Keeping cryptocurrencies safe is a fundamental part of participating in the digital economy, and hardware wallets have become popular security solutions. These days there is a slew of devices on the market, each with its own options and features. One of these is the Keepkey wallet, a product that’s been well received by digital currency investors over the last three years.
The Keepkey Hardware Wallet
Earlier this week I took a look at the Keepkey hardware wallet, a device that allows users to store multiple cryptocurrencies in a secure fashion. Keepkey is sold for US$129 per device, which is more expensive than the Ledger Nano, Coolwallet S, and Trezor One. Nevertheless, the small rectangular device is more pleasing to hold and the screen looks very nice when the Keepkey is operating. The case the Keepkey comes in is packaged well and resembles an unopened Apple product. Keepkey, Coolwallet, and the Ledger all have well-packaged boxes compared to the Trezor One packaging.
The black Keepkey box is sealed in plastic wrapping and when removed there’s also a piece of tamper-resistant tape holding the box closed. After inspecting the tape and making sure the box has not been opened previously, a knife is needed to cut the tape’s seal. Inside the box is a Keepkey, a 12-word seed card, a USB cord, and some warranty information. The Keepkey has a plastic anti-scratch film laid over the device’s screen and is encased in black foam. Keepkey’s large OLED screen is pleasing to look at and is probably one of the device’s best features. After opening the Keepkey, I headed over to the company’s Getting Started page and downloaded the Keepkey application for Google Chrome. Keepkey only works with Chrome, but it’s the same with most hardware wallets now.
Connecting to Chrome and Initializing the Seed
After installing the application to Chrome, the platform asks you to plug your Keepkey in to get started. Immediately after initiating the Keepkey it required a firmware update and would not start the process of initiating a seed until the firmware was downloaded into the device. Removing the USB cable from my Keepkey was an uncomfortable feeling and it took a bit of force to insert and remove the cord compared to other devices. Ledger Nano is probably the best as far as connecting the cord, with the Trezor One following behind because my Trezor device has always had a weird connection feeling as well. However, after using the USB connection a few times with the Keepkey, connecting was easier and got much more comfortable to insert over time.
Moving on, the Keepkey begins by initiating a new device name, seed and PIN. The program makes you double check the PIN twice and then asks you to write down the seed phrase, which is located on the device itself. Unlike other hardware wallets, the Keepkey does not require you to double check the 12-word phrase. After this process, you are granted access to the first account which is dedicated to BTC. In order to add other cryptocurrencies, there is a dropdown menu that allows users to add BCH, DOGE, LTC, ETH, plus a range of ERC20 tokens.
Transactions, Shapeshift, and Comparisons to Other Models
Unlike other hardware wallets, Keepkey needs to be plugged in to view accounts and they can’t be seen when the device is disconnected. After the initial seed had been set up, I created a bitcoin cash (BCH) wallet to send myself some funds. Anytime I test a new wallet I always send a small fraction of crypto just to make sure the application is working properly. The wallet immediately saw the transaction; you can view confirmed and unconfirmed transactions in a separate window that’s tethered to a block explorer.
The Keepkey’s interface is fairly intuitive, and you can change things like the PIN or use the wallet’s in-client Shapeshift option within the settings section. Sending and receiving is simple and the actual device itself is used for signing verification, while also showing sending/receiving addresses on the screen as well.
Following the transaction, I decided to look at the client’s Shapeshift integration. Keepkey is owned by the firm Shapeshift AG and was one of the first hardware wallets to offer trading abilities within the wallet. Recently, however, Shapeshift has changed the platform’s business model to a membership exchange and all Keepkey users have to register using the client.
The required items needed to use Shapeshift include a verified email and the user must submit a photo ID to trade. All of these tasks can be done through the Keepkey client and a quick email verification. After the account is processed you can trade on the Shapeshift exchange in-wallet using the “quick” or “precise” trading options.
Overall, the Keepkey operates fairly smoothly and I didn’t really have any problems throughout the setup and funding the device. The Keepkey’s user interface is more comfortable to move around and use than the Ledger Nano, and Keepkey operates similarly to the Trezor One. Unlike the Trezor or Ledger, the Keepkey uses one button navigation but still works fluidly with the wallet’s tasks like sending and receiving. The device doesn’t have support for too many cryptocurrencies right now, and other products offer a greater selection. But as far as the coins it does hold, the Keepkey offers an easy to use operating system and is just as secure as its competitors by using similar opsec techniques.
What do you think about the Keepkey hardware wallet? Let us know what you think about this device in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: This editorial should be considered Review or Op-ed material. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Review editorials are intended for informational purposes only. There are multiple security risks and methods that are ultimately made by the decisions of the user. There are various steps mentioned in reviews and guides and some of them are considered optional. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses, mistakes, skipped steps or security measures not taken, as the ultimate decision-making process to do any of these things is solely the reader’s responsibility. For good measure always cross-reference guides with other walkthroughs found online.
Images via Jamie Redman, Keepkey, Shapeshift, and Pixabay.
