A notable crypto project, Status, has released an interesting crypto hardware wallet called the Keycard.
A new age of cardholders
Details from CoinDesk’s report on the new wallet revealed that it is to be freely available to blockchain developers initially, as soon as March. Eventually, Status reportedly plans to market the wallet on its website for $29 each.
The Keycard is similar to a Visa card in its shape, differing from popular wallet models, such as Ledger’s Nano S for example. The Keycard also has another distinguishing feature. As quoted in CoinDesk’s article, Guy-Louis Grau, project lead for Status, explained:
[Keycard] is contactless. It’s going to work with your mobile crypto wallet. You’ll just need to tap your Keycard on a mobile device to sign transactions. Functionally speaking, it’s really a hardware wallet but it works with mobile.”
Functional with many different crypto assets, the Keycard release is more geared toward projects that desire to implement the wallet. As quoted in CoinDesk’s article, Grau explained further:
We’re not announcing a full end customer product with Keycard […] We’re releasing a tool actually. That’s the way it should be seen. At this stage, it’s a tool for third-party blockchain projects that want to secure their application with a cost effective hardware wallet.”
CoinDesk noted the card was “[d]eveloped entirely open-source.” Status will unveil an end-customer model further down the road in 2019. With this release, however, Status reportedly looks toward projects constructing the card for their own initiatives.
Additionally, Grau emphasized the depth and importance of open software. The Status software “is open and runs on Java Card,” allowing interested parties to construct their own Keycards utilizing said open software, so long as they are constructed on Java Card.
Grau also added that open hardware and software allows for widespread security testing, as well as commenting on the importance of utilizing “widely used hardware platforms.”
Contactless in crypto: a good thing?
The skeptical crypto asset holder, however, might be worried about a contactless storage method.
Marsmensch wrote an applicable Medium post in May of 2018, titled, How not to get hacked during Consenus NYC 2018 (or any other conference). (Consensus is CoinDesk’s annual, and often sizeable conference.)
Under the fifth rule, “[c]ontactless is bad”, Marsmensch stated:
Leave any radio-frequency identification (RFID/NFC) enabled devices, such as your work badge, passport or fancy contactless credit cards in your hotel room. These cards can be cloned by anyone in close range to you. Get a specially shielded envelope if you have to carry these cards for some reason.”
Although, according to a video Status posted on YouTube about the new project, it appears as though Keycard is an extra layer of protection, scanned after an initial pin code is entered via the associated smartphone. “Keycard is an added layer of security to verify all your transactions,” the video showed in its on-screen text.
Additionally, on its website, Keycard explained, “Keycard hardware security is compliant with the most stringent standard (Common Criteria EAL5+). No one will be able to access private keys even if the card is stolen.”
That being said, skepticism might still be of benefit until the technology and product are more widely used and tested against the ever-elusive, ever-developing sneaky hacking world.