This blog post was originally written by Jamie Redman on Bitcoin.com.
Many bitcoin investors use hardware devices, paper wallets, and multi-signature solutions to keep their wealth safe from online threats such as hackers and malicious viruses. However, there are more extreme cold storage options for those who have lots of bitcoins, like $100,000 worth of BTC or more. One such process, a method called the Glacier Protocol, provides a step-by-step high-security convention for bitcoin cold storage.
Self-Managed Extreme Cold Storage
A lot of people rely on hardware wallets or other methods of secure bitcoin storage so they can keep their cryptocurrency safe. Most people are ok with the amount of security these types of wallets provide, but there are more extreme measures of cold storage. One of these methods is a self-managed solution called the Glacier Protocol which offers free software for a method that keeps private keys secure, isolated, and offline. The solution is not intended for those who want to use their bitcoin on a daily basis and is more for those looking for a more critical security framework. The Glacier Protocol’s target audience is meant for those who don’t trust USB connection vulnerabilities, and general offline key creation. Although, the Glacier creators do understand and state on their website that there is no 100 percent secure method for key storage, as all processes can be vulnerable.
Requirements and Going the Extra Mile
The Glacier Protocol requires a lot of spare time to execute, and being tech savvy while having the ability to work with a command line and code is a big plus. The required equipment is not cheap either, as the process requires multiple computers and various parts depending on how paranoid an individual is with their BTC holdings. The minimum requirements for the Glacier process include **two factory-sealed computers with 2 USB ports, and a camera. Additionally, the user needs two factory-sealed USB drives with 2GB or more of storage space. Further, if the person wants to get more intricate with the process they can purchase casino-grade dice for random key generation, a Faraday bag to keep electronics safe from malicious radio frequencies, a home safe, Terraslate paper, and tamper-resistant seals.
**Glacier’s directions do offer a step-by-step process for using old and used computers as well. However, many people believe brand new factory-sealed devices provide a higher level of security.
Isolated Key Storage With Multi-Signature Functionality
After purchasing the required elements needed to start, the user simply downloads the Glacier platform and follows the detailed directions. The setup process is long and tedious and requires procedures like preparing quarantined hardware, alongside isolating the user’s network and wireless interfaces. This preparation ensures bitcoin keys are generated entirely offline on an electronic device, while the user also uses a physical piece of tamper-resistant paper. The Glacier method also offers multi-signature functionality so users can secure private keys among 2-4 individuals. The cold storage method further gives step-by-step instructions on generating unguessable key entropy with casino dice.
The Glacier Protocol’s Dripping Drawbacks
The Glacier Protocol is in beta form, and the open source code was created by software developers James Hogan, and Jacob Lyles. Moreover, the project was reviewed by cryptocurrency security experts like Kristov Atlas, Lasse Birk Olesen, and Julian Borrey. There are definitely some drawbacks to using Glacier as it’s a pretty technical process and way more expensive than traditional paper or hardware solutions. For instance, Glacier does provide a full walkthrough of its cold storage method, but does not include instructions for individuals who want to extract split tokens deriving from a blockchain fork. At the moment, there is a community bounty for someone to create a Glacier extraction tool for bitcoin cash. Last, but not least, is the fact that Glacier currently needs a maintainer as the project is not actively maintained. Glacier explains on September 30th that even though the protocol works properly, over time the code may experience software rot.
As Bitcoin Grows More Valuable Extreme Measures of Security Will Likely Follow Suit
It’s likely there are many large bitcoin holders these days, ‘hodling’ millions of dollars worth of BTC in hopes their portfolio will be worth billions someday. Further exchanges and enterprise businesses are also clutching vast reserves of bitcoin; like Xapo’s Swiss Mountain facility where unconventional measures of security are not out of the ordinary.
With bitcoin being so valuable, interest in more extreme measures of storing a lot of cryptocurrency will likely grow, and Glacier is just one method of taking security to the next level. Bitcoin proponents have also come up with alternative ways to execute the process of cold storage, and some people like their own methods better than third-party offerings. Another similar cold storage solution is the service Armory, which offers multi-signature features and enterprise-grade solutions. And there will always be people who definitely want to simply buy a hardware device, as they don’t want to spend excessive amounts of money and rely on a cold storage walkthrough that’s 93 pages long.
What do you think about the Glacier Protocol’s cold storage method? Would you take extreme steps like this to secure a lot of bitcoin holdings? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Disclaimer: The process described above is an extremely technical storage method. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support the product/service mentioned in this article. 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 damages or financial losses 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.