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Consider the Ledger and Trezor hardware wallets: how long could they last in a typical bank safety deposit box?

If the answer needs specifics, assume the following:

  1. Temp: 20C
  2. Humidity: 50% RH
  3. Altitude: sea level
  4. Vibration/shock: none
  5. Cosmic radiation: whatever would get through to a typical safety deposit box (should I choose a box nearer to the floor assuming there's no risk of flood?)
  6. "last" = 999 of 1000 wallets stored would have full functionality after this period

To help me understand more, in your answer, could you explain why hardware wallet data retention is longer (if it is) than, say, a typical USB stick, a typical SSD, and an IronKey.

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It seems like the general consensus on how long the actual cryptographic chip in the Ledger and Trezor devices will last is ~20-30 years, comparable to a standard flash drive. The Ledger Nano X has a battery that is rated for a 5 year lifespan, after which you probably won't be able to use it without plugging it in, although the cryptographic chip should still work well beyond that.

Regardless, if you would like to ensure your crypto assets can be kept in cold storage for a very long period of time, it is recommended to keep a backup of the seed phrase. If you use a durable medium such as a steel or titanium wallet to record your seed phrase, your assets will be recoverable for as long as the seed phrase is legible.

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  • There is no "cryptographic chip" in the Trezor, it's an off the shelf processor designed for consumer appliances. These numbers seem to have little basis in reality. – Anonymous Feb 6 at 19:56
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    @Anonymous The storage of cryptographic secrets, in both Ledger and Trezor, are in standard flash memory whether that flash memory is on a specifically designed secured crypto chip like it is on Ledger or a standard microprocessor like it is in Trezor. Since neither of these to my knowledge have specifically tested the longevity of their storage, and because neither have existed for long enough to see significant numbers of them fail, it should be safe to assume the lifespan of them are comparable to other similar flash storage mediums. – ieatpizza Feb 6 at 20:18
  • Can you point me to the source of this information about the "general consensus"? – Gordon Fogus Mar 4 at 1:45

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