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I started mining HNT from the Helium network and I began paying much closer attention to cryptocurrency and it’s various facets. One of the aspects that worried me the most was someone getting ahold of my cryptocurrency, leaving me with little or no recourse to get it back.
Even before I started mining I would hear the gut-wrenching stories of exchanges like Binance getting “taken” for billions in Bitcoin in 2019. Then there are the hackers, ransomware, viruses… It’s enough to almost make you want to go back to your regular bank account where every penny is accounted for.
Well, the keyword here is almost. The freedom that cryptocurrency provides, outside of prying eyes, is one of it’s main allures; at least to me. So how do we continue with our crypto holding/ trading and stay as safe as possible from having our accounts compromised? Once of the main things that kept popping up during my research was the benefits of storing your cryptocurrency in cold wallets.
OK, What The Hell Is A Cold Wallet?
My wallets are stored in online accounts. Companies like Coinbase and Binance take responsibility for my private keys. This makes it easier for me, but it certainly leaves my accounts open to be compromised. My wallets are connected to the internet making them hot wallets. Now, if I was really going to take my cryptocurrency security seriously, I had to get myself a cold wallet.
I came across the Opolo Cosmos wallet, and from what I read, it had a lot more to offer than other wallets in the market. I saw that these wallets were still in pre-launch so I decided to contact Opolo to see what the deal was. Opolo offered to send me an Opolo Cosmos cold wallet so that I could review it and provide them with some feedback. I agreed to review it. I also got Opolo’s CEO and founder, Dr. Fahad Fazal, to agree to a Q&A with me. This Q&A revolved around questions that were posed by my mailing list subscribers, via a survey that I sent them.
(Q&A is posted further down on this page)
SPECS ON THE OPOLO COLD WALLET:
- Bank Grade Security Chip
- 120+ Coins & 200K+ Tokens
- Intuitive Large Touch Display
- One Touch Wallet Backup
- Secure Password Manager
- Desktop and Android Apps
- IOT Secure Certification (externally audited by Digital Security Paris, France)
- EAL 6+ Secure Element (most secure chip currently available)
Q&A With CEO & Founder Of Opolo Dr. Fahad Fazal:Q: Why the name Opolo? A: We are inspired by Marco Polo, who had explored the world through his global expeditions, and the open mindedness he had shown towards different cultures and races. In the similar lines we want OPOLO to be a global brand that enables the people from around the globe -via one single goal of , financial freedom via blockchain. Q: Can we have multiple Opolo devices using the same wallet/ account? I can leave a wallet in 1 location and a duplicate in another location, but they both contain the same info/account/keys? A: Yes, you can have as many devices with same wallet, you need to use the recovery feature to setup the new wallets in this case. Because the new default wallet that would be created would be randomly generated every time. But yes its possible. Q: What are the fees for buying/ trading HNT. What are the limitations and benefits of going through the Opolo wallet for HNT? A: We have Helium support on OPOLO wallet, that means you can securely store the HNT coins on the wallet, send and receive coins to and from any exchange, or any wallet. At the moment we have 2 coin swap supports that are Changelly and Coinswitch, they do not currently support HNT conversion. Maybe you need to ask the Helium team to list their coin on Changelly or Coinswitch, then it will be automatically supported by OPOLO. There is also the possibility of listing other coin swap platforms in our wallet. That completely depends on if we receive enough requests from the OPOLO users. Q: Is there any way to trace transactions by governments? From Binance/ Coinbase/ PayPal, does the government know it’s in your Opolo cold wallet now, as opposed to somewhere else? Example… I transfer from Coinbase to Opolo, once it is out of Coinbase, can anyone find out or trace where it went from there? A: The addresses generated by any wallet are following same standard. In address itself there is no information about the wallet or exchange that generates it. So the answer is No. The transactions are public data, so it can be traced which 2 addresses sent and received the coins. However linking the address to an exchange or to a person or to a wallet, needs more information. The OPOLO wallet generates addresses like any other normal wallet using BIP39 standard. Hence, the address generated by OPOLO or any other wallet, could be exactly same if the seed/wallet is the same. There is no information attached to the address that shows its an OPOLO address. For balance information, OPOLO does send the addresses to different block explorer servers but that block explorer never knows if it is coming from OPOLO or from any other wallet. So it is not possible to track back to an OPOLO wallet. Q: How are the 2 exchanges that you use? I see companies like Binance going through changes, Binance U.S. seems to have tons of issues, a 2 star rating on Google Play. People are worried and don’t trust them with their HNT trading. Why would they feel more comfortable using Opolo instead? A: OPOLO is not an exchange, its a wallet. In an exchange people’s funds are transferred to the exchange, like Binance. Binance keeps your funds as long as you don’t withdraw them. OPOLO is just a device like your hot wallet. You are the owner of the funds and all the crypto. No one other than you, control those funds. OPOLO is not a custodial wallet. Its like a normal wallet, where the private keys never leave the device. So bear in mind that OPOLO will never have access to your funds. Therefore, there is more responsibility on the user, if they lose the password, backup