As a long-term stock investor, I have sought out high growth companies early on to add to my portfolio. Typically these are also the stocks that display the most volatility. But as they say, no risk no reward. Instead of day trading, my focus has always been to identify companies early and hold onto them for the long term. Recently, I began to acquire Bitcoin and Ethereum to diversify my holdings. Bitcoin and Ethereum are attractive investments because of a couple of unique properties. Intrusive governments cannot seize them, debase them, or enact poor monetary actions, thus ruining my investments. Storing my assets in a safe, secure fashion while maintaining my liquidity is paramount. I have early access to an amazing wallet solution called Arcana and thought I’d offer my thoughts as a review.
Trading on exchanges is one way to acquire more Bitcoin or Ethereum. Most exchanges use both as a trading pair. As a long-term investment holder, I focus on storing my wealth and watching my portfolio appreciate in value over time. However, mentioning exchanges is important for anyone entering the space.
An exchange is a trading platform, similar to E*Trade, where you can deposit your funds and start trading. Holding your funds on an exchange is only as safe as the security standards used by that exchange. Funds held by an exchange are stored in what is called a “hot wallet”. Exchanges are enticing targets for hackers since these wallets store huge sums of crypto assets. Several high profile exchange hacks such as the 2014 Mt. Gox hack of $460M and the 2018 Coincheck hack of $530M are reason enough to avoid holding your Bitcoin and Ethereum in exchanges. Put simply, when you let an exchange hold your funds you are essentially given an IOU from the exchange. When you are ready to withdraw, the exchange will complete the accounting on their end and return your funds. In the case of a hack, there is no insurance policy or reserve the exchange has to issue you a refund.
Hardware wallets such as the Trezor and Ledger Nano S are touted as the most secure method of securing your funds. These “cold wallets” often come with mnemonic based seed words (I’ll explain in a second) and a portable handheld device that connects to a computer via a USB cable.
When you receive a Ledger or a Trezor you will be asked to create a recovery phrase consisting of 24 words. These words are incredibly important just in case you lose your wallet and want to recover your funds. With hardware wallets, the private key is stored on the device as well. This all-in-one solution pushes the onus of security onto the wallet owner. Holding onto your wallet and storing your recovery mnemonic is critical.
Another moment of vulnerability is when a wallet connects online via USB. Only when the wallet connects to the internet is it vulnerable to hacks. That sounds a lot more secure than having some third party exchange hold my Bitcoin. Ultimately, I decided to store my funds with Arcana over any of these solutions. My reason? I won’t be constantly worrying about the location of my wallet and those precious 24 words.
Arcana offers many of the features that I am looking for: security, autonomy, and custody of my funds (not worrying about losing my private key or phrase). Its solution provides a liquid and secure method of storing and spending my crypto assets. Arcana also insures up to US$10,000 worth of crypto assets during launch. As an early tester, the web application appears ahead of its time compared to other wallet interfaces. When you first log in you’re prompted for your password and an additional layer of security with 2FA.
Compared to the Ledger Nano S, Arcana was intuitive to use and I do not have to worry about losing my passphrases. The Ledger has a very tiny LED screen while I could use Arcana’s full capabilities on the web. Below is a screenshot of the current web application. Over time they will also have a mobile app for both iOS and Android. If I lose my computer or phone, it’s not a huge issue due to Arcana’s recovery methods.
Arcana offers a unique security solution with military-grade security and assets are further secured in a distributed fashion on their net-gapped machines. These net-gapped machines, which is a form of cold storage, provide an additional layer of security by staying off the grid and only connecting when necessary. In order for funds to move the transactions require a number of machines to provide their signature to authorize transfers. All this security makes putting 24 words on a piece of paper in a safety deposit box seem silly.
I strongly urge you to sign up for Arcana so you can stay up to date on when this hits the shelves. I’ve enjoyed my preview of their solution and cannot wait for the release of their mobile app. Grow wealthy and prosper in the meantime. Click here for Beta Signup!
Featured Image: depositphotos/ nils.ackerman.gmail.com