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Seed phrases: The critical barrier to mass adoption

Seed phrases have got to go — that’s why we built Argent

Matthew Wright
Jan 20, 2020
Argent

The choice of seed phrases or centralized exchanges is false. A better way is here

The new decade in crypto has started with a familiar problem: someone losing everything because of the complexities of managing their private key.

We founded Argent to solve this, and we have. All the while being non-custodial and censorship resistant.

Here’s how, and why it matters for crypto’s adoption.

It’s worth noting that Argent is Ethereum only as our solution relies on smart contracts.


Seed phrase or centralized exchange: a nightmare choice

Seed phrases are awful remnants of crypto’s early days. They have two huge flaws:

  1. They leave you vulnerable. Lose it and you lose everything. Sadly all too many fall victim to this.
  2. They’re a terrible experience. Writing a password on paper and hiding it in your house isn’t the digital future anyone wants.

Even if you don’t lose your seed phrase they’re super complicated to deal with:

In short, to drive crypto adoption we need to eliminate seed phrases.

But this doesn’t mean relying on centralized exchanges.

Centralized exchanges are:

  1. Vulnerable to attack and often lose everything
  2. Capable of misappropriating your funds
  3. Restrictive of what you can do with your assets.

Fortunately, a third way is available: non-custodial wallets built on smart contracts that have the ease of use and security of the best new bank apps. No seed phrase. No problems.

The solution

Here’s what we knew our solution had to achieve:

  1. Fully non-custodial, i.e. Argent cannot access your funds
  2. Censorship resistant, i.e. Argent cannot stop you from accessing your funds
  3. Super easy to use

Argent’s solution: Guardians

With Argent you choose ‘Guardians’ to help you regain access to your account. They never have access to your private key.

What are Guardians?

  • People you trust
  • Hardware wallets, e.g. Ledger and Trezor
  • MetaMask accounts
  • Third party services, e.g. Argent Guard, our service, but we expect others to be built

You can have any combination you want, and easily change them anytime.

How does it work?

You can think of it like banking. With your bank, if you lose your card you call them and they send you a new one. With Argent, if you lose your phone you use your Guardians to recover your wallet.

Recovery is as easy as:

  1. Download the Argent app on your new phone
  2. Enter your Argent username (e.g. yourname.argent.xyz — we give ENS addresses to every user, for free)
  3. Contact your Guardians, who open their app and tap Recover. Or go to security.argent.xyz if you're using MetaMask or hardware wallets.
  4. Done!

You need a majority of your Guardians to approve a recovery. Recoveries involve a security period of 36 hours. This gives you time to cancel it if you like.

Starting Authorising

Our solution has been live and successfully securing assets for over a year.

Further reading

  1. We first introduced Guardians in this post
  2. The role Guardians play in our security model is explained in more detail here.
  3. Our smart contracts are open source and available to inspect here.

Explore

  1. Download Argent
  2. Follow our latest updates and share your feedback: @argenthq

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