The Binance hack earlier this year was a wake up call for many, myself included. Imagine logging in to your favorite exchange or checking your mobile wallet to see a big fat ZERO balance.
If hackers choose to target you, how safe do you think you are? If Binance could be compromised, is it possible that your wallets could be compromised as well? The ELLIPAL Hardware Wallet is a worthy investment to make if you want to prevent this nightmare from happening.
As consumers, we tend to trade security for convenience. I like using mobile apps, like TronLink or the Monarch Wallet, to conveniently access my crypto. This could also present vulnerabilities, however; because if my device is ever compromised, I just assume that the hacker would gain access to my crypto. With the ELLIPAL Hardware Wallet, you get the convenience of a mobile app AND the security of an air-gapped hardware wallet.
Some questions I ask myself when considering products like this are: “Who is the team behind the company?” and “Are they trustworthy?” ELLIPAL Limited was founded in 2017, and their office is in Hong Kong. You can find some of their team members on LinkedIn. You can also reach them on Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. The ELLIPAL team executed a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and appears to be very professional.
So, tell me about the device!
It is very easy to use because its form factor is similar to that of a phone. The ELLIPAL’s dimensions are 119.4 (H) x 64 (W) x 9.9 (D) mm and the 1st generation iPhone measures in at 115 x 61 x 11.6 mm. It has a 4-inch touchscreen, and I think it looks cool too. I can imagine putting a custom sticker on the back of the device and just keeping it with me in my bag.
The user interface is minimalistic and easy on the eyes. The firmware is not open source, but there is a link to their Github repository available on their website. They have been adding support for new coins monthly. Updating the firmware is a bit of a process. You have to download the updates on a memory card and then put the memory card back into the ELLIPAL, but it is to maintain the integrity of the device – so I am willing to take the extra little steps.
The coolest thing about this device is the way it communicates with your mobile app. When you initially set up and pair the app with the device, you will use your phone (and app) to scan a QR code that is displayed from the ELLIPAL wallet device. This is to let your app know the public key associated with your wallet. When you RECEIVE crypto, you only need the public key (available from the mobile app). When you SEND crypto, you will need to “sign” the transaction using the physical ELLIPAL device. You initiate the transaction from the mobile app, defining the amount you will send and what address you will send it to. The app will then generate a QR code with the transaction information. Next, you scan this QR code with the ELLIPAL Hardware Wallet so it can have the transaction information. Then, you confirm the transaction on the ELLIPAL device and it generates a second QR code. The private key has signed the transaction and the QR code lets your mobile app know that the transaction has been signed.
And what do you think?
Because the device and mobile app communicate using QR codes, you don’t need a cable or laptop! This feels very mobile and free. I have heard some people refer to the ELLIPAL device as the “cold wallet” and the app as the “hot wallet,” but this is an inaccurate statement. The device is indeed a “cold wallet,” because it holds your private keys; but the app is more like a way to “see” your assets and initiate transactions. The app is not an actual (hot) wallet, it is just a way to “interact” with your wallet. And speaking of interacting with your wallet, you are also able to trade/exchange crypto within your mobile app!
I also wondered what was inside the QR codes? Could this be a potential point of weakness? I joined their Telegram group and was able to ask the founder himself. I didn’t wait long for a response, and he was very friendly and concise with his answer. The information inside of the QR codes are all public information, so it does not have your private key information in these QR codes. The first QR code basically initiates the transaction, and the second QR code back to the app says that the transaction is signed. This means this method of communication is SECURE and NOT a point of vulnerability.
You are now able to pre-order the ELLIPAL Titan – their newest product! It has a sleek, dark metal look and is IP65 rated. It is designed with “Anti-Disassembly” and “Anti-Tampering” as the main focus. You will also be able to stake, earn interest, or utilize the Binance DEX with this new device – my favorite features! I am looking forward to getting my hands on this.
Warren Buffett’s famous “Rule Number 1” is “never lose money.” As crypto HODLers, our “Rule Number 1” should be to “never lose crypto.” With the Ellipal Hardware Wallet, I feel confident that I will never lose crypto. In my opinion, this is a very solid, innovative, and cool product!