or passphrase, they will lost their funds; as OPOLO never sends those keys out of the wallet. In addition, OPOLO never stores that information. So always keep a safe and secure backup, and the passphrase should be stored securely. The OPOLO device is like a data storage device where you store your private keys, and the architecture is made in such a way that the keys never leave the device. But the keys can be used to sign the transactions for that user in order to send the amount out of wallet. So OPOLO, the company, never controls anything. It is the user who controls everything. You are your own bank, and OPOLO is the hardware that protect your bank from thieves and bad actors. Its like a vault or secure safe. Q: Does upgrading the firmware wipe out the Opolo wallet? A: No, it does not. Q: If I buy an OPOLO wallet, how do I know the company wouldn’t have access to get into my cold wallet and do what they want with it? OPOLO is a new wallet to the market, how can we be 100% sure that we can trust them to not have some type of -BACKDOOR- to access my wallet in the future? A: To access one’s wallet, OPOLO needs to get the private keys corresponding to that wallet. The private keys are inside the wallet device that has no external connection via Bluetooth or WIFI, so no direct access. The only connection that can “leak private key” is USB. For transparency sake, In OPOLO Desk we have provided a USB communication SPY tool that can show you all the traffic going and coming from the wallet. So you can verify what data is coming in and out of the OPOLO wallet. If you are a tech person, you can also spy on USB communication using OPEN Source tools and can watch the data coming out of the device. You will never find a private key there. Q: What type of thumb drive/ external HDD, to back up key files, any recommendations? A: Never backup the OPOLO seed on any electronic or computer device. The most secure way is to backup using OPOLO Steel. It is made of steel and you store your mnemonics in it. We will have them available for sale it on our kickstarter. That way, even if it get’s caught in a fire or submerged in water, you sill maintain your backup. Another preferred way is to write the wallet seed and passphrase on paper, make multiple copies of it and securely store them on different places. Remember, if someone gets access to paper, they can get access to all your funds. The last way is to use OPOLO cards to store the backup on the cards, it should be used as an alternative backup for fast recovery, but not as the main backup. At times, electronics malfunction and we don’t want you to lose your backup due to that. Q: What computer software do you recommended to prevent hacking/ phishing while the device is connected to PC/Mac? A: Its always recommended to use a good antivirus program as well as firewalls to protect your PC’s or Mac. However, it is not necessary, as every transaction that is being signed needs to be confirmed on the wallet. If you see that the address is not correct or the amount is incorrect, then do not sign it. Without your permission, no transaction in the wallet can be signed. And the wallet can’t get connected to a PC/Mac unless you have entered your password. So a confirmation on the device will still be needed to sign a transaction. However, we have implemented a security feature into the OPOLO Desk app, that allows only our app to send such data to the device. Other apps do not even have the ability to request the signing of the transaction. Q: Is an RFID blocker needed for this device? A: No, the device RFID feature is not activated. It activates only when you write the backup onto the OPOLO Cards. It then turns off and doesn’t turn back ON until you need a new backup. Q: Can the magnetic cards and cold wallets be wiped out during x-rays at airports or other screeners? We hear the horrors of privacy invasion on cell phones when they are turned on at airports. How are we protected from this? A: First of all, never forget to take a backup with you when you create a new wallet on OPOLO. Secondly, we have never heard that our device has gotten wiped out. We do not believe that it will. Let’s suppose the worst case scenario and the wallet gets wiped out. You will still have your backup to restore. We don’t think that it will get wiped out; as OPOLO is non-powered device. As long as you don’t connect the wallet to a powered USB, its stays unpowered. The secure chip we use to store the wallet, is same that Visa and MasterCard use. So if those cards do not get wiped out, neither will the OPOLO. Q: Do you have any weatherproof protective case recommendations for those with active/adventurous lifestyles? Hikers/backpackers, international travel? There are cables, adapters; what are the ideal travel cases if any? A: We will be launching a leather pouch for the Opolo on our kickstarter. Hopefully, we will add more cases/covers/pouch in the coming months. For traveling, you only need one cable for your laptop connection, and in case you use android, then you also need the connector. Our big leather pouch will be able to accommodate all of those components. Q: Why not USB C? More components to carry and misplace by going with micro USB. I need an adapter for my phone and I have to use the docking station on my new MBP, just to connect to the Opolo. A: From wallet side, it doesn’t matter if it is USB C or USB micro, as you will still need a cable to connect with it. On the other side Windows users need a USB type A connector, for Android, you mostly need micro USB or USB C. For MBP it also needs USB C. In the wallet box, we send both connectors so one can connect with all kinds of devices. Q: Is it possible to day trade HNT within the wallet? fees? A: No, not at the moment; I have answered this above. Q: Do I need to close the App or take any other precautions before I unplug the wallet from the cable? A: No. Just unplug it to turn it off.
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