In a rare move in the Bitcoin space, KeepKey has simultaneously begun to take orders for and to ship their flagship bitcoin hardware wallet. As of Wednesday, customers are able to purchase the USB device for USD$239 on Amazon, or directly from the KeepKey website using bitcoin. Worldwide shipping is included in the cost.
The KeepKey hardware wallet is designed to store and secure bitcoin while protecting them from virtual attacks such as malware and viruses. The device generates and stores bitcoin private keys, never sharing them with the connected computer. Another key feature is a large OLED screen that displays every transaction before it can be approved, thus allowing users to verify that they are sending funds to the correct address and reducing the chance of error.
“Our guiding principle is to empower individuals and organizations with bank-grade bitcoin security,” says Darin Stanchfield, the founder of the company. “This is what our device does, and it is simple to use. Other products that are available require a high level of sophistication to operate. With KeepKey, it is very difficult to do the wrong thing,”
KeepKey currently works with Google Chrome using the KeepKey Wallet Extension. It is also supported by popular bitcoin wallets, including Electrum and MultiBit.
“Our security model was designed to ensure that the user always has complete control over their private keys,” said Ken Heutmaker, a software engineer at KeepKey. “We feel that relying on trusted third parties degrades the security and privacy that the bitcoin ecosystem offers.”
As for KeepKey’s decision not to take pre-orders in order to fund the hardware wallet’s development, Stanchfield cites his own personal experience with being “burned” by other companies who have pre-sold items and then not been able to deliver.
“A customer takes enough risk when they buy any product,” Stanchfield said to Bitcoin Magazine. “We don’t think they should assume the risk of funding manufacturing, too. We made this promise to ourselves early on in development of KeepKey. Fortunately, we have had the finances to pursue this route to get KeepKey to market.”