Following a giveaway announcement in September, Alistair Milne gives away Bitcoin instead of a $2,600 Denarium gold bar.
Bitcoin (BTC) investor Alistair Milne was eventually forced to send Bitcoin instead of a $2,600 gold bar as part of his recent giveaway.
Following a giveaway announcement on Sept. 19, Milne has revealed the winner as well as other giveaway details in a thread on Twitter on Oct. 22.
As originally envisaged, Milne should have given away a $2,600 Denarium Bitcoin Decennium 2019 as part of the giveaway with the winner expected to be announced on Oct. 19. In the giveaway announcement launch, the entrepreneur specified that in order to be eligible, participants should follow Milne’s Twitter and Instagram account as well as like and retweet the announcement.
Coming in a limited edition of 100 products, Denarium Bitcoin Decennium 2019 is a device that combines a 1.097-ounce gold bar and a built-in Bitcoin cold storage wallet.
“You can’t send gold as you can with Bitcoin”
However, Milne eventually had to giveaway Bitcoin instead of the initially offered Denarium gold bar, explaining that the randomly-chosen winner comes from India, and sending such a device to a person in the country would be a problem. Milne tweeted:
“How to send a gold bar to India without it getting lost/stolen/seized? The short answer is, you can’t. Or you could, in theory, but it is very expensive!”
Actually, the 19-year old giveaway winner Krish Patel also did not mind to get his prize in Bitcoin and did not really want the gold, Milne noted, adding that he would have sold the gold bar anyway as he is doing a part-time job to earn $350 a month.
As such, the parties agreed to proceed with the giveaway in Bitcoin and Milne has sent the $2,600 amount in BTC instead.
Concluding the story, Milne outlined the apparent benefits of Bitcoin as a cross-border transaction tool, claiming:
“Gold is pretty, shiny, etc. but you can’t send it anywhere in the world within minutes as you can with Bitcoin. […] this is why I Bitcoin. No borders. No limits. No permission. No trust. Just two strangers on the Internet transacting & one family’s life changed.”
Meanwhile, India has not officially finalized its stance on cryptocurrencies. In mid-October, the Supreme Court of India announced a delay of a hearing on the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on providing services by banks and financial institutions to crypto-related business in the country.
Cryptosteel has launched its Cryptosteel Capsule, a physical backup device for the offline storage of Bitcoin private keys, passwords and wallet recovery seeds.
Cryptosteel has launched its Cryptosteel Capsule, a physical backup device for the offline storage of private keys, passwords, and wallet recovery seeds.
The company announced the official launch of the product in a tweet posted on Oct. 21.
Not a hardware wallet
Unlike the hardware wallets that many cryptocurrency HODLers are familiar with, Cryptosteel’s capsule focuses on providing a physical backup for personal, sensitive data — a more durable alternative to storing your private key on a physical piece of paper.
The device is a pocket-sized, stainless steel capsule containing a central column, onto which a user can manually assemble and thread a sequence of discs that are engraved with characters.
While its obvious use-case remains for private key and seed recovery data protection, the firm proposes that it is more broadly compatible with a desire to store sensitive personal data offline in a way that resistant to physical damage such as fire, flooding and electric shocks.
While many hardware wallets resemble more commonplace devices such as pocket-sized USB drives, the capsule’s singular appearance has already provoked a suspicious reaction from authorities in some cases, as cypherpunk Jameson Lopp revealed:
“In hindsight it was a bad idea to pack this private key backup device that is essentially a sealed steel pipe in my carry-on. Not the first time a gift received at a Bitcoin conference has caused me grief at the airport!”
Other community members have responded with some concern about how best to avoid losing or scrambling the miniature engraved tiles when a user wishes to recover their data.
The crypto hardware space
As reported, the market for hardware wallets — still dominated by Trezor, Ledger and KeepKey — nonetheless continues to expand, most recently with BTCC founder Bobby Lee’s launch of a credit card-sized device offering cold storage of Bitcoin (BTC) and fourteen altcoins.
Last year, a new product from Bitfi fielded a PR disaster after testers debunked the company’s claims its wallet was unhackable. The launch had the support of Bitcoin proponent John McAfee, who vigorously defended the wallet until Bitfi admitted it was vulnerable.
Coinbase has meanwhile tackled the question of backup differently to Cryptosteel’s physical offering by launching encrypted cloud storage services for users’ private keys — a solution that has been met with scepticism due to its reliance on online centralized servers.
