There comes a time when every home has a change of address.
Today, we’re happy to share that Casa has new digs. We’ve migrated our website from keys.casa to casa.io. This migration represents a milestone in Casa’s journey, and we hope you enjoy this subtle, efficient change.
Why casa.io? Why now?
We decided to make this switch with you in mind. We have always worked to make every step of the Casa experience smooth and seamless, a vision you can see reflected in the Casa app and each onboarding and support call with our advisors. And continuous improvement is a primary objective in any robust security protocol.
As we like to say, complexity is the enemy of security, and we apply that philosophy through our design. Security is not about constantly adding incremental and impossible layers of confusion. Rather, you can achieve excellence by streamlining each detail until you arrive at the battle-tested and only the best.
The change to casa.io not only saves you a few keystrokes, but it also makes us clearer and easier for you to find. We believe casa.io will be a simple, memorable home for our website as we look ahead to 2024 and beyond.
Same great Casa, new address
While our web home has changed, Casa vaults are unaffected. Keys remain secure and you’ll continue to use the app as usual to access your vaults. Below are some more details, and feel free to add these links to your bookmarks:
No mail forwarding required: you can still send support requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to transition other resources to casa.io in the future, and we will communicate these changes as they occur. Read up-to-date information about this migration here.
From humble beginnings to a bright future
Casa has evolved substantially since we began in 2017, and we have learned tremendously from each iteration of our products and services. It has been a privilege to build tools that enable you to maintain true ownership over your digital wealth.
Today, private key management is more than a lofty vision. We have continued to lay the groundwork with a new suite of releases this year, including ethereum vaults, relay options, a redesigned app, and even a new logo. It’s our hope that each of these efforts help you integrate the power of private keys into your daily life.
We’re excited to continue our commitment to individual empowerment, and we’re thrilled that you are a part of the Casa story. Onward — one key at a time.
Secure bitcoin and ethereum with peace of mind
Do you wonder if your assets are safe? Too many crypto investors have seen their wealth disappear as a result of hacks, custodial failures, and accidents. The answer to this problem is simple: hold your keys with Casa.
Casa helps you securely hold BTC and ETH with one simple app. Our multi-key vaults offer you powerful, resilient protection against theft and accidental loss, and you don’t need to be tech-savvy to use it. Get easy and effective security for your digital wealth.
Optionality is an essential component of securing your digital assets. At Casa, we want you to have full ownership over your ether (ETH), while being able to make a choice between convenience and on-chain privacy that best fits your needs.
We are excited to continue our collaboration with Safe to bring more privacy and autonomy to your web3 interactions with the ability to transact using your personal wallet as a relay. This ETH Pay Wallet Relay feature is accessible through ETH Pay, a mobile wallet on your phone managed with the Casa app. This feature adds on-chain privacy to Casa vaults and reduces your reliance on Casa.
What’s a relay?
Smart contract wallets can’t directly interact with the ethereum network. A relay helps you initiate and manage your interactions from your Casa vault, which is a smart contract wallet. The relay acts as a bridge and allows you to broadcast transactions to the network. Any ETH public-private key pair, also known as an externally owned account (EOA), can act as a relay. You use a relay when you create your ETH vault with Casa and for subsequent transactions.
Your keys, your relay
Now, you can choose between two options for the relay in your ETH vault. Both options are built upon the Safe smart contract and are great choices for getting started with self-custody:
Casa Relay: This relay is operated and maintained by Casa. Choose this option for a simple onboarding and transacting experience.
ETH Pay Wallet Relay: This relay uses the key from your ETH Pay Wallet to broadcast transactions to the ETH network. Choose this option to eliminate any on-chain connection to Casa.
Casa Relay: More convenience at your fingertips
When Casa first launched ETH vaults in June, we introduced the Casa Relay as a way to provide our members who hold ethereum with a smooth introduction to self-custody. For instance, if you use the Casa Relay to create your ETH vault, Casa covers the initial gas fees required to deploy the underlying smart contract. This simple path is best for beginners and those who prefer a user-friendly experience.
Ethereum transactions are public and anyone in the world can verify an ethereum transaction. The Casa Relay is shared across multiple vaults, so using it could cause your on-chain address to be associated with Casa due to the nature of public blockchains.
ETH Pay Wallet Relay: More sovereignty for your vault
The ETH Pay Wallet Relay is a new feature that allows you to create ethereum addresses without any public association with Casa. When you select this option, your own ETH Pay Wallet is used as a relayer, rather than Casa.
This option is a good fit for more advanced users who prefer more on-chain privacy and autonomy. This relay uses a key you are holding (the ETH Pay Key) and you can replace this key in the event of a potential compromise.
The ETH Pay Wallet Relay is a feature that has been on Casa’s roadmap since we launched our ethereum vaults not long ago. It’s our latest step toward improving the privacy and experience of holding your own ethereum keys.
An important part of self-custody is managing the tradeoff between sovereignty and convenience. Our Casa Relay and ETH Pay Wallet Relay allow you to have more control over your keys as you see fit. We’re excited to continue building new features quickly and with our thoughtful, security-first approach.
Secure your ETH with peace of mind
With Casa, you can protect your ETH with multiple keys so one hack or accident doesn’t result in lost assets. We also offer expert assistance and emergency support from a dedicated team of advisors, so you can talk to someone 1-on-1 for help managing your asset security.
