By Natalie Lord
As cryptocurrencies become more widely recognised and utilised, a key question in the market is whether there is an ideal wallet to safely and effectively store digital currencies. At present, there are a spectrum of wallets available that cover varying ranges of convenience and security.
Broadly, the wallets currently available can be slotted into one of four categories:
- Desktop software wallets
- Web or mobile wallets
- Hardware wallets
- Custody wallets
But each of these categories has both advantages and disadvantages.
Desktop Software Wallets
These are Bitcoin friendly but CPU resource intensive. They typically offer 250+GB of disk space but require a live internet connection, and they still need to be backed up using a wallet.dat file.
Web or mobile wallets
These types of wallet store private keys in web browser cookies or on your phone’s flash memory. They have complicated back-up procedures incorporating seed or recovery words. They are numerous passwords, pass phrases and PIN codes in an attempt to keep the system secure. But the greatest downside is that you’re running a “hot” device that’s always connected and live, which has a lot of security implications.
With these you’re not only juggling cryptocurrencies but you’re also messing with cables, power sockets, battery issues and again seed and recovery procedures. You’re also dealing with passwords, pass phrases and PIN codes. You’ll have a secure chip but it’s compromised by firmware upgrades and plagued with reports of bugs. The technology that is in use and relevant now is all well and good, but ten years down the line is Bluetooth, NFC and USB technology still going to be at the forefront technologically or will it in fact be obsolete? Hardware wallets are also expensive and because of all of the above, not future proof.
These are far and away the easiest solution when it comes to crypto wallets but at a compromise. There is a complicated account registration process with know your customer criteria to comply with. You’ll need usernames, passwords, PIN codes, SMS traffic. There are issues with hacking, SIM hijacking and identity fraud. There are limits on transfers and withdrawals due to compliance and regulation. There are also the complexities of how to reset account credentials to consider, should you ever need to.
So, is there a better solution? In a perfect crypto world, an ideal wallet would be easy to use and safe. It would be accessible to anyone from any background. There would be no complex set-up process, you would hold your own private key and it would support multiple digital currencies. There would be no hardware headaches and it would offer excellent multilingual support to enable global adoption. It would also be inexpensive yet reliable. You would want it to allow you to have custody of your own cryptocurrencies, to be able to generate your own private key and back that up, it would be close to a paper wallet to enable ease of use yet be secure.
Until recently, no wallet existed that enabled all of the above, but according to one man, that’s about to change. Bobby Lee was previously the Co-founder and CEO of BTCC (formerly BTCChina), which was the first Bitcoin exchange in China and the leading Bitcoin financial platform worldwide. Before that Lee was Vice President of Technology for Walmart’s e-commerce business in China. He is now the Founder and CEO of a cryptocurrency wallet, called Ballet, that he claims to be the ideal cryptocurrency wallet for mass adoption.
According to Lee, Ballet is the first multicurrency non-electronic, physical cryptocurrency wallet. It’s made in the US, but its safety aspects are undertaken in two separate establishments that operate independently, one in the US and the other in China. It’s the equivalent of a physical wallet but with enhanced security. It also has a mobile app to compliment the physical wallet, but this only serves to show you what is in your wallet as opposed to enabling transactions and in this capacity no private keys are necessary.
It almost sounds too good to be true until you factor in that, like a physical wallet or belonging, it can be stolen and needs to be kept in a safe place; but with nothing in the space risk free yet, could this be a risk worth taking? At the very least, the Ballet wallet is one to watch.