By CCN.com: BGR, a U.S.-based technology publication, reported that a Samsung insider leaked images of the new Galaxy S10 model equipped with a native Bitcoin wallet.
The Galaxy S10 has not yet been released to the public, but Samsung reportedly distributed the model to accessory makers and merchants.
Galaxy S10 with a Crypto Wallet?
According to Gregory Blake, who released several screenshots of a suspected Galaxy S10 prototype, the new model of the South Korean mobile phone manufacturing giant has an integrated feature called “Samsung Blockchain KeyStore” that enables users to have full control over their private keys and crypto funds.
Once the Blockchain KeyStore is authenticated and enabled on the device, users are able to begin sending and receiving cryptocurrency using the native crypto wallet on the mobile phone.
The screenshot shared by Blake revealed Ethereum as the only supported cryptocurrency on the device, possibly because the phone is still a prototype. However, one image included graphics that appeared to be bitcoins, so it’s likely more currencies would be included at launch.
I only used the Galaxy A8s for a day, and I was used to the existence of Hole, and even thought it was not bad. I underestimated people's ability to adapt. pic.twitter.com/UzGIu2HZci
Verifying that the phone in question is a Galaxy S10, a technology journalist at BGR Chris Smith explained:
“We know it’s a Galaxy S10 phone because the punch-hole camera is placed near the top right corner. The A8s’ selfie cam is on the left side. Also, we know it’s a Galaxy S10 phone rather than a Galaxy S10+ model because it features a single-lens selfie camera. It’s clear the handset isn’t the Lite version, because the screen has curved edges, rather than flat.”
Previously, CCN reported on Dec 13, 2018, that Samsung plans to integrate a crypto cold storage into its S10 model following the company’s filing of trademarks for Samsung blockchain.
At the time, SamMobile executive editor Adnan Farooqui confirmed that the company is developing a cold storage crypto wallet and intends to integrate it in the Galaxy S10.
Why it Makes Sense for Samsung to Integrate a Bitcoin Wallet
In July of last year, Samsung Insights reported that the most secure device to run a cryptocurrency wallet on is a mobile phone due to the presence of a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).
Dissimilar to laptops, PCs, and other types of devices, smartphones have a native environment that operates independently of the memory and storage. As such, data stored in a TEE cannot be altered by the operating system, completely eliminating the possibility of a security breach affecting data stored in the trusted environment.
By utilizing a TEE on a mobile phone, a crypto wallet can operate much more securely and efficiently than laptops and desktops, which still remain as a popular platform for wallets and exchanges.
“This is why smartphones have an edge over laptops and desktops for cryptocurrency wallets: without the benefits of the hardware-based TEE, the keys are more vulnerable,” Joel Snyder, a senior IT consultant and Samsung Insights contributor, said. “There is a significant caveat: a naïve wallet developer might choose to simply store the keys on the normal internal storage of the phone, in which case there’s little additional protection from using the smartphone platform. Or the wallet itself might be malware, in which case all bets are off.”
“But with the right wallet leveraging the benefits of smartphone TEE, there’s no place safer to store your money.”
If the official Galaxy S10 model launches with a native Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet, it may pose a significant threat to companies such as HTC and projects working on blockchain phones that exclusively support cryptocurrencies.
According to data compiled by The Block from Etherscan.io, the number of unique Ethereum addresses (not wallets) has recently surpassed a key, round number milestone at 50 million — a monumental accomplishment for any network. Interestingly, even amid 2018’s dismal unpredictable bear market, the growth of this figure hasn’t slowed (much), as depicted in the graph below.
Yet, this statistic’s current growth prospects are a far cry from those seen in early-January 2018, which was when ETH surpassed $1,000, and while demand for DApps and Ethereum (token) trading shot through the metaphorical roof. For example, on January 4th, as the altcoin mania was nearing its peak, 352,888 new addresses were created in a single day.
Today, approximately 70,000 new addresses are added to the network each and every day, which is far from a measly sum, to say the least. This could indicate that tens of thousands of consumers still see value in what Ethereum has to offer, as processes have become even cheaper, specifically due to market qualms.
It Isn’t All Sunshine And Rainbows
While the network’s continual growth is a welcome sight, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, so to speak. As noted by The Block, the number of active addresses, or accounts that send and receive transactions on the day-to-day, has actually fallen, even while total addresses have been well on the rise. On January 16th, 2018, 719,093 Ethereum addresses sent and/or received transactions, that same figure sits at a dismal 232,085 on Saturday — not the end of the world, but a harrowing sight nonetheless.
Worse yet, active Ethereum addresses only account for 0.46% for all unique addresses in existence, a far cry from the ~3.5% seen in January.
The number of daily transactions on the network has also fallen, from 1,349,890 on January 4th — a seeming important date in Ethereum’s multi-year history — to 551,916 as of yesterday. To give the latter figure some perspective, 551,916 daily transactions amount to 22,996 an hour, 383 a minute, and 6.4 a second — a far cry from what Visa processes.
