A San Jose, California-based company has launched the first cryptocurrency hardware wallet that fits in the sim card tray of a mobile phone.
“The first of its kind”
The Silicon Valley startup – VaultTel – announced the launch via a press release. Hardware wallets have been available for a few years through providers such as Trezor and Ledger. However, these differ from VaultTel’s offering as they can only be used with a laptop or desktop.
VaultTel’s hardware wallet slots into the sim card tray of a dual sim mobile phone. Alternatively, it can be used in a dongle format on iPhone.
The company emphasize the security aspects of the product with VaultTel CEO, Isaac Daniel stating:
“VaultTel’s multi-actor authentication security designed for cryptocurrency storage on mobile phones is the first of its kind and that really sets us apart.”
At its core, the product utilizes a secure software solution that runs as an app on your phone, together with a VaultTel card laden with an Intellichip.
It claims to facilitate users in storing and accessing their private cryptocurrency key with a higher security level than products offered by competitors. Amongst those security features is biometric authentication, which is needed to access the wallet passcode and wallet.
On its website, the company claims that no one can transfer the users cryptocurrency without knowing their biometric authentication. It states:
“No spy screen recorder or trojan can record what is happening on your hardware wallet, as it’s not using your laptop or system resources.”
Military Grade Encryption
AES 512 encryption is employed to protect crypto keys. This encryption standard – which the company describes as “military grade encryption” – is used to encrypt/decrypt cryptocurrency keys.
The product has been designed in compliance with Bitcoin standards such as Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 44 (which facilitates hierarchical deterministic wallets). This means that a 24 word mnemonic phase can be used as a seed key to backup the wallet. Notwithstanding that, the company recommend that the user backs up the wallet electronically through the use of an additional VaultTel chip. Furthermore, new receiving addresses can be created every time you receive cryptocurrency.
The product launch facilitates pre-orders at this stage. Earlier today, VaultTel took to Twitter to publicize its Kickstarter fundraising initiative in an effort to garner community engagement and support for the project.
VaultTel came to revolutionize…
Technology and Security is FINALLY ready for this.
— VaultTel (@VaultTel) March 6, 2019
As part of the pre-order offering, customers have two options. There’s an android-based package which is being offered at a price of £75 ($98). Alternatively, the company cater for customers on the iOS platform, with that product incorporating a dongle and costing £100 ($131).
Hardware Wallets and Security
There has been ongoing development recently in the area of software and hardware wallets and wallets incorporated within mobile phones. The storage of cryptocurrency is not user friendly in its current form. There are also greater risks and greater responsibilities from a security perspective which consumers are not going to be comfortable with.
The role that startups like VaultTel play is important in making the technology more intuitive and accessible whilst maintaining a professional level of security.
Recent months have seen further progress specifically in terms of storing crypto on mobile. Last month, Samsung released its Galaxy S10 smartphone with the incorporation of a dedicated secure storage function to facilitate cryptocurrency private keys. In 2018, HTC and Sirin Labs both launched blockchain-enabled smartphones.