Keystone Wallet Review – Is This Hardware Wallet Safe?
Keystone wallet is a security marvel that joins an elite group of hardware wallets with no connection to the online world. Being completely air-gapped, it provides very high security against hackers, malware, and viruses so it’s one of the most popular wallets in the hardware wallet industry.
Lixin Liu, a software developer, founded the Keystone wallet. It was previously known as Cobo Vault under the umbrella of Cobo, a company devoted to crypto technologies.
However, Lixin and his core team of developers left Cobo to develop the Keystone Wallet on June 1, 2021. The reason given was that Cobo decided to prioritize Cobo wallet(hot wallet) over the Cobo vault(the cold wallet option)
KEYSTONE PRODUCTS – SIMILARITIES
- They are waterproof
- They are impact-resistant
- They have detachable batteries
- They are equipped with fingerprint sensors
- They are completely air-gapped
- They have a self-destruct mechanism
- They employ transaction signing and password verification.
The Keystone Essential is $119 and is meant for long-term holders. It is the lightest of the three, with a mass of 115g. It supports rechargeable batteries but doesn’t come with one. Its surface is made of fiberglass (800 x 480 mm) with a product dimension of 112×65×18 mm
The Keystone Pro is $169 and is meant for frequent crypto users. It is slightly denser than the Essential, with a mass of 132g. It comes with a rechargeable battery and has a product dimension of 112x65x13.5 mm. Its screen is also made of fiberglass with a size of 800x480mm
The Keystone ultimate is the heaviest of them all, with a mass of 189.5g. It goes for $479 and is meant to be used by institutional traders. It also comes with a rechargeable battery. Its surface is made of Aerospace aluminum with a screen size of 1136 by 640mm. Also, the product dimension is 111.8x64x14.6mm.
KEY FEATURES OF THE KEYSTONE WALLET
The Keystone wallet comes as a 4-inch color touchscreen device with no USB port and no WIFI or BlueTooth connections. It only communicates with the outside world using QR codes.
In addition, it has a fingerprint sensor with which its owner can access the wallet quickly. There is a self-destruct mechanism in place if some intruder wants to gain access to the wallet forcefully.
Apart from that, the Keystone wallet also comes with rechargeable batteries with a Type-C cord accompanying. It can also be integrated with DeFi wallets, allowing the staking of assets stored in the Keystone wallet.
Lastly, the firmware is open-source, verifiable, and comes in two types: Bitcoin-only firmware and Multi-coin firmware.
SECURITY FEATURES OF THE KEYSTONE WALLET
MicroSD card firmware upgrading
This ensures that you do not need to connect the wallet to the internet to upgrade it. All you need to do is insert the SD card into your computer, download the firmware upgrade on it and insert it into your Keystone device to complete the upgrade process
This biometric feature adds an extra layer of security to your device.
It comes very handy when someone else has gained physical access to your device and is trying to use brute force to gain entry
This feature helps you confirm that your product has not been tampered with during supply. It is done on the Keystone website, utilizing QR codes to verify if you have the real deal
With this feature, you have control over which recovery phrase you’ll choose for your account. By rolling a dice several times, you can generate your own recovery phrase that no one can guess.
A preferred choice for institutional investors, transactions are only sent when a specific number of people sign them on their various devices.
In simple terms, this feature allows users to split their backup recovery seed into fragments and choose how many of those fragments are necessary for backup purposes.
For example, if you split your seed phrase into six fragments and decide that only 4 of those fragments are needed, you are still covered even if you lose one or two of those fragments.
HOW TO SET UP YOUR KEYSTONE WALLET
Before setting up your device, you need to confirm if it has not been tampered with. To do that, go to keyst.one/authentication on your computer and follow the process.
After that is done, follow the steps below:
- Choose a password. Make sure it’s strong enough to prevent guessing by intruders
- Select ‘create wallet’ and then ‘next.’
- Your recovery seeds will come up. Write it down somewhere safe. It’s best to use a metal plate for this purpose
- Confirm your recovery phrase
- You have created your wallet!
To connect your keystone wallet with the mobile application, open the app and tap ‘Bind.’ It brings up a QR scanner which you can use to scan the QR code on the Keystone device.
Keystone wallet supports Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in two different firmware:
This firmware also accepts all types of Bitcoin deposits as opposed to the multi-coin firmware, which only takes native segwit transactions.
You can upgrade your Keystone wallet from Multi-coin to BTC- only but can’t change it back once you do that.
This comes on the back of the Keystone wallet’s ability to connect to other wallets. With these, you can access decentralized applications and DEXes for staking, lending, borrowing, saving, swapping, and performing other DeFi functions.
These are the prices at the time of writing:
Keystone Essential: $119
Keystone Pro: $169
Keystone Ultimate: $479
Keystone Tablet: $39
Keystone Tablet Plus: $49
Keystone Tablet Punch: $24
OTHER KEYSTONE PRODUCTS
This is the backup of the backup solution offered by Keystone. It’s a way to keep your recovery phrase secure against fire, mold, rust, and other disasters. It goes for $39
Keystone Tablet Plus
It’s an improvement on the Keystone tablet with a difference of 10 dollars. It offers a slot for each tile instead of every four tiles(as present in the Keystone Tablet). Also, it has 13 screws on each side to further hold the slots in place, as opposed to 3 screws on the Keystone tablet.
Keystone Tablet Punch
It’s the stylus explicitly made for writing your seed phrases on the Keystone Tablet and Tablet plus. It goes for $24.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO OTHER HARDWARE WALLETS
Many hardware wallets still offer points of entry for hackers, even though they are air-gapped. For example, some might have Bluetooth connectivity or USB connection which provides attack vectors for hackers to build on. The Keystone wallet excels in this area as it only communicates through QR codes.
Also, it has a large screen as opposed to many other wallets with small screens that make it challenging to confirm transactions easily.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is one of the best crypto hardware wallets in existence today. With the level of security it offers, we can say it is worth its price. We hope this article has helped you decide if it is for you or not.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Being air-gapped from the internet, it is very secure and leaves no point of entry for hackers
- It also offers perks of decentralized finance by allowing users to access other DeFi wallets
- The firmware is open-source and verifiable by anyone.
- It has been audited, and the audit report is also open-source.
- The large screen it comes in makes it easier to view and sign transactions without having to squint your eyes
- ✅ It has Shamir backups(we'll explain this better later)
- ✅ The three-pricing model makes it easier to choose a price that fits your budget
- It is still quite pricey compared to some other hardware wallets
- Performing transactions on the Keystone app itself may be cumbersome for frequent users as you have to load addresses every time.
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