Not your keys, not your crypto. The saying is an important reminder of the property rights behind bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), and other crypto assets. Unless you hold the keys to your assets, they’re not really yours.
But if you’re new to crypto, this may sound strange. After all, traditional investments like stocks and bonds don’t have keys. Shouldn’t buying crypto be enough to own it for all intents and purposes?
We’re going to discuss why self-custody is important and how you can start holding your own keys.
What are crypto keys?
Cryptocurrency is built using cryptography, the science of mathematically conveying messages in code. And money is a form of communication. Private keys allow you to transact with cryptocurrency by leveraging the underlying cryptography. With keys, you can send and receive assets to and from bitcoin addresses or ethereum accounts.
This dynamic is totally different from securing other investments, which primarily rely on custodians. For instance, when you trade stocks, the trading takes place between institutions and they keep track of who owns which assets. For cryptocurrency, this process is done online on a blockchain which is maintained by a decentralized network of computers.
Beginning with the bitcoin whitepaper, crypto was designed as a way for you to control your destiny, beginning with a decentralized network. By transacting peer to peer, you can have total control over your wealth without having to trust a third party such as a bank or credit card provider.
Why keys matter
If you can’t transact on the base layer of a crypto network, your assets aren’t really yours for all intents and purposes. But you need your own set of keys to do this.
When you first buy ETH, BTC, or another asset on the exchange, the exchange interacts with the underlying networks so they hold the keys. It isn’t until you withdraw your assets from the exchange onto your keys that you’re able to transact on the network yourself.
For years, exchanges and custodians have proven risky for securing crypto. It’s a situation we’ve seen happen in crypto time and time again. In 2022, many exchanges and custodians collapsed with assets hanging in the balance. And all too often, investors don’t know something is wrong with an exchange until it is too late.
But fear not. There’s a lot you can do to protect your crypto assets. Self-custody is the act of safeguarding digital assets with a set of keys you control, and it is the best strategy for ensuring the long-term security of your assets. At Casa, we make self-custody easy and safe for investors of all walks of life by securing your crypto with multiple keys. Learn more about our membership plans here.
Choose your storage method
If you’ve just started investing in crypto, your assets are most likely on an exchange. Before you begin withdrawing your assets, you need to generate your own private key.
It’s crucial that your private key is random. Because your assets will be tied to your key, you don’t want it to be easy for a person or computer to guess. We all know it’s bad to have “1234” for your password. The same premise holds for private keys.
Unlike a password, however, private keys can’t simply be reset without repercussion if they fall into the wrong hands. This is why it’s important to practice cold storage and keep your private key offline for any assets you plan on holding long-term.
Crypto key storage is best done with hardware wallets, dedicated electronic devices for signing transactions. Hardware wallets keep your key isolated from the internet and only provide the necessary cryptographic proof needed to send assets.
For smaller amounts, it is acceptable to use a mobile wallet, but we don’t recommend using a mobile wallet for assets greater in value than what you would carry in cash.
Generate your key in private
Once you have your hardware wallet, it’s time to set it up. It’s best to do this before trying to withdraw from an exchange because you will need your device to generate a new address to receive your assets.
First, be aware of your surroundings. Find a private, secure location away from other people. Before you begin, go ahead and remove cameras and microphones from the room, especially smart devices. This protects your key in the unlikely event that a bad actor tries to spy on you and intercept your key upon creation.
While these instructions may seem extreme, remember that security is about taking that extra step to protect yourself. You need to be cautious when creating a key. There are no do-overs in crypto.
Devices tend to differ in their setup instructions, and in most cases, they will generate your key. This is to be expected. Technology can generate randomness much more effectively than human beings can. Some hardware wallets such as Coldcard allow you to generate a key with more advanced methods such as rolling dice. Just be sure to stick to the instructions, and don’t try to get too clever for your own good. If you’re using a hardware wallet with Casa, you can access setup instructions on our Support Center.
Say goodbye to exchanges
Once you’ve generated your own keys, it’s time to withdraw your assets. Once you log onto your exchange and initialize your transaction, the exchange will ask for your address.
Create a new address on your hardware wallet or within the Casa app. Be sure to double-check your address is correct before proceeding with a transaction. Safety first.
Once you begin your transaction, it may take several hours or days to process and confirm on the blockchain. This all depends on the exchange, the crypto asset, and the transaction fee market at the time. Wait for your transaction to receive multiple confirmations before attempting to send the assets elsewhere. Congratulations, you’re now holding your own keys.
Remember, not your keys, not your crypto. By generating your own crypto key and keeping it in cold storage, you take the important step of self-custody and leverage the decentralized asset crypto was meant to be.
Want to learn more about security?
Our weekly Security Briefing newsletter provides quick updates on crypto security with analysis from Casa’s experts. Sign up here.
While bitcoin is often discussed as a store of value, its function as a medium of exchange should not go overlooked.
Indeed, transacting with bitcoin is different from transacting with traditional assets, and there are some points you should know when sending and receiving bitcoin.
What constitutes a bitcoin transaction?
Bitcoin only exists online, though there are a variety of ways you can transact with it. You can transfer on-chain (on the bitcoin network). You can send and receive it on a Layer 2 network like Lightning. You can even transfer bitcoin in the physical world by sending bitcoin to a small hardware key such as OpenDime and handing it to a friend as a gift.
For the purposes of this article, we will be discussing the fundamentals of on-chain transactions. Usually, when you are first getting started in bitcoin, you purchase it on an exchange and withdraw it to your self-custody as your first bitcoin transaction.
