Earlier today, Mycelium's Dmitry Murashchik, known as 'Rassah,' posted to the Bitcoin subreddit to thank the community for their involvement in successfully crowdfunding the first ever Bitcoin Paper Wallet USB Device. Over the course of the fundraiser, Mycelium raised a total of $31,271 USDfor their goal: An easy way to create Bitcoin paper wallets in a secure and controlled environment. To use the Mycelium Entropy, you simply insert the USD Device into a printer that allows you to print pictures from a USB flash drive; obviously, you want this printer to be disconnected to the Internet. When used properly, Bitcoin Paper Wallets created by the Mycelium Entropy USD Device never touch a computer or any type of network. Mycelium is raising money directly from the community so that they can order in bulk and pass on the savings from economies of scale to the end user.
How it Works
The crux of generating secure Bitcoin wallets lies in generating a Bitcoin private key and address with a method that is not predictable in any way. When the Mycelium Entropy is inserted into the USB drive, hardware-based entropy is harnessed to create a large, truly random, number. The random number is generated using a static RAM chip, which Holcomb, D.E.; Burleson, W.P.; and Fu. K. have proven is capable of generating "128-bit true random numbers." This number is then used as the seed to generate a private key and corresponding Bitcoin address. The Mycelium Entropy then takes the Bitcoin information and converts it into a QR code within a JPG file. At this point, the paper wallet can be printed from the printer. The random number is generated when you first plug in the USB Device, every time the device is plugged back in, a "random random" number will be generated. Users will be able to create as many Bitcoin Paper Wallets as they want without worry of a duplicate being generated, an oft-misunderstood feature of the Bitcoin network. Mycelium has committed to keeping the source code 100% open-source.
Along with the classic Bitcoin Paper Wallet design (where you should still take care to protect your Private key), Mycelium Entropy will support "2-of-3 split private keys using a technique called Shamir's Secret Sharing." With this method, the generated Bitcoin private key is split up into 3 "paper shares," with 2-of-3 of them necessary in order to obtain access to the stored Bitcoin. This type of feature, inherently possibly due to Bitcoin's many technological advancements, make the Entropy a robust and never-before-seen unit. Multi-signature implementations of Bitcoin have always been too complicated for the average Bitcoiner to figure out. To a lesser extent, the same could be said for Bitcoin Paper Wallets and cold storage: The Entropy is here to change all of that.
Since Mycelium raised over $30,000 out of an expected $20,000, Mycelium will be implementing a promised "stretch goal." At release, the Mycelium Entropy will also be able to generate Litecoin Paper Wallets. Due to the open source nature of the Mycelium Entropy, developers of other altcoins should be able to create updates that will allow any altcoin Paper Wallet to be generated by the Mycelium Entropy. The IndieGoGo page also has a list of compatible printers, thus far. The Entropy is Mycelium's largest project since the launch of their local trader App.
If you're interested in seeing the device in action, check out Mycelium's Live Demo video:
Featured image from Shutterstock.