Jack Dorsey’s Block rethinks how Bitcoin hardware wallet should look and function

What 

The payments company Block, founded by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, revealed a sneak peek of its prototype Bitcoin hardware wallet shaped like a rock. Its defining feature is, however, its fingerprint sensor technology that will do away with seed phrases and PINs

Why 

Block is looking to solve one of the main issues of non-custodial wallets, in that, if you forget the password or seed phrase that unlocks your wallet, your Bitcoin is lost, likely forever 

What next 

The wallet is still in development and its uncertain when it will be released to market, but Block said it will eventually come with a mobile app and a set of “self-serve recovery tools”

The story 

In an update published in March, Block explained that the wallet is a combination of an app and a hardware wallet that will let users decide how they want to transact. “[It] will let you choose how you want to balance the convenience of using the app for transfers, and the security of requiring the hardware for authorising higher stakes money movement,” Block said. “The hardware is only one part of the experience – in fact, only a small part.”

A hardware wallet allows cryptocurrency owners to keep their Bitcoin and other digital assets in a non-custodial wallet, a market Block seems to be tapping into with its prototype Bitcoin hardware wallet. While a hardware wallet gives users full ownership of their cryptocurrency, a lost password means lost Bitcoins. End of story. Block is looking to solve this. 

PINs, passwords, and seed phrases are confusing and often not secure, the company explained, which is what led the team to incorporate a fingerprint sensor into the hardware. “We’re excited about the security against theft or misuse that this will provide, the peace of mind that will come from not needing to remember yet another PIN, and the ease of placing a finger on the sensor, rather than manipulating tiny, failure-prone buttons on a difficult-to-read screen.”

The company added that fingerprint access may not be for everyone, and that it’s evaluating other access methods as development of the wallet continues. 

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