As a cryptocurrency holder, security is paramount – and you can’t be too careful when it comes to your wallet recovery phrase. Unless you want your meticulously accrued crypto to disappear into the ether (or your ether to disappear into the cryptosphere), safely stashing your wallet mnemonic is vital. You must do everything in your power to construct a fortress around your recovery phrase, which you’ll need should you misplace your smartphone or lose your wallet.
Just as you’d source the biggest deadbolt and fiercest Rottweiler to guard a physical bounty, protecting your crypto from nefarious third parties requires vigor and cunning. The following guide outlines a variety of ways you might go about storing your wallet recovery phrase – as well as the pros and cons to each approach. Be it a 24-word mnemonic, conventional password, numeric PIN, or a combination thereof, it needs to be stored in such a manner that you and you only can access it. There’s no perfect solution to this problem, but these five options come pretty close.
Steel Punch Card
Protect your recovery phrase from physical deterioration caused by fire damage, flooding and other acts of god by engraving it onto a steel plate. Services such as Blockplate are perfect for this purpose, supplying materials that are stainless, rust-free, acid-resistant, non-toxic and fireproof. In essence, you are turning your recovery phrase into the Terminator – an object that can, unlike a piece of paper, withstand a ridiculous amount of damage and stay the course.
As for the cons, they should be obvious: you still have to stash the plate in a safe place, and if it falls into the wrong hands, well, there’s not much you can do. Consequently, you might consider storing your prized plate offsite – close enough to your home to access it conveniently, but sufficiently well hidden.
Bank Vault or Safety Deposit Box
There’s still some merit in the idea of storing valuables offline in a bank or safety deposit box. Sure, banks occasionally get broken into, and CCTV footage of masked raiders ransacking reinforced concrete rooms – even those deep underground, as in the Hatton Garden heist – is enough to give anyone pause. But 99.9% of the time, valuables locked in a bank stay there until such time as the account-holder calls by to make a withdrawal. It’s far better to store your recovery phrase in a physical vault than on a note-taking app, in the cloud or, heaven forbid, in a document on your desktop. Hackers gonna hack.
Split the Secret
Sharing schemes distribute parts of a secret among a set of trusted participants, none of whom know what the others hold. Shamir’s Secret Sharing is one such algorithm with a hierarchical component inbuilt. Which is to say that you can regulate the trustworthiness of participants in the scheme, for instance by making blood relatives more trusted than associates. Apparently, the Winklevoss twins used a similar principle to store shards of private keys in safety deposit boxes spread throughout the country.
The drawback to splitting your wallet seed into parts and doling it out is that multiple participants could conceivably collude to meet the threshold requirement of shares and uncover the phrase. However, if you don’t like sharing, you can still use this approach but retain all the parts yourself in separate locations – ideally with a backup of each for redundancy.
Memorizing a wallet recovery phrase is surprisingly easy once you create a memory palace to hold it. This is essentially a well-known physical location (e.g. your kindergarten, first home, workplace) that you visualize and then traverse in your head, laying down words from your wallet phrase as you go from room to room. Once committed to memory and rehearsed a few times, odds are you’ll recall those 12 or 24 words for life. This technique is particularly good when crossing borders, where you wish to transport cryptocurrency without possessing a physical clue to its existence. Relying solely on your brain is a dangerous game, though, which means that even with a memory palace in place, you’ll want a physical copy of your wallet phrase, dotted down and stashed in a safe place.
Even if an adversary discovers your wallet recovery phrase, it will be worthless to them if you’ve taken steps to obfuscate it. Techniques can range from the basic (rearranging the words) to the more elaborate, such as switching the first letter in certain words, or writing down their equivalent in a foreign language you’re familiar with. Use your imagination, in other words, and whatever technique you deploy, keep a record of how to unscramble the message in a separate place. Just don’t title it “Secret to unscrambling my wallet seed.”
Plan for the Inevitable
Another thing to bear in mind is that when you check out of this world, your recovery phrase will vanish with you, unless you pass it on to your inheritor. So, remember to include instructions on accessing your secret phrase in your will. Someone else might as well spend those satoshis you’ve assiduously accrued during your lifetime.
It’s also prudent to make more than one copy of your recovery phrase and store it in a different location. After all, none of the above methods are entirely foolproof: as well as being robbed, banks can burn down or go bust. Just remember to safeguard your get-out-of-jail copy with the same rigor as you employed for the original.
What other wallet recovery phrase techniques do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.
Ledger will provide its asset management system to Estonian cybersecurity-focused crypto exchange Rokkex.
French hardware wallet producer Ledger will provide its asset management system to Estonia-based crypto exchange Rokkex.
Built by Lithuanian cybersecurity and fintech professionals, Rokkex will integrate its trading platform with Ledger’s enterprise wallet management solution Ledger Vault to secure its crypto assets, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Aug. 20.
Lukas Krikstaponis, Rokkex’s co-founder and CEO, said that the platform has successfully tested Ledger’s technology on its platform to date
Demetrios Skalkotos, global head of Ledger Vault, explained:
“Rokkex’s customers expect full transparency and protection from crypto hacks. […] By leveraging Ledger Vault, Rokkex will give investors total control of and instant access to their funds while providing them the peace of mind that their assets are secure, without sacrificing convenience.”
Founded in 2018, Rokkex is a regulated crypto trading platform, reportedly authorized by the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit to provide crypto wallet and crypto exchange services. Ledger Vault integration comes amid the upcoming Rokkex security token offering, with the presale scheduled for Aug. 26.
According to the press release, Ledger Vault is a multi-authorization governance infrastructure for the management of crypto assets specifically designed for the needs of enterprise and institutional clients such as Rokkex.
As reported, Ledger Vault was first rolled out in May 2018 as a digital asset security tool targeting institutional investors. Ledger subsequently expanded its operations to New York in November 2018, appointing a former Intercontinental Exchange executive as head of global operations.
Recently, Ledger announced that it would be providing its technology to Canadian cryptocurrency broker Voyager Digital.
As the Indian government deliberates on the country’s crypto policy, the tax authority continues to send out letters with lengthy, probing questions to crypto owners. News.Bitcoin.com talked to industry experts to find out the implications of these letters, what people can do when receiving them, and how crypto assets are taxed in India.
The Indian Ministry of Finance’s Office of the Deputy Director of Income Tax has reportedly been sending letters to Indians asking a long list of questions regarding their dealings in cryptocurrencies. Twitter handle Indiabits recently shared one of these letters which comprises 26 probing questions, ranging from sources of income to the names of the cryptocurrencies the taxpayer deals in and details of hardware wallets.
“Furnish the details of all the wallets you are using along with their unique ID/number” was one question. The letter requests information on the taxpayer’s hardware wallets, including their balances, as well as details of wallets owned by the taxpayer’s family members on crypto exchanges both in India and abroad. One question reads:
Please state whether you are buying / selling bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies from websites like Poloniex.com, Coinbase.com, Bittrex.com or any other websites registered out of India.
Another question concerns all income received in cryptocurrencies. “Have you received any bitcoins / cryptocurrency in lieu of any sales made / services rendered / exports made outside India? Please furnish the details of such transactions along with the details of the person making such payments and his wallet / blockchain public ID details.”
The letter also warns that a fine would be levied for willful omissions. “If you intentionally omit to so attend and give evidence or produce the books of accounts of documents, a fine up to Rs. 10,000/- [~$140.97] may be imposed upon you under section 272A of the Income Tax Act, 1961.”
What Crypto Traders Should Do
Anoush Bhasin, founder of Quagmire Consulting which specializes in crypto tax solutions, explained to news.Bitcoin.com Tuesday: “The notice has been issued by the Investigation Division of the Income Tax Department. Usually, such notices are issued when the taxman has reason to believe that a person has concealed or is likely to conceal a particular income.” He believes that “It is probable that the taxman became aware of some information which makes him suspect that crypto transactions were undertaken and probably not reported in the tax return.”
Bhasin suggested that “Anybody who has received such a notice should not take it lightly.” Affirming that “One should provide complete information as required and extend full cooperation during the hearings,” he clarified:
Not complying with the notice or furnishing incomplete / inaccurate information may lead to the taxman conducting a Search & Seizure operation.
Varun Sethi, founder of Blockchain Lawyer, shared with news.Bitcoin.com that people are receiving these letters because India’s tax laws cover “all types of incomes — Legal, undisclosed, disclosed, illegal incomes. Thereby the levy of taxes on gains on cryptos is a legit exercise.”
He also expressed that anyone receiving this type of notice should ensure compliance. “With the tax return filing due date nearing (Aug 31, 2019) the taxpayers should pay taxes on gains made for the cryptos trades. Though there isn’t any clear field for the disclosure of the specifically crypto taxes yet it is possible and necessary to disclose the gains made and then pay taxes thereof.”
How Crypto Assets Are Taxed in India
Bhasin further explained to news.Bitcoin.com that “Income earned from dealing in crypto assets is taxable,” noting that “the legal status of an income is of no consequence to the applicability of tax laws in India.”