Transacting with bitcoin on-chain requires you to communicate with the thousands of nodes around the world that make up the bitcoin network.
What are bitcoin addresses?
Bitcoin addresses are where you send and receive on the bitcoin network. They are generated from your public key and illustrated as a string of digits and letters. To spend from your address, you must generate a signature from your private key. The below article discusses keys in more detail.
Metaphorically speaking, each address is a mailbox. Bitcoin can be deposited to an address easily, but you need the associated key to spend the funds in it. Nodes maintain a running log of every address on the network.
What’s in an address?
If you ever look at a ledger or your bank account, you’ll notice a long list of entries containing debits and credits. Payments come in and payments go out. This is a system known as double-entry accounting, and it has been used by banks for centuries.
Bitcoin operates similar to this system with some enhancements. Miners and nodes collaborate to curate a blockchain, a running list of batched transactions. The blockchain contains a complete history of the bitcoin network dating back to the first block in 2009.
When you receive bitcoin at your address, you create an unspent transaction output (or UTXO). Unspent transaction outputs are individual entries at a bitcoin address of an amount of bitcoin you can spend someday.
Going back to our mailbox example from above, you can think of UTXOs as envelopes containing a certain amount of bitcoin. When you want to spend bitcoin, you open the envelope up, take all of the bitcoin out, and send it. But once the envelope is open, there is no reusing it. Any remaining bitcoin you don’t spend moves to a fresh envelope.
Each incremental UTXO at an address creates more data that will eventually need to be processed on the network when you transact, resulting in a higher transaction fee. Additionally, this cost can be further increased when combined with a multisig wallet because signatures also contain data. Because UTXOs can impact transaction fees, it’s prudent to give thought to the amount you transact with at any given time.
While we encourage the bitcoin community to transfer their bitcoin on-chain to self-custody as soon as possible, it’s important to not get carried away. Reducing deposits to your hardware wallet or Casa vault can be a great way to save on transaction fees in the future. Additionally, using a Lightning wallet can be a helpful alternative for transacting small amounts with barely any fees.
If you have a lot of UTXOs, there is a strategy that can help you mitigate higher fees. UTXO consolidation is a process where you transfer the bitcoin from many UTXOs to a new one at a new address with an on-chain transaction. For best results, you want to perform this at a time when the fee market is down. Timing makes a difference.
Transacting with bitcoin
When someone sends you bitcoin, what they’re really doing is broadcasting to the network, “Hey, everyone. I am transferring ownership of this bitcoin to this address.” This is done with a signature, a form of cryptographic proof.
The bitcoin nodes then validate the transaction to ensure it is compliant with the consensus rules, the technical parameters behind bitcoin. In essence, the nodes verify the math behind the transaction. Nodes accept or reject the transaction depending on if it follows the rules. For instance, if you try to send 42 million bitcoin to someone, the nodes will reject the transaction because it does not adhere to the 21 million limit and is, therefore, not bitcoin.
Once your transaction is approved, it’s added to the mempool, a queue of bitcoin transactions waiting to be confirmed.
For security reasons, it’s best to avoid reusing bitcoin addresses once you’ve spent from them. Any remaining bitcoin from a transaction is generally sent to a change address, a separate address with a new UTXO.
Confirmation: your moment of zen
Once your transaction is broadcasted, you wait for it to be confirmed on the bitcoin blockchain.
Transactions are compiled into blocks that are confirmed via the mining process. Blocks are typically confirmed every 10 minutes or so, though this can fluctuate wildly. Confirmation can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, depending on how high of a transaction fee is paid. If you want your transaction to be confirmed immediately, you should pay a higher transaction fee.
Fees also fluctuate depending on market demand for blockspace. There is a limit on how much data can be processed in each block, which is part of what enables the network to be decentralized.
It’s sometimes recommended to check the fee market before proceeding with a transaction to ensure your fee is processed in a timely manner. For instance, if you attempt a transaction with a fee significantly lower than the going market rate, your transaction could get stuck or purged from the mempool. If this happens to you and you’re a Casa member, visit our Support Center for troubleshooting instructions.
Transactions are not considered final until they have been confirmed, and the numbers of confirmation required can differ depending on the product or service you’re using.
If you’re waiting for a transaction to confirm, try not to worry about it. Nodes are communicating with each other all around the world, and this function is part of what makes bitcoin secure and decentralized. And confirmation is worth the wait.
As a medium of exchange, bitcoin is a powerful technology. Now that you have a block-by-block understanding of transactions, you’re free to harness the full economic power of your asset.
Want to learn more about security?
Our weekly Security Briefing newsletter provides quick updates on crypto security with analysis from Casa’s experts. Sign up here.
It’s one thing to believe digital assets are the future. You need to plan for it if you want to protect your assets. Security is the art of anticipation in which you stay ahead of known and emerging threats.
Built with multiple keys, Casa’s crypto vaults provide you with robust and reliable security against a litany of threats. Here’s why you can expect crypto vaults to be the go-to standard for securing digital assets in the coming years.
Why an everyday wallet isn’t enough
Digital assets are a wide ecosystem. They’re more than tickers that move up and down on charts. And crypto wallets are becoming a place for frequent interactions.
Whereas you might wish to hold bitcoin or ethereum for years at a time, participating in a DAO or NFT community might require you to authenticate or transact on a more frequent basis. You shouldn’t have to compromise the custody of your long-term investments to participate in experimental web3 interactions.
