Hardware wallets: Digital Bitbox

I’ve tried most of the hardware wallets out there, and I’m passing along my experience with them – one by one. I recently purchased a Digital Bitbox, and I’m loving it, so let’s begin there.

This device is an USB mass storage device with a micro-SD card that is used to backup the private keys to your wallets. The industrial designers did some amazing work here – its form factor is basically that of a slimmed down USB thumb drive with a slot in the side for the micro-SD card slot, an LED and a corner hole to let you carry this on a keychain.

For me, the Bitbox’s form factor is the best of any hardware wallet. Having said that it’s larger than the Opendime product and it does not have the graphic display of Trezor and Keepkey, and the added security that enables. Lacking a display and the wider footprint that goes along with it means this is lean and probably more durable over time.

This has some nice security and privacy features built in as well, starting with the painfully small, removable micro-SD card. Having a backup that’s reliable and stored seperately is so important that this unique feature contributes to my top rating for this device on security. This is vital for the same reason you need some sort of backup plan for important personal digital information.

A hardware wallet’s security comes mainly from the physical isolation of your private keys. Backing up those keys is highly recommended if you care about the wallet. However, backing up private keys is a point when you’re more vulnerable because normally backing up depends on sharing those private keys with the host machine. With this device your private keys never touch any machine while backing up, so for security nerds this is a top pick.

There are additional protections for the wallets as well, in addition to great key management. Your Digital Bitbox allows creating hidden volumes; a hidden wallet with a second password. Even better – entering a wrong password for a stored backup creates a new, empty wallet without destroying yours. I intend to investigate further sometime, but for now everything looks good.

There’s more I’d like to say at some point about the security of this device, and a lot more I’d like to find out and even test a bit. But what’s more useful is to stay focused on what makes the Digital Bitbox a better or worse choice for a given reader.

This is my favorite hardware wallet, that’s why I wrote this post first. This device needs firmware updates to support more cryptocurrencies. Having said that – security, usability and form factor are all best in class.

Author: chain rat

crawlin around where nobody's lookin, gnawing on the crufty bits

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