Magic Keys Roundtable -Ethos Podcast

In this video, Ethos tech team members, along with special guest Derek Barrera of, discuss Ethos Magic Keys. Ethos Magic Keys are an innovative new approach for managing self-custody in crypto. Magic keys remove the complexity and burden of traditional crypto keys by simplifying the process for managing, backing up and restoring keys. Ethos’s MPC Magic Key Technology is based upon high secure technology that has been typically reserved for businesses paying for enterprise contracts. Ethos is making this self-custody experience available to anyone, anywhere in the world, for free.


Background Material:

Turning your phone into a hardware wallet (Whitepaper)Meet The World’s Most Secure Custody Device : Your Mobile Phone
Coindesk Opinion Piece (Editorial)The End of the 'Centralization Era' in Crypto (
Ethos Explainer Vid (2 min)What is Ethos
Ethos Manifesto Vid (90 sec)The Return of Ethos : Defy with Defi


Ankur Maheshwari

Ankur Maheshwari leads a team of 400 engineers that have built over 50 successful blockchain applications.  His clients include public companies like Greenpeace, Geoverse (ATNI), Fandom Sports, and successful blockchain products like TrustToken, Pumapay, and Leda Health build their technical infrastructure. Ankur is a long-time friend of Ethos and Adam and Shingo, and helped build Ethos 1.0 front end and Bedrock systems.  He believes the new Ethos 2.0 project is much needed for the crypto industry, and is personally committed to the success of the new Ethos 2.0 project.


Tanuj Soni

Tanuj has a diverse background in emerging technologies, architecture and innovation. He is a lead architect of the Ethos Magic Key and Vault technologies and listed as a co-inventor on the pending Magic Key patent.  He is a specialist in scalable architecture design and enterprise grade security and cryptography. 


Derek Barrera

Derek Barrera is a highly seasoned blockchain engineer with a wealth of experience in the industry. Derek is CEO of Steer Finance, a venture-funded Defi investment strategy platform that works closely with industry leaders such as SushiSwap to manage liquidity and automated yield.  Previous to founding Steer Derek was a Core Developer at Volmex, Chief Technical Officer at Proof, Principal Blockchain Engineer at Voyager, Principle/Founding Engineer at and a CS, Marketing, and Business Graduate.


Shingo Lavine

Shingo started his first company,, at age 19 out of his dorm room at Brown University. Ethos supported 100s of different types of digital assets on top of a proprietary, high-performance blockchain abstraction architecture which drove billions of dollars in transactions.