This distinction is important because today, we all use different tools for managing digital assets, each with a trade-off between convenience and security.
Even in traditional finance, you have your physical wallet or purse that you carry around for everyday spending, and you also have one or more bank accounts for managing money you intend to keep for an extended period of time. At the same time, we also have an assortment of apps like Venmo for processing quick payments. Our team expects digital assets to be managed in a similar fashion with multi-key crypto vaults acting as your primary safeguard for your most precious assets.
What is a crypto vault?
To protect digital assets, you need to establish safeguards in both the physical and digital realms. While the assets only exist online on blockchains, the keys you use to interact with those blockchains can be secured digitally or physically.
Casa’s crypto vaults enable you to secure your digital assets with multiple keys in physical and digital settings. Each vault is comprised of these keys:
A mobile key
At least one hardware key
The Casa Recovery Key
How does crypto vault storage enhance digital asset security?
As bitcoin, ethereum, and other digital assets have gained in adoption, security has evolved in lockstep over the years, and vaults with multiple keys are the latest step in that evolution.
In the early days of bitcoin, it was relatively common for people to have unencrypted private keys sitting on flash drives, a poor security practice. Hardware wallets, a type of signing device securing one key offline, emerged in the mid-2010s, and they form the foundation of secure cold storage today. As smartphones became ubiquitous, mobile wallets were introduced as a convenient way to carry bitcoin with you.
Personal vaults using multiple keys mark the latest milestone in securing bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.
Want to start holding digital assets in your self-custody? Explore our Casa vaults available with our membership plans.
The benefits of crypto vaults with multiple keys
Multiple keys provide you with greater redundancy and resilience in the face of security threats because multiple devices are needed to sign transactions. This protocol is also known as multisig, and it has come to be the industry standard for digital asset custody for many reasons:
Self-custody: When you have a multi-key vault through Casa, you’re in control of your keys, instead of a risky exchange or custodian. Casa only holds one key for you, and it’s not enough to transact.
Cold storage: In our vaults, your keys are held in cold storage with the only exception being the mobile key. Cold storage keeps your keys offline and unable to broadcast transactions until you’re ready.
Device diversity: Hackers are constantly trying to figure out how to exploit wallets and hardware devices. Our vaults provide you with the opportunity to leverage different kinds of devices, so one device exploit isn’t enough to access your access.
Flexible key replacement: Most wallets use only one key, and if you lose it, your assets are gone. With a multi-key vault, you can easily replace a compromised key.
Safer maintenance: From time to time, hardware wallet manufacturers release firmware updates to keep your device in working order. But the processing of updating firmware can occasionally wipe a device. Multi-key vaults prevent device failure from wiping out your assets.
Decentralization: Our crypto vaults allow you to spread your keys across multiple locations, so your digital assets are not at mercy of where you are at a given time. This distribution is useful for self-custody and collaborative custody, where you hold your keys with one or more parties.
All in all, multi-key vaults equip you with enhanced protection over other wallets that use a single key, such as a mobile wallet, hardware wallet, or browser extension.
How to access a crypto vault
Imagine a vault with a window made of impenetrable glass. You or anyone else can see what is inside your vault, but only you can enter it.
As mentioned earlier, digital assets exist in cyberspace, and they are usually viewable on public blockchains. Anyone can look up a given bitcoin address or ethereum account and see what assets are present. But transacting requires you to produce cryptographic proof of ownership.
Sounds futuristic, right? It’s supposed to. Authentication must progress to keep up with technology to stay secure. For instance, humanity has used passwords for decades, but as so much of our lives has migrated online, poor generation and reuse has rendered passwords increasingly obsolete as a primary method. Today, passwords have been largely incorporated into multifactor authentication.
Generally speaking, you can think of authentication in three ways:
Who you are (ex. fingerprint scans, face ID, other biometrics)
What you know (passwords, PINs, security questions)
Objects you have (private keys, hardware wallets, mobile phones)
Accessing your crypto vault is similar to multifactor authentication but much more robust. All our vaults require signoffs from multiple devices before a transaction can be completed. To transfer assets out of your Casa vault, you must authenticate from two (or more) of your devices which are each protected with a PIN.
Because you have multiple keys, you have failsafes in place in case you ever have trouble with one of your keys. For instance, if you ever need to use the Casa Recovery Key, we will ask to either answer your security questions or hop on a video verification call, depending on your membership plan.
Security is about using technology to your advantage, and when it comes to protecting your crypto, you want the best tools you can get. Don’t settle for just any crypto wallet. A multi-key crypto vault is the best choice for hardened, long-term protection for your digital assets.
Want to learn more about security?
Our weekly Security Briefing newsletter provides quick updates on digital asset security with analysis from Casa’s experts. Sign up here.
Time is money. If you’ve ever owned digital assets as a part of a much larger investment portfolio, you know the headache that comes with monitoring performance.
Maybe you buy and sell bitcoin (BTC) on a separate brokerage from your 401k. Then, there’s the matter of checking balances. And if you just want a snapshot of your net worth, it could mean manually updating a spreadsheet or back-of-the-napkin math. How’s anyone supposed to keep track of it all?
Wonder no more. Casa has partnered with Kubera to help you monitor your net worth, including your bitcoin, and soon ethereum (ETH) as well, held in self-custody. Now, there’s one place to monitor all your investments.
