BitLox offers an extremely feature-rich hardware wallet solution, but there are a few indicators that things are not entirely right over there.
- Cold Storage
- Trusted Node
- Excellent privacy features in top of line product
- Connects to mobile app via bluetooth
- Create 100s of wallets with excellent security
- Top of line very expensive
- Not the most intuitive UI
No, it’s not what you might find on a partially-eaten bagel. Bitlox is an ambitious hardware wallet which, at least on paper, boasts some of the strongest privacy credentials around – if you can stomach shelling out $399 for their top of the line model.
And indeed there are quite a lot of interesting features supporting BitLox. First, the engineering of the product itself is excellent, particularly when compared to similar hardware structures, like Case most notably. Not only is one able to set up 100 wallets, up to 50 of them can be hidden, unlockable only by entering a pre-designated number and pin. This protects against physical theft or coercion – ok ok, take everything in my wallet, just don’t ply out anymore of my fingernails! (haha, that is only .01% of what I’ve got in my hidden wallet you fool!) And of course, if you shell out for their top shelf product you will get the TAILS operating system preinstalled which equips the product for use on TOR, supported through a web product of theirs.
However, there are also some notable faults. For a product as advanced as BitLox, one would think they would appreciate their demographics insistence on using products with open source code, which they neglect to do. Their website looks a bit like an infomercial from the late nineties, and they have made some strange user interface and design decisions. It feels a bit as if this massively ambitious project just couldn’t quite get everything together properly. We recommend picking one of our three recommended hardware wallets.
There are three different Bitlox models to choose from, each with more hyperbolic names than the last, with the price tags adjusted accordingly.
The standard BitLox device is called BitLox Advanced, and comes encased in aerospace grade alloy for $199.
For those not satisfied with aerospace grade alloy, the indestructible $299 BitLox Ultimate comes encased in a “single block of high-strength Titanium” (phew, was concerned they got the low-strength titanium), the same material, it is pointed out, that is used to construct spy planes and satellites.
What the $399 Bitcoin Extreme Privacy Set’s name lacks in creativity it makes up for in descriptiveness. Bitlox comes with the TAILS OS installed, which means that all transactions must be routed through TOR – which can be accessed using their Tor-compatible wallet, accessible through bitlox.io.
Pick your preferred language from the list of ten offered, and specify your preferred setup – which are misleadingly referred to as standard, advanced or expert. (More accurate would be security level: standard, heightened, and paranoid).
Standard: Auto generates pins of four to eight digits and offers a 12-word mnemonic.
Advanced: Create your own pin up to 60 characters! Mnemonic backup is 18 words, and there is an “anti device-tampering” phrase offered.
Expert: Same as advanced, but with 24 word mnemonic and an additional pin required for each transaction.
Regardless of your selection, you need to set an additional pin for each wallet you create. Be sure to record both your pin codes and the backups in a secure location.
After set-up is completed, you will be redirected to the bluetooth or USB screen, the former to be used with mobile, the latter with desktop devices. After you have made your selection, you will see your QR code and public address.
Up to 50 additional wallets may be created, and thankfully this may be done through the web or mobile wallets rather than directly on the device. You can easily create a name for the wallet and, if desired, an additional pin.
Back on the device, you can set the mnemonic strength to 12, 18 or 24 words. Bitlox makes note that 12 words is compatible with the greatest number of HD wallets, so if your primary concern is ease of restoration, this is most likely your best bet. You’ll also be able to set a standard or bespoke pin number, at your discretion, and designate the wallet as hidden or standard. A hidden wallet requires designating a corresponding number between 51-100, which must be input, along with the pin, to load the hidden wallet on your mobile or extension wallet.
Please note that the bitlox “at rest” screen has your default wallet QR code on it (similar to a kindle, the bitlox has the nonglare, non-battery sucking e-reader display screen). Payers can scan this QR code to send payment if they happen to be in the same room as you.
Chrome Extension Wallet
Download the bitlox extension from the chrome web store and connect bitlox via USB port. The wallet will identify the device, and populate the different wallets that have been set up. There is the ability to create hidden wallets as well, which may only be accessed by writing the wallet number under the “load hidden wallet” button. Whatever your selection, you will be asked to input your pin number on the bitlox device. The wallet will then populate the bitcoin balance.
To send bitcoin, simply navigate to the send selection of the wallet, paste the address or scan the QR code, and authenticate on bitlox – if you’ve chosen the expert setup, you will need to enter a transaction pin at this point – otherwise, a simple click of the check mark gets the job done.
You can request funds by sending your QR code or long address to payers. Addresses are automatically rotated after they have been involved in a single transaction.
Choose bluetooth, which is how bitlox communicates with it’s companion mobile apps which is pretty cool. Once you open the app and enter the pin, select “Start Scan” which will pick up your Bitlox. When you select it, your wallets will be displayed. Once you select the desired wallet, you will then need to answer the wallet pin on the BitLox device. When the pin is correctly input, the app will populate with the bitcoin balance of the wallet.
You may then send bitcoin using the app as expected, by scanning a QR code or pasting a long address from clipboard, after which authentication will be required on the bitlox, a simple matter of clicking the “accept” button. The completed transaction will move over to the transaction section and bob’s your uncle. Payments may be requested by sending either a copy of the wallet’s QR code or address via any of the modern means of electronic transmission available.
BitLox could represent the next generation of bitcoin wallets, offering excellent security and heightened privacy packaged in very well put together device. On the other hand, the product is expensive, the user interface is at times overly complex, and the product is not open source. Time will tell. For now, definitely not my go-to wallet, but if the features appeal for you, have at it. (and please leave a comment below with your experiences).