Given the cost of even a single Curio Card, there is no reason not to purchase a hardware wallet. Using a hardware wallet is the #1 best thing you can do to increase your security, as they can protect your crypto even if your PC is compromised. Your private keys and seed phrase never leave the hardware wallet. You should never trust your computer alone, even with up-to-date antivirus and firewall software.
The first step is to acquire a hardware wallet. The most popular and widely used hardware wallets are made by Ledger and Trezor. Purchase it brand new directly from the manufacturer's website to reduce the risk of tampering.
When you set up your hardware wallet, you will be creating a new seed phrase. There is No reason someone will ever need your seed phrase or private key. Don't share it with anyone! Not MetaMask/Ledger/Trezor tech support, not a project developer, not a Curio Cards official admin, NO ONE for ANY reason. No matter how official the request looks, remember impersonation is easy online.
The Only time a seed phrase is needed is when you decide to recover a wallet, and you never need to enter your seed phrase on your computer, only on the hardware wallet itself! The hardware wallet software running on your computer will never ask for the seed phrase to be typed on the computer. You also need to keep a secure copy of your seed phrase offsite, so if your house or apartment burns down, you can still recover. You may also want to give a copy to a loved one, for backup and estate planning reasons. Remember once you give the seed to someone they have the ability to access all of your funds and must keep it safe as well.
Setting Up Your Hardware Wallet
In order to set up your hardware wallet accounts to facilitate the lowest risk, we are going to utilize multiple account addresses. The purpose is to isolate and limit the risk per account, aka compartmentalize.
This long word just means "don't put all your eggs in one basket". Instead keep different assets in different places with different levels of risk. Here is a basic example as an introduction:
We will set up your MetaMask with three accounts from your hardware wallet.
The first account can be used for normal day-to-day transactions and smaller amounts. If the first account gets compromised, the amount of assets lost will be minimal. Also, if the first account is compromised, you can stop using it and just add another account as a replacement. This is also referred to as a Hot Wallet.
A second account will only be used to buy and sell assets from a legitimate source like OpenSea. An example would be selling a Curio Card or Art Blocks piece that you transferred from your vault account. After the buy or sell is completed, the assets should be transferred to your vault account for safekeeping.
The third account on your hardware wallet we will designate as your Vault (or Cold Wallet). You will not be making transactions from the vault account, it is strictly for holding your long-term and high-value assets. Keeping this account separate helps to minimize the risk of making a mistake, accident, or getting compromised. The only way you will ever use this wallet is by transferring funds and NFTs too and from your other wallets.
Below are specific instructions to set up one of the popular hardware wallets: