Ellipal is one of the lesser-known names in the hardware wallet game. The Hong Kong-based company is on the rise, however, propelled by the success of its flagship device, “The Cold Wallet 2.0.” The smartphone-like device promises all the functionality of a Ledger or Trezor wallet, but without the need to ever connect to the web.
Also read: Which Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet is Best for You?
Hardware wallets (HW) are the new Walkmans. The pocket-sized devices are becoming ubiquitous, with companies as incongruous as Blockchain and Sony launching their own models. In an era of “de-gadgetification,” in which standalone devices are united into all-encompassing smartphones, hardware wallets buck the trend. They are devices that, unlike MP3 players and voice recorders, are compromised by being incorporated into cellphones. Smartphones can be lost or stolen, while security holes abound, often due to spyware-riddled apps. For the security conscious, physically separating a cryptocurrency wallet from one’s phone is the only safe option.
For those who are paranoid about security, however, there’s an extra step that can be taken: separating the wallet from the web altogether. That’s the step that Ellipal have taken with their plainly named “The Cold Wallet 2.0.” The device claims to be “the most secure crypto hardware wallet.” Coming from a company that can’t even SSL its homepage, that’s a claim that should not be taken at face value. An investigation of the facts mercifully support 2.0’s boast to be highly secure, but it is impossible to rank it categorically alongside the likes of Ledger or Trezor.
Unboxing the Ellipal
The Ellipal, as we’ll refer to the device for the remainder of this review, arrives in packaging similar to that of a Ledger Nano S, complete with the obligatory tamper-proof seal. Inside, however, the device looks nothing like the sort of glorified USB sticks that normally pass as hardware wallets. Instead, it looks like this:
That’s right, a cheap smartphone. The Ellipal cold wallet feels as cheap and plasticky as it looks. In fact, it resembles a child’s toy smartphone — the sort you might pick up in the bargain bucket of a Walmart for a couple of dollars. Appearances can be deceptive, however. Inside the device is all the circuitry you need for a cold storage hardware wallet, controlled via a color touchscreen and a single side-button. For all intents and purposes, this is a smartphone without the dumb internet connection. And the cheap feel of the device is actually perfect for what it’s designed to do.
If you were to pull the Ellipal from your pocket in bars, boardrooms and coffee shops, there would be cause to take issue with the prominent bezel, thick profile and light weight. As it is, the HW will ideally never leave the sanctum where you’ve decided to stash it. And if it were to come fitted with a Gorilla Glass screen, all it would do is add a couple of hundred dollars to the $149 price tag, without any sort of improvement in security or UX. The cold wallet feels cheap then, but what’s inside is extremely expensive — the means to access your precious cryptocurrency.
I began by sending a bit of BCH from the Bitcoin.com Wallet to the Ellipal.
Getting the device up and running involves a process that lies somewhere between setting up a new smartphone and a new hardware wallet. After popping the battery into the device and powering it up by pressing the side button, you’re prompted to run through a series of onscreen options, starting with language selection, followed by account creation. You can create a new BCH, BTC, ETH, or ERC20 wallet from scratch, or alternatively import an existing one. If you’ve gone for the former option, you’ll be asked to create an account name and password. The password length is capped at 12 characters which, while not a major security concern, seems an odd decision.
Next, it’s mnemonic time. The Ellipal displays a 12-word seed and instructs the user to write it down and store it safely. After doing so, you’re forced to input the seed by placing the words displayed on screen in the correct order. I took this opportunity to try and memorize the seed, using the memory palace technique. My daughter and I competed to see who could learn the seed off by heart, and within a few minutes, we had it committed to memory, with the aid of a picture-rich story in which each word was laid down in a particular place along the trail. I also made sure to write down the mnemonic as a fail-safe against the fallibility of human memory. You should, too.
The top BCH wallet resides on the Ellipal smartphone app. The second is on the cold storage device.
It’s wise to obfuscate some element of this, perhaps by changing a letter in one of the words, or by reversing the order of the last two words. Alter the seed just enough so that any attacker who finds it and tries to input it will be stumped, but not so much that you’ll struggle to recall the correct order yourself when the time comes. Speaking of security, the decorative Ellipal sticker that comes with your HW shouldn’t be applied to your laptop or anywhere else that might alert others to your ownership of cryptocurrency, as with stickers produced by other HW manufacturers.
