A Seed Phrase, also known as a ‘recovery phrase’, is a sequence of words generated by a crypto wallet that allows the user to access the funds stored in it as a substitute of the private key.
The seed phrase can consist of 12 or 24 words selected algorithmically from a dictionary containing 2048 definitions. Through a further algorithm, the private key and public key associated with the same wallet are created from this phrase.
A possible example of a seed phrase might be:
Hotel, avocado, fragile, agent, jelous, bottle, any, gaget, lesson, before, after, nobody.
In case of loss of the private key or password associated with a custodial wallet, i.e. a wallet where key management is entrusted to a third party, the seed phrase allows the user to access their funds. You can imagine the recovery phrase as a sort of ‘security code’ that allows you to recover your crypto in case of need.
But what is the difference between a private key and a seed phrase? The private key is an alphanumeric sequence that allows you to sign transactions and gain normal access to your wallet.
A seed phrase, on the other hand, is a sequence composed of real words. In special cases such as the loss of the private key, or as an additional security measure, it still allows you access to the wallet and the crypto stored in it.
Since the seed phrase allows users to recover and confirm ownership of a wallet, and cannot be recovered in turn, it is essential to keep the combination in a safe place.