Modern wealth tracking for modern portfolios
Kubera is a simple, elegant wealth tracker designed for the forward-thinking investor. The app allows you to securely connect your financial accounts and consolidate all your assets and liabilities onto one clean, easy-to-understand dashboard. This comprehensive platform is well-suited for high-net-worth individuals, family offices, and financial advisors.
With Kubera, you can view real-time valuations of all your investments including:
Stock and bonds
Crypto wallets and addresses
Within the app, you can explore charts for asset allocations, monitor cash on hand, and you can even use bitcoin as your unit of account if you want.
Kubera connects to more than 20,000 banks, brokerages, crypto exchanges, and other institutions. And now, you can connect your Casa account, so you can view your balance within your complete portfolio while your assets remain secure.
How does it work?
Our partnership with Kubera is the first integration of the Casa API, which allows you to leverage your Casa account with other platforms securely. Our API, short for application programming interface, shares data across systems without ever exposing private keys.
Think of it like a secure window into your bitcoin with none of the security risk, similar to looking up a bitcoin address. Instead of opening the Casa app and typing the balance into a spreadsheet, the balance automatically populates and updates in Kubera. Your assets remain safe every step of the way.
Complete and discreet. The way it should be.
Unlike other portfolio tracking platforms, Kubera does not monetize your financial data, pitch you financial products, or try to manage your finances for you. Instead, it acts as a simple hub for your own portfolio visibility and analysis with a subscription-based model. Learn more about Kubera’s security practices here.
Family sharing is simple with Kubera. You can select an individual or family plan, and you can also designate a beneficiary to gain account access. Additionally, Kubera can act as a portal for your life insurance policies and other documentation, which comes in handy for managing family finances where a single source of truth is essential.
How to track your stack with Kubera
To get started, sign up for a Kubera account. While connecting services, search for “Casa” under “Crypto Exchanges & Wallets.” You’ll be prompted to log into your Casa account, and then, presto!
Owning digital assets means taking the long-term view. Make the most of that view with Casa and Kubera. Visit kubera.com to get started.
Are you securing bitcoin as a family?
Casa has everything you need to create a legacy plan for your bitcoin with best-in-class security. Choose between a shared account or a crypto inheritance plan, and have peace of mind your money is safe.
What happens when seed phrases are compromised while you’re abroad?
Recently, a Casa Diamond member was able to restore his Casa vault to full security from two compromised seed phrases while on a Caribbean island, thanks to the swift response of our advisors.
About the client
Chuck is a retired business owner and a Casa Diamond member. We have altered some of his personal details to protect his privacy.
A journey to self-custody
A few years ago, Chuck came to view bitcoin as a major opportunity, but he was nervous about taking self-custody, recognizing that though he was a sophisticated investor, he could be scatter-brained at times, and he was concerned about potentially being hacked.
“I have a lot going on. Sometimes, I can’t even keep track of my car keys, let alone my bitcoin keys,” Chuck said.
He started out by storing his bitcoin with custodians. Feeling at the time that bitcoin was a bleeding-edge technology, he decided to split his assets across multiple custodians rather than rely on just one. He continued to have mixed feelings about custodians, and he experienced poor customer support at one institution.
“I would email and it’d be days before I got an email response,” Chuck said. “And it wasn’t even accurate when it came back. It wasn’t responsive to my question.”
He also discovered many custodians had high minimum balances, making it harder to spread his assets around. Over time, he consolidated his holdings with fewer custodians. As he continued exploring bitcoin-related content, he learned about self-custody as a concept and how Casa could help.
The contingency plan
By 2022, Chuck was doing some fact-finding on different jurisdictions for a potential permanent residence, and he was concerned about geopolitical threats to his bitcoin. He understood how self-custody can be implemented with a decentralized model through Casa to avoid being overly reliant on one location.
He became a Casa member and set up a 6-key vault initially as a contingency plan. While he was still comfortable with custodians, he liked having self-custody as an option. That way, if there ever was a catastrophe, he could transfer his assets to self-custody quickly.
That fateful day soon came. In late 2022, the crypto derivatives platform FTX filed for bankruptcy, along with numerous other companies. Custodial risk had proven devastating for many bitcoin investors around the world. These events motivated Chuck to begin transferring funds into self-custody.
“After the FTX debacle, I just decided there’s risk no matter what, and I was going to feel more comfortable with self-custody,” Chuck said.
A simple, smooth recovery…on island time
Once his vault was set up, Chuck began distributing his keys across different locations. He opted to keep two seed plates to help with potential recovery if the need arose. He placed the seed plates in a tamper-evident bag and gave the bag to a relative.
The relative planned on placing the tamper-evident bag in a safe deposit box, but he placed the bag underneath his bed at home in the interim. When he finally went to move the bags, he noticed they were open and he called Chuck to let him know.
At the time, Chuck was in Grenada, a Caribbean island far away from where the seed phrases were located. Because the bags were open, Chuck had to assume the seed phrases were compromised. A malicious actor could photograph a seed phrase and repopulate a key onto another device. While he did not know if someone had obtained the seed phrases, the prudent course of action was to replace the keys.
As a Diamond member, Chuck can access emergency support from our advisors 24/7. Chuck’s first step was to email our team and inform them of the situation. Josh, an advisor on our team, went to work right away and guided Chuck through how key replacement would work. He understood Chuck was in a different time zone and was willing to do whatever it took to help.
