Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s payments company To block shared more details on its previously announced portfolio, focusing on plans to combine security and ease of use/access to create a broader, less “hesitant” customer base.
Just over a year ago, in July 2021, the company, then called Square, confirmed that it aims to create a first bitcoin (BTC) hardware wallet “to make bitcoin custody more mainstream.” Dorsey had revealed that Square considered creating a hardware wallet for BTC a month earlier.
“One of the most important jobs of a bitcoin wallet is to keep your money safe even when things go wrong,” tweeted Max Guise, team member working on the portfolio.
It’s vital that people know they can access their assets at any time in order to “make the leap into self-custody,” Guise explained. Fear of making a mistake when using self-service wallets is what makes people hesitant to use them and keeps them on custodial platforms, the team’s blog explains.
The second essential aspect is to keep everyone but the owner out of the wallet – the problem here being that,
“Any additional protection to keep a bad actor out adds a risk that they could also trip up the owner, and any new backup or other means of access creates a new potential security hole.”
What needs to be done, argues the team, is
“We need to create forgiving recovery experiences that prioritize the easiest paths to getting customers back on their feet when things go wrong, with more tolerance for simple mistakes and no steep learning curve.”
Instead of users managing multiple different products that serve different purposes and prioritize security or ease of use, the Block Wallet team says they want to “build something that includes less cumbersome security practices, more forgiving recovery experiences and can be used for both easy spending and secure savings, all in one tool” – and they “believe we can do it with a 2-of-3 ‘multisig’ design” .
According to this construction, the portfolio would be composed of three parts:
- a mobile app,
- a specialized hardware device,
- and the main Blok server.
Each would control 1 out of 3 keys, and all transactions would require the approval of at least 2 of them. The client controls two of these keys using the app and hardware, while Block manages the server key “on its behalf”.
The team further compiled a list of what they try to avoid, to simplify the use of the wallet and increase security, including:
- plain text backup material (seed phrases),
- password memorization,
- intense identity verification through the sharing of extended identity documents.
“Relying on a circle of people you trust can be a powerful fallback to safer self-care. A way to allow others to help you regain control, without having direct access to money. How about relying on people close to you to help you protect your assets? asked Guise, adding that “acting as an emergency contact could be as simple as sharing a phone number.”
Therefore, among the goals the team set for the portfolio, they named:
- the ability to enable social recovery – choosing a set of personal contacts that can help recover from a situation, even if the app and hardware are lost;
- set limits on how much money can be moved with the app alone, while moving the rest would require hardware approval;
- basic setup and no need to memorize new phrases.
Finally, the team argues that there needs to be a better, faster, and more reliable way to notify users of certain events and issues.
“Everything here is still in development and open to change,” the post said, but the team is now seeking feedback on those ideas.
Jesse Dorogusker, head of hardware at Block, wrote last July that,
“We have a lot of questions and issues to reconcile and we will start with this product focus: bitcoin first, global distribution, multisig to achieve ‘assisted self-preservation’ and prioritizing mobile usage. .”
Dorsey also said at the time that they planned to integrate their wallet with smartphones and that the code for the wallet would be open source, while they were also looking for a feature that would allow users to automatically invest in BTC.
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