The Digital Bitbox is a plug-and-play wallet and second-factor authenticator that combines the highest security of cold storage with the convenience of software wallets. It is very different to the common products we think of when talking about crypto wallets – such as Ledger and KeepKey.
Upon plugging the Bitbox into your USB, the software will automatically pop up, prompting you to enter your password. The software is simple, intuitive, and easy to navigate, making it one of the easier cryptocurrency wallets to use. It literally took me less than 5 minutes to be up and running. I sent Bitcoin from my phone wallet using the QR code function and the transaction hit the Bitcoin blockchain within seconds. Importantly, both the software and firmware are open sourced, while a wide array of platforms is supported with additional apps for iOS and Windows.
What differentiates it from competitors on the market is the fact that the Digital Bitbox uses a micro SD card to backup your wallet as opposed to traditional seed phrases or paper wallets. For additional security, the backup and recovery can all be done offline and the native software client also fully operates not connected to the internet.
The hardware wallet also incorporates a feature known as “plausible deniability.” If you are being forced to open your wallet, you can intentionally enter a wrong password. Instead of rejecting the password, the device creates a new, empty wallet, creating the illusion your wallet is not holding any crypto.
One downside of the Digital Bitbox is that its software only supports bitcoin, which makes it difficult to move around your altcoins. To be exact, it supports any cryptocurrency that uses ECDSA as a signing algorithm – so the hardware itself provides altcoin support and can store them, but you can’t send funds through the software at this time, which is a shame. This is due to the Digital Bitbox being unlike any other hardware wallet, as it is just a signing tool, therefore you have to have software that understands the transactions and prepares them to be signed (unlike Trezor and Ledger which do the preparation on device and the reason they have to support individual altcoins).
So the BitBox is a signer-on-a-stick, as it actually acts just like a “gateway” providing a second layer of encryption for signing messages and transactions. It holds private keys and gives you an ECDSA signature for whatever data is provided to it – and it does not matter if you are signing messages, transactions or arbitrary data.
But it is not perfect – there have been multiple reports of the product being shipped in a not-very-safe way with only one tamper-proof seal and even pictures posted on forums of the item flat out falling out of the packaging with the seal intact. As such, the product with its minimal design is nice and does not attract unwanted attention – sadly, little attention is also given to it in the cryptocurrency community, as the Swiss company behind it is seemingly unable to get the user base knowing about the BitBox, much less be familiar with it.
With the talks of a major rebranding – rename of Digital BitBox and its parent company, as well as a major app expansions it is safe to say that if the BitBox was not on your radar before, it quite possibly should be in the future, at least for Bitcoin exclusive or advanced users, as it offers little value to altcoin users seeking a user friendly way to keep and use their funds.