ETH Posts Slight Gain In ‘Sea Of Green’
In spite of the caveats of Ethereum’s current state, Ether has performed relatively well over the past 24 hours. According to Coin Market Cap, the asset is up to $85.5 apiece, while posting a slight gain of 1.2% in the past day. Although ETH is outperforming its rivals in Bitcoin (BTC), XRP, and EOS by less than 1%, it has underperformed a number of other prominent altcoins — Litecoin (+7.61%), Bitcoin SV (+11.09%), and Maker (+7.92%).
At the time of writing, the market capitalization of cryptocurrencies is at $103 billion, with volume backing the market moves amounting to $10.4 billion (unadjusted).
The world of cryptocurrencies has often been compared to the Wild West or some other “every man for himself” situation.
Users are repeatedly admonished to protect their “private keys” (passwords, essentially) and maintain custody of them whenever possible. “No keys, no crypto” is a popular adage that refers to the fact that any cryptocurrency not personally held offline in a “cold wallet” is vulnerable to hacks, theft or downright fiduciary failure.
Users must also check and recheck the details of a transmission, including the amount and receiving address, before sending because unlike payments by credit or bank card, crypto transmissions cannot be reversed without the consent of the receiver.
In networks that pride themselves on semi-anonymity, that has proven a problem at times.
Nevertheless, a recent court decision in British Columbia, as legal researcher and blogger Grygoriy Pustovit writes, has arguably located the anarchic world of crypto once again squarely within the purview of the law:
“It is frequently overlooked that blockchain transactions (including those relative to cryptocurrency), apart from the digital rules (code), are governed by law – and even possibly by the laws of various jurisdictions. Law governs those buying, selling, holding, brokering, or accepting cryptocurrencies as payment; it can also restrict their ability to do so.”
The ruling in question involves the case of Copytrack Pte Ltd. v. Wall.
According to a decision document by Judge Justice Skolrood in the BC Supreme Court, Copytrack Pte Ltd is “a Singapore company engaged in the business of digital content management and automated copyright enforcement.”
In February 2018, the company raised $11 million in an ICO sale of “CPY” electronic tokens, and the defendant, Brian Wall, allegedly bought $780 worth.
But rather than send CPY tokens, Copytrack produced evidence that it had mistakenly sent Wall Ethereum tokens, worth an estimated $450 000 CAD. The send occurred on or around February 15th of this year.
Copytrack says they contacted Wall immediately regarding the mistake, but Wall initially refused to return the tokens, and instead moved them from his personal crypto wallet onto a cryptocurrency exchange.
After a series of email communications, Wall eventually agreed to return the tokens, and between February 16-23, transferred them back to his personal wallet from the exchange.
But on February 25th, the tokens moved from Wall’s wallet to five others, and Wall claimed they were stolen by hackers.
He then argued that he had no obligation to return the Ether because he no longer possessed them.
Copytrack initiated a court action against Wall, who rendered some defense before passing away on May 23rd.
It appears that Copytrack was able to provide concrete evidence of token movements, but the judge had problems with Wall’s claims:
“I do not accept Wall’s submission that there are factual disputes that make summary judgment unavailable. The essential facts underlying Copytrack’s claim are undisputed. Specifically, I do not accept Wall’s submission that the application involves “oath against oath,” particularly given that Wall’s evidence about what happened to the Ether Tokens amounts to little more than a bald assertion.”
The judge also ruled not to move the case on to trial because of the fact that Wall had died, which would mean at trial, “…would not result in further or better evidence on behalf of the defendant.”
The judge refrained from trying to legally class the nature of cryptocurrencies other than to say they are, “the undisputed property of Copytrack.”
He wrote that because the tokens, “…were sent to Wall in error, they were not returned when demand was made and Wall has no proprietary claim to them…In the circumstances, it would be both unreasonable and unjust to deny Copytrack a remedy.”
Judge Skolrood ruled that Copytrack may now, “…trace and recover the 529.8273791 Ether Tokens received by Wall from Copytrack on 15 February 2018 in whatsoever hands those Ether Tokens may currently be held,” and must be paid court costs from the Wall estate.
The ruling establishes Copytrack’s claim, but tracing the tokens may be costly and easier-said-than-done.
As well between the time of the mis-send and the ruling, the price of Ether fell from about $935 USD to $230, and Ether is trading today for about $90.55 USD.
In September a court ruled The pressing issue of the legal characterisation of cryptocurrency has been postponed for now. Nevertheless, courts across jurisdictions slowly but incrementally are filling in the vacuum of legal uncertainty created by the disruptive underlying technology.
The Eightfold Path to Enlightened Crypto Investing
As a new cryptocurrency investor, kicking off your shoes and taking your first steps along the Path of The Blockchain, you’ve probably found yourself asking the following questions: did the bitcoin bubble really burst, is it too late to get started, and what are the best tips to be successful in this newly emergent investment space?
