Smartphones Are the Safest Devices to Store Cryptocurrency, Samsung Says

Omar Faridi
  • Samsung Electronics says smartphones are the safest device to store cryptocurrency.
  • “Spendable” digital currency can be securely stored on smartphones because of a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).

Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers, recently stated in an official blog post that mobile-based crypto wallets are the best and safest option for cryptocurrency “short-term and medium-term storage.”

The post explains that smartphone-based cryptocurrency wallets are a fairly secure place to hold digital “spending money,” equivalent to the amount of fiat one would keep in a physical wallet. For storing cryptocurrency on a long-term basis, Samsung recommended creating several backups of the private key associated with crypto wallets.

Offline Storage Preferred

The smartphone maker added that private keys should be stored offline to maximize security, which means they should not reside on a mobile phone or any other device regularly connected to the internet. Samsung added that private keys are to be kept in cold storage (offline) to maximize protection.

Samsung’s blog post argues that smartphone-based crypto wallets are the safest place to store “spendable” cryptocurrency because of a mobile phone feature called Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). The TEE runs in its own independent execution environment, which means that its random-access-memory (RAM) and persistent storage (usually a hard-drive) are separate from a smartphone’s main operating system.

Due to a separate run-time environment, the Android OS can’t directly access the TEE, even if the operating system has been hacked. Moreover, the TEE can only be accessed via an application programming interface (API), Samsung’s blog notes.

The smartphone manufacturer refers to the small-sized apps in the TEE as “trustlets” and notes that all reliable mobile-based cryptocurrency wallets restrict and control access to users’ private keys by keeping them in seemingly impenetrable trustlets.  Per Samsung, this helps ensure “security is seriously tight,” as it’s nearly impossible for malware to reach private keys stored this way.

Vulnerabilities Still Exist

The smartphone company added that its Samsung Knox platform’s TEE provides an even greater level of security. It warned that since TEE hardware is not available on laptop and desktop computers, the private keys stored in these devices may be easily compromised.

Despite the high level of security TEEs offer, Samsung claims a novice programmer can potentially make the mistake of designing a crypto wallet that stores private keys on a smartphone’s hard drive, making it vulnerable to hackers. Moreover, wallets themselves can be infected with malware on purpose.

Interestingly, Samsung’s blog post comes shortly after Ethereum wallet interface MyEtherWallet released a ‘hardware wallet’ app beta for iOS, which it claims could give users the same security cold-storage solutions do.

Brazilian Investor Buys 28 BTC With 30% Discount on Facebook

Neil Dennis

A Brazilian crypto consultant has reportedly completed a sale of 28 bitcoins at a 30% discount on Facebook, in a move made possible by alarm bells ringing regarding a local cryptocurrency investment platform.

According to Livecoins Márcio José Motta, the consultant, advertised he was selling 28 BTC – worth around $280,000 – on a Facebook group earlier this week, with the catch that the coins were on the Atlas Quantum investment platform.

The sale was made a 30% discount, as the platform itself is facing various challenges. For one, it’s widely believed to be a Ponzi scheme, as it claims to use a bot – an internet software application – that can examine prices across exchanges to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities, and reward traders for their investments.

Facebook bitcoin sales adsSource: Livecoins

The company has also been notified by Brazil’s Securities Commission (CVM), as users have been reporting withdrawals issues from its platform. This means the discount came from a user who likely tried – and failed – to withdraw his funds.

The BTC sale was reportedly completed in less than an hour, as the crypto consultant claims to have connected the seller to a group of investors who’re always looking for cheap BTC. Márcio added he concluded similar operations with other exchanges, telling the Brazilian news outlet:

The same thing happened with Negociecoins. In transactions related to that exchange alone I’ve moved over 40 BTC a day.

Meanwhiles Atlas Quantum, the platform that’s seeing users struggle to withdraw, has said it’ll reward them with a 25% premium once they are indeed able to get their funds out. The bonus, the company claims, is related to days in which it failed to pay out “arbitrage” revenues. The company further alleged it’s unaware of any discounted BTC sales going on between its users.

The cryptocurrency scene has been growing in Brazil. As covered last month the public transportation system of the city of Fortaleza, the capital of the state of Ceará, has started embracing cryptocurrency payments.