“He said, ‘I’ll talk with you anytime — it’s important to me to get this taken care of for you,’” Chuck recalled. “I’m getting a little choked up about it because it was really nice to feel like somebody cared and they were that competent, dedicated, and focused.”
Our team put together a care package with new devices and cables and shipped it to the island. Once the package was in hand, Josh worked with Chuck to initialize the devices and provided security tips along the way.
“The calls were as fun as they could possibly be,” Chuck said. “I couldn’t imagine a better customer support experience.”
Secure your assets with peace of mind
Casa helps you take self-custody of your digital wealth, and we have a plan for every investor.
Schedule a call with a Casa advisor here to learn more.
Self-custody is a bet on yourself. It’s important to appreciate that responsibility, so your wealth remains secure and resilient in the face of evolving threats.
At Casa, we build multi-key vaults to arm our members with the strongest self-custody for their digital wealth. Let’s cover some major principles to bear in mind as you build your multi-key vault.
Understand the value of multiple keys
Casa vaults use a security protocol called multisig, where you must authenticate from multiple keys to spend funds. This arrangement preserves your assets in the rare event one of your keys is lost or stolen.
Multi-key vaults are best for long-term holdings because they introduce some essential friction for transactions. This design makes your wealth easier to control and preserve. It also makes it harder to transact, which is good for your long-term wealth. You shouldn’t carry your life savings around in your pocket all the time.
Similarly, a widely dispersed multi-key vault is not an ideal fit for assets you intend to trade on a frequent or everyday basis. For funds you’d like to stay flexible, our app comes with a single-key mobile wallet, or you could opt for a hardware wallet.
It’s okay to have separate wallets for funds earmarked for specific purposes in the same way we have physical wallets with cash in addition to checking and savings accounts. Security should strengthen with the amount of wealth you’re protecting.
Identify and eliminate single points of failure
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The idea behind bitcoin, ethereum, and other digital assets is to create and protect a decentralized form of property. Most security solutions today, however, are highly centralizing.
Centralization is a major security threat for crypto assets. When you rely exclusively upon a single device, seed phrase, or third party, you increase the potential ramifications of one unforeseen event. A single point of failure is any object, person, or circumstance that has a larger than necessary effect on your security.
Single points of failure are a sneaky security threat that exist in many forms. Just about anything can be a single point of failure if you’re overly dependent on it. A hardware wallet or seed phrase can be a single point of failure. As could an untrustworthy associate with access to your hardware wallet. Your primary residence could also be caught in a flood, fire, or natural disaster.
You can’t always stop bad things from happening, but you can do your best to anticipate them. Watch out for single points of failure and you’ll stay one step ahead.
Never store a majority of your keys in one place
Physical location is the most common type of single point of failure. Casa vaults are designed to be decentralized so that only you have control of your keys, which requires some personal responsibility to maintain.
It defeats the purpose of having multiple keys if a key quorum, the number of keys needed to fulfill a transaction, is all gathered in one location. Often, this takes place on a temporary basis such as when you first create your vault.
For instance, if you have a three-key vault with Casa, two keys are needed to fulfill a transaction. In this case, you should only keep one key in your primary residence, usually a mobile device on our Gold plan. Your hardware wallet should be stored in another location. This prevents your assets from being stolen in a break-in or lost in a house fire.
The same reasoning applies to cyberspace as well. There have been some anecdotal reports of people on DIY setups storing keys online on servers or password managers. These are instances where, although the security setup may seem technical, you actually create practical vulnerabilities.
For a multi-key vault to remain secure, you should have to travel to obtain a key quorum. This prevents a malicious actor from coercing into signing a transaction. The amount of distance can vary depending on how much wealth and your personal situation. Spreading your keys out allows you to appropriately leverage the power of multiple keys with the same decentralization that digital assets are supposed to have.
Use different devices for enhanced security
Casa vaults allow you to use a variety of hardware wallets to secure your assets, and this variety is by design. Diversity enhances robustness.
Vulnerabilities and exploits in individual device models are discovered on a somewhat frequent basis. Sometimes, security flaws are found through ongoing research and development, and in other cases, they’re out in the wild. Developers and manufacturers typically move quickly to patch and fix exploits, but not everyone is diligent about firmware updates.
You don’t want a bug or exploit on one device to be replicable against most of your keys. Many people put off downloading the latest updates for their phones, so a vault using exclusively phones would be a poor choice for securing large holdings.
Keep all keys in access-controlled locations
A person can’t be everywhere at once, and if you’re distributing your keys effectively, some keys could be in places you can’t monitor around the clock.
To preserve the stability of your keys, avoid keeping your keys out in the open. Seek out access-controlled places such as lockboxes, safes, and safety-deposit boxes. Of course, keep track of any and all physical house keys and access codes. This prevents someone from stumbling upon and swiping your device, which is an inconvenience if not a complete threat to your assets.
Perform your health checks every six months
Electronic devices don’t last forever. Once you’ve initialized all the devices in your vault, we recommend checking your devices about once every six months to ensure they’re in proper working order. Our app will prompt you when it’s time to check a key.
Health checks provide you with a chance to perform any required updates to ensure your devices are ready to sign transactions when the time comes.
Decentralization is a feature, not a bug. Multi-key vaults are the best security option for long-term crypto security. Leaning into a distributed security model will help you protect your wealth for the long haul.
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Obtaining a hardware wallet is a crucial step in taking self-custody of your digital assets, but if you’ve never used one, it can be daunting to shop around for the right device.
