How to use 1Password to manage cryptocurrency

In 2017, the cryptocurrency market skyrocketed to over $600 billion. It’s the digital gold rush, and everyone wants their share. The lure of riches is too much to ignore, but there are also enormous risks. We can’t teach you how to make the best investments, but we can help you manage your cryptocurrencies securely.

I’ve been trading crypto for a while now, and to be perfectly honest, none of it would be possible without 1Password. It helps me stay secure, and creating and managing all of my credentials – 46 and counting – is an absolute breeze.

My #1 rule: Set up 1Password before investing in crypto

Before you invest in crypto, you need to take your security seriously. The best way to do that is with 1Password. I’ve seen people invest without using a password manager at all, and I’m seriously terrified for them. They create weak passwords, which they store on a piece of paper or unencrypted on their device. Or, like a number of early bitcoin investors discovered, they no longer remember their credentials. So while they may have thousands of dollars stored in a digital wallet somewhere, it’s lost forever.

There have already been reports of people losing over $100,000 by accessing their accounts on public Wi-Fi, or signing in to a fake website. While 1Password can’t protect you from insecure networks (if it’s unavoidable, always use a VPN like, we can protect you from phishing sites, weak and duplicate passwords, and a foggy memory.

How to use 1Password to store your crypto

So just how can you use 1Password to manage your crypto? It depends what you’re storing: account credentials, private keys, wallet seeds and backups, or crypto addresses. I’ll shed some light on how I use 1Password to manage them all.

Exchange accounts

Exchanges are where all the action takes place. After you’ve purchased some crypto, you can send it to an exchange and trade it for any other coin on offer. Unless you only trade the top 20, you’ll need to sign up for a few exchanges to buy the coins you want.

Crypto exchange Login itemWhen I sign up for an exchange like Bittrex, Binance, or Kucoin, I save it as a Login item, just as I would for a regular account. I enable 2-factor authentication using one-time passwords, and I strongly recommend you do the same before depositing money there.

When I want to sign in, 1Password fills my username and password, and copies my one-time password to the clipboard for easy retrieval. Plus, it won’t fill my details anywhere except the specified URL, keeping me well protected from both man-in-the-middle and phishing attacks.


If the collapse of Mt Gox taught us anything, it’s that you should always take your coins off an exchange. To keep them safe, you’ll need to set up some wallets. Cryptocurrency wallets allow you to interact with the blockchain to store, send, and receive crypto. Because most coins have their own blockchain, you’ll likely need more than one.

Cryptocurrency software wallet Login itemThere are 3 main wallet types: software, hardware, and paper. Many people prefer hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano because they’re not connected to the internet. My only advice here? Don’t buy one second hand.

I’m worried I’d lose a hardware wallet, so I use a mix of paper and software wallets and store the details in 1Password. I set up my software wallets on an encrypted Virtual Machine with the password saved as a Login item. I create a Login item for each wallet (software and paper), and use the password generator to create a wallet seed or passphrase.

If my wallet address won’t change, I set it as the username. If I create multiple addresses, I add them to a new section called Addresses for easy retrieval. And if I need to save private keys, I add a new field to the Login item, label it Private Key and set it as a password so it’s always concealed.

Cryptocurrency paper wallet Login itemOnce my wallet is encrypted, I save a backup and attach it to the Login item in 1Password. This way, if I ever lose my MacBook Pro, I can restore the wallets on another computer using my wallet backups and credentials.

To help me see how my coins are spread, I can use the notes section to keep a tally. I find this especially helpful for keeping track of coins in MyEtherWallet, a paper wallet that stores both Ethereum and ERC20 tokens.

Cryptocurrency addresses

Much like a bank account, if someone in my family wants to send me crypto, they’ll need to know my wallet address and the currency tied to it. 1Password covers that, too. I simply create a Bank Account item and name it after the currency. I use the name of the wallet for the bank, and insert my wallet address into the account number field. Then I just add it to our Shared vault so it’s there whenever they need it.Cryptocurrency address Bank Account item

Organise your crypto with tags

I have a lot of data in my vaults, and with my crypto items growing rapidly, I need a good way to organise them. Luckily, that’s a simple fix. All I need to do is tag them crypto and I can see everything at a glance.