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Islamic Countries Challenge USD ‘Sanctioning Tool’ With Planned Common Cryptocurrency
Muslim countries around the world are planning to push back against the U.S. dollar’s long global dominance by creating a common digital currency for use in Islamic states. The dollar has evolved into a “sanctioning tool,” charged Erol Yarar, chairman of the Muslim-focused business lobby group International Business Forum (IBF). It has lost its purpose as an international trading currency, he said.
Breaking the Dollar’s Hegemony
Speaking to Turkish news agency Anadolu on Nov. 16, Yarar said a single cryptocurrency for Muslim nations will be designed primarily to undermine and challenge America’s established hegemony in the global financial system.
“The U.S. dollar is beyond a common currency, it has become a sanctioning tool,” Yarar stated. “In IBF this year we will discuss the term ‘monetary pluralism’ to create a fairer and healthier trade environment. We will make a cryptocurrency system, that will be used for international trade among Islamic countries, a current issue,” he added.
The strength of the dollar, in use as an international trading currency since the end of World War II, gives America immense financial and political leverage among perceived weaker states. It has often been used as part of an arsenal of economic tools deployed to punish nations that refuse to toe Uncle Sam’s line.
It is, perhaps, President Trump’s renewal of economic sanctions against Iran this month – even at the risk of alienating allies in the European Union – that Muslim business leaders under the IBF have been prompted to look for ways of neutralizing the dollar’s dominance in global trade.
A number of E.U. member countries are desperate to protect the Iran nuclear deal to help keep trade alive. They are currently in the process of creating a special purpose vehicle that would undermine the sanctions by redirecting payments away from the dollar and therefore away from the prying U.S. financial system. Again, America has reacted by issuing threats of dire repercussions.
But Iran is moving to protect itself against the crippling economic measures. It has announced the completion of the development of a state-backed digital currency, created specifically to circumvent the sanctions, which target the country’s oil, gas and shipping industries as well as the financial system. The system has already been hit after Swift, at the U.S.’s behest, cut off the Central Bank of Iran from the global banking ecosystem.
Following the Example of Iran
Yarar, the IBF chairman, told Anadolu Agency that it is prudent for Islamic nations to emulate Iran’s example by developing a common cryptocurrency system for use within like-minded religious countries. He detailed:
The U.S. keeps down money transfers, imposes sanctions on the international market, and causes crises in countries by using the dollar.
The planned Muslim-compliant digital currency will be used for pricing of goods by businesspeople, exchange markets and countries, he said, adding that Islamic nations should also consider setting up a fund emulating the International Monetary Fund business model.
“The fund, based on non-interest finance principles, will help countries facing an economic crisis. The fund’s name can be ‘International Islamic Cooperation Fund’,” Yara proposed.
His plans have triggered debate on whether countries currently under full, partial or covert U.S. sanctions such as Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe, Syria, Russia and Yemen could adopt virtual currency to bypass the stringent economic measures.
Venezuela recently launched its national cryptocurrency, the petro, while Russia and China are investing in blockchain technologies that will act as alternatives to the dollar in terms of global commerce.
U.S. sanctions work by placing bans on dealings and transactions with individuals, nations and companies. These restrictions are often enforced with the help of mainstream financial institutions. As such, the use of cryptocurrencies, which operate outside the established financial system, are regarded as key to helping economies under sanctions to continue transacting with other countries.
That means if a dependable cryptocurrency system to support financial transactions can be established, the power of sanctions will be diminished as the U.S. is incapable of blocking such transactions.
Binance Tells Iranians to Withdraw Their Money
In Iran, meanwhile, global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has reportedly told its remaining users in the Islamic Republic to pull out their funds from the platform in measures aimed at aligning with the American trade and economic embargo. “Iranians are not really able to trust cryptocurrency exchanges. That isn’t really something new,” Nima Dehqan, a researcher at the Tehran-based blockchain project Areatak, complained. Several exchanges, including Bittrex and Bitmex, have stopped providing services to Iranian investors on account of the sanctions.
Do you think the IBF will succeed in its plan for a common cryptocurrency for Muslim countries? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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SEC Settles Charges With Two ICO Issuers
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has settled charges with two initial coin offering issuers. These cases are the commission’s first to impose civil penalties “solely for ICO securities offering registration violations.” Both companies have agreed to refund investors, pay penalties, and register their tokens as securities.
On Friday, Nov. 16, the SEC announced “settled charges against two companies that sold digital tokens in initial coin offerings (ICOs).” The agency explained that Carriereq Inc. (aka Airfox) and Paragon Coin Inc. both “consented to the orders without admitting or denying the findings,” elaborating:
These are the commission’s first cases imposing civil penalties solely for ICO securities offering registration violations. Both companies have agreed to return funds to harmed investors, register the tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the commission, and pay penalties.
The two companies’ tokens are neither registered with the SEC nor qualified for an exemption to the registration requirements.
Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, emphasized that “companies that issue securities through ICOs are required to comply with existing statutes and rules governing the registration of securities.”
The SEC further detailed:
The orders impose $250,000 penalties against each company and include undertakings to compensate harmed investors who purchased tokens in the illegal offerings.
