Before hardware wallets, you had to buy a laptop, properly set it up for cold storage and hope you didn’t mess up. The effort and knowledge required turned off many people, leaving them to store their bitcoins on unsecured online wallets. Hardware wallets have made safely storing bitcoins easy, and as a result, more people than ever are storing their bitcoin securely.
Though convenient for long term storage, the process involved in sending bitcoins out of the devices is difficult, making them unsuitable for daily use. Today, most bitcoin purchases made in person are done with a mobile phone, which is not exactly a secure option for storing money.
These difficulties have motivated a Vancouver-based company to bring the cold storage security to point-of-sale (POS) bitcoin payments with a new kind of hardware wallet called Cool Wallet.
Cool Wallet serves as a mobile storage device for your bitcoins. Through the company’s smartphone app, you are able to receive and manage your addresses. In order to send your bitcoins, you need to tap your Cool Wallet against your smartphone. Using near field communication (NFC) or Bluetooth, a one time password will be sent to your phone, allowing you to send your coins. The private keys are never sent over to the phone.
Cool Wallet is compatible with most smartphones, including Android and iPhones devices.
CoolBitx hopes their device will be a security improvement not just over existing bitcoin options, but all payment options. One of their security features is Watchdog, which prevents the hardware wallet from being stolen or lost by notifying you when the device is 10 meters away from your phone. But if your device is ever stolen, you will be able to recover your bitcoins by using the seed you used when you made the wallet. The device is also waterproof.
“Our CoolWallet gives you the convenience of a credit card, but with better security. No more identity theft, clone card, or fraud. We believe this will enhance the financial system,” CoolBitx founder, Michael Ou said in an interview.
Though Cool Wallet is designed for everyday transactions, it also has a large focus on security. By using offline technologies like NFC and BlueTooth, Cool Wallet is never exposed to viruses or malware. The phone, which is exposed to a countless number of viruses on a average day, will never be able to be used to steal your bitcoins, even if it is compromised.
“We have developed most of the IOS app, and 90% of the CoolWallet firmware. The hardware is complete. The current CoolWallet is already capable of sending bitcoins, generating receiving address, and restoring from backup seed. We have also done waterproof test, and flexibility test. We are now optimising the app and the stability of the communication between the card and smartphone,” said Ou.
With the device almost complete and ready to be manufactured, the company is crowdfunding the last 10% of the hardware wallet’s development On IndieGoGo.They are looking to crowdfund $20,000 so they can order the first batch of the devices and finish developing the wallet software.
The available perks for people who back the campaign include a NFC charger, Bluetooth communicator and a business pack, which has 20 Cool Wallets and NFC chargers. The company is also offering an engraved Cool Wallet, exclusive to the IndieGoGo campaign, for those who back the project with a $69 donation or more. At the time of press, the campaign has raised over $8,500 and will end on the first of March.
The crowdfunding campaign is an opportunity for people to get their hands on the device before the public release. CoolBitx says it will be shipping the perks out in April, which will also be the month they plan to start selling the hardware wallets to the public.
The company has its eyes on more than just the hardware wallet. Special merchant POS hardware designed for the Cool Wallet is also in the works for later this year. The company is also working on a decentralized exchange, that “can’t be Goxxed.” The exchange will be accessible through the Cool Wallet and will be peer-to-peer.
Is CoolBitx the future of in-person bitcoin payments? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo courtesy of Wired.com
Photo courtesy of CoolBitx.com
Photo courtesy of CoolBitx.com