Bitstashers: Should You Upgrade from a Paper Wallet to Metal?
Bitcoinist spoke with Jon Boroughs of Bitstashers, a provider of metal-etched Bitcoin wallets that are designed to withstand an apocalyptic event unlike a fragile paper wallet. These are also not limited to cold storage as they can also be custom made for colored coin asset addresses as well.
Metal-Etched Bitcoin Wallets
Metal wallets are quickly becoming a thing in the crypto space with a few options available such as Cryptosteel and Bitkee, which start at $40 USD. However, Bitstashers provides custom metal etched wallets at a much lower price point, starting from $15, and includes multiple form factors such as dog tags and bottle openers.
Boroughs reveals to Bitcoinist the idea behind metal wallets, why they’re better than paper, and how privacy is preserved during the manufacturing process with BIP38 encryption.
Bitcoinist: Where did you get the idea to create metal etched wallets?
Jon Boroughs (JB): Honestly, we saw another company trying to do this with sub-standard materials and at a higher price and we thought we could do it better and cheaper. We also pride ourselves on our design abilities and thought we could offer customers a wide variety of great designs for their wallets as well as possibly letting them submit their own ideas.
Bitcoinist: Why is metal better than a paper wallet that costs zero?
JB: Metal wallets are great for long term storage. Paper wallets can deteriorate over time, but the Bitstashers wallet is made to last until the day you die. They are even fire-proof. The stainless steel wallets can withstand temperatures of up to 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each of our wallets are etched using quality materials and they’re so durable we’ve even filed our fingernails with the design and it comes out looking like nothing happened. The design withstands any normal wear that it may come across. You can’t expect that with paper.
Bitcoinist: What is Heliopay and what kind of supporting role does play in relation to Bitstashers?
JB: Heliopay handles Bitcoin ATMs mainly. They describe themselves as “Bitcoin ATM’s, point of sale, services and supplies, digital infrastructure, payment management solutions and more! Industry leading equipment, the UK’s widest range of bitcoin merchandise for resale (now including the UK’s largest range of physical bitcoins), consultancy, technology integration, excellent training, we help our customers at all stages of the adoption process, helping them to prepare for the new wave of digital payment services, software and infrastructures required.”
We usually work with Heliopay when we need wallet addresses as they have a superb, secure, offline air-gapped computer that generates secure wallet addresses. We also have done production work in the past for them such as designing wallets and other products.
Bitcoinist: How much does this type of wallet cost for aluminum and steel? Does it depend on type?
JB: It depends on the material. Stainless steel costs more for materials than the aluminum type. Aluminum card wallets are priced at $18 each, bottle openers are $18 each, and dog tags are $15 each. Stainless steel card wallets are $25 each, bottle openers are $25 each, and dog tags are $18 each.
We are also experimenting currently with other materials so as to broaden our product offerings. Keep an eye out for those in the future.
Bitcoinist: Do you also etch both keys – the public and private keys?
JB: Yes, we can etch both keys. The purchaser can choose to have both keys on one side or have the private key on one side and the public key on the other. Or another way it can be done is by using something like our dog tags. You can wear the public key and then hide away your private.
Bitcoinist: Where, how, and by whom are the keys generated?
JB: The keys are either generated by the purchaser of the wallet or by Heliopay.com on a secure, air-gapped address generating system.
Bitcoinist: Can you explain your stance on BIP38 encryption?
JB: We think that BIP38 encryption is the best way to feel at ease when handing your keys over to someone like us so we can put them on products. When you generate a Bitcoin wallet address you’ll get a public key and a private key. The industry standard is to never hand over you private key. That’s good advice. But with BIP38 you take that private key and encrypt it with a password you make up in your head.
The best way to input that password when you do BIP38 encryption is to enter it on an on-screen keyboard as we all know that keyloggers are an issue now-a-days. At that point you can hand your encrypted key to a place like us and we can engrave it. With a BIP38 encrypted key someone would have to be able to read minds to get the password you used.
Bitcoinist: How is the private key protected or shielded from prying eyes or cameras, for example?
JB: The wallet is considered more like a “savings account” rather than a spendable “hot wallet”. It is intended to be a safe have to store your cryptocurrencies without the fear of hackers stealing your funds.
Since these addresses are etched in metal, is it a concern for users who are often advised to not reuse the same addresses when transaction from a security standpoint?
No, since our wallets are not intended to be used as a “hot wallet.” Our wallets are intended to be similar to a saving account (minus the interest) for the cryptocurrency world.
Would you use a metal etched wallet? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Bitstashers, Shutterstock, openbazaar