DeFi-ning Secure Storage for Cryptoassets

Jul 20, 2020

Authors: Mia Mohamed, Head of Product Marketing at Trustology, and Joe Pocock, Head of Communications at Techfellow

Cryptocurrency and it’s underlining Blockchain technology have seen a boom in recent years, with many individuals and businesses investing in cryptoassets and exploring the applications for the technology, plus the mainstream popularity is occasionally heightened by the odd media frenzy. We have however seen the true potential these currencies have for becoming widely used. In 2017, for example, property developer Go Homes sold two houses in London in exchange for Bitcoin – the first-ever cryptoasset property sale.

Since that time, there has been an explosion in interest and new projects focussed on the idea of Decentralised Finance (DeFi). As has always been the case in crypto-land, these waves of new experimentation bring new innovations as well as new risks in relatively equal measures.

Whilst people are utilising crypto for the purpose it was designed, there are still worries amongst the wider population; particularly from businesses who recognise the importance but can’t subject themselves to any risk. A concern for businesses looking to invest this way is how and where are the assets stored, but also – and of high importance – how secure are they?

Any technology is a target for hackers; even more so where there’s money to be found. We’ve seen banks fall victim to cyber-crime but what happens when this occurs to unregulated fintech? This has been the biggest barrier to mass adoption of digital currency - the need for institutional grade security that doesn’t compromise on speed, ease-of-use, and access. It’s not uncommon to read about exchanges and markets being exploited, where hackers have taken millions of dollars in crypto from investor accounts, nor is it unheard of that accounts have simply been lost due to human error.

Previous solutions for crypto storage have failed at being user-friendly and easily accessible, e.g. cold storage – not what anyone wants when dealing with their finances. They’ve also been unable to scale to meet business demands, and lacked the appropriate control measures, safety, and due diligence checks.

Trustology has presented the industry with a solution. Their secure, insured cryptoasset custodial wallet is designed to help private individuals, corporates, institutional investors, and asset managers build their digital asset operations at scale, whilst optimising cost, control, and speed.

Founded by Alex Batlin, previously Blockchain Lead at BNY Mellon and Co-Founder and Board Member of Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, he wanted to leverage his prior banking experience to realise the mass adoption of crypto and believed the secure management of private keys would be a crucial step towards making that future a reality.

“Financial institutions need custodians to make buying and selling digital assets as easy and painless as possible, and handling the underlying private keys is the cornerstone in facilitating this”

Compared to other companies in the sector, Trustology safeguards crypto in a highly effective and unique way. They go beyond a cold storage solution and process transactions at hot wallet speed – less than one second. This is achieved by leveraging an infrastructure of hardware security modules (HSMs) with additional built in firmware, secure data centres, and multiple levels of encryption to mitigate cyber security risks.

For the user, this is brought together in the form of TrustVault, their signature, insured platform technology made accessible by a very friendly, easy to use mobile app, web portal or API integration. Trustology is one of the first firms in the world to secure the keys to cryptoassets in this way, by combining end-to-end hardware security with built in KYC/KYT controls, front-end software flexibility, and advanced transaction controls. It offers peace of mind to the beholder, as, if they were to lose their mobile device their cryptoassets are safe as the keys are never held on the device, and Trustology boasts a very robust, real-time account access recovery process.

Throughout this collaborative blog series by Techfellow and Trustology we’ll explore the innovations driving the DeFi industry, as well as the risks and the role of a custodian. In our next post, Mark Hornsby, CTO at Trustology, discusses Ethereum’s upgrade to ETH2.0 and adopting the new Boneh-Lynn-Shacham (BLS) signature scheme, the impact on custodians, and the benefits this has to scaling and securing blockchains.