02/18/21 ANDY HOFFMAN (CryptoGoldCentral.com): As Bitcoin Grows More Valuable, And Mainstream, The CASA Multi-Sig Wallet Solution Does, Too. DRAMATICALLY Upgrade Your BTC Security, With This Amazing Retail Technology!
Preamble: I am NOT writing this at CASA’s request. To the contrary, after having finally pulled the trigger on this amazing, and NECESSARY new Bitcoin security protocol, I simply wanted to share the experience – with the hope that more HODLers recognize the need to upgrade their security, and realize CASA’s multi-sig technology is for many, especially retail Bitcoin holders, the perfect solution.
In the most dramatic, and socially beneficial event in global monetary history, Hyperbitcoinization is occurring in real time. There are myriad reason why Bitcoin is going mainstream, including one EXTREMELY important one that gets little attention because it’s not as sexy as “Number Go Up” technology. Which is, dramatic advances in the TECHNOLOGY behind Bitcoin’s operation, efficiency, and security.
Regarding the latter, it’s hard to believe that not long ago, exchanges were regularly hacked. However, in recent years, storage technology has improved by leaps and bounds, both for retail and institutional investors. This, as MAJOR financial players have entered the space, lending dramatic credibility improvements, and massive capital investment.
To that end, when I first held Bitcoin, the only choice – other than for computer experts – was to hold it at exchanges. Moreover, aside from hacking risk, exchanges hold your private keys. Thus, not only is your BTC confiscatable, but you don’t receive the “crypto-dividends” from forks and airdrops.
Around 2016, I for the first time used a hardware wallet – a Trezor, which I use religiously and SOLELY recommend. This was a major technological breakthrough, yielding significantly increased market adoption – as for the first time, Bitcoin could be the truly self-sovereign bearer asset Satoshi hoped it to be.
Hardware wallets work beautifully. However, with Bitcoin going mainstream, the value proposition of hardware wallets is rapidly diminishing. The reasons being, that 1) Bitcoin’s value is so high, it makes holders theft targets; and 2) consequently, I expect a massive, highly sophisticated industry to develop, with the sole purpose of stealing BTC.
To wit, the relentless phishing emails, and hacks of information databases like that of Ledger - in a world where each day, the audience of potential thieves grows exponentially. In other words, if you now hold, say, $5 million of Bitcoin in your house; on a hardware wallet that could be stolen via coercion or phishing; or destroyed by the elements (along with your seed); I’m guessing you feel a lot more uneasy about the hardware wallet as you once did. I have experienced this progression of emotion about my Bitcoin security for some time, which is why CASA has been more actively on my radar.
The transition from holding my BTC on an exchange to a Trezor represented a significant leap of faith - which in hindsight is comical, given how reliable hardware wallet technology is. Yes, anyone who moved a large balance for the first time was terrified – until, in time, they became accustomed; and ultimately, addicted to, the benefits of this groundbreaking technology.
That said, CASA’s “multi-sig,” or multi-signature wallet technology is vastly more complex. So, not only is moving large balances terrifying – more so, as BTC is vastly more valuable; but the technology is more difficult for the layperson to comprehend. However, like the Trezor, or any new technology, the only way to get used to it is by taking that same leap of faith – which I finally did, this week. And trust me, the resulting reduction of “Bitcoin loss anxiety” is extremely powerful.
Multi-sig simply means that while the process of sending to your wallet is no different, sending FROM it requires multiple signatures. As there are multiple “Key Shield” options, one can choose the amount, and type of signatures required, depending on their personal risk parameters.
The simplest form, “2 of 3,” means your wallet has not one, but three private keys. Thus, to send FROM it, two of the three must be signed. In this scenario, you will have one hardware wallet; plus, a “mobile key,” controlled by a password on your cell phone; and finally, an emergency key held by CASA - in case, say, you lose your hardware wallet. This represents a dramatic security improvement relative to a mere Trezor, but does not protect you from many potential Bitcoin loss scenarios. That is why it is the cheapest option – with the least amount of customer service.
