|What you need to know:
Why we are shutting down Case Wallet:
Our team remains dedicated to our mission, which was always to create a consumer experience layer for cryptography so that people can easily manage and use private keys in their day-to-day life. We are extremely appreciative of your support of Case and hope you will continue to support us as we continue to push to bring blockchain applications into mainstream use. Please reach out to us with questions, concerns, or comments you may have during this period. We want to be as transparent as possible and we welcome these discussions. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any and all inquiries.
The Case Wallet Team
Moving financial assets is a complex process requiring strict procedural compliance and each service falls under different regulatory bodies. Transferring assets through multiple channels dilutes liquidity by requiring intermediaries to create a secure exchange for each channel. Third parties increase the risk of exposing sensitive data and creating information spillage.
Bitcoin and other distributed ledger technologies facilitate the transfer of digital financial assets within cryptographically secured, immutable environments. Case acts as a secure signing device that streamlines this process without increasing the risk of compromising sensitive data. Digital Financial Assets encompass:
- Assets that are traded with an agreed present or future value (ex. Public Equities)
- Debt and associated coupon payments (ex. Bonds)
- Establishing or reassigning ownership of assets (ex. Titles/Deeds)
- Distributing private securities (ex. Pre-IPO shares)
- Redistribution of funds between accounts (ex. Payment Processors)
- Loyalty Programs (ex. Reward Point Programs)
In-person cash transactions are the quickest way to transfer ownership of funds. Money leaves your possession and the person receiving the cash immediately becomes the owner of the settled amount. The exchange results in no transaction fees. On the other hand, financial assets typically involve significant amounts of currency and distant or cross-border counterparties so exchanging the documents representing those assets for cash in-person is not practical. Electronic payments make this process easier but have also complicated the process by creating a dependency on numerous intermediaries. The blockchain transforms payment channels and transfers value securely without the need for a third entity.
The rusting infrastructure supporting the trading of traditional financial assets is the dependence on clearing houses, escrow services, and other third parties. Intermediaries are needed to ensure assets are adequately handled, thereby acting as a trusted party. These services cost time, expend resources, and require additional legal considerations. The blockchain offers a more efficient alternative to these outdated methods. Transactions recorded on a blockchain are validated by a distributed network of trusted or anonymous nodes, settled in gross within minutes or hours, and require no third parties.
However, as we move away from traditional financial asset distribution methods, we must re-imagine current security models.
MULTI-SIGNATURE AND MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION SECURITY
Maintaining a high level of internal controls is vital to ensuring the integrity of issued financial assets. Enterprises currently take the unnecessary risk of information spillage by using processes that inherently have single points of failure, and multiple hops where such a failure can occur. Case eliminates single points of failure by facilitating direct exchange between parties within a fully auditable cryptographically secured system, therein increasing Information Governance. The Information Systems Audit and Controls Association highlights five factors that are critical for efficient information governance:
- Audit and Assurance
- Risk Management
- Information Security
- Regulation and Compliance
- Governance of Enterprise IT
Compliance with these guidelines is a critical component for proper distribution of financial assets. The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, the inter-regulatory body for the FDIC, OCC, FRB, and the NCUA, distributes supplemental instruction for developing secure internal and external authentication systems. This guidance explains that one-dimensional authentication systems are no longer effective. Synchronized token systems with multi-factor authentication are one recommended security method for effective internal controls. However, these tokens only facilitate access control and can’t be used to sign and broadcast cryptographic transactions on distributed ledgers. Case supports up to four factors of authentication for securing financial asset or access control transactions:
- Who you are – Biometric verification
- What you have – The key embedded on the device
- What you know – Verification of pin or other security information
- Where you are – Geo-fencing based on device location
Requiring multiple authentication methods to sign transactions strengthens security measures by applying additional layers of security. The multi-signature Bitcoin protocol (BIP-11) outlines a higher tier of bitcoin wallet security that requires M-of-N keys to sign transactions. M represents the number of keys needed to verify a transaction and N designates the total number of authorized keys. 2-of-3 is the most common security measure for multi-signature bitcoin wallets and is more secure than a single private key. Requiring multiple keys that are each secured by a different authentication factor increases security by eliminating single points of failure for any one authorized individual. Requiring multiple individuals to sign a transaction in this way creates secure channels for the the digital transfer of financial assets on a trusted distributed ledger.
