Ethos Cryptocurrency Wallet: SmartKey & Security Explained

Wondering how the underlying security technology inside of the Ethos Universal Wallet works? In this feature we will explore how users create their SmartKey and how it can unlock a wide-variety of cryptocurrency wallets. Creating one of the safest and simplest ways to crypto yet.

What is a SmartKey?

A SmartKey is an Ethos service which lets users create a single key for all of their cryptocurrency wallets. The underlying technology is from a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal – or BIP – commonly known as BIP32.

Using BIP32, a single 256- bit seed, or small piece of data, can encrypt information for multiple wallets addresses across multiple blockchains. Even better, these wallets can be nested like a folder structure. This is known as Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets, and is an enormously powerful mathematical structure.

Ethos integrated this technology as a SmartKey. This means consumers can have the convenience of a single key that is represented by a 24-word phrase that can secure all of their wallets. While this might sound mind-boggling, there are estimated to be a billion possible SmartKeys for every atom on planet Earth, so you can rest easy knowing that your key is yours alone.

Your SmartKey lets you take unprecedented control of your assets and lays the foundation for an open, safe and fair financial ecosystem for everyone.

Want to learn more about SmartKeys? Check out this video.


So, How Safe is it?

Ethos leverages well-tested cryptographic standards and methods to ensure that your Universal Wallet uses an extremely high degree of security. The passphrase is 24 words (vs the 12 word standard used in many wallets) and the keys themselves are 256 bit, meaning uncrackable.

How are my SmartKeys Stored on my Phone?

Your SmartKey is stored in the cryptographic section of your phone and protected by your phone’s lock-screen pin/passphrase; your Universal Wallet pin; and an additional layer of biometric authentication.

For those seeking more details, we will be publishing a more technical look at how your SmartKey is protected soon. Here is a look at the process used to encrypt and doubly encrypt your SmartKey:

Cryptographic hash(PIN+salt) = encrypted seed → the encrypted seed is then passed to the Keystore/Secure Enclave* (Android/iOS) to be encrypted again → doubly encrypted seed is then stored in iOS Keychain or in private app storage for Android

Does Ethos have a Copy of my Private Keys?

No, Ethos does not have a copy of your private keys. When you generate a wallet, there is a handshake with our server that sends a copy of your extended public key to us. As you may know, you can create seemingly infinite private and public key pairs when you hold the SmartKey.

The extended public key stored by Ethos allows us to generate public addresses, track wallet balances, and support airdrops. This also allows us to tie your SmartKey to your Ethos account and prevent bad actors from using your SmartKey on another Ethos account

The extended public key does NOT allow Ethos control of your assets. You always maintain full custody of your assets.

Customer Data Protection

We take data protection seriously. Ethos will comply with GDPR and will apply the same standards of protection to customers all over the world.

We hope you enjoyed this guide to show you the details of the Ethos Cryptocurrency Wallet: SmartKey & Security Explained.

To learn more about the Ethos Universal Wallet – click here.

If you have any questions or support concerns, feel free to email us at [email protected].