Pay for your 1Password account with crypto

If you ever wanted to pay for your 1Password account with crypto, now you can. We’ve released 1Password Gift Cards as an alternative payment option, which you can purchase with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. When you get to the checkout, choose Coinbase as your payment method and complete your order in the cryptocurrency of your choice. Once your payment has cleared and you’ve received your gift card, you can redeem it by adding the code to your Billing page. gift cardGift card Ethereum payment portal

1Password is an essential tool for managing cryptocurrency – one that I’d be completely lost without. Thanks to the flexibility of custom fields, I can save my credentials in a format that makes sense for me, and retrieve them with ease. And I can sleep soundly knowing my data is protected by 1Password’s security model.

We’d love to add some new cryptocurrency templates in a future release, so please let us know in the comments what strategies you use to manage yours.

27 replies
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  1. Jeffrey Goldberg
    Jeffrey Goldberg says:

    If the collapse of Mt Gox taught us anything, it’s that you should always take your coins off an exchange.

    I learned that the hard way.

  2. Eliot
    Eliot says:

    Great article! One thing I’d suggest is that 1password is super helpful for backing up hardware wallets too! Ledger wallets (I haven’t used others, so can’t speak to them) can be fully restored to another wallet by using seed phrases that I’ve written on a piece of paper (kept in my safe!) or stored in a secure note in 1Password. If you’re “scared of losing” a hardware wallet, I’d suggest learning more about Ledger wallets and others that support seed phrases.

    • Lisa Verheul
      Lisa Verheul says:

      Thanks for your insight, Eliot! ❤️ Having never used a hardware wallet, I didn’t realise you could back them up the same way, but I’ll definitely read more into them. Just goes to show there’s always more to learn in this field! 😊

  3. Tangible
    Tangible says:

    Good post, but I would replace every instance of “invest” with “gamble on”. Putting money into crypto is like putting it on the craps table, minus the fun. It saddens me that serious people – people who are wise enough to use or develop 1Password – are being led to believe that they are skilled investors when they are actually lucky gamblers. Luck runs out.

    • Lisa Verheul
      Lisa Verheul says:

      Thanks, Tangible! You’re right, without knowing what you’re doing, it’s very easy to gamble your money in crypto, just like the stock market. I won’t pretend to be an expert, but if you take the time to learn about chart patterns, market cycles, the business/project behind the cryptocurrency, plan your entry and exit points, and utilise stop-losses, you’ll set yourself up for a higher chance of success.

    • Bastion
      Bastion says:

      Very biased comment, speaking from a place of ignorance.

      The current crypto market is a near-perfect analog to the 90’s dot-com market. Yes, that too was full of IPO scammers, unjustified risks, and speculation (which is what I guess you call “gambling”). However, there were also legit “winners” from the dot-com boom/bust early market.

      And those “winners” could not have gotten to be so without the investment of people willing to back them when they needed that start-up money.

      Today, buying Amazon shares is 100% “investment”, since they are no longer a start-up and are very successful. But back in the day, it was more like 20% investment and 80% speculation. That doesn’t make it “gambling”. That makes it a risk. Like any investment.

      But crypto is just like the dot-com start-up, as I said, and if you want to reduce your risk, always do your research! Same advice for then as now.

      The ones who are “gambling” are the ones who are just throwing money at crypto because they “heard” you could get rich quick. Don’t disparage the real investors who are backing the next paradigm-shift in the Information Age, and blockchain truly is just that.

    • Lisa Verheul
      Lisa Verheul says:

      This is a brilliant perspective, thanks so much for sharing, Bastion! I think the most important point to drill in is to always do your own research. If you can get rich quick, you can also get poor quick, so don’t trade blindly and never invest more than you’re willing to lose.

  4. Daniel Schneller
    Daniel Schneller says:

    Nice piece. But •pleeease• don’t use crypto as a shorthand for crypto currencies, as so many mainstream outlets annoyingly do.

    • Lisa Verheul
      Lisa Verheul says:

      Thanks, Daniel! We actually talked about this internally a few hours ago. As annoying as it is for cryptographers, crypto is now synonymous with cryptocurrencies. As this post is addressing cryptocurrency enthusiasts, we felt it best to use their terminology.