Today, there are many great models to choose from, and it’s becoming easier to buy a hardware wallet in general. Still, there are some security considerations you should know before you look around. Here’s a primer to get you started.
What’s a hardware wallet?
Hardware wallets are dedicated electronic devices for storing the private keys behind bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrency. They help you generate the necessary signatures for crypto transactions. When you’re not transacting, the devices keep your keys offline and out of reach for hackers, which is often called cold storage.
When you look around vendor websites, you may find different terms for hardware wallets: signing devices, cold storage devices, hardware keys, etc. The crypto industry is still relatively new, and much of this product terminology is evolving.
Hardware wallets have been around for nearly a decade, and today, we are lucky to have many different hardware wallets on the market that are safe and easy to use.
First, decide what you need
There are always some tradeoffs between security and convenience. It’s best to decide about these tradeoffs ahead of time before selecting a hardware wallet.
Before you buy a device, you need to know what type of assets you intend to secure on your device, so you can be sure you have the functionality you need when the time comes. Several models offer support for thousands of assets (Trezor, Ledger, Keystone) while other devices are designed with a bitcoin-only focus (Coldcard, Passport). It’s worth also noting that many devices that offer multi-asset support also allow you to use a bitcoin-only firmware if you prefer.
Next to consider are the features. For long-term holdings, we recommend devices that come with a screen instead of a blind signer with only a button or tap functionality. Screens allow you to independently verify addresses on the device itself. If you simply click a button on a blind signer, it’s harder to know what exactly you’re verifying.
Most hardware wallets today require you to plug your device into a computer, though a new wave of devices is emerging that come with a camera for scanning QR codes. This can be a convenient way to sign transactions.
Never buy a used hardware wallet
You always want to start fresh with a new device when taking cold storage of bitcoin, ethereum, and other digital assets. Because hardware wallets are your first line of defense in protecting your private key, you want to ensure your device hasn’t been tampered with. This is hard to do with an old device.
Additionally, you never want to borrow a hardware wallet from a friend. Keys are proof of ownership. Even if you have custody of the device, someone else could still have a copy of the recovery phrase, which they could use to migrate to another device. If you send crypto to someone else’s wallet, it’s best to assume it’s theirs, so stay away from pre-initialized hardware wallets.
Stop tracking in its tracks with VPNs and ad blockers
Malicious actors generally assume purchasers of hardware wallets already own crypto. By using privacy tools like VPNs and ad blockers, you reduce the amount of data you share with third parties.
Buy directly from the manufacturer
The recommended way to obtain devices is to purchase straight from the device manufacturer. This ensures that you get a genuine device and a current model with access to the latest firmware updates. Many vendors work with authorized resellers, which you should verify first on their respective website before purchasing.
Looking for a shortlist of vendors? Check out this list of five hardware wallets, all of which integrate with Casa.
Avoid clicking on ads
Scammers have been known to spoof websites and buy ads for common search queries related to the crypto industry. Try to go directly to manufacturer websites by typing them in your browser. You can find links for common wallet manufacturers you can verify here.
Brick-and-mortar stores can be an alternative
Purchasing in a brick-and-mortar store can be an attractive option because it reduces the sharing of personal information. If you walked in and bought a device in-person, you could pay cash. This prevents you from sharing your credit card data and shipping address with a third party.
Stores are just beginning to stock hardware wallets, so you may have to search around to find a store that carries them. Recently, Ledger began stocking devices in big box retailers, such as Best Buy. It’s reasonable to expect other manufacturers and stores will do the same if there is sufficient demand. If you purchase a device from a retail outlet, verify that the tamper seal has not been breached.
Pro tip: Buy hardware wallets at conferences
Crypto conferences can be a handy opportunity to pick up devices. In many cases, you can purchase them at kiosks without creating a paper trail. And some sellers may even accept bitcoin or other assets. Keep an eye out if you’re traveling to a conference soon.
Always use the recommended cables
Don’t worry about tracking down cables for these devices. Most hardware wallets ship with dedicated USB cables included, and it’s best to stick to them for the long-term compatibility and stability of your device. Review your manufacturer instructions for more details.
Get better protection with multiple keys
Casa uses multiple devices to secure ethereum and bitcoin. This protects your crypto in the event your hardware wallet is lost or stolen. Get started with a multi-key vault and have peace of mind your money is safe.
Digital autonomy unites all of us. Today, our team is excited to announce Casa is now a member of the Blockchain Association.
The Blockchain Association (BA) is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a pro-innovation policy environment for the digital asset economy. Based in Washington, D.C., the organization acts as the collective voice for its more than 100 members in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.
Casa is joining BA’s membership at a watershed moment in our history and for private keys. In the wake of persisting inflation, hacks, and custodian failures, investors are searching for a robust way to secure their wealth that doesn’t require them to leave their assets in the care of trusted third parties.
Self-custody has proven the most effective method for ensuring the long-term security of digital assets time and time again, and those benefits are amplified with the flexibility and redundancy of using multiple keys. Together, the Blockchain Association shares our vision and will work to further it into thoughtful legislation and rulemaking.
The Blockchain Association participates in dialogue across the public sector through policy and market research, speaking engagements, and fostering relationships with regulators and lawmakers on a bipartisan basis.
As adoption grows, it is up to us as industry leaders to collaborate proactively with governments and offer guidance whenever necessary. Along with our fellow BA members, Casa will work to engage with policymakers, regulators, and public officials to help them understand and appreciate the importance of this innovation for individual property rights and national security.