While you’ve been asking yourself these questions, along with many others, you’ve probably noticed the prolonged bear market cryptocurrencies have been facing the past year, with just last month being the worst month for Bitcoin since 2011. Taking a more historical view, we see this is only the most recent bear market, of which there have been many before. Likewise, for every bear market, there is a bull market; an endless cycle of perpetual balance, akin to the Taoist yin and yang. Thus, despite the recent significant drops, cryptocurrencies are far from being finished, and the path to cryptocurrency investing nirvana stands stronger than ever.
In fact, the securities platform SharesPost reported that 72 percent of cryptocurrency investors are planning to buy more holdings in the next 12 months. You should therefore expect some traffic on your journey and pack your bags accordingly. As with any successful trip, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. In this article, we’ll give you the necessary eight tips to help reach your desired state of cryptocurrency investing enlightenment.
1. Ignore the “noise”
Many naysayers in the media and financial sectors may preach that cryptocurrency is simply a fad, over-hyped speculation, or even a pyramid scheme. On the other hand, a growing population increasingly embraces the financial prospects and practical applications of cryptocurrency assets. Both sides have loud voices and like to make a lot of noise.
This noise level is only expected to increase, as Satis Group predicted cryptocurrency trading activity for personal investors will increase by 50% in 2019. To be a successful investor in this space, it is best to just buy and hold what you believe in (see tip 4!) while ignoring all the noise around you.
2. Expect the unexpected
However, significant volatility does exist in cryptocurrency markets which cannot be ignored. Experienced cryptocurrency investors are accustomed to huge price swings that you often don’t find in traditional markets. By mentally preparing for these unfavorable, and occasionally terrifying, investment performances, the intelligent crypto investor will be able to act rationally instead of emotionally in times of unexpected price drops.
3. Avoid a bad trade or investment strategy
A common mistake for beginner cryptocurrency investors is joining what is known as a “pump and dump” group. Certain social media communities or ‘gurus’ may even promise investment tips regarding a particular coin. You should avoid these types of places at all costs; when travelers go down these roads, they don’t often come back.
The problem is that since derivatives trading is a zero-sum game, there is always a winner, but more importantly a loser. Unless a solid trading or investment strategy is in place, heedlessly following such advice is the fast track to losing your money to modern-day snake oil salesmen.
4. Perform your due diligence
In this modern digital age, there is even wifi on the path to crypto investing enlightenment, hence there is no excuse to make an investment with little to no understanding of the underlying asset. Almost every single coin has easily accessible whitepapers online. And just like having maps in the car, the savvy traveler must be prepared.
From the heavily traded to the most niche, resources such as the All Crypto Whitepapers will help any individual brush up their knowledge on potential future investments. If it is impossible to tell how the coin operates and more importantly, makes money, then it would be wise to seek another investment opportunity. From the biggest initial coin offerings (ICOs) to the most niche altcoins, this site will have you covered.
5. Don’t place all your crypto-coins in one basket
Common investment wisdom prevails when it comes to cryptocurrency investment: diversification is key. Just as financial advisors recommend taking positions in multiple types of stocks and other investments, diversification is also essential for any healthy cryptocurrency portfolio.
You’ve done your research, so now seize the opportunity to invest in multiple coins. As one example, you can invest across different sectors which serve different use cases. Just like it’s always safer to travel as a group then as a single person when you’re in unfamiliar territory, establishing a diversified portfolio will help you along your path toward realizing potential future cryptocurrency gains.
6. Opt for an alternative personal email
Using a regular email account places an investor at an unnecessary risk of exposure for a data breach. To overcome this risk, it is recommended to create a unique account just for trading, especially with added two-factor authentication password security. No matter what, ensure that two-factor authentication is utilized for every service that offers it (for example both your email account and your exchange account should require two-factor authorization to access). Likewise, make sure to use a dedicated two-factor application (such as Google authenticator, or Authy) as opposed to using text messages for two-factor authorization (these are susceptible to social engineering hacks).
Additionally, when setting up your accounts, be sure to select a unique username and password that has no personally identifiable information that would-be hackers could trace back to you.
7. Understand the uses for both cold and hot wallets
Cryptocurrency can be stored via an offline “cold” wallet or an online “hot” wallet. Ease of access makes hot wallets a more desirable option for the beginner investor. However, as convenient as hot wallets are, they are susceptible to being hacked, whereas cold wallets are not able to be hacked (if prepared properly). Ideally, it’s best to store cryptocurrency you plan on saving for a long time in a cold wallet, and keep only a small amount that you might use on a daily basis in a hot wallet.
Additionally, one common mistake made by many new investors is mistaking exchanges for wallets. Although it might seem convenient keeping everything online at an exchange, a common mantra you might hear others chanting goes like ‘if you don’t own your keys, then you don’t own your bitcoin’. And when you keep your digital assets on exchanges, you don’t own the keys. This can become important when exchanges go down, get hacked, or both (for example, the famous Mt. Gox incident from a few years back). Take the time to research different wallet providers. There are lots of great options available today, and you can start learning more by clicking here.
