On November 12, 2019, during the Invest: NYC event, bitcoin wallet and exchange Evercoin announced the launch of a new, mobile-first hardware wallet: Evercoin 2. The new product is available for both iPhones and Android devices and was developed in collaboration with influential, security-oriented hardware manufacturer Yubico.
Evercoin 2 uses the hardware specifications of the popular YubiKey 5Ci authentication device but is sold with proprietary software in order to function with the Evercoin bitcoin exchange. This means that users who already own a YubiKey can extend its functionality to manage BTC keys on the Evercoin platform by simply downloading the software. Also, new users who choose to purchase the Evercoin 2 can still make use of the encrypted password manager and social media/email authentication features for which the YubiKey is best known.
“Anyone who already owns a YubiKey 5Ci should absolutely download Evercoin because it’s like getting a free hardware wallet,” Evercoin Co-Founder Miko Matsumura told Bitcoin Magazine.
Evercoin 2 vs HTC Exodus 1s vs BitBox02
However, there are three major differences between the devices. Firstly, Evercoin 2 can be used on any mobile phone with a Lightning or USB-C connector (unlike the HTC Exodus 1s, which is a standalone item with fixed hardware and software). Secondly, the Evercoin 2 adds more key and password storage options for social media, email and other accounts than HTC’s product. Finally, only the HTC phone is natively capable of running a full Bitcoin node.
Matsumura hinted that a full-node feature may be added to Evercoin 2 in the future.
“The Evercoin mobile user interface doesn’t support this use case yet, but since Evercoin is fully non-custodial, the user has full control over their own private keys,” he said.
Another mobile-friendly device with which the Evercoin 2 competes is Shift Cryptosecurity’s BitBox02, which has a male USB-C connector. It also enables full-node connectivity. However, the Swiss-made product does not offer non-Bitcoin key storage features and is only compatible with Android phones which support the connector.
The Evercoin 2 Security Model
The collaboration between Evercoin and Yubico has led to a patent filing for wallet backup and recovery. This way, users will be able to get their coins back, even if their phones or YubiKey devices break or get lost.
In an official blog post, Evercoin explained that the security model is based on a 2-of-2 multisig. The noncustodial exchange holds one of the keys, and the other one gets sent to the user via email. None of them can access the funds without the other.
As long as the user doesn’t lose the key, the bitcoin can be recovered by contacting Evercoin. This can be helpful if the mobile phone or YubiKey-powered Evercoin 2 device gets lost or broken. However, it’s still unclear what happens if the user’s email gets hacked and the hackers contact Evercoin support to obtain the second key and steal the funds.
“In addition to protecting your private key from hackers like any hardware wallet, the Evercoin 2 also protects you from yourself,” added Matsumura. “By providing a safe, noncustodial and easy way to back up and restore your wallet, we prevent users from losing all their coins because everyone occasionally makes mistakes.”
At press time, there is no mention of the price of an Evercoin 2 mobile hardware wallet. However, the YubiKey 5Ci costs $70 on Yubico’s website, and the device only requires software from Evercoin to add Bitcoin compatibility.
Nonetheless, Evercoin officially introduced its product as the “safest hardware wallet and exchange,” so it’s going to be interesting to see upcoming reviews from security experts.