Hardware wallets are a hot topic right now because Ledger recently announced that they’re offering a “recovery” service for their Nano S model. This recovery service essentially sends your keys to several different vendors which would be responsible for helping you to recover it if you ever lost your seed phrase. Well, this opened up a can of worms because the whole premise behind cold storage is “not your keys, not your crypto.” So if multiple vendors have your keys, is it really still your crypto?
This led to further revelations of how Ledger has access to your keys through software upgrades and several people also pointed out that Ledger’s code isn’t open source, meaning no one can really verify how it operates. Then, the CEO of Ledger went on a Podcast and publicly stated that if they were served a subpoena for a customer’s data, they would have no choice but to provide their keys to The Man.
So a bunch of self-custody enthusiasts began exploring other options for Ledger (rightfully so). There are tons of options, but today we’ll be looking at the BitBox02.
BitBox02 is made by a company called Shift Crypto that’s based in Switzerland which is also where the hardware wallets are manufactured. This is nice because Switzerland is known for precision engineering and quality assurance, which is definitely something you want in a hardware wallet.
Models and Pricing
There are currently two models offered – the multi BitBox02, and the Bitcoin-only Bitbox 02. Both models sell for $150, but the website says the Bitcoin-only model is in high demand and might be experiencing shipping delays. They also offer a BitBox02 Onboarding Bundle for $258. I read the description of the service and it’s only a 1:1 call with their customer service walking new users through how to set up the wallet. A nice service, but it should be complimentary or somewhere in the $50 range.
Open Source Code
BitBox02’s code is open source, which means anyone can view the code to verify how it operates. This is a huge plus because it adds transparency and trust to the product since you know exactly what kind of security measures are being taken with your crypto. Plus, it gives developers an opportunity to contribute to make sure the wallet meets all of the security standards they expect it to.
Both models have a discreet design. They look like regular USB thumb drives so you won’t be drawing attention to yourself carrying them around. Plus, there are no flashy logos or anything that would give away what it is, which is great for maintaining your anonymity if you’re traveling somewhere with it.
The multi-Bitbox02 supports over 1,500 coins and tokens, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Cardano, Ethereum, and most other ERC-20 tokens. And of course, the Bitcoin-only version is for, well, Bitcoin only. If you’re a hardcore Bitcoiner, this might be a good option because the firmware only supports Bitcoin, which means there is less code, which means less attack surface, which improves security. You could have one to HODL Bitcoin and another for wallets used in DeFi or HODL’ing other coins.
I had some trouble finding which wallets BitBox is capable of integrating with, but the website says you can connect to Electrum, Specter, Sparrow, and MyEtherWallet. I did a little digging and was able to find a how-to guide for connecting to the Rabby wallet. I’ve heard that it integrates with MetaMask, but I was unable to find any documentation confirming this. Dear Shift Crypto peeps, if you read this, please publish an updated list of compatible wallets.
The BitBox02 is an interesting alternative to other hardware wallets, especially for Bitcoiners. Its open-source code and discreet design give it an edge when it comes to security and privacy, while its support of over 1,500 coins provides users with a wide range of options when it comes to storing their crypto. Although the wallet seems to be a bit pricey, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your crypto is safe and secure is well worth it. It may not be the perfect hardware wallet for everyone, but it’s definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for one.
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