are online regularly. They could be trusted friends, family members, or close co-workers. It is completely up to you to decide who to entrust. But remember, they will only be able to help you through social verification to get back into your account if locked out, or to invite you back to your own network if you lose a device. Guardians can and never will be able to do anything else but help you secure your crypto while having zero knowledge of the crypto you hold. 

It may also be nice to use guardians that also enjoy the crypto and NFT phenomenon. That way, you can potentially be their guardian as well. 

Gridlock: A wallet you can trust because you help build the security team

The entire process of setting up your guardians and using your Gridlock wallet is streamlined and easy to understand for users of all skill levels. We make sure that maintaining a decentralized security system to secure your crypto is as easy as a few clicks. 

Gone are the days of having to write down your private keys and hope to the crypto Gods that you don’t lose them. Welcome to the era of self-custody wallets with select guardians who watch over your crypto - without ever seeing it!

Download Gridlock crypto wallet today and put your guardians in place!

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Written by Mason Winsed

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Mason Winsed simplifies blockchain for the people. With a comp-sci background and a passion for crypto safety, he's your go-to for straight-forward crypto wisdom. In his off time, he's coding or gaming. Join Mason for a no-nonsense crypto talk.

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