These two cases follow the agency’s first non-fraudulent ICO registration case of Munchee Inc. The SEC did not impose a penalty in that case because the company stopped its offerings before delivering any tokens and promptly refunded investors.
The Two Companies
Both Airfox and Paragon conducted token sales last year after the SEC warned that ICOs can be considered security offerings in its DAO report, a landmark paper that serves as the defining document for ICOs to avoid being categorized as securities in the U.S.
Boston-based Airfox raised approximately $15 million by selling 1.06 billion of its tokens to more than 2,500 investors globally through various websites that it controls. The company claims that the funds would be used “to finance its development of a token-denominated ‘ecosystem’,” the SEC described.
Established in July last year, Paragon sold its tokens to approximately 8,323 investors, including those in the U.S. The company “raised approximately $12 million worth of digital assets to develop and implement its business plan to add blockchain technology to the cannabis industry and work toward legalization of cannabis,” the commission noted.
Paragon issued a statement on Friday confirming that it has reached a settlement agreement with the SEC after working on it with a team at the commission for over a year. CEO Jessica Versteeg calls it “a very positive agreement … that will effectively put an end to the uncertainties of the legal status ” of her company’s token.
What do you think of the SEC settling charges with the two ICO companies? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the SEC.
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Hash Wars: Day Two and the Anticipation for BCH Trading Platforms to Reopen
It has been close to 24 hours since the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain split on Nov. 15, and the community is assessing the first day of battle. At the time of writing, both chains are still operational and the ABC chain has a 32-block lead on the SV chain. Now many BCH supporters are patiently waiting to find out when infrastructure providers will resume deposits, withdrawals, and trading across the entire ecosystem.
Some Believe the Hash War Will Continue
The BCH hash war has continued into the second day of network warfare, protocol activity, and an abundance of discussions across social media. A clear victor has not yet been decided, according to SV supporters who believe the hash war is “not a sprint, but a marathon.” Currently, the ABC chain is 32 blocks ahead of SV and it has more hashrate and accumulated proof-of-work behind it, according to Coin Dance cash, and Forkmonitor.info data. Still, the SV chain has continued to chug along and has about 5,266 PH/s worth of hashrate compared to the ABC chain’s 7,237 PH/s. Moreover, SV supporters, specifically Nchain’s Craig Wright and Coingeek’s Calvin Ayre, have stated the next day, Nov. 16, that the hash war is not over.
“In our hash competition, we have seen the ABC team bring on their strongest sprinters,” explained Wright on Twitter on Nov. 16. “We are just at the trials and not yet on the finals to Marathon and they have made a remarkable burst to do a 9.9 second 100m (unfortunately in the wrong direction).” the Nchain executive adds.
Many SV supporters still believe Wright will continue to wage war and this can be seen across social media and cryptocurrency-centric forums. Coingeek’s Calvin Ayre agreed with Wright’s words and issued a similar statement during the early morning hours on Friday.
“The BCH hash war will not be decided in 1 or 2 days, but over many days and possibly weeks by on-going miner votes with sustained Proof of Work — Until a dominant chain emerges, cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet and service providers are advised to remain neutral, and to run a Bitcoin SV node to be prepared for the best interests of users,” Ayre detailed.
The Wait for Service Providers to Assess the Situation
On the other hand, the further the ABC chain gets and the more proof-of-work is accumulated, ABC supporters seem confident that victory is very close. Many BCH proponents are now waiting for infrastructure providers to explain how they will list the newly forked chains. ABC backers believe that a large portion of wallet services, exchanges, and payment services will side with ABC. This belief is due to the overwhelming amount of company support garnered when infrastructure providers published contingency plans with most supporting the ABC roadmap. However, it seems BCH service providers are still assessing the situation and may not publicly announce plans until more time has passed.
Further, the research team from Bitmex has been monitoring the situation with the organization’s recently published tool. Bitmex Research detailed to its Twitter followers on Nov. 16 that SV miners are losing a ton of money and estimated that they will lose $280,000 a day if they continue. Further, this estimate is calculated with the ability to sell SV coins at a spot price of $100, but the ability to sell these coins is pretty much non-existent.
ABC proponents were quite pleased with the outcome so far and the forum r/btc is filled with supporters showing enthusiasm. The Bitcoin Cash developer Shammah Chancellor (Micropresident) was very thankful and expressed his gratitude on Twitter.
“Big thanks to Roger Ver, Bitcoin.com, all the p2pool miners, Btc.com, Antpool, and everyone else who is supporting the BCH chain with their hash — Continuing to work towards bringing peer-to-peer cash to the world,” the developer explained.
However, even though many were celebrating yesterday’s battle, many BCH supporters had shown distaste for the entire situation. Bitcoin Cash and XT lead developer Tom Harding explained that the split has caused some damage. “Bitcoin Cash has splintered its network effect, pushed the overall price below $400, and wasted a lot of energy,” Harding stated. BCH developer Jonathan Toomin responded to Harding’s tweet and agreed with the XT developer. “Unfortunately, you are totally right,” said Toomin.
What did you think about the first day of the hash war? Do you think it is over and there is a victor? Or do you think the hash war will continue? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Coin Dance cash, Twitter, and Bitcoin.com.
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