NGRAVE Safe Cold Storage, The Perfect Complement to Efani SIM Security
As the leading provider of SIM Swap protection in the United States, Efani provides a critical layer of security for crypto held on exchanges. But when you’re not trading, the most secure way to store your coins is offline on a device called a crypto hardware wallet. To help you learn more about storage best practices Efani has partnered with NGRAVE, makers of the world’s most secure crypto hardware wallet.
Custody - the basics of crypto storage
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin function as money in a trustless way allowing you to have complete control of your money.
Rather than ceding control to a central authority, like a bank, which then grants you access to your money, control of cryptocurrency comes down to ownership of a pair of keys - Public and Private.
The Public Key provides an address, allowing anyone to know where to send funds, essentially a virtual location on a distributed digital ledger (the blockchain). The Private Key acts like a password allowing the holder to spend the funds, so must be kept secret.
Now to a crypto newcomer, all this talk of keys and addresses might seem a bit confusing. You can, however manage your crypto with the ease and convenience of a banking App, yet retain full control of Private Keys, through something called a non-custodial crypto wallet. Non-custodial simply means that you are in charge, rather than giving custody to a third party.
Crypto wallets allow you to organise and label addresses, while all Private Keys are combined into one master password called a Seed, which is a collection 12 to 24 words. A Seed provides ultimate backup for your wallet and the funds it stores should you lose access to it, so must be protected at all costs.
Despite the improving usability of non-custodial crypto wallets, many users are put off by the responsibility that comes with looking after a recovery Seed. They prefer to use a crypto wallet that functions just like your banking app, granting access to your crypto via login credentials.
This approach is described as custodial because the services have custody of your crypto, not you. Though it might seem like less hassle, it exposes you to the significant risk that the custodian is hacked or goes bust, in which case your funds are likely lost.
Crypto exchange hacks happen more often than you might think costing users billions of dollars, which should be enough to convince you to take the non-custodial route to store crypto. If not, NGRAVE does a great job outlining the risks associated with custodial crypto storage in their Academy.
Non-custodial storage: Hot vs Cold Crypto
There are different types of non-custodial cryptocurrency wallets which balance the need for security and convenience. The most obvious compromise is whether the wallet is connected to the internet by default, because to send, trade and spend your crypto, you need to confirm the transaction with the blockchain.
Non-custodial wallets that are online by default are described as Hot Wallets, the most popular being Mobile Wallets, unsurprising, given how much of our lives are managed via Smartphones while desktop Browser Wallets, like MetaMask, are also widely used.
Hot Wallets offer obvious advantages for convenience of transacting, but automatically increase the potential of someone compromising your Seed, directly or indirectly, through your internet connection or any vulnerabilities in your general device security.
The opposite of a Hot Wallet - contain your surprise - is a Cold Wallet, a small physical device disconnected from the internet by default that connects only to allow you to transact.
By being offline cold wallets offer the greatest security for crypto storage but even then, there are degrees of cold - pardon the pun - with some hardware wallets colder than others.
How to choose a crypto hardware wallet
There are two golden rules for how to choose a cryptocurrency hardware wallet.
- Rule number 1 - Security is the most important consideration.
- Rule number 2 - Refer to rule number 1
Yes, convenience and usability are important, but there’s nothing more inconvenient than losing your hard-earned coins, so design considerations should make using a hardware wallet simpler, without compromising security.
If you think that price should be the primary filter when comparing cryptocurrency hardware wallets then you’re probably not ready to buy one. Price matters, but it shouldn’t be at the top of your checklist.
Given security is the main criteria for choosing a hardware wallet, here are some criteria to focus on:
- How tamper-resistant is the device?
- How is the device protected from malicious online threats when connected for transactions or updating firmware?
- What options does the vendor offer for Seed storage?
- How does the vendor ensure the Seed is truly random?
There are a growing number of hardware wallet brands fighting it out to prove they can combine safety and usability, at an affordable price, but given our new partnership, Efani are backing a particular dog in this fight because we are convinced that NGRAVE’s ZERO offers the best security based on those basic criteria.
- It features three levels of tamper security
- It is certified to Evaluation Assurance Level 7, the highest possible security rating
- Transactions are communicated to a companion mobile app called LIQUID using QR codes, so Private Keys are never exposed
- NGRAVE offers a Seed storage system made from two stainless steel plates resistant to heat, corrosion, water or shock
- The ZERO generates a truly random Seed by combining your biometrics with inputs from a light sensor
Don’t just take our word for it. NGRAVE’s website lays out in great detail why they feel the ZERO offers the highest level of security of any cryptocurrency hardware wallet. You can then compare NGRAVE to other leading vendors but with their obsessive attention to detail we believe the ZERO is the ideal solution for safe cold storage and provides the perfect complement to Efani’s focus on SIM security for active crypto traders.
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