Bitcoin

Bitcoin hardware devices need improvement to handle complex transactions

Jameson Lopp, co-founder and chief technology officer of Casa, a crypto custodian, posted a test results report on Casa’s blog on Sept. 13 about the hardware company’s performance with multiple signatures from Bitcoin.

The result shows that crypto hardware wallet devices can handle small and simple transactions well. However, you will have problems executing once the transaction goes wrong. Casa is said to rely on geographically dispersed multi-signature devices and dedicated hardware devices to protect keys, crafted user experience and customer service.

Lopp noticed that While the company has no control over hardware devices, the goal is to support each device at the end of the day. So he decided to do some research and hoped to draw some conclusions and help multi-signature software vendors better understand the hardware limits and customize the wallet software for better performance.

Bitcoin hardware devices need improvement to handle complex transactions
Bitcoin hardware devices need improvement to handle complex transactions

Casa currently supports six pieces of hardware, including Trezor, Ledger, Coinkite and Coldcard. The test was carried out on all supported hardware devices and also on BitBox.

Lopp set up the test by leveraging Electrum’s 4.0.2 application image on Debian Linux and using the Bitcoin testnet and USB-connected hardware devices to create a variety of multi-signature P2WSH wallets (native Segwit). There was a deposit of 100 UTXO in each wallet.

Lopp has created a series of tests to identify these hardware wallet functions when signing transactions with multiple signatures of varying complexity. He repeated these tests and concluded that it would be better and safer if the hardware devices could show progress indicators for loading and signing. He added:

“It got to a point where I don’t really like hardware devices that don’t show progress bars for loading and signing. So I prefer Coldcard and Trezor in this regard. BitBox and Ledger scare you because you have no idea if something is really happening. “

To overcome the transaction size limitation and time lag in transaction processing, Lopp suggested that hardware wallets could attempt to split a shipment into several smaller transactions that are below their limits.

If the transaction process takes too long, some devices lock themselves to avoid downtime. Lopp suggests that the least thing device manufacturers can do to avoid such inconvenience is to disable the screen lock timeout while the device is still working on the transaction.

According to Lopp, hardware devices must also support partially signed Bitcoin (PSBT) transactions and all possible valid transactions with multiple signatures. He added:

“I think it is time for hardware manufacturers to act as platform vendors and make sure they are delivering robust platforms that can be used to build a wide variety of solutions.”

According to Lopp, hardware devices must perform two steps when signing a Bitcoin transaction:

“First, the transaction is loaded onto the device, the details analyzed and displayed on the screen for user confirmation. This information is generally the address (es) the money will be sent to, the amount (s) that will be sent, and the fee that will be paid. After confirmation by the user, the device then signs each transaction entry and sends the signed transaction back to the wallet software. “

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