8. Remain careful around mobile wallets
Trading or storing large sums of any cryptocurrency via mobile phone is simply too great a risk. Mobile phones are more prone to being compromised electronically or physically. Although convenient, convenience should not surpass the security concerns that abound with executing trades or storing assets on mobile devices.
Hopefully, these eight tips will help give you solid footing on the road toward crypto-investing nirvana. Looking for more tips? For more information about security practices, investment strategies or other best practices in the cryptocurrency trading space, visit Blockforce Capital.
Blockchain, one of the world’s biggest crypto wallets, plans to give away a vast amount of cryptocurrency in a bold move to scale the adoption of crypto to a more mainstream audience.
Blockchain and the Stellar Development Foundation (stellar.org) will distribute $125 million worth of Stellar lumens [XLM] to Blockchain’s users. Blockchain is claiming this is the largest airdrop in the history of crypto, and potentially the largest consumer giveaway ever — and to most outside observers, it looks that way.
Critics of the move will, however, may lay the charge that it’s a cynical move akin to cheap marketing techniques. Whatever the case, most people would probably say they’d have quite liked someone to “give them a bitcoin” a few years ago… It remains to be seen, however, what effect it will actually have on the ground in regards to crypto adoption.
Accessible to anyone with a Blockchain wallet, Blockchain says that the first batch of recipients will receive their lumens, Stellar’s native digital currency, this week — for free. The Stellar network has gained a reputation for scalability, with its lumen token enabling competitively quick, low-cost worldwide transactions. It has its critics however, and not every crypto fan out there will be impressed.
In a statement, Peter Smith, CEO at Blockchain, said:
“At Blockchain, we’re committed to putting our users first. Providing exclusive access to the next generation of cryptoassets allows new and existing users alike to test, try, trade, and transact with new, trusted cryptoassets in a safe and easy way. We’re empowering our users with private keys, which allow them to go beyond just storing their crypto to actually using them. In turn, we can help build a bigger and more engaged crypto community, and drive network effects that make the ecosystem more useful and valuable for the many rather than the few.”
Stellar is Blockchain’s first airdrop partner following the launch of the company’s Airdrops Guiding Principles framework in October 2018.
Jed McCaleb, co-founder of Stellar Development Foundation, said, “We believe that airdrops are central to creating a more inclusive digital economy. Giving away lumens [XLM] for free is an invitation to communities to design the services they need. Our hope is to eventually have global citizens own and use lumens, in both developing and developed economies. By working with Blockchain to increase the availability and active use of lumens on the network, leveraging their almost 30 million wallets, we will increase the network’s utility by many orders of magnitude.”
As part of the airdrop, Blockchain is also partnering with a number of organizations to further the adoption of lumens, including charity: water, Stanford d.school’s emerging tech initiative, code.org, and Network for Good who share the company’s vision for using this transformational technology to build a better future. Blockchain plans to reveal specific details of each initiative in the coming weeks.
Carissa Carter, director of Teaching and Learning at Stanford d.school, said,
“The strength of any network is derived from innovation. We are excited to join Blockchain on this airdrop to empower some of the most brilliant and creative minds to start experimenting and building on Stellar’s network.”
There’s a well-known saying which goes, “a fool and his money are soon parted,” which sounds most apt for the cryptocurrency world. There are quite some bad actors who are ready to swindle money from naive people. In the past few months, there are several exchanges that have made headlines for being hacked.
Even though blockchain technology is immutable and tamper-proof, which hacked into or changed, the same cannot be said for highly-centralized crypto exchanges. Centralization means that there is one primary node that holds the lion share, especially in the cryptocurrency universe, which in turn means, there is always an imminent threat of being breached or hacked.
Air-Gap Comes Into Play
Fortunately, for every problem, there lies a solution. You can prevent any potential breach (irrespective of whether you are individual or an exchange) by Air-Gapping your systems. Air Gapping is a process of keeping your machine disconnected from the Internet (also known as cold storage).
For instance, if you are a person or an exchange, you will have two sets of keys for the wallet used to store cryptocurrencies: a public key and a private key. A public key is one part of the address which is available to all and sundry to send cryptocurrencies to the designated holder. On the other hand, the private key is an alphanumeric code which is only available with the account holder. The private key is used as a form of digital signature to authorize a transaction
Despite this, it is possible for an experienced hacker to breach security measures and make off with large sums of cryptocurrencies. This is where Air Gap comes into play. If a cryptocurrency wallet has more than $1 million worth in assets, it is recommended to disconnect the machine from the Internet.
Few Steps to Effectively Air-Gap your Machine
Online machine (Maybe a laptop or PC): Authorize the transaction and receive crypto assets in the wallet.
USB stick: There are several USB sticks available online to shift cryptocurrency assets from online to offline locations.
Offline machine: Sign the received transaction received from the USB stick.