One Box, Two Wallets
The Ellipal, up until the point of creating a wallet on the hardware device, functions just like any other HW, albeit with the bonus of a convenient touchscreen. The cool part comes when you go to sign a transaction sent from the cold wallet using your smartphone. How exactly do you bridge the gap between an internet-connected device (smartphone) and a cold storage device? The answer comes in the form of QR codes, which each device can generate and the other can scan.
For example, once you’ve installed the Ellipal app on your smartphone, you can connect the cold wallet by scanning a QR code generated by the HW device. This now grants the ability to view the balance of the cold storage wallet on your phone. However, to send a transaction from that wallet without connecting the HW to the web, you’ll need to cue up the transaction in the Ellipal smartphone app, whereupon it will generate an unsigned QR code. You then scan this code using the HW, which in turn generates a signed QR code that you then scan using your smartphone. The process sounds convoluted, but in practice it’s less arduous than it seems.
For users who have no desire to scan multiple QR codes, there is the option of simply storing cryptocurrency in the Ellipal wallet within the smartphone app. But that defeats the whole purpose of having a separate cold storage device. All told, the Ellipal HW provides a fair trade-off between security and convenience. While there are hypothetical attack vectors by which an app could be compromised and used to send out a QR code instructing the HW to send cryptocurrency to an attacker’s address, it would require a highly sophisticated and precisely targeted attack to pull off such a feat. To all intents and purposes, the open-source Ellipal wallet scores highly for security.
Its UX isn’t as refined as that of the market leaders, but The Cold Wallet 2.0 is a fairly priced addition to a crowded market, and one which stands out on account of its original take on cold storage.
What are your thoughts on the Ellipal wallet? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising ExpectationsSection 4: State Versus SocietyChapter 10, Part 4Crypto and the New Cold War
History is written by the victors.-Winston Churchill
Success is a great deodorant.-Elizabeth Taylor
The winning side of a war writes the narrative; politicians, cultural leaders, educators, and the media create the “facts” that school-children know. The losing side can struggle for decades to crack open a window onto inconvenient truths and a more complete picture. “Unimportant” facts do not fare much better in textbooks. Marginalized nations and groups are overlooked or selectively noted according to their relevance to the winner-loser framework. Things get lost. Average people get lost, because history revolves not only around victors but also around kings and queens, presidents and generals. Average people are faceless subjects or cannon fodder.
The historical parallel to the crypto revolution is called the “revolution of rising expectations.” The term refers to a condition in which even a slight increase in freedom and economic well-being make people believe they can improve their lives. They can benefit their families and future through action. The phenomenon rocked marginalized nations after World War II, from the Far East to Latin America and Africa, and it sparked political revolutions. The new order was often unpleasant, but that does not makes the phenomenon less remarkable.
Nothing in living memory has destabilized the world as thoroughly as World War II, and its aftermath. It wrecked industrialized nations that had anchored Europe; the world map was redrawn; America became the dominant empire; communism became a “bloc”; and the Cold War defined foreign policy until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The destabilization was more than political. It was also economic, social, and cultural, because the fabric of society is a seamless web in which everything connects.
A similar destabilization is occurring within currency, with crypto poised to play a unique role in the redefinition of the global economy and personal freedom. For one thing, crypto enthusiasts are among the few who will applaud the destabilization of a corrupt system (central banking) and view it as an opportunity.
The Return of the Cold War
After almost two years, hysteria still permeates the media over Russia’s alleged interference in America’s 2016 elections. This obsession is a manifestation of a larger global conflict in which America and its allies—albeit, some reluctantly—are pitted against Russia and China, along with their allies, and against the nations that America has alienated through policies of invasion, sanctions, and other forms of aggression. The global rivalry is for political influence, trade advantage, territory, and the future of space and the Arctic.
In short, a new Cold War is in progress. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has been the world’s ruling power, but competitors and dissatisfied “customers” now contest that status (at least, economically). Once again, the undeclared Cold War is between super powers. Once again, individuals and marginalized nations will benefit as best they can from the opportunities that arise from economic disruption.
Unlike many other disruptions, the currency crisis is measurable and inevitable. For decades, the U.S. dollar has been the world’s default or reserve currency. A reserve currency is one that is held by governments and institutions for their foreign exchanges; it is the default currency used in international transactions by agencies and individuals. In 1944, the dollar was established as the reserve unit, partly because of its comparative merits and partly because of World-War-II political dynamics. The Bretton Woods Agreement was forged by over 700 delegates from 44 Allied nations in order to regulate post-war international finance. Central banks were to maintain fixed exchange rates between their national currencies and the U.S. dollar, buying or selling the dollar as necessary to regulate their own money supply and value. A “floating rate” was later substituted.