In 2023, there is ample opportunity for advocacy on Capitol Hill as policymakers give bitcoin, ethereum, and other assets the attention they’re due. Earlier this year, the House Financial Services Committee formed a new subcommittee on digital assets, financial technology, and inclusion, and we have every reason to believe crypto and related technology will be an area of legislative focus in the coming years.
On a regulatory level, the Biden administration issued an executive order that acknowledged the marquee growth of digital assets, argued for consumer and investor protection, and conveyed the U.S. has a “strong interest in promoting responsible innovation that expands equitable access to financial services.” Our team is excited by the prospect of conveying to leaders just how private keys introduce and preserve ownership for all.
Governments are a crucial layer in the networks surrounding digital assets, and our team accepts the opportunity to build coalitions across all public spheres including government affairs. We believe the United States of America has much to gain from embracing digital assets and the underlying technology, and together with the Blockchain Association, we look forward to seeing that promise through.
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Today, Casa is proud to unveil another step forward in crafting the world’s best self-custody experience. We’ve reimagined our app design, and we’re introducing a new concept to better represent self-custody and conceptualize the future of private key management: the vault.
Our new vaults are your gateway to securing bitcoin with complete autonomy, and they allow you to manage your assets with multiple keys with an immersive user experience.
What’s a vault?
Vaults are an age-old concept long associated with wealth protection and personal safekeeping. To this day, people frequently store their most precious possessions in safety deposit boxes, safes, and vaults.
As a concept, vaults translate well to the digital realm, especially in the age of bitcoin and ethereum. While physical vaults rely on robust materials, digital vaults use cryptography to provide you with stronger security potential than even concrete and steel.
By using encryption and incredibly large numbers, we can create an impenetrable force field to protect your digital assets. Consider it a Fort Knox in cyberspace. To access the funds within your vault, you’ll need to authenticate with multiple keys, the best crypto security practice.
At Casa, we envision a world where digital vaults encompass a wide assortment of underlying technologies: cold storage devices, multisig wallets, smart contracts, password managers, encryption key storage, and more. The world needs one place to turn for safekeeping data of all shapes and sizes, and we expect digital vaults will evolve into a complete solution for authentication as well as financial transactions.
Why do I need a vault?
Casa vaults protect your assets with multiple keys, the best practice for securing bitcoin, ethereum, and other digital assets.
Most wallets only protect your funds with one key, so if you leave your assets in a single hardware wallet, hot wallet, or even on an exchange, there’s a significant risk that your funds could be compromised. Accidents happen. As do hacks and physical theft.
Our vaults are built to withstand the loss or compromise of one or more keys, and they provide you with the greatest possible protection for your wealth. We offer two primary types of vaults, both of which are comprised of multiple devices:
3-key vault: The essential asset protection for individual investors
5-key vault: The ultimate asset protection for individuals and families
These vaults can be purchased as a part of a Casa membership plan, which includes personal service and recovery assistance if a key is ever lost or stolen. Together, our vaults, combined and our support, allow you to safely hold BTC and ETH with the ultimate peace of mind.
Want to know more about which vault is right for you? Schedule a time to talk with a Casa expert and learn everything there is to know.
Vaults: here and now
Under the hood, vault implementations differ with each underlying asset and use case. For instance, Casa’s bitcoin vaults are built using bitcoin’s native multisig support while ethereum vaults will utilize smart contracts as discussed here.
Casa members can create and manage bitcoin (BTC) vaults within our app, and members will be available to create ethereum (ETH) vaults later in the quarter. Existing Casa members will find all of the same functionality associated with their Basic Multisig and Key Shield within their vault.
Inside each vault, a world of opportunity opens up. Members can create transactions, generate addresses to share with others, monitor balances, and maintain and replace individual keys. All of these actions can be done with a few taps of a finger and take place in a secure environment with personal help right around the corner if needed.
How to set up your own vault
Members unlock the ability to create vaults as a part of their Casa plan. Choose from varying levels of personal onboarding and support, and combine your vault with a shared account or inheritance plan.
While only BTC vaults are available at this time, members will soon have the option to create an ETH vault as a part of their plan using some, if not all, of the same devices.
To get started with a vault, simply download or update the Casa app, follow the instructions, and enjoy a quick in-app tutorial. Not a Casa member yet? Explore our plans here.
Transacting on the go? Meet Bitcoin Pay
Every asset serves a purpose, and whether you’re saving your wealth or spending it, it’s best to have one home to manage your money. You shouldn’t have to sign with multiple devices just to split a dinner tab with a friend, and you don’t have to.
Alongside our vault, Casa members can use a simple mobile wallet called Pay for smaller transactions. This elegant feature allows you to secure funds with just one key, allowing you to sign transactions quickly. Members can currently secure and spend BTC through their pay wallet, and we intend to expand this feature to include ETH in the future.
You can find this feature in the Pay tab within the Casa app. There, you can manage large amounts of assets in your vault and smaller amounts in your pay wallet. Whether you’re saving or spending, we’ve got you covered.
Team Casa is working hard to make self-custody easier than ever before, and we look forward to sharing our new app with you. We look forward to hearing your feedback and thank you to all our members. Onward!
Want to be notified when ETH support is available?
Soon, you’ll be able to secure ETH with Casa in addition to BTC. We’re releasing ethereum support in Q1. Sign up here and skip the line when ETH vaults are ready.