    • Bastion
      Bastion says:

      Well, even “currency” is a misnomer. Perhaps an even better way to characterize this market is “blockchain-enabled technologies”, or something of the sort.

      Blockchain is the real star here, just like in the 90’s when HTML, cgi-bin, and shopping carts were the tech stars of Web 1.0.

    • Bastion
      Bastion says:

      Also, why not “crypto”?

      Everything gets abbreviated in the vernacular.

      We don’t call it the “World Wide Web” anymore, right? Even though we all use “http://www.something.something” all the time. It’s just the “Web”, even though it isn’t a “web” like a spider’s or anything.

      Blockchain tech is cryptography, anyway – couldn’t exist without it. So, yeah, shorthands will develop fairly organically, and this seems to be the one for this particular thing.

      Might need to look for other windmills to tilt at…

  5. Bastion
    Bastion says:

    Nice run-down… I luckily just sort of “fell” into these as a long-time 1Password user. :-)

    I might also add, create a separate 1Password “ID” for crytpo use, as well as a separate vault. Then I just share the vault with my “real” ID and my crypto ID.

    I also set up all-new email IDs, social media IDs, and even a computer login ID so there is pretty much an electronic firewall between my personal identity and my crypto trading identity. 1Password really made this a breeze, which I would not even want to attempt without a password manager.

    And an additional category tag helped with this: I used an “exchange” tag for the exchange logins, just to make sure it was super easy to always use the right URL, password, and OTP.

    Oh, and for the wallets saved as bank accounts, I used a naming pattern of – – , where “name” is the wallet holder, since sometimes you will need to send coins to other people, and “type” is the exchange name or just “desktop” if it is a private one, etc.

    Keeping track of wallets and being 100% certain of the coin type is critical for not making a mistake and getting your coins locked and lost on the blockchain.

    Not everyone will want to create a completely new, parallel identity for their interactions with crypto, but I read and heard about the idea (at least use different email IDs with each exchange), and having an IT and computer security background, it just made sense. For me. ;-)

    Good luck, and stay safe!

    • Bastion
      Bastion says:

      Ooops, the account naming pattern was stripped because I used angle brackets.

      It was: “coin” – “name” – “type”

    • Lisa Verheul
      Lisa Verheul says:

      Thanks, Bastion! I’ve relied on 1Password for a long time, too, and it still amazes me how much time I save by using it. It really is quite tedious to set up new accounts without it!

      Your strategies sound incredibly useful, thanks for sharing them with us! I especially love your idea of separating your personal and crypto identities. I’ve started separating the two as much as I can, but they still overlap. Maybe it’s overkill, but there’s already so much risk in this space that you should aim to minimise it everywhere you can. 😊

      Keeping track of wallets and being 100% certain of the coin type is critical for not making a mistake and getting your coins locked and lost on the blockchain.

      This! I always triple-check my wallet addresses and coin types before sending a transaction. Some wallets will just show an error, no harm done, but it’s not a bank account where you can dispute the charge. If you’re new to crypto, practice by sending small amounts before you move your entire portfolio anywhere. Extreme caution is key. ✌️

  6. Glenn Rempe
    Glenn Rempe says:

    As someone who deals with the security aspects of handling crypto-currencies every day I feel uncomfortable with a blog post, ostensibly about keeping people’s digital assets secure, written by an author that admits in the comments to “Having never used a hardware wallet” and who demonstrates in the text that she clearly does not understand how they work, and therefore cannot claim to understand the security properties.

    The keys in hardware wallets are derived from a strong, 12 or 24+ word, seed phrase that never leave the device. The private keys derived from that seed and also never leave the device. You can recover your wallets on a replacement device in case of loss or theft from that seed. The seed is what must be most protected, less so the device. The devices are also PIN protected and many will erase all of their key material when too many PIN attempts are made.

    It is common security advice that these seeds should never be typed into a computer. Ever. They should instead be written down, on paper, and secured. This also means you should not type them into 1Password as you are still susceptible to keylogger attacks.

    The use of an ‘encrypted virtual machine’ offers no security benefits when considering such an attack.

