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Cypherock X1 – An Effective and Apt Approach Toward Self Custody

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Pros and Cons

  • Audited, Open-Source Code
  • Simple, Streamlined Setup
  • Near Pinnacle of Safety
  • Can Be Used as a Seed Phrase Backup Manager
  • Supports Display Rotation for Left-Handed Users
  • Requires Understanding of Digital Assets to Appreciate 'Seedless' Approach
  • Mobile App Still Under Development
  • Expensive Relative to Features

Self-custody has been and remains a fundamental piece behind what makes digital assets so appealing. Gone are the days of being forced to introduce counterparty risk through reliance on a third-party custodian. At present, technologies like Blockchain allow individuals and companies alike to safeguard their assets simply and effectively. The most obvious and apt example of this is through the use of a hardware wallet.

While hardware wallets may eliminate the need for a third-party custodian, this means shifting responsibility to the owner/user.  For the vast majority of options on the market, this introduces a weak point by requiring seed phrases to be written down/recorded in a single location.  The Cypherock X1 is a new hardware wallet on the scene that looks to eliminate this weak point by taking a cue from the broader digital asset market by incorporating decentralization into its approach.

Why is Cypherock X1 the Best Hardware Wallet To Store Crypto?

Built by CY Labs, out of Singapore, the Cypherock X1 utilizes what it calls ‘Shamir's Secret Sharing' to encode and break up 12 and 24-word seed phrases across multiple NFC-enabled cards.  This approach means that the user is no longer required to write down and store their seed phrase on a piece of paper, metal, or some other medium that can be stolen.  Rather, it is ‘broken down' into shards and stored in five items across different locations, three of which are required to restore a wallet if lost or stolen.  This allows the wallet to function similarly to a more traditional multi-sig wallet but with its unique and more convenient approach.

Another interesting perk to going ‘seedless' is the ability for what the company calls ‘inheritance planning'.

“With traditional crypto hardware wallets, passing down cryptocurrency assets to heirs can be a complex and risky process. Seed phrases, if mishandled or lost, can lead to irreversible loss of funds. However, Cypherock X1 offers a solution to this challenge.

By dividing the private key into multiple shares, Cypherock X1 allows users to distribute these shares among trusted individuals or heirs. Each share alone is insufficient to access the funds, ensuring that no single person can gain unauthorized control over the assets. This unique feature of Cypherock X1 simplifies the inheritance planning process and provides a secure means for beneficiaries to access the crypto assets of the deceased.”

While the initial setup may require an extra few minutes to activate each of these cards, the result appears to be a much safer, easier, and more flexible approach.

Why is it Needed?

The need for hardware wallets is clear and pronounced, and with digital assets only growing in popularity, so has their importance.  The ‘sales pitch' behind these devices is simple: remove counterparty risk and take control over your financial well-being.

These devices achieve this primarily by creating a ‘gap' between the internet and your digital wallet that can only be bridged through the use of a physical device that acts as a key to gain access.  These devices can then further be protected through the use of PINs, biometrics, and innovative approaches such as the one taken by Cypherock X1 and its use of decentralization.

To learn more about hardware wallets in particular, check out our top recommendations.

Cypherock X1 – Your Gateway to Self-Sovereignty

Now that you have learned a little bit about the Cypherock X1 and its value proposition, what is it like to use and interact with? First, let's look at the unboxing experience and go from there.

Unboxing

Upon unboxing, you will find a nice quality storage case with pre-sized cutouts to house each of the included components.  Within, you will find the following,

  • 4 X1 Cards
  • 4 RFID Sleeves
  • X1 Vault
  • USB-A to USC-C Data Cable
  • Type C Adapter
  • Lanyard
  • Hard Case

In addition to these key components, various bonus items, such as a webcam cover to promote safe practices, stickers to support self-custody, and expected documentation, such as warranties and user guides, are also included.

Cypherock X1 - Unboxing

While it may seem that this hardware wallet has many components, remember that you will not need to interact with all of them on a daily basis or even keep all of them. The key pieces to safeguard and keep track of are the X1 Vault and X1 Cards.