Owning the printing press for the world’s reserve currency contributed hugely to America economic and political dominance. It has been challenged over the last few decades, however. The European Union established a homogenized money across almost 20 nations, making the Euro the second-largest reserve currency and the second-most-traded one. Nations have also called for a “cashless” society, which would raise questions regarding the future of fiat. These challenges come from governments as they jostle for advantage.
And, then, there came the arrival of crypto. It was created by individuals in order to bypass the politics of currency and to control their own lives. It was developed by revolutionaries who had rising expectations of freedom.
The Challenge to America’s Currency Power
In a fast-moving world, a 1944 agreement has naturally eroded, not least because it was based on political circumstances. America has hastened its own decline, however, by abusing the dollar’s global muscle. In broad strokes, America will lose the power derived from a default currency and a dollar-based banking system for two reasons:
First: America’s belligerent foreign policy and its fiscal incompetence have run amok around the globe. In the last two decades, America has invaded more countries than ever before in its history. The astronomical cost of perpetual war is not merely economic; the cost is also the alienation or hatred that much of the world now feels toward the U.S. Even nations that have not been invaded resent the U.S.’s monetary policies, such as FATCA (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), which have been imposed upon the world to benefit the Americans at everyone else’s expense.
Meanwhile, America’s inflation and debt soar to ruinous levels. The dollar-based central banking system is close to crashing. An economic cliff approaches and, seeing it on the horizon, the central banks scramble for solutions from a cashless society to negative interest rates or the issuance of official crypto. Removing the dollar as the reserve currency does not seem to be under active consideration. For one thing, it would mean a brutal confrontation with the U.S. For another, the systemic problems of central banking cannot be cured by swapping in a new reserve currency.
Second: Alternatives to the dollar and to the current central banking system are being developed. Former antagonists find common cause in this goal. In particular, China, Russia, Iran, and (now) Turkey have become dollar mavericks. Much of their response is driven by U.S. sanctions. Radio Free Europe reported, “Russia is vowing to speed up its efforts along with China and Iran to stop using the U.S. dollar in global trade, particularly in oil sales that are vital to both Moscow and Tehran.” The point is not whether the currency coup will succeed; the point is that other nations are actively weaponizing an alternate fiat against the U.S. If the currency coup does succeed, however, the basic functioning of the world’s finances will not change: fiat money, central banks, and the consequent theft from the individual.
More than money is stolen; hope and opportunities are stripped away. By contrast, crypto offers escape. It confronts fiat and central banking via the remarkable strategy of not confronting them at all; it simply bypasses them. Crypto is a proof of principle. The principle: it is possible to have global finance without government fiat or the toll bridge of central banking. It is possible for average people to control their own finances and to prosper, without the sanction of authorities. Crypto fuels a quiet but growing revolution.
The Revolution of Rising Expectations
People are awakening to autonomy through crypto. And that’s where the revolution resides-not in traders or investors, but in average people who glimpse financial freedom and safety for their families. Having glimpsed it, they then demand it. The energy of this demand rises like heat from two sources:
Marginalized nations in which survival is a driving force. Crypto thrived through Venezuela’s devastation and currency collapse, for example, despite harsh laws against it. Africa could-be-next-frontier-cryptocurrency is an engine for crypto because people have a visceral desire for a currency that is both independent of corruption and accepted by the wider world.
Secessionist movements that seek monetary independence as part of political autonomy. According to a Cointelegraph article (Oct. 8, 2017), “How Blockchain Helps Pave the Way for More Autonomous Governance,” “…independence movements [like Catalonia] are being supported by…the introduction of the cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, and their underlying Blockchain technology. The growing use of the cryptocurrencies could help drive the success of secessionist movements around the world as digital currencies can be used by separatist states to finance their own governments…”
Why the Revolution is Dismissed
The crypto community makes the mistake of looking to investors, traders, and businessmen for political and historical analysis. Those who came up through the ranks of crypto probably have valuable perspectives, but those to whom crypto is nothing but a way to profit from a new form of investment will view it as nothing more than a new form of investment. Profit is a laudable thing, but it is not political or historical analysis. Those who view the essence of crypto as an investment will naturally promote policies that favor the goal of profit, such as respectability—that is, regulation. They will be scornful of advocates who perceive a deeper meaning to crypto, especially if that meaning sometimes obstructs profit, as does resistance to regulation.
