How to take self custody of your nano

Nano Foundation

What is self custody?

‘Not your keys, not your coins’. 

You might have heard this maxim used a lot in the crypto space over the last twelve months - especially after the collapse of some high profile cryptocurrency exchanges.

But what does it actually mean? What is ‘taking self custody’ of your nano?

Basically, self-custody is the act that lets you take full control of your nano (or other crypto), giving you the power to store, send or receive it without relying on a third party. 

So the ‘keys’ in the maxim above are the private keys to the account or wallet in which your nano is stored. These often come in the form of a ‘seed phrase’, a sequence of random words that stores the data required to access the funds in your account. 

If a third party - like an exchange - holds the key, they effectively own your nano. That’s why they’re called ‘custodial’ services. And when they have custody of your nano, they can pretty much do what they like with it - whether that’s lending it, using it as collateral, or even stopping you from withdrawing it. 

When users realised this and went online to voice their dissatisfaction,‘not your keys, not your coins!’ was what the crypto space usually shouted back. It became a warning about the risks of entrusting your cryptocurrency to a third party, and in many unfortunate cases, summed up a harsh lesson learned.  

Why should you take self custody of your nano?

Beyond the above, there are many reasons to take self custody of your nano. By doing so, you’re not just making the original dream of cryptocurrency a reality, you’re making your nano easier to send and spend, keeping it in circulation, and helping to decentralise the nano network. Ultimately, it puts you in full control of your nano. 

Now, let’s look at how to do it!

How to take self custody of your nano

For you to have true ownership of your nano, it needs to be in a ‘non-custodial’ wallet. This method of storage means you have sole control over your nano. It also means you have sole responsibility for its safe storage. 

So, with that in mind, let’s look at exactly how you take self custody of your nano.

The good news is, it’s really simple and quick (partly because nano transacts instantly!). 


Step 1 - Choose a wallet for your nano

You’ll need to choose a non-custodial wallet to keep your nano in. Nautilus and Natrium are some popular choices. For large amounts of nano, you might want to consider a hardware wallet. You can find a comprehensive list of both types, here. also offers a fantastic comparison of different nano wallets.

Once you’ve made your choice, just follow the simple, step by step startup process your wallet will guide you through.

Step 2 - Store your private key

It is absolutely vital to record your private key (or seed phrase) and store it somewhere safe. Without this key, your nano will be irretrievable. You could use a password manager for this, or the good old fashioned combo of pen and paper works just fine, as long as you have somewhere safe to keep it. 

Step 3 - Get your wallet address

Once you’ve set up your wallet, you’ll be assigned your wallet address automatically. It’ll start with nano_ . This is the address to send all your nano to. 

In most wallets, your address is found under a ‘receive’ button.

Step 4 - Move your nano to your wallet

Most exchanges enable withdrawals by simply clicking a ‘withdraw’ button. You can paste your nano address into the address box provided, select ‘withdraw’, and your nano should be with you within seconds.  

Almost all exchanges offer detailed guidance on how to withdraw on their help or FAQ pages. Check out these examples from Kraken and Binance, for example.

And that’s it! Your nano should be securely in your custody, ready for you to use! The next step is to choose your representative. 

If you’d like to know more about anything mentioned in this article, or nano in general, our blog is a great place to go for nano-related content. You could also join our very welcoming and knowledgeable Reddit community

Nano Foundation does not endorse or approve products and/or services used or developed by third parties. Any links to third party software or sites are for informational purposes only. Nano Foundation bears no responsibility for the operability, accuracy, legality or content of third party products and/or services. Any questions regarding third party material should be directed to that party.