    I love 1Password, but this security advise is not up to the standard that I expect from Agile Bits.

    • Lisa Verheul
      Lisa Verheul says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Glenn! You’re right, I’m not experienced with hardware wallets, so I chose to focus on the wallets I do have experience with. Keep in mind that this post was intended to showcase how I use 1Password to manage my crypto credentials – not as an exhaustive security guide – while also providing an overview for those with limited knowledge.

      Sure, a hardware wallet is replaceable, but I don’t like the idea of relying on a piece of paper to store my wallet seed. If I lost my wallet while travelling, I’d have no way to access my cryptocurrencies until I purchase a new hardware wallet and get my hands on that piece of paper. There are plenty of currencies that aren’t compatible with hardware wallets, such as IOTA, so in some cases, software wallets are unavoidable.

      That’s not to say that hardware wallets aren’t practical – they have plenty of use-case, especially if you want to hold your cryptocurrency long-term, or can’t trust the security of your devices. For instance, while the Secure Input Fields on Mac will help protect you from keyloggers, they can’t help you if you’ve installed a malicious application with root privileges.

      The bottom line is, security risks are everywhere. You need to stay vigilant and minimise your attack surface as much as possible.

  7. Richard Gora
    Richard Gora says:

    Good post on 1Password, sometimes investors wants to spend in venture but step back due to insecurity of their investment and i think 1Password will encourage to support good ventures without fear.

    • Kate Sebald
      Kate Sebald says:

      Thanks, Richard! We certainly hope being able to use 1Password to help manage cryptocurrency will make the process less intimidating for folks interested in it. 😊

    • Lisa Verheul
      Lisa Verheul says:

      That’s an interesting idea, thanks Mikel! Adding direct support for BIP44 deterministic wallets is a bit out of scope for us, but you can use our password generator to create up to a 10-word wallet passphrase. I’ll talk to our developers to see if we can extend the word count, as 12-24 word passphrases are the most commonly used. In the meantime, you can reach your desired word length by generating and recording the results from the word generator multiple times. 😊

    • Jeffrey Goldberg
      Jeffrey Goldberg says:

      Hi Mikel,

      I can’t really foresee us generating such wallets directly. As Lisa said, it would be far out of scope. I’ve just read the specification. So far for full compatibility across our platforms and our desire to minimize the amount of crypto we write, we’ve not (yet) made much use of elliptic curve cryptography. Our public key stuff is (almost) all done use RSA. But we are very familiar with HMAC and PBKDF2, so the rest of that spec would not require us to do anything “new” from a cryptographic point of view.

      What is slightly more plausible (and I am in no way promising anything about anything) is the idea of extending our Strong Password Generator to create seeds and the wordlist mnemonics. We already know how to generate random keys securely, and we’ve long been fans of wordlist passphrases.

  8. Mat Boye
    Mat Boye says:

    This is important! There’s so many people who’ve been “hacked” and their coins were stolen so knowing how to set this up and do it properly is very important.
    Thanks for taking the time to write this post!

    • Lisa Verheul
      Lisa Verheul says:

      Thanks, Mat! It’s heartbreaking to see how many people have already had their coins lost or stolen, and I’m afraid it will only get worse once cryptocurrencies become mainstream. The best thing we can do is teach them how to manage their investments safely now, so that they can hold on to them well into the future.

  9. Nick
    Nick says:

    I wish I had known more about security when I bought some of my first Bitcoins. 1Password looks like an effective security solution, and this is a good article for those new or concerned about security. Your subsection about wallets is particularly helpful. I currently use a combination of software, hardware, and paper wallets. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lisa Verheul
      Lisa Verheul says:

      Thanks Nick, I’m so glad you found it useful! I wasn’t as well versed in security when I first bought bitcoin, but thankfully I was already using 1Password. I hope your coins are still safe!

      Storing wallet backups in 1Password is my favourite discovery, and they’ve come in handy quite a few times now. It’s great that you’re managing your cryptocurrencies across a few wallets, as it’s much better than keeping all your eggs in one basket. Just be extra careful with hardware wallets – they recently discovered that it was possible to backdoor a Ledger hardware wallet and recover the private keys:

      Safe investing!

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