Yet the political or historical analysis of successful traders and investors is accorded automatic credibility simply because they make profits. An important element is factored out of their analysis, though: the average person, the workingman who is trapped in a financial cage as strong as any bars. Those who open the door for him should not be derided. Freedom is not the enemy of profit. Nor is the overthrow of a corrupt system.
[To be continued next week]
Reprints of this article should credit bitcoin.com and include a link back to the original links to all previous chapters
Wendy McElroy has agreed to ”live-publish” her new book The Satoshi Revolution exclusively with Bitcoin.com. Every Saturday you’ll find another installment in a series of posts planned to conclude after about 18 months. Altogether they’ll make up her new book ”The Satoshi Revolution”. Read it here first.
There are many ways to store bitcoin cash, and while some people use mobile apps, others use hardware wallets to store their digital assets. Then there are those who use one of the oldest methods in the book — the paper wallet. The tried and true paper wallet technique is a convenient way to store bitcoin cash (BCH) offline in a physical manner, with funds still spendable or receivable at any time. At Bitcoin.com we’ve revamped our paper wallet section so our visitors can create a beautiful physical bitcoin cash bill in a matter of minutes.
Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space
Bitcoin.com’s Newly Revamped Paper Wallet Generator
Cryptocurrencies have become very popular and people who use digital assets store them in various ways. One of the oldest methods for storing bitcoin cash is the use of a paper wallet, which is basically a piece of paper that holds funds because it contains a printed set of both the private and public key. As long as no one has visible access to the bill’s private key, the paper wallet can be a very secure method of offline storage (cold wallet). At Bitcoin.com we’ve always had a paper wallet generator available, but we’ve recently updated the portal so anyone can easily create a bitcoin cash-loaded bill that can be spent at any time.
All a person has to do is use our wallet generator to create a bitcoin cash (BCH) private key and print the paper wallet on a secure printer. In order to make the process very secure, we recommend downloading our paper wallet source code and creating the seed using a device that’s not connected to the internet. Simply print out the finished product using our yellow and black design (similar to the anarcho-capitalist flag) and cut the bill out with some scissors. You can go the extra mile and laminate the paper to make the wallet more durable over time. Remember paper can last a while, but it couldn’t hurt to add some extra durability measures if you decide the paper wallets won’t be used for a very long time.
Loadable, Spendable, Open Source, and Stylish
After cutting out the bill, our Bitcoin.com paper wallet designs allow users to fold the private key section over and a piece of tape can be used to seal the private key from view. After performing these steps, the best thing to do next is store the paper wallet in a safe location, and when you are ready to spend the bitcoin cash you can easily sweep the funds into a Bitcoin.com wallet at any time. Just scan the private key QR code with your Bitcoin.com wallet (or other compatible wallets) and the software will sweep up the BCH. Loading the paper wallet is super easy as all an individual has to do is send funds to the public address. You can load the paper wallet with as much funds as you desire at any given time. For instance, you can make $1, $20, $40, $100, and even $1M bearer bonds.
So if you are looking for a secure and convenient way to store your bitcoin cash then check out our bitcoin cash paper wallet generator. In as little as five minutes you can create a paper wallet and keep the BCH in a safe place that only you have access to. With a little practice you’ll become a BCH bill printing machine, but remember that unlike central bank-issued fiat, there will only ever be 21 million bitcoin cash.
Have you tried our paper wallet generator? Let us know in the comment section below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, and Bitcoin.com.
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During the weekend, the transaction in the actual EOS block chain was completed but paused
Altcoin News – Bitcoin (BTC) is down Wednesday, but so are the majority of the altcoins on the market. This is likely due to the Coinrail hack, which occurred over the weekend.
As all the top-ten coins are down today, we’ve had our pick of which coins to report on. After much debate, we’ve settled on Stellar and IOTA.
Altcoin News | June 13, 2018
Stellar XLM Price 🚀
Stellar (XLM) is currently selling for $0.21. This puts XLM down 10.68% in the past twenty-four hours.
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The Finnish government issued a guideline that specifies how the authorities should handle the 2000-bit coin seized after 2016.
One of the US monetary policy architects discusses the politically balanced balance of the risks of adopting block chains