REDUCING THE RISK OF CURRENT AUTHENTICATION METHODS
A study on the effectiveness of two-factor authentication banking services at University College London found biometric authentication to be the highest recommended authentication method among participants. Man-in-the-middle (MITM) or phishing attacks befall consumers who rely on one-factor password authentication and access sensitive services through general computing devices such as PCs and smartphones. Case is a secure dedicated hardware signing device with single purpose firmware and a dedicated GSM connection for outbound communication with blockchain network nodes. This protects end users from MITM or phishing attacks by moving the authentication and authorization process entirely out-of-band from the insecure general computing device. Enterprises can take advantage of securing internal and external accounts with devices that are easy to use and significantly decrease security risks. A user can operate our device to execute transactions in three steps.
- Press the “On” button to enable the device
- Scan a QR Code containing the transaction details
- Verify transaction details on-screen and swipe your finger to authorize
Distributed consensus ledgers facilitate transactions on a large scale without settlement or counterparty risk since the transaction settles in gross in real time and assets exchange hands as described by the transaction details. Disputes can be resolved quickly by referencing the blockchain. The efficiency of a distributed digital ledger broadens when transmitting assets between accounts. The architecture of Case ensures a secure environment when interacting with blockchain technology. Case’s additional protocols offer secure channels for sending funds or exchanging data to remote destinations.
INCREASING MOBILE SECURITY AND USABILITY
Mobile security is inadequate to properly facilitate transmitting financial assets. With the expanding market of mobile devices, maintaining security controls is a growing liability and slows liquidity. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) publishes an annual report of Top 10 Mobile Risks. The 2014 list includes:
- Insufficient Transport Layer Protection
- Poor Authorization and Authentication
- Broken Cryptography
Operating systems (OS) within enclosed systems are targets for malicious attacks. If the OS is on a mobile phone, each device must have the most up to date software and be operated in a safe manner to reduce exposure to malware. This past July, 950 million Android devices were exposed to a malicious exploit delivered through opening a single text message. The enclosed design of Case ensures no external party or software is allowed to interfere with the operation of the device.
Multiple layers of security in the framework of Case’s transmission process ensure that each transfer is secure. When the device initiates a transaction, the request is encrypted and transmitted through GSM. Each operating network uses an International Mobile Subscriber Identity to verify the SIM card unique to each device. Once that process is complete our SSL encrypted servers verify the user with encrypted data in the User Data Encryption Key created during initial set-up. This model is how we ensure each device is natively secure while operating in 109 countries on over 150 carriers.
ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS WITH HD WALLETS
Case allows secure distribution of private keys by taking advantage of the Hierarchical Deterministic protocol outlined in BIP-32. HD wallets use parent keys to create root trees that distribute multiple child keys. This system creates a network of devices that are used to facilitate multiple channels while managing risk. This also produces an additional layer of security by consistently creating new addresses to protect the identity of authorizing agents. Multiple authorizing agents can also be assigned from the same parent key without increasing the risk of information spillage. Transferring assets without exposing the parent key to third party entities increases the strength of internal controls. Other uses of HD wallets include:
- Access controls behind a QR code that individual devices are required to scan to gain administrative access. (ex. Databases)
- Auditing performed by distributing public keys to an auditor and recalling all transactions on the blockchain
- Exchanging assets internationally is a streamlined process when sent between trusted parties not reliant on verifying transactions (ex. NASDAQ Private Market)
Businesses and consumers now have the assurance of multiple layers of protection securing their financial assets. Case functions as a signing device to facilitate moving these financial assets. Biometric authentication, possession of the device, and a distributed key system all facilitate these transactions with no single point of failure. Our 2-of-3 signing model is designed to ease the process of signing transactions without compromising security – the function of those signed transactions is up to each user.
REANALYZING FINANCIAL ASSET DISTRIBUTION
The blockchain provides the distributed medium to facilitate fast and secure transactions when transferring financial assets. Distributing financial assets on a public or semi-public ledger applies new auditing tools to old services. NASDAQ recently announced the first private market to assign pre-IPO shares using the blockchain. This future market uses bitcoin transactions for companies raising capital from private investors before offering shares to the public. Transactions on the bitcoin blockchain are recorded with enough space to contain 40 bytes of metadata. This embedded metadata can direct to locations of applicable documents or provide additional administrative controls outside of exchanging bitcoin. Other distributed ledger systems have their own methods for recording transaction metadata.
The security and ease of use of your transaction signing device is the most critical component of using any blockchain. Without proper usage and protection of private keys, your blockchain assets are not secure and risk dramatically increases. We have structured Case to manage your private keys without the pitfalls of single point of failure systems.