Online machine: Notify the relevant blockchain of the successful transaction
Air-Gapping Your Devices
There are several other ways to completely air-gap your devices. Some of them are listed below:
A user can purchase a device which is purely dedicated to online use. To ensure maximum security, a user can invest in MacBook Air as those machines have readily available common drivers and also, they are very easy to use.
A user would also have to buy a new system for offline use. To make it entirely offline, they should ideally remove the WiFi card that comes along with the system.
Next, the user should buy a USB stick which is purely used for transferring data or programs into the online system.
Plug the USB port into the offline system, and then open the terminal and create four files with the command that says: mkfile –n 1g fake.txt.
Move the newly-created files on the USB stick. If there is any problem or glitch that a user sees while transferring the files on the stick, then certainly that the stick has a malicious entity.
Transfer all the required data or cryptocurrencies on to the offline machine on a day to day basis to start the machine.
Are Air-Gapped Devices Foolproof?
That being said, Air-Gapped machines are not entirely foolproof. There are different ways to hack a machine that has been Air-Gapped too. There are two known ways- The easy method and the hard method. We’ll elaborate on both the methods below:
1) The easy way:
To hack into an air-gapped machine, a potential hacker would need a human to serve as an intermediary. For example, the hacker could gain the trust of an employee of an organization and get them to fix a USB stick into a computer. More than anything, this method would need a subject who’s willing to carry out the request of the seeker of the information.
To avoid this eventuality, only certain staff members of an organization should be divulged of the secret and be allowed access to the machine. The machine containing the digital wealth aka cryptocurrencies should be in a secure data center or a room on the premises. Since the members of a company are human, there lies the problem of accountability and trust. If a company wants to take no risks, they can invest in some USB Port blockers that essentially block access to USB ports of the air-gapped machines.
2) Next, comes the tough way to breaching into the air-gapped machine.
a) A very determined hacker can use built-in microphones and speakers, to violate the covert acoustical mesh networks (generally inaudible to a human ear) and can transmit data to roughly 65 feet away.
b) Apart from that, a hacker can also tune into an FM signal emitted from the graphics card, using an FM receiver and access the information on the particular machine.
It is important to note that, you may be a user living on a hilltop, miles, and miles away from civilization and still be a victim to a hack. The question is not why you are at risk; the right question is how you can be at risk. Hackers can strike anyone at any time – irrespective of whether you are a multi-billionaire company or an isolated individual.
Although the methods listed above may come across as paranoid, it should be noted that the best thing in such circumstances is to be preemptively ready, in case a malicious hacker is waiting to steal your cryptocurrencies. Those assets are your hard-earned gains, and nobody should have the right to steal them. As the common saying goes, “It is better to be safe than sorry.”
Love it or hate it, cryptocurrency is enjoying its time in the technology spotlight. Whether you’re simply grabbing a few bitcoins to experiment with this new currency or you’re a more seasoned digital currency investor, your process will remain similar. To purchase or trade digital currency, you’ll need access to an exchange, either an organized platform under a single corporate flag such as Coinbase Consumer, or one of the more automated and distributed exchanges that have lately started to emerge, such as ShapeShift.
Via the exchange, you’ll be able to purchase and trade your chosen crypto-bucks. But if you’re looking to store your new currency or even spend it on goods, services, or debts, then you’ll need a cryptocurrency wallet. But just like the constantly shifting crypto exchange landscape, the concept of the perfect cryptocurrency wallet is a constantly moving target, too.
What Is a Cryptocurrency Wallet?
Cryptocurrency wallets come in several different forms and can span software, hardware, or even paper. But they’re all intended to store at least one kind of digital currency, and in the case of cryptocurrency, manage the cryptographic keys and other security considerations associated with key storage, digital currency transactions, and sometimes identity (ID) verification.
When you’re talking about the cryptographic keys associated with your cryptocurrency wallet, you’re referring to a very long string of numbers and letters that’s machine-generated, and is used to lock and unlock access to your cryptocurrency collection as well as to generate the addresses of your wallet. That’s a lot of power to attach to a key, so where these keys are generated and who controls them is something you should consider carefully when choosing your cryptocurrency wallet platform.
Kinds of Cryptocurrency Wallets
Currently, there are five basic kinds of cryptocurrency wallets:
1. Cold Wallets: This kind of cryptocurrency wallet uses keys created by a source that’s not connected to the internet. This adds an extra layer of “air-gap” security and lets these wallets come in a hardware format. Usually some kind of portable Universal Serial Bus (USB) hard disk or thumb drive.
2. Hot Wallets: As you might expect, this kind of cryptocurrency wallet uses keys generated by internet-connected devices, typically servers at the wallet manufacturer’s location or the wallet’s back-end exchange. Even though the internet connectivity makes hot wallets notably less secure than cold wallets, they’re still the most popular cryptocurrency wallets in use today since they’re easily able to trade currencies, make internet purchases, and even access other kinds of digital assets besides cryptocurrency.
