FinTech firm Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ), formerly known as Square, Inc., a global technology conglomerate, has introduced Bitkey, a self-custody Bitcoin wallet designed to democratize financial ownership. Bitkey, a product of Block’s Proto team, exemplifies the company’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to an open economy.

According to Block’s press release, Lindsey Grossman, Business Lead for Bitkey, had this to say:

“People holding bitcoin on exchanges and custodial platforms today are often hesitant to move to self-custody wallets because they are nervous about making mistakes, especially with the historical requirement that you must safely guard 12 or 24-word long passwords called ‘seed phrases’. People have often felt stuck: worried about the lack of control they might experience on a custodial platform or exchange, yet also anxious about the unforgiving product experiences that exist in other self-custody wallets historically available. With Bitkey, we wanted to build a product that helps bring everyone to self-custody, combining robust security and recovery options, with a simple customer experience that puts them in control of their money.”

Key Features of Bitkey:

  1. 2-of-3 Multi-Signature Wallet: Bitkey uses three private keys to protect Bitcoin – one on the user’s phone, one on the hardware device, and the third on Bitkey’s server. Users need any two of these keys to authorize a transaction, ensuring additional security layers.
  2. Mobile Key: Enables users to initiate and sign payments up to a set mobile limit, with an encrypted backup key stored in the cloud for recovery purposes.
  3. Hardware Key: This key co-signs payments above the mobile limit, approves changes to mobile limits, and plays a crucial role in mobile key recovery and security settings alterations.
  4. Server Key: Used for initiating and signing transactions within the mobile limit and assists in wallet recovery if both the phone and hardware are lost.

Unique Hardware and App Integration:

  • Hardware Security: The hardware key, which uses NFC technology to connect with the phone, adds a robust security layer to the wallet.
  • App Functionality: The Bitkey app acts as a control center for managing Bitcoin transactions, security settings, and starting the recovery process.

Recovery Solutions:

  • Phone Loss: Users can download the Bitkey app on a new device and use the hardware key for wallet recovery.
  • Hardware Loss: The app facilitates a 7-day security waiting period for hardware recovery, with the option to expedite the process using trusted contacts.
  • Both Phone and Hardware Loss: Users can rely on ‘trusted contacts’ set up in the app for identity verification and subsequent wallet recovery.

Integration with Coinbase and Cash App: Bitkey announced partnerships with leading global exchange Coinbase and financial services app Cash App, part of Block’s ecosystem. These collaborations allow Bitkey users to seamlessly transfer or buy Bitcoin and move it to their self-custody Bitkey wallet, simplifying the transition to self-custody.

Ordering, Pricing, and Availability: Bitkey is available for pre-order at a price of $150 USD or its equivalent in local currencies on the website Shipping is expected to begin in early 2024, offering widespread access across six continents.

Featured Image via Block