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A review of the Swiss-made Bitbox digital hardware wallet – Bitcoin News Reviews

I bought a Digital Bitbox hardware wallet during the Anarchapulco event last week. I’ve tested and reviewed a variety of popular hardware wallets over the years and decided to experiment with the Bitbox platform so our readers can get an idea of ​​what this product has to offer.

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Testing the digital bitbox

Shift Devices AG describes its flagship product, the Digital Bitbox, as a minimalist hardware wallet. The device is about the same price (59 € per Bitbox) as the Ledger Nano. Digital Bitbox is a device that is manufactured in Basel, Switzerland by a company called Shift Devices AG (formerly ETH Zurich) and has been on the market for well over a year. After purchasing the wallet, I found that the packaging was airtight and uncompromising. If the packaging was removed or tampered with, it could clearly be seen that the packaging had been tampered with before the device process was initialized. My device was not tampered with, and I used scissors to remove the packaging that revealed a cardboard box that contained only two items – the Bitbox wallet and an 8GB micro SD card.

A review of the Swiss-Made Digital Bitbox Hardware WalletThe Digital Bitbox is only supplied with the device and an 8 GB Micro SD card with a plastic container for storage.

Make a note of your password and keep it safe

There are no walkthrough brochures in the box, just a website address that explains where a person can start at digitalbitbox.com/start. From there I read the short walkthrough which is pretty much self explanatory. Next, I downloaded the Mac OS desktop client (Windows and Linux apps are also available) and waited for the download to complete. When it was done I installed the platform in my Applications folder and proceeded to open the software, which probably asked you for your computer’s administrator password. From there, the application will ask you to name your wallet and add a password. Remember that a password is required for a user to restore their Bitbox balance. So make sure you keep the password in a safe place.

A review of the Swiss-Made Digital Bitbox Hardware WalletThe intuitive user interface of password and wallet. Remember, your password is ultimately needed to recover funds. Some suggest that two copies of the micro SD card would be beneficial.

Save your seed on a micro SD card

After entering the name and password of the wallet twice, the initialization process begins, during which the first wallet was created in addition to the send and receive addresses. I named my client ‘Joshua’s Wallet’ for my son who often helps me with hardware wallet reviews. The initialization process also saves the device’s private keys on the SD card, which are required the first time the Bitbox is used. After the first steps have been completed, the SD card can be removed and stored for safekeeping. This is a big difference between Bitbox and other hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor that require a process that requires writing down a 24 word seed phrase. With the Bitbox, the seed is saved and encrypted on the micro SD card. All communication between the desktop app and the device is encrypted with AES-256-CBC. I would recommend buying another SD card so that you have two seed backups. Although chips like the one that comes with the Bitbox can usually last up to 50 years.

Two-factor authentication and data protection functions in the settings area

The desktop app is pretty easy to understand and the platform has a friendly interface and the settings area is relatively simple too. In this section a person can manage backups, create a new wallet, change the password, reset the device, activate two-factor authentication (2FA) with a mobile app or connect the platform to the mobile phone. The settings can also generate a random number in case you need a random number. In addition, the user can also test the LED light in the device for its full functionality. The LED is used for 2FA services and users count how many flashes the device sends to authenticate the input and command process. The “touch button” is located next to the machine’s LED light, which is used to sign transactions. To confirm a transaction, the user simply touches the “touch button” to confirm the process, or he can briefly touch the “touch button” to cancel the transaction.

A review of the Swiss-Made Digital Bitbox Hardware WalletThe settings area offers a variety of options, including a hidden wallet, a multi-signature wallet, and the ability to manage backups.

Another function in the settings sections is the concept of ‘plausible identity’ with hidden wallets. A Bitbox owner can create a hidden wallet that has a second password and also use Tor and Tails privacy-centric operating systems. Finally, there is a multisig wallet service that allows the user to enable multi-signature wallet protection, a process that requires multiple people to sign transactions.

Bitbox is currently only compatible with BTC and ETH

A review of the Swiss-Made Digital Bitbox Hardware Wallet

The Bitbox is a decent hardware wallet for the price and offers several different types of privacy features. The seed storage is also very different compared to other models on the market. The most prominent problem I’ve had with the Bitbox is the fact that it only contains two types of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). On the ETH side, it enables ERC20 storage for currencies compatible with the Ethereum blockchain. I had another problem with the touch button and the fact that there are no cables between the device and the computer. Using the Bitbox on a laptop is fine, but when using it on my desktop computer (iMac all-in-one) I had to reach to the back of my computer to sign a transaction, which is quite a chore. Although using my USB hub or some other type of USB connector can avoid the cable problem.

Overall, I liked it, but I don’t see it gaining much traction if it continues to only offer two types of currencies. This topic is going to be a decision maker for most of the people looking for a decent hardware wallet. In addition, the user interface is easy to understand and the “minimalist” character of the product ensures that data protection is a top priority for this Swiss-based company.

What do you think of the Digital Bitbox Hardware Wallet? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse or endorse this product / service.
Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any action in relation to the named company or any of its affiliates or services. Walkthrough editorials are for informational purposes only. There are several security risks and methodologies that are ultimately made by the decisions of the user. Reviews and how-to guides mention different steps, some of which are optional. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author are responsible for any loss, errors, skipped steps or security measures not taken as the final decision-making process for all of these things is solely the responsibility of the reader. To be on the safe side, always compare the guides with other walkthroughs available online.

Images via: Jamie Redman, Digital Bitbox, and Pixabay.

Tags in this story

2FA, Basel, Bitcoin, BTC, cold storage, cryptocurrencies, digital assets, ERC20, ETH, ETH Zurich, Ethereum, hardware wallets, hidden wallet, LED light, ledger, multi-signature, N-Featured, password, review, seed, Trezor

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Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a Florida-based financial tech journalist. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for bitcoin, open source code and decentralized applications. As of September 2015, Redman has written more than 5,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News on the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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