Chinese blockchain startup Cobo on Thursday launched a portable device that “cold stores” crypto-currencies offline and contains “military-grade” security features and bank grade encryption and has a “self-destruct” mechanism that, say its makers, will wipe the device clean if a hack is attempted.
The Vault, says Cobo, is designed to “reliably safeguard users’ crypto-currency from digital security vulnerabilities and physical tampering” and does so via a hand-held digital device that has no connectivity ports or no wireless capabilities.
The device has a three-inch smartphone-type screen and also comes with a detachable battery, removable to safeguard against damage via corrosion, a password generating tablet and an aluminum carrying case that’s not just waterproof but can also “withstand a car driving over it.”
Forbes writer Ben Sin writes that he had a chance to test a demo version of the Vault and says accessing it “was a tedious process” that involved first downloading a companion app, inputting a 24-word sequence randomly generated by the tablet into the device, setting up a 10 characters password and then each time scanning a constantly changing QR code using the Vault’s camera.
The Vault won’t open without the right sequence being followed exactly plus the user also has to be in physical possession of the storage device, the tablet and their smartphone. The security features, writes Ben Sin, are akin to a “Tom Cruise spy drama level.”
However Changhao Jiang, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Cobo, says it is all necessary.
“With the increasing investment into crypto-currencies, the only truly safe means of securing crypto is to store it in a cold storage wallet,” said Jiang. “Cobo Vault sets a new, groundbreaking standard for cold storage wallets, with the first truly all-around secure hardware wallet designed for holders that can’t risk losing their investment.”
Cobo’s other founder, whose name is listed in company information only as “Discus Fish,” launched the China-based F2Pool crypto mining pool in 2013 and before that was a platform engineer at Facebook and Google. In 2017, Discus Fish says his F2Pool was hacked and lost more than 8,000 Ethereum tokens. This event, says Fish, was the catalyst for the Vault.
The company’s other product is the Cobo Wallet that was launched in February and claims to be the world’s first “Proof of Stake crypto-currency wallet” and earns its users crypto-currency rewards. Cobo, that is based in Beijing, also announced this week that it has just secured $13 million in funding to further develop both the Vault and the Wallet.
The Vault is available for pre-ordering from Thursday and retails at $479.