Digital Scheme for Cryptocurrency Wallet Backup and Recovery

Technology #34225

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Researchers
Hossein Rezaeighaleh, Ph.D.
Managed By
Raju Nagaiah
Research Associate 407.882.0593
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Patent or Other Protection
Publications
New Secure Approach to Backup Cryptocurrency Wallets
2019 IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM), Waikoloa, HI, USA, 2019, pp. 1-6, DOI: 10.1109/GLOBECOM38437.2019.9014007
Deterministic Sub-Wallet for Cryptocurrencies
2019 IEEE International Conference on Blockchain (Blockchain), Atlanta, GA, USA, 2019, pp. 419-424, DOI: 10.1109/Blockchain.2019.00064

Key points

  • Eliminates the need for hard copy lists for back up/recovery of private keys
  • Usable in new and existing crypto hardware wallets
  • Creates a cheaper, more secure sub-wallet that is refillable in real time

Abstract

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a digital mechanism that provides a secure, convenient way for cryptocurrency users to back up the private keys in their hardware wallets and restore them when needed. A crypto hardware wallet (such as a USB stick, Bluetooth device or smartcard) generates private keys for a user to protect crypto assets, like bitcoins, during transactions. Yet, for almost all hardware wallets, backing up or recovering the private keys is inconvenient and less secure, since users must rely on a written word list (mnemonics) to initiate the processes.

To resolve this issue, UCF created the BlackCard© technology, which eliminates the need for paper lists by backing up private keys from one smart card to another. At the end of the backup process, the user has two identical crypto wallets and can use both of them as a functional wallet without any additional recovery step. Also, BlackCard enables a user to maintain a super-wallet/deterministic sub-wallet setup wherein the sub-wallet is refillable in real time, more secure against man-in-the-middle attacks, and easier to back up and recover.

Technical Details

UCF’s BlackCard technology is embedded software that runs on a programmable integrated circuit chip with an e-paper display (smart card). Designed to work as a part of a cryptocurrency hardware wallet, BlackCard uses an Elliptic-curve Diffie-Hellman algorithm and a user’s visual confirmation to back up the master seed (the root of private keys) from one card to another card. When creating a deterministic sub-wallet, the scheme derives the sub-wallet seeds from the super-wallet seed. Therefore, the super-wallet can build many sub-wallet addresses and refill them in a single blockchain transaction. Also, since BlackCard derives the deterministic sub-wallet seed from the super-wallet seed, the user only needs to back up the super-wallet seed.

Partnering Opportunity

The research team is looking for partners to develop the technology further for commercialization.

Stage of Development

Prototype available.

Benefit

  • Low cost
  • Fast, secure and more convenient than existing hardware wallet backup/recovery methods
  • Usable in all existing wallets, including cryptocurrency hardware wallets with limited resources

Market Application

  • Cryptocurrencies

Copyright and Trademark Information

  • Copyright registration: TXu 2-163-147
  • Effective Date of Registration: August 07, 2019
  • Registration Decision Date: October 28, 2019