Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase generates private keys of users and prints them on paper using so called “house with a Faraday cage”. To see firsthand the unusual method of storing cryptocurrency failed journalist Wired.
Silver “Faraday tent” does not transmit electromagnetic waves, thus protecting data from eavesdropping by cyberswindlers. To start, Coinbase employees set a tent in a safe and randomly selected location in San Francisco. Connecting protected power source, they sit back and start to work. In the tent there is only a folding table, lamp, printer and two laptops: the first is based on OS Linux from a USB drive, and the second on the operating system of Apple.To generate new encryption keys they use special software. The team then divides the Coinbase keys for some encrypted QR codes, which subsequently migrates to the MacBook. According to Zak Bleicher from the Coinbase security team, Apple laptop facilitates the task of printing the keys.
After this MacBook for security purposes, destroyed. Paper with QR codes placed in secret places in San Francisco, where, in theory, hackers can’t steal them.
The security team leader Coinbase Philip Martin added that the backup keys are scattered around the world on USB flash drives and hard drives in case “a small asteroid will fall on San Francisco.” Philip Martin calls this ceremony the evolution of the Bank vault. The procedure takes most of the day, and the staff of the exchange don’t leave the tent until you have done all the work.
If a customer wants to access the private key, it first need to register on the website Coinbase. Then the company contacted him with the help of video communication for additional security and verification. After that, a quorum of employees, who are called wise men in honor of the heroes of the video game series “the Legend of Zelda” for the final solution satisfy the customer’s request.
ForkLog previously reported that on servers cryptocurrency startup Xapo, located in a former military bunker in the Swiss mountains, holds about 7% of all existing bitcoins, equivalent to $10 billion.