3. Decentralized Wallets: You’ll see this term a lot, and it simply means that the cryptocurrency wallet has no centralized back end you need to work through when you want to sell, trade, or buy. You control your wallet’s keys, and that lets you connect and generate a transaction with anyone, anywhere. Then again, you control your keys, which means you better protect the heck out of them or face a potentially very bad day.
4. Hosted Wallets: This is the opposite of decentralized, where the cryptocurrency wallet manufacturer or the exchange controls and stores your keys. On the one hand, they probably have better security than you do. But on the other hand, they’re also likely storing thousands of users’ keys, which means the hackers will be targeting them much more strongly than they would a single user like you. It also usually means that you’ll need to begin your transaction with the hosted environment rather than simply connecting with anyone you like. That’s not just an extra step; it also potentially impacts your privacy.
5. Paper Wallets: As the name implies, this type of cryptocurrency wallet boils down to printed sheets of paper that record your public and private crypto keys. To use a paper wallet, you simply transfer your digital currency to a public address that’s shown on your paper wallet. To spend some of it, you simply initiate a transfer and reprint your wallet. Quick Response (QR) codes are often used to turn large chunks of typing into faster and less-easily-copied scanning operations. Some folks don’t consider paper wallets a separate kind of wallet, instead referring to them simply as the “coldest of cold wallets.”
In this cryptocurrency wallet review roundup, I’m reviewing hot wallets with an eye toward multicurrency support. All of the cryptocurrency wallets reviewed here support more than one kind of digital asset, though some support far more than others do.
A Word on Exchanges
Whether viewed from a financial or technical perspective, cryptocurrency moves fast. Blockchain technology is in an almost constant state of innovation and even conflict, while the regulations regarding cryptocurrencies are also in flux in multiple jurisdictions all over the globe. From an investor’s standpoint, this isn’t just a commodity, this is truly the Wild, Wild West. That can make choosing the right exchange on which to do your crypto-trading a crucial decision.
Fortunately, exchanges don’t have to be so wild and woolly. It depends on what kind of investor you want to be. In the reviews that follow, we make mention of two basic “personalities” when it comes to exchange trading. Those that want a more stable and regulated environment can choose an exchange that specifically caters to this kind of customer, such as Coinbase Consumer (mentioned above). This kind of exchange is characterized by lots of effort being paid toward adhering to the financial regulations of its geographic jurisdiction. In the case of Coinbase, that’s the U.S., which means the exchange is going to do whatever it needs to maintain compliance with U.S. banking laws. That includes gathering lots of information on the people who trade with it, including personal contact information as well as financial data, like your Social Security number. Another characteristic of a more controlled exchange is fewer options when it comes to what kinds of cryptocurrencies you can trade. That’s because each type of cryptocurrency is being evaluated individually by each country’s banking regulators, so an exchange that wants to remain in compliance with banking laws needs to move slowly and carefully when it comes to the currencies it supports.
That bothers a lot of crypto-investors, who are attracted to this commodity specifically because of the large number of currencies they can trade (hundreds on some exchanges!) and because of the anonymous nature of the transaction. These folks represent true cryptocurrency speculators, and if you’re on of these, then regulated exchanges like Coinbase are not for you. You’re looking for exchanges with a wide swath of currency support and as little information as possible being gathered on both the transaction and its participants. In the reviews that follow, we pull out Shapeshift as one exchange that fits this kind of bill. However, in true crypto-fashion, in the time it took to write these reviews, the market changed and Shapeshift altered its anonymous trading policy in favor of one that adheres to KYC banking guidelines intended to combat money laundering and other financial crimes. That measure will help Shapeshift with scrutiny from banking regulators, but it’ll effectively kill its reputation for privacy.
If you’re still in the market for a Shapeshift-style exchange, however, don’t fret as there are still plenty of options. One that’s moved very quickly to capitalize on Shapeshift’s change of heart is Flyp.me, which offers about 26 cryptocurrencies, everything from Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin to some fairly fringe altcoins. There’s also Coinswitch, which boasts support for over 300 cryptocurrencies, though it also seems to be built on top of several other exchanges, including Shapeshift and Changelly, so it remains to be seen how Shapeshift’s new KYC policy will affect Coinswitch. Changelly is another Shapeshift-style option, however, with support for a wide range of cryptocurrencies and fairly little personal information required to start trading.
All that said, however, be very careful when picking your exchanges. There’s still plenty that can go wrong with a crypto-investment these days, up to and including the loss of your funds. Therefore, picking a platform from which to store, invest, and trade cryptocurrency is an important part of maintaining a positive experience and not getting burned. Research your platform carefully, ask current traders about it before using, and when investing, start small.
Desirable Cryptocurrency Wallet Features
The most important feature you should be looking at when choosing a cryptocurrency wallet is whether or not it supports the currencies you want to use. Bitcoin is a standard, but even this currency isn’t supported by every cryptocurrency wallet, and not even by every cryptocurrency wallet reviewed in this review roundup yet. There are literally dozens of cryptocurrencies available today, with more on the way.