He elaborated, “In case you buy and sell frequently, with the purpose of profiting off daily fluctuations in prices, you will be categorised as a trader and liable to pay taxes as a business.” As for miners, “the mining operations will be considered a commercial undertaking and therefore be subject to tax as a business,” Bhasin described:
In case you have bought and held crypto assets for a considerable period of time, as a means of investment (aka hodling), you will be categorised as an investor and will be liable to pay capital gains tax (at the time of liquidation).
Ongoing Tax Issue
A social media influencer who goes by Twitter handle “Indian Cryptogirl” told news.Bitcoin.com that “Over the past 2 years, a lot of people have been getting this” tax letter.
“A friend of mine got this way back in 2016. He went to the office, proved that he did not use any black money for the purchase of crypto by showing all his transactions and he was let go with a warning,” Indian Cryptogirl recalled. She believes that “If you’re not doing extremely high-value transactions that don’t match your earnings, you should be fine,” noting:
I feel it won’t end until India has a safe regulated crypto environment with defined guidelines, without which people have no idea what to follow to avoid such IT [income tax] notices.
Nischal Shetty, CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, shared with news.Bitcoin.com that if the letter is authentic then “it’s interesting to see that the Income Tax department has done some good ground work to understand crypto trading.” While still uncertain how authentic the letter is, he believes that “There’s nothing to worry here and I would suggest anyone receiving this to honestly answer the queries and pay their taxes.” The CEO asserted that “Every crypto trader should diligently file their taxes,” adding:
This also helps our cause of getting positive crypto regulations in India as the government will see the positive effects of crypto on income tax collected.
Tax Laws and Crypto Proposal
The Indian government has yet to decide whether to regulate or ban cryptocurrency. The interministerial committee (IMC) tasked with studying all aspects of cryptocurrency and providing recommendations has submitted a report with a draft bill to the government. The finance minister, however, recently admitted that she had not looked at the report and bill in detail.
Meanwhile, the Indian crypto community has ramped up efforts to engage lawmakers to show them how flawed the IMC report is in hopes that the government will not go ahead with the draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies. In the meantime, cryptocurrency is not prohibited in India. This was recently confirmed by Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur.
Reiterating that “Tax laws in India are applicable irrespective of the legal status of income,” Bhasin told news.Bitcoin.com that “Even if a ban is introduced, taxes would continue to apply to crypto income and it would not stop the taxman from chasing unaccounted or untaxed income earned from dealing in crypto assets,” elaborating:
Since the IMC recommendation, from the date of coming into effect, does propose a 90 day window to disclose and dispose crypto assets, any information provided in response to this notice would also get covered by the grace period.
What do you think of the Indian tax authority sending this probing letter to crypto owners? Let us know in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before making any decisions. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
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Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.
The new ShapeShift platform offers an integrated suite for digital asset management, enabling an end-to-end tool for secure storing, buying, selling, trading, and tracking cryptos, the company stated.
The platform supports 50 cryptocurrencies including bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and litecoin (LTC), ShapeShift noted, adding that it is targeting common international traders instead of institutional investors.
As such, ShapeShift platform’s users can now integrate with the platform using their hardware wallets such as Trezor or the ShapeShift-owned KeepKey, the firm said in the press release. ShapeShift claimed that more methods of private keys’ storage will be rolled out later on.
In the press release, ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees said that the company has been preparing the initiative for more than a year. He stressed the platform’s non-custodial nature as a basic benefit eliminating security risks.
Unlike custodial cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase, non-custodial platforms do not have access to funds of users due to the absence of control over users’ private keys.
Shapeshift is reportedly one of the most popular platforms providing non-custodial exchange of crypto. Though the creation of an online account is still required.
In mid-May, Shapeshift CEO Voorhees argued that there is no way for bitcoin to be worth trillions without experiencing “cyclical bubbles,” implying that bubbles are a significant part of the development of crypto industry. In early 2019, Voorhees announced that the company had to lay off a third of its staff due to a prolonged period of a bear market.
Hardware wallets don’t have to look beautiful – they just have to work. The Corazon by Gray is a silver titanium device that happens to deliver on both counts. USB hardware has never looked or felt so good in your hand. All that brushed metal and angular chic comes at a price though, which in the case of this Trezor on pretty pills starts at $695.