Setup

Setting up the Cypherock X1 took under 10 minutes. There were no glitches, hiccups, or unclear prompts, making it accessible for users of all skill levels.

Cypherock X1 Setup

Aside from any pending firmware updates, the setup process mainly consists of activating/authenticating each of the X1 Cards.  This means generating a digital wallet on the X1 Vault and subsequently storing the Seed Phrase shards across the cards for safekeeping in locations of your choice.

Usage

At the time of writing, the Cypherock X1 is only accessible via desktop, with accompanying iOS and Android applications currently under development.

Using the Cypherock X1 is an easy task.  With the inclusion of a physical toggle on its vault, navigating the small OLED screen is simple and quick.  Unlike a touchscreen, the toggle limits potential user input errors.  While a small consideration, it is nice to see that the company included the ability to rotate the display.  This simple but often overlooked feature is a welcome addition for those who are left-handed.

The accompanying desktop app is known as Cypherock CySync. This interface is everything it should be—simple and intuitive. It allows users to see a breakdown of their holdings/portfolio of linked accounts and has a clear five-step process for sending assets, and a 3 step process for receiving assets.

Transactional data can be exported as a .csv file, and multiple wallets can be supported.  The app will automatically let users know when an update is available for download and installation.

One area where the app could be improved is by integrating native support for staking major assets like Ethereum (ETH).  For now, staking features can be accessed through the use of services like WalletConnect.

Supported Assets

Suffice it to say that, with over 9,000 digital assets supported, the Cypherock X1 should appeal to just about every digital asset user around. Whether it be Bitcoin (BTC), the most popular asset of them all, or another niche project, this hardware wallet is clearly a versatile offering.

If the Cypherock X1 does not support an asset that you are interested in, the company also accepts new token requests.

To discover the full list of supported assets, click HERE.

Security

Security is paramount for a hardware wallet. That is the whole idea and appeal behind such products. With that in mind, the Cypherock X1 ticks all the right boxes on the security front.

Not only does this wallet support the aforementioned sharding of seed phrases across a quintet of devices, but it also supports master access PIN capabilities and CC EAL6+ certifications.  The company states that,

“If a malicious person gets access to either your X1 Vault or X1 Card, your funds are safe because none of the individual components have the complete private key to compromise your assets. Unlike other wallets, Cypherock X1 never stores your private keys permanently in a single place.

If a malicious person gets access to more than one component, your funds are still safe if you have set up PIN protection over your wallet. Therefore, it is highly recommended to set up a Wallet PIN.”

For those considering using a Cypherock X1 for long-term storage or passing down digital asset holdings to the next generation, take note that the X1 cards boast roughly 20-year data retention.

Finally, one of the most overlooked aspects of a device's security is its approach to open vs. closed-source code bases. The Cypherock X1's codebase is not only open source but has also undergone a third-party audit. Finally, the company has an ongoing bug bounty program.

Summary

At the end of the day, there are very few distinguishing factors across most of the popular hardware wallets on the market today.  Form factors and supported assets may vary, but the end approach is much the same.  For this reason, the Cyperock X1 is able to stand out from the pack by offering multiple unique use cases that should be beneficial for its users in the real world.  Whether this be its approach to decentralized seed phrases, supporting four wallets simultaneously, or its ability to function as a seed phrase vault – the Cypherock X1 has managed to release an innovative product in a field that really hasn't changed that much in years.

When the aforementioned benefits are combined with the security offered by the Cypherock X1, it becomes easy to recommend the device despite its premium price tag. Once a few of the missing features, like native in-wallet staking and mobile apps, are addressed, the Cypherock X1 may become one of the best hardware wallet solutions available.  For now, the roadmap for planned upgrades can be found HERE.

To purchase a Cypherock X1, click HERE, or use the following coupon code upon checkout: securities-io 

Joshua Stoner is a multi-faceted working professional. He has a great interest in the revolutionary 'blockchain' technology.