If you want to use a specific currency for some reason, then you need to make sure your cryptocurrency wallet supports it. If you want to dabble in multiple currencies or other kinds of digital assets, then you should make sure that your cryptocurrency wallet supports as many as possible, and can also easily connect with an exchange that allows multicurrency operations. Both Exodus and Jaxx fit this particular bill.
If you’re looking to speculate, then you’re likely comfortable with a certain amount of risk. You’re probably also interested in protecting your transaction privacy. This means you should be looking for a cryptocurrency wallet that doesn’t require any specific exchange on the back end, or if it does, then it’s an exchange that doesn’t require much in the way of ID verification or identifying transaction data. ShapeShift is currently a very popular exchange for these kinds of users (but not covered in this cryptocurrency wallet review roundup). Again, both Exodus and Jaxx are good fits for you.
But maybe speculating isn’t your thing. Perhaps you’d like to experiment with cryptocurrency but you want to do it in a safer, more regulated environment, and you’re willing to give up a certain amount of transaction privacy to do it. This kind of user is looking for a regulated exchange such as Coinbase Consumer, which also makes the Coinbase Wallet (included in this review roundup). Coinbase is a company in the United States that goes to great pains to meet U.S. banking regulations and has the deep venture capital (VC) financial backing to do it. You’re limited in the kinds of currencies and assets you can access via Coinbase Consumer or store in the Coinbase Wallet, but many people feel safer using this kind of platform for that very reason.
Next, there are more minimalist cryptocurrency wallets, such as BRD and Copay Bitcoin Wallet (also included in this review roundup). These are primarily mobile wallets intended to let you track and access your digital funds on the go. They’re not meant to work as trading platforms nor as holders of large amounts of different kinds of digital assets. The good thing about these solutions is that their security is decent and you can use many of them at the same time.
The Security Question
You may be wondering if cryptocurrency wallets are safe. Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer. On a day-to-day basis, all of the cryptocurrency wallets I reviewed in this roundup are safe and employ a basic layer of security to protect your assets. But, yes, some are a little safer than others.
At a basic level, these cryptocurrency wallets all have password-controlled access to them, which is potentially another passcode or pin code to control access to your account (though most often this is one step, not two). They encrypt all transaction data via Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) while in transit, and they securely store your public and private keys, either encrypted on your local device or on the cryptocurrency wallet maker’s servers.
That’s the minimum level of security any cryptocurrency wallet should support, and surprisingly, it’s all that four out of our five reviewed cryptocurrency wallets can do. Only Coinbase and Copay Bitcoin Wallet added more security than what I just listed, even though many cryptocurrency wallet customers are asking primarily for two additional capabilities: two-factor authentication (2FA) and multi-signature support. What are these features?
2FA: This feature would generate a token or key from the cryptocurrency wallet maker that you’d need to know to access your wallet. Generally, this additional code is initially sent via an email or text. However, things aren’t over once you enter the code. Once this code is entered and you have full access to your cryptocurrency wallet, the two-factor system will keep generating new codes every few seconds. That means, to hack your account, malcontents would need to know not only your primarily account credentials but also your device itself. That’s significantly more difficult and dangerous for the bad guys to do, so it’s an excellent additional layer of security.
Multi-Signature Support: This feature works like a joint bank account but at the key level. Typically, such a system is referred to as a “two out of three” system. That’s because it generates three keys: one controlled by the account holder (you), one that’s controlled by the service, and one that’s shared. To access the account, you need at least two out of the three keys. There are variations on this feature, including the 3-of-5 scheme that Coinbase uses for its Vault service.
Overall, the cryptocurrency wallets I review here in this roundup represent some of the best hot wallet solutions available. All of them will do well for you whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran. However, even among this relatively small group, you’ll need to decide which of two basic camps you fall into before you can choose the right cryptocurrency wallet for you. The first camp is composed of the speculators who are comfortable with risk and therefore aren’t looking for a cryptocurrency wallet that asks a lot of questions. The second camp is made up of conservative investors who are interested in fewer digital assets and desire a safe environment that’s more akin to our regulated banking industry.
If you’re in camp number 1, then you’re best off with our Editors’ Choice Exodus. This cryptocurrency wallet is easy to use and supports a huge number of digital asset types via the distributed exchange ShapeShift. If you’re in camp 2, then our Editors’ Choice Coinbase Wallet is the cryptocurrency wallet you want. This one is backed by a reputable U.S. firm that’s not only well funded, but also well secured and in compliance with all relevant U.S. banking laws.
There are many more cryptocurrency wallets, and we’ll be adding reviews for them over time. For now, the five reviews here will get you safely started in the exciting cryptocurrency space that’s rewriting how the financial industry works.
MyCrypto, a non-custodial Ethereum and ERC20 token wallet created by the co-founder of MyEtherWallet, has integrated a feature that enables Ethereum users to schedule ETH transactions ahead of time.
On MyCrypto, an open-source wallet that is structurally similar to MyEtherWallet, users can connect hardware wallets like Trezor and other non-custodial wallets such as MetaMask to use their existing wallets on a better interface.