The most complex form, 4 of 7, was created principally for institutional and VERY high net worth individuals – particularly those with significant inheritance or custody related issues. Thus, I’m going to focus on the 3 of 5 option, which costs $150/month and is worth every penny. The reason being, it is a perfect balance, in my opinion, of high tech security and practicality that will help you rest easy, by dramatically reducing the risk of Bitcoin self-custody.
With any new technology, the most effective marketing campaign is the reputation of its management team – which in CASA’s case, is best in class. Co-founder Jameson Lopp is one of the most well-known Bitcoin coders and crusaders; whilst early investor, and heavy promoter, Max Keiser, may be the most influential Bitcoiner outside Satoshi himself.
Without these endorsements, I would not have been willing to “risk” this new technology. However, I trust them so much, it was a no-brainer – particularly because CASA, which has been operating for several years now, has not a had a single client lose a single Satoshi.
When you sign up for the 3 of 5 – i.e., “Platinum” solution, you are immediately mailed an onboarding package featuring three hardware devices; as well as a Tamper Evident bag and three EMP-proof Faraday bags. The VIP help team then sets you up for a group, but anonymous Webinar, and provides a checklist so you can launch the CASA app and install the five keys on your “Key Shield.” If you follow the directions, it’s quite easy.
Amazingly, the process of creating the shield dramatically expands the progression of your multi-sig learning curve – like, for instance, realizing you do not hold your BTC in the individual devices in your shield; but instead, your multi-sig wallet - of which, each of those devices represent one of the five private keys. Thus, you don’t need to save all your seeds, as losing one in a three of five setup is no big deal.
After attempting test transaction to and from the wallet – the latter, requiring the use of three of the five private keys – it’s time for your one-on-one onboarding session, where your emergency contact person and duress word are logged, and you are given numerous tips regarding how to use the wallet. Not to mention, instructions of how to fully recover your BTC in the worst-case, highly unlikely scenario of CASA being abruptly shut down. This is the beauty of open-sourced software; as well as the simple, but vital fact that CASA is just a Bitcoin security service, NOT the custodian of YOUR Bitcoin wallet.
By the way, given that CASA just raised $4 million through investors controlled by Fidelity and Coinbase, among others, it’s difficult to see a circumstance where this highly decentralized company could be “shut down” – let alone, in a manner so abrupt, you’d need to go to such extreme measures to recover your Bitcoin. To that end, my guess is CASA will be acquired by a major financial investor in the next year or so – from either the crypto or legacy realms - as mainstream Bitcoin adoption goes viral.
Bitcoin Startup Casa Raises $4M Led by Fidelity-Linked Avon Ventures - CoinDesk
Once your Key Shield is operational; and your onboarding 1-on-1 complete; you simply send your Bitcoin to your new CASA wallet – which you can monitor 24/7 on the CASA app, simply by logging in. Then, the “art” of multi-sig security comes into play, as you decide where to hide your three hardware devices.
Some might choose to keep them all at home, in three separate, hard to find places – which clearly, is a huge upgrade versus simply holding your BTC on a Trezor. However, for maximum security – which naturally, I opted for - you can disperse your hardware wallets to the corners of the globe…knowing full well, that at any time, you can disable one or more, and replace them with new hardware wallets.
This way, the risk of your house burning or being flooded out is eliminated; as is the risk of an intruder coercing you via “wrench attack.” In other words, eliminating ALL potential threats to your Bitcoin.
With the Platinum (3-of-5) and Diamond (4-of-7) plans, VIP Help Desk support is theoretically 24/7, though at the moment I don’t think they are truly up to 24/7. That said, my guess is it will be shortly, particularly in light of this month’s big capital raise.
Either way, CASA has developed numerous protocols to enhance clients’ safety and security – like, for instance, video verification and duress words in ANY instance of a client requesting use of the private key to YOUR wallet held in CASA’s database.