The Corazon Will Steal Your Heart But Hurt Your Wallet
Owning a designer hardware wallet presents something of a quandary. Like a tattoo in an intimate place, it should only be seen by a trusted few, but after eyeballing your 12th vodka shot, you want to show everyone. A hardware wallet is a special thing you should keep to yourself, but the Corazon doesn’t make that easy. This is the sort of gadget you could wear around your neck with a fat platinum chain. This isn’t a 90s hip-hop video though and if you walk the streets wearing the Corazon as a fashion accessory you’re gonna have a bad time.
As a reviewer, I have no option but to broadcast my ownership of crypto wallets, which include a Cobo Vault, Coldcard, Keepkey, Cool Wallet, Ellipal and several Ledgers. I’ve got a drawer full of them, complete with an assortment of recovery seed phrases for devices whose pin numbers I’ve almost certainly forgotten. My protection against being robbed is that each device holds a few hundred sats at most, added for testing purposes. When one satoshi achieves parity with the dollar, my collection of crypto dust will finally make me a target, but until then I’m not worth bloodying your wrench on.
Unless, that is, anyone were to covet my Corazon for its comeliness rather than its contents. Housed in an “aerospace grade” titanium case that’s been CNC machined by Gray is a Trezor Model T, one of the most popular hardware wallets on the market. The Corazon Titanium reviewed here retails for $695, rising to $995 for the limited edition Stealth or $1,495 for the even more limited edition Gold.
What Makes the Corazon Tick
The Corazon comes in an attractive black box, with twin security seals ensuring it hasn’t been tampered with. Inside, the device nestles snugly, bidding you to reach out and prise it from its foam padding. Brace your wrist for the strain the moment your hand wraps around the hardware wallet. For a small gadget, the Corazon is surprisingly heavy – but reassuringly so. It’s no less than you’d expect from Gray, a luxury tech company best known for its premier accessories for iPhone, Samsung, and Macbook.
A second layer in the box peels back to reveal a quick-start guide and recovery cards, and below that, a third layer containing the finest looking USB cord you ever did see. Running its sinewy black and silver ribbed cord through your fingers, you feel feelings for a computer cable you didn’t realize were possible.
Once connected to my laptop, the Corazon is detected and I’m directed to Trezor’s setup page. There I’m prompted to install Trezor Bridge, software that will enable the web app to communicate with the Model T via my Mac. The file takes up less than 10 MB, and installs easily. Upon refreshing the setup page on the Trezor website, I’m prompted to click a button and the device’s firmware begins installing. The process takes under a minute, whereupon the wallet automatically restarts.
The Corazon in Action
Despite having reviewed close to a dozen wallets, Trezor’s wares have never crossed my threshold. The Corazon is the first Trezor I’ve set up, and the process proves easier than that of any wallet I’ve used to date. It’s rare in my experience for a wallet to work at the first time of asking, but be it due to good luck or good UX, the Corazon performs perfectly. Credit for this must go to Trezor, whose responsive touchscreen paired with an intuitive web interface is noob-proof. In terms of security, the Trezor Model T is equivalent to most of the consumer devices on the market; any physical exploit that a skilled hacker could leverage falls under the banner of “hypothetical,” unless you’ve got Mossad on your tail, in which case you should probably be fearing for your life, not your crypto.
The list of cryptocurrencies the Corazon Model T holds is extensive. A BTC wallet is automatically installed when you download the latest firmware, but adding other coins is as simple as selecting from a dropdown menu in Trezor’s web application, whereupon an address will be generated and a corresponding account added to your dashboard. I create a BCH address and fire over 0.1 BCH that I’ve got rattling around in a Bitcoin.com Wallet. It shows up in less than five minutes, with the BCH and USD values clearly displayed in the dashboard.
In addition to sending and receiving cryptocurrency, the Trezor wallet portal enables you to sign and verify messages using your private key and to connect to Myetherwallet or Mycrypto using your Corazon to serve as your Ethereum network signatory. There’s also the means to exchange currencies directly within the Trezor web app thanks to integration with coin-changing services such as Changelly and Changenow. My 0.1 BCH was matched with a best offer from Changenow, and a quoted bitcoin cash network fee of less than $0.01.
The real worry with the Corazon is that in the event of another crushing bear market, the device could easily wind up being worth more than the tokens you bought at the top and solemnly entombed in the device as your legacy to future generations. If you can invest wisely in cryptocurrency, however, and have enough left over to stretch to the Corazon, it will safeguard your coins while stealing your affections. Just don’t tell the world about it. Owning a Corazon is a love that dare not speak its name.
Would you spend $700 on a crypto wallet? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Gray and Trezor.
Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to third party companies or any of their affiliates or services. Bitcoin.comis not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any third party content, goods or services mentioned in this article.