USING CASE ON DISTRIBUTED LEDGERS
The framework of Case’s chain-agnostic software allows integration with nearly any cryptocurrency or distributed ledger. As financial organizations research how they will integrate distributed ledger technology, it is important to note that that they are exploring a variety of different technologies and blockchains. Due to this, Case has been designed to be agnostic in that it will interface with any technology and is capable of signing any type of ECDSA transaction.
The Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm is centric to distributed ledger architecture. A triplet of ECDSA public keys are used to create the address. Ultimately, administrative controls are determined by possession of the ECDSA private key established during initial setup. Ownership of each private key in our multi-signature model is clearly established and additional control of the recovery key is also possible. This process not only protects the user from malicious external attacks, but also ensures strict internal controls without additional procedures.
Using Case, a company headquartered anywhere in the world can send digital assets abroad without relying on third parties. Assets distributed on the blockchain can be recalled, transferred, or liquidated very efficiently. The costs expended on external components such as custody and clearing, along with internal components such as trade processing, resolution, and reporting become unnecessary when properly leveraging this exciting new technology.
Our mission at Case is to facilitate secure transactions for the end user while remaining extremely fast and easy to use. We accomplish this through our multi-signature architecture where each key in the system is protected by a different layer of authentication, ensuring that there is no central or single point of failure. On top of every implementation of distributed ledger technology, Case should be used to ensure the integrity and security of transactions. The combination of highly efficient distributed ledger technology and highly secure key management technology will create a network of direct and immediate transaction channels between participants in order to streamline settlement, eliminate risk, and reduce dependence on third parties.
Feel free to get in touch.
We are excited to announce that we have partnered with Digital Asset Holdings, the distributed ledger software provider, on their first digital security issuance.
“Case technology has played an important role in helping Digital Asset successfully complete its first digital securities issuance on behalf of our client, providing the vital security needed for such transactions,” said Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset.
Global interactive gaming platform Pivit has issued a portion of its latest $5 million funding round using distributed ledger technology provided by Digital Asset Holdings. Case is used to ensure that these digitally-issued securities always remain under the control of Pivit and its investors.
“Bitcoin and other distributed ledger technologies facilitate the transfer of digital financial assets within cryptographically secured, immutable environments,” said Melanie Shapiro, CEO of Case. “Case acts as a secure signing device that streamlines this process without increasing the risk of compromising sensitive data.”
The combination of highly efficient distributed ledger technology and highly secure key management technology will create a network of direct and immediate transaction channels between participants in order to streamline settlement, eliminate risk, and reduce dependence on third parties.
The full press release issued by Digital Asset Holdings and Pivit can be found here.
With the conclusion of our final phase of testing, Case is happy to announce our shipping date will be September 21st!
Appropriation of parts is complete and the manufacturing process is nearing its end. Everyone at Case is eager to get our device in the hands of our customers who have patiently waited for their bitcoin wallets! Providing a secure, easy-to-use bitcoin experience around the world has been our mission from the beginning and we’re excited to finally deliver on that. Expect to hear additional details until devices begin shipping in the last few days of summer!
Thank you to all who supported us from initial concept through the development phase!
More information about Case can be found on our FAQ and you can subscribe to our mailing list with the form below:
The last few weeks have shown great progress towards our initial shipment! We would like to share an update on a crucial feature that we will have implemented before shipping any devices this summer.
A self contained wallet with no external connections, and no single point of failure is the key to our device’s security. Malicious attempts to gain access to your device is something we take very seriously. During the lifespan of your Case wallet you should have the peace of mind that your device is secure and properly functioning. To provide updates and bug fixes we have developed a deployment method we believe best contains the integrity of your device’s security, while providing you with essential security updates and new features. This will be provided through secure Over the Air (OTA) updates.
There are two classes of updates you can expect:
- Functionality Updates – Updates to functionality can include new menu selections, changes to user interface, backwards compatibility, and other optional features. These will not be mandatory but will provide additional functionality that have been implemented since your device was manufactured.
- Mandatory Security Updates – These are only changes that address critical security concerns. These changes are mandatory and the user will be prompted on the device when connecting to the API server. We will provide clarification to what changes are taking effect and why they are important.
A changelog will be available and we will disclose when an update is approaching. Properly securing your bitcoin wallet takes effort from both the user and the developer. We will provide new features and fine tuned security updates that improve both functionality and ease of use. All updates are cryptographically signed with a Case key to protect from man-in-the-middle attacks or other malicious attacks. Update process can be initiated from the device and completed in a short period of time.
