Seed phrases

What is a seed phrase and why do I need it?

A seed phrase is a sequence of 12 words that gives you, and only you, access to the cryptocurrency you've received. When you want to withdraw the funds you've received on Coinbase Commerce, you'll be prompted to enter your seed phrase, and this seed will be used to sign a blockchain transaction directly in your browser.

To maintain access to your funds, it is critical that you do not lose this seed phrase.

What can I do to protect my seed phrase?

Anyone who has possession of your seed phrase can authorize moving cryptocurrency, therefore it's critical to keep your 12 words secure. We highly recommend writing your seed phrase down on a physical piece of paper and storing it in a secure location, and using our cloud backup feature.

What is cloud backup? Can Coinbase move my funds if I use cloud backup?

Cloud backup is a feature that helps merchants securely and reliably store seed phrases, while still maintaining complete control over their funds. Instead of manually entering a seed phrase each time you want to withdraw funds, we’ve enabled a way for you to securely store your seed phrase in a personal Google Drive account. This feature works by storing an encrypted version of your seed phrase to your personal Google Drive account. This means that Coinbase Commerce can’t access your funds (because we don’t have access to your Google account) and neither Google nor someone who has gained unauthorized access to your Google account can access your funds (because Coinbase Commerce holds the decryption key).

To enable cloud backup, find the Manage seed phrase backup section here. For more information on how our Cloud Backup feature protects your seed phrase, check out this blog post.

I think my seed phrase has been compromised, what should I do?

We recommend immediately withdrawing all funds you have received to addresses that you control to mitigate the possibility of theft. This seed phrase enables anyone who is in possession of it to move all received funds to any blockchain address. 

We don't currently have a way to generate a new seed phrase within Coinbase Commerce. Once your funds are in a secure location, we recommend opening a new Coinbase Commerce account, and either recreating relevant Checkouts or reintegrating this new account with an eCommerce platform.

I’m seeing a message that says my seed phrase is incorrect when I try to withdraw, what should I do?

There are a couple reasons that you may be seeing this error message:

  • There could be a typo in one or more of the seed words, or the words could be out of order from how they were originally. 

  • The seed phrase may not be the one associated with the Coinbase Commerce account you are interacting with. We recommend double checking that the seed phrase you are entering is the one generated upon onboarding for the same Commerce account.

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