As such, the ETH transaction scheduling feature on MyCrypto can be used by any Ethereum wallet user by simply connecting their existing wallets with MyCrypto.
MyCrypto is the first wallet platform to implement native cryptocurrency transaction scheduling by utilizing Chrono Logic’s debt smart contracts and temporal Ethereum-based innovation.
With it, Ethereum users can now send transactions ahead of time on the Ethereum mainnet, which opens up the possibility of the types of payments that simply did not exist before.
For instance, with the feature, Ethereum users can send funds to an ICO in advance to refrain from being left out of the token sale, send payments to subscriptions ahead of time, and schedule transactions to business partners or suppliers.
“Maybe you want to get into that latest hot ICO but you’ll be away from your computer. Maybe you want an ENS domain name and don’t want to miss the reveal period Maybe you need to pay at a certain time for a subscription. Maybe you want to send yourself a reminder in the future (though there are probably better options for this),” the MyCrypto team said.
In an interview with the Chrono Logic team, Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin stated that scheduling transactions is a feature that is very valuable, as he explained:
“I know there were a lot of interest in it [Ethereum alarm clock] way back when Piper created the alarm clock. It seems like something that would be very valuable.”
Taylor Monahan, the founder and CEO of MyCrypto echoed a similar sentiment as Buterin, stating:
“I think it just opens up the possibility for a lot of things. One of them is multi-step transaction. When you have to complete a step and then you wait for something to happen, whether that is something in the real world or just like with the ENS for example.”
More Wallets Interested
MetaMask software developer Frankie Pangilinan said that alarm clocks are good for subscriptions, while Ledger co-founder Nicolas Bacca said that the team is exploring ways to implement alarm clock into hardware wallets to add the transaction scheduling feature.
“I see how we can collaborate with a hardware wallet to make sure your transaction is scheduled properly, I mean has been scheduled at the right time,” Bacca noted.
Because scheduling and execution of transactions are completed with smart contracts, and the code of the smart contracts utilized by the Ethereum Alarm Clock and Chrono Logic are audited, there exists no risk of transactions failing or being sent out at the wrong time.
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New partnerships seem to be on the horizon for Verge, so they’ve chosen to release a new wallet. Verge’s mystery partnership became known as Pornhub, then Brazzer (these associations with the adult entertainment industry were very misunderstood at the time) and now they’re trying to hook up with Spotify, Paypal, and Venmo.
With those potential partnerships in mind, the alt-coin is ready to release a new wallet while it is also trying to be included on Streamlab.
Verge’s team announced the work is in progress on the backend, and they will need to make their wallet more user-friendly and its interface better. This is being designed by Waveon3, Verge‘s web and UI team. They disclosed this information through their Twitter account, and let the world know they are designing a ‘fresh look’ for the wallet alongside working on further improvements.
Verge is asking its community to press Streamlab to use the coin. Streamlab is a Silicon Valley startup which develops streaming software that lets streamers interact with viewers and monetize their content and help their channels to grow. Verge wants this business, and they’re making it clear as they tweeted this:
The community was responsive. As you can see, they retweeted that message many times and started to urge Streamlab to include Verge in their ecosystem.
Latest potential Verge partners: Venmo and Paypal
As soon as Verge announced their partnership with Pornhub, they followed Oliver Twist’s example and just kept asking for more. While the collaboration with Brazzer and Pornhub holds a lot of potential for profitability, Verge (XVG) wants to get other partnerships that are just as relevant but not as controversial. Venmo and Paypal are their current targets. TrafficJunky is in XVG’s partnership bucket already, and they’ve been going for Spotify as well.
As per yesterday’s news, some internal leakers have told the press that “Verge is aggressively pursuing PayPal via their Venmo platform.” The same sources intimated that Venmo and Paypal want to have cryptocurrencies in their platform, and they are thinking seriously about making Verge one of them.
“There is nothing in this industry like momentum, and we have it right now. It is powerful and is pumping adrenaline into the heart of this place right now,” claimed the news and then added, “Yes, we are pursuing any, and all partnerships, but the payments partnerships are at the top of our list.”
“And not just TPay either. Venmo is on the ‘verge’ (lol) of doing some next level stuff and we are hitting them hard to be included. I feel good about the possibilities there, I will say that.”
The same media outlet proclaimed that it spoke to a former PayPal executive who currently consults for them on the crypto subject, he said,
“Venmo will announce something by the end of 2018 and the idea is to attempt to one-up Square by bringing 5-10 cryptos onto the platform right at the outset. I can confirm that Verge is seriously in the mix.”
It is evident that apart from massive developments (latest: in the form of their new wallet design), Verge team is deploying ‘guerilla marketing’ tactics as they continue to push through any corner they can. And, seeing all these incredible developments and partnerships that the cryptocurrency is rolling out (and it seems it will continue to go in this fashion), it more likely will become a ‘must have‘ crypto in the market.
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