Security is one of the biggest concerns that not just a few people have when it comes to Bitcoin use. A new product has been introduced to keep the mind of Bitcoin users at ease, knowing they are better protected from dreaded data breaches.
The new product named Case, first announced last November, was officially launched by its maker CryptoLabs at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt NY Startup Battlefield. It is a small device shaped like a credit card and offering enhanced protection against privacy and security breaches.
The pint-sized Case features a small screen, fingerprint sensor, camera and integrated GSM chip, all of which combine to deliver solid security for Bitcoin users. Security features available on the Bitcoin hardware wallet include multi-signature and biometric authentication.
“There’s no easy and secure way to use Bitcoin. You’re either getting security, or you’re getting ease of use,” Case co-founder Melanie Shapiro told TechCrunch’s Romain Dillet.
Shapiro, who doubles as the company’s chief executive, said the goal with Case is not just to deliver superior security, but also to ensure ease of use.
You simply click on a Bitcoin button on Case whenever you want to carry out a transaction. The camera provided on the small device is then used to scan the relevant QR code, followed by a biometric authentication using the fingerprint sensor and the transaction is done. There is no need for logging in with a highly complicated password to carry out transactions. Bitcoins can be bought and sold directly on Case.
If it truly functions as expected, Case will come as a timely addition to the Bitcoin industry which has already witnessed instances of significant security breaches. Mt. Gox and BitStamp are only two of several entities and services that have had their security compromised in the last few years.
Users will require two signatures to carry out transactions on Case. A private key is generated the first time you start the device and this will remain permanently on it – this key is not generated by the company behind the hardware wallet. A second key is stored in Case’s encrypted online database. The servers signs transactions only if the stored biometric information is matched by a fingerprint scan. Communication with servers is facilitated by the built-in GSM chip.
The fact that two signatures are required to complete transactions means you lose access to your bitcoins if Case is lost. But the device’s maker had already thought about that possibility. A third key kept in an offline vault can be used to recover your bitcoins once your identity is proven by the company.
While some companies have tried using biometrics to protect bitcoins, none of the already available solutions is as comprehensive as Case.
“As online blockchain technologies evolve as a means for buying and selling Bitcoin, they will require devices like Case to ensure security and maintain privacy,” Shapiro told CoinDesk.
CryptoLabs, which previously hinted that Case would be ready for sale by spring 2015, is offering 1,000 units of the device up for pre-order at a price of $199. The Bitcoin hardware wallet is expected to hit the market this summer.