The Venice-based bitcoin security platform harnessing lightweight code and multi-signature technology will utilize HSMs in a similar way as the military. The devices are used to protect military encryption keys along with mission secrets. If the military trusts the technology, it might just be good enough to store bitcoins.
“Our engineers worked closely with the hardware team at Thales for months to develop a custom solution specifically for the Bitcoin industry,” said Gem CEO and founder Micah Winkelspecht in a release. “The payments industry has been using this hardware technology for years. But we looked at every HSM on the market to find one that could support Bitcoin wallets, and none of them could do it, so we built it ourselves. Thales really came through for us, and the level of enthusiasm they have for our growing industry is incredible.”
Technical Details of New Gem Development
For the tech-head, the HSM includes FIPS-140-2 Level 3 hardware certified security. In other words, as of now it’s a tamper-resistant security mechanism.
As for key features of the HSM, Gem outlined what the partnership brings to their platform.
Physical security that includes the use of secure enclosures and tamper detection/response circuitrySupport for BIP32 Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) key derivationUse of strong random number generated keys with the SECP256k1 elliptic curve to support interactions with the Bitcoin protocol
Of course, as history has shown, it’s only a matter of time before someone in the world finds a vulnerability – but Thales will most likely catch it way before an amateur does.
Thales e-Security claims to protect sensitive data for 19 of the 20 largest banks in the world along with more than 3,000 financial institutions worldwide. If anyone has something riding on the line, it’s Thales e-Security. Gem looks to have found a partner that can bring high-quality security and dedication to the platform.
Thales e-Security Looking Forward to a Partnership
According to Thales e-Security, Gem partnership brings a highly sought after opportunity for their business. In a press release, Richard Moulds, vice president of product strategy at Thales e-Security, said the following:
“Bitcoin represents a compelling opportunity for both new entrants and traditional members of the payments ecosystem. As providers of the most trusted and widely deployed HSMs in the world, we are excited to work closely with Gem in this rapidly evolving market. Gem’s focus on comprehensive Bitcoin security, deep technical expertise, and collaborative attitude has enabled them to rapidly incorporate the use of our HSMs at the core of their solution. By taking advantage of unique capabilities of these machines, Gem is securing Bitcoin transactions in a way that matches and exceeds security best practices that are a pre-requisite in the payments industry.”
According to Gem, Bitmo is planning on integrating the wallets into their platform soon, following CryptoSigma’s announcement to use Gem to secure their wallets.
“The year 2014 was all about multi-sig; now we’re finally starting to see major adoption of that security standard by Bitcoin companies, and it’s growing at an exponential pace,” said Winkelspecht. “2015 is the year of hardware security. The great news is they work perfectly together…like peanut butter and jelly.”
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Pictures courtesy of Gem