While integrating the framework of our OTA security updates we would like to thank you for your continued patience and passion toward our bitcoin wallet. We are passionate about the changes that bitcoin offers to a wide variety of markets. Whether you use your Case wallet as a signing device, or a method to store bitcoin, we strive to provide a secure environment inside of an easy to use device.
Furthermore, we are still on track for shipment later this Summer! We have already manufactured a few small batches of devices, are just wrapping up our security audit, and will be going for full production in the coming weeks.
If you haven’t yet seen a demo video of the device, you can find one here that we filmed back in March:
Subscribe below for additional updates and the latest news from the Case Team!
Exchanging currency reinvented
Bitcoin is transforming the way we transfer money, providing relief for foreign workers in an industry weighed heavily by transmission fees. These services are eclipsing the Federal Direct Investment (FDI) of some low and middle income countries, and surpassing major industries. Foreign workers are forced to pay high fees for these services, because they are the only reliable channel while working abroad. Money transfer services are a narrow funnel for a substantial portion of GDP in developing countries, reaching over $436 Billion in 2014. The ability to transfer money significantly improves the lives of the world’s poorest individuals. The effect of transferring funds is directly linked to improving access to health services, educational opportunities, and increasing financial development internationally.
African countries face the largest fees with each transaction expecting to reach 20-23% in some regions. The process is painstakingly slow as services take up to a week to process. International workers without local banking services are losing the ability to send income home as charges for using these services are rising. Bitcoin transactions are validated almost instantly in comparison, and large amounts are exchanged for a fraction of the cost. Bitpesa is one of the few companies in Africa offering a bitcoin solution to an industry resistant to change.
The Overseas Development Institute investigated the rise of transmission fees in Africa hoping to find a resolution to the growing problem. Their report associated three factors that are restricting innovation in the remittance industry: a lack of competition, restrictive business policies, and a lack of transparency. Surprisingly, two-thirds of money transmission services are performed by only two companies in many parts of Africa. These opportunities are causing bitcoin innovators to enter the money transfer market with the hopes of disrupting the status quo.
BITCOIN ADOPTION IN AFRICA DISCUSSED BY COMMONWEALTH
The risks posed by money laundering operations have resulted in strict laws for money transmitters. Enforcing strict barriers directed at money launderers leads to large amounts of fees that dampen funds attempting to reach their intended destination. Alleviating these fees increases household incomes and consumer consumption.
Foreign leaders discussed cryptocurrencies in depth at the Commonwealth Roundtable of Digital Currencies in February 2015. Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Josephine Ojiambo expressed optimism for the impact of digital currencies:
“It is important to note that virtual currencies do not solely pose risks. However, the potential benefits they offer such as reduced transaction costs, certainty of payment and improved transaction processing times will need to be considered within the context of the strengths and weaknesses of existing national regulatory and criminal law frameworks.”
Forbes investigated the regulation of the Somali money transfers in 2013 concluding that regulation proves to be a double edged sword:
“Essentially, we can have a banking system with the current rules and regulations about money laundering or we can have a banking system that can handle remittances into Somalia. But what we cannot have is both: for the regulations are too expensive to allow the sending of small remittances into Somalia.”
The future of bitcoin will be discussed pending further reports that will be presented at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November. This is encouraging for businesses like BitPesa that have already entered the region despite any resolution. While the Commonwealth continues deliberation, Latin America is already processing transaction requests with bitcoin, and are seeing a large decrease in transmission fees.
BITCOIN USED BEHIND THE SCENES TO SEND MONEY INTERNATIONALLY
Recent economic disparity in Latin America is driving bitcoin’s disruption of money transfer services. Digital exchanges are creating new avenues of exchanging currencies. Volabit and SatoshiTango are partnering up to eliminate the economic lag caused by unnecessary transmission fees, in Argentina and Mexico. Volabit promotes over $26,000,000 Pesos ($1.6 million dollars) have been exchanged on their platform. The level of adoption continues to grow, increasing opportunities for economic growth. Digital exchanges allow workers to exchange currencies into bitcoin before being sent to anyone in the world almost instantly. This appeals to domestic entrepreneurs observing these regions and new money transmission services are appearing in the United States.
Abra (A Better Remittance App) connects users with ‘tellers’ to facilitate money transfers and uses bitcoin behind the scenes. These human teller exchanges resolve unnecessary fees transferring money internationally. These exchanges work by users engaging with local tellers to facilitate exchanges for digital currency. Paying contracts in your local currency overseas without high exchange rates will allow stronger global markets to develop.
A manager agrees to pay a contract with a Mexican distributor for $200. Tellers are mapped by location and display their rates before offering an exchange. This competitive teller environment models familiar Uber or Lyft services and tellers are background checked before operating on the service. Users deposit money to their balance in person with cash or digitally. Money is exchanged freely between members and withdrawn from any Abra teller. These are useful for exchanging currencies in the short term. Without the ability to control your private key, it is important to not use these applications as a bank account.
Innovative solutions are transforming an industry primed for disruption. Case strives to eliminate the barriers to participating in a global economy. Solving economic disparity in developing countries is becoming an increasing discussed issue. Bitcoin provides a money transfer system that developing countries can use to safely exchange funds. We’ve discussed the importance of financial inclusion in a previous blog post and we continue to monitor the impact made by cryptocurrencies. Follow our mailing list for more innovative features of bitcoin.
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Exciting technology and business personalities are exposing a wider audience to bitcoin. Experience in cryptography and blockchain technology are growing increasingly important for advising decision makers on crypto-currencies. These new faces come from diverse financial, business, and regulatory backgrounds. The Obama Administration’s newly appointed Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Edward Felten, has experience discussing the nuances of bitcoin in a public forum.
A Princeton professor and cryptography proponent, Edward Felten was appointed the White House’s Chief Technology Officer on May 11th, 2015. His research has led to many aspects of the Bitcoin protocol, with a focus on mining behavior and Game Theory. Published articles regarding crypto-currencies reflect Felten’s opinion on various digital currency topics:
- In 2013, Felten co-authored a 20 page research paper exploring the economics of bitcoin mining. The paper examines a bug in an early bitcoin version, that caused a fork on March 2013, and the lessons that were learned. The detailed report examines the structure of the Bitcoin protocol and the effects of a 51% attack.
- As the Director of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, Felten published blog articles discussing the importance of cryptography and bitcoin.
- Felten held the position of Chief Technologist for the Federal Trade Commission. While at the FTC, Felten authored a report to congress urging to increase transparency in data collection. Additional papers co-authored by Felten show a wealth of knowledge on the topics of privacy, computer security, and technology law and policy.
Richard Branson’s Blockchain Summit on Necker Island
Richard Branson hosted the Blockchain Summit last week to an audience of Bitcoin executives, columnists of popular media outlets, and financial advisers. Bitfury debuted a light bulb that mines bitcoin demonstrating alternative applications of the technology. Tweets indicate the event covered Property Rights, Elections, Digital Identities, and Internet of Things applications. At the end of the summit, Branson was dubbed an honorary member of the Digital Chamber of Commerce for his contribution to the Bitcoin community. As the sun set on the Blockchain Summit legislators finalized drafts for businesses using bitcoin and other digital currencies back in the United States.
Updates to Legislation Shows INTEREST in bitcoin BUSINESSES
California, New Jersey, and New York released proposals regarding crypto-currency legislation, reigniting the debate of how much regulation is necessary in a decentralized environment. After many months of discussions and testimonies from various industries and experts, regulators are beginning to realize bitcoin’s innovative and disruptive potential. Conversations about bitcoin are shifting toward blockchain technology and many are trying to separate the two to create personal blockchain networks. The attention toward blockchain technology sheds light on misconceptions of bitcoin that still need addressing.
The value and confidence of the blockchain derives from the amount of verified transactions and the computing power of the bitcoin network. Each transaction validation expands the ledger and strengthens the value of bitcoin as a reward is given to miners performing validations. The amount of computing power required by the network increases over time as difficulty rises and the ledger expands. The limited supply of bitcoin also creates a growing incentive for miners to validate transactions.
The Bitcoin protocol hash-rate is approximately 336,000,000 GH/s. That amount of computing power can not be replicated to gain an overall consensus to manipulate the blockchain. Creating a new blockchain without bitcoin has higher risks of failure because the threshold of computing power to validate those transactions would be much lower. Financial markets see the strength of bitcoin and have created innovative uses of the technology using colored coins.
NASDAQ recognized the strengths of an immutable ledger, and are now testing a market to distribute colored coins for private equity. We are excited to see the new uses for the blockchain to create new markets across the world. The impact bitcoin has on those without banking services demonstrates the need to encourage these discussions and inform government bodies of the importance of promoting innovation.
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