The Coldcard Wallet adopts a different design philosophy to most hardware wallets. Rather than opting to remain as small as possible, Coinkite has instead emphasized usability over portability. Coldcard, a crypto hardware wallet with a very unique set of features. Before they cover those features however it could be informative to briefly discuss all of the benefits that a cold storage wallet offers.
Secure Element Open Source
Physical Security. Your seed words are stored in a specialized chip, designed to securely store secrets. All code is open source, and you can compile it yourself.
True Air gap
Only hardware wallet with option to never be connected to a computer, for full operation: from seed generation, to transaction signing. Uses PSBT (BIP174) natively!
MK Packed With Features
Coldcard Wallet Only hardware wallet with option to never be connected to a computer, for full operation: from seed generation, to transaction signing. Uses PSBT (BIP174) natively!
Full-sized numeric keypad makes entering PIN easy and quick.
Simple packaging, plain design, no fancy boxes, no redundant cables.
Bright, 128×64 pixel OLED screen. Shows all the critical details of your transactions.
Coldcard Wallet Real crypto security chip. Your private key is stored in a dedicated security chip, not the main micro’s flash.
Made In Canada
Lovingly soldered in Toronto, Canada. Secure supply chain verified with: tamper-evident numbered bag, with bag number recorded into device.
MicroSD card slot for backup and data storage. This allows truly offline signing, by transferring the unsigned/signed transactions on sneakernet.
Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions
Interoperation between Bitcoin hardware wallets is now possible, thanks to BIP174 which introduces a binary file format that all hardware wallets can use. Coldcard has been based on BIP174 from day one, and uses it exclusively.
Duress Wallet Features With Pin games
Coldcard Wallet provide an optional “duress PIN code”. If you enter that PIN code, instead of the “real” PIN code, nothing special is shown on the screen and everything operates as normal… However, the bitcoin key generated is not the main key. It is effectively a completely separate wallet!
To take best advantage of this feature, you should put some Bitcoin into the duress wallet. How much you are willing to lose or what you need to make it plausible, we don’t know.
The “duress” wallet will still be derived from the original BIP39 words, so you don’t need to back it up separately, but there will be no way to get from that wallet back to the original wallet with the real funds in it.
Countdown To brick Pin
This is a covert variation on the BRICK ME PIN mode. It forces a time delay (of minutes/hours/days) when logging into the Coldcard.
But Once set, unlike the normal countdown, this special mode covertly bricks the Coldcard. Again, this may form some part of your game-theory for duress situations, but is completely optional.
Coldcard Wallet goal of this mode is provide plausible deniability of a required time delay (similar to Bank’s safes), while denying the attacker a functional device in case they take it away.
Benefits of a Cold Storage Wallet
Hardware wallets are designed to be unhackable. They keep your cryptocurrency safe because every transaction must be approved by physically pushing a button on the device. Theoretically, you should be able to plug your hardware wallet into a virus infested computer without much risk to your funds.
Hardware wallets are also convenient in that they make it much simpler to back up your crypto holdings. Instead of having to write down and copy seed phrases for a bunch of different crypto wallets, it’s possible to write down the seed phrase for just the hardware wallet and then restore all of the other crypto wallets loaded on that device.
As a rule of thumb, if you have crypto that’s worth more than the cost of a hardware wallet you should probably invest in a hardware wallet. With that in mind, let’s look at the Coldcard and what makes it different from other crypto wallets.
Advantages of the Coldcard
With its bulky body and full keypad the Coldcard Wallet is easier to use. Other hardware wallets have just two buttons for navigation.
Support for Other Wallets
A number of popular Bitcoin wallets have built in Coldcard support. For example, Electrum supports the and even allows users to create offline transactions with an air-gapped.
All of the Coldcard Wallet code is open-source, meaning that anyone can audit it if they want to make sure it is secure. More eyes on the code means bugs are also found faster and you know there are no back doors put in by the developer.
The Coldcard is specifically designed to allow for transactions without using the internet. While it is possible to use other hardware wallets without connecting them to the internet, the process is more difficult given that they don’t have a Micro-SD card slot like the Coldcard does.
Tips for securely storing your Coldcard Wallet
- Do your own research. Before sending any coins or private data to a wallet, make sure you have researched the wallet provider to make sure everything is above board. Keep an eye out for scam wallets, such as those using URLs only slightly different to the URLs of legitimate wallet providers, and check out some independent reviews for all the pros and cons.
- Back it up. Maiar.com use of your wallet’s back-up and restore facility so that if something ever goes wrong with your wallet, you’ll be able to recover your funds.
- Set a strong password. Now is not the time to be lazy when creating a password; take your time to create a strong and uncrackable code.
- Make use of all available security features. Make the most of all the security features your wallet offers, such as two-factor authentication or multi-signature transactions. It’ll offer increased protection for your funds and greater peace of mind for you.
- Update your antivirus software. Maiar.com care to regularly update the antivirus protection and anti-malware software on any device you will be using to access your wallet.
- Keep your private keys private. Last but not least, don’t underestimate the importance of your private keys. Store them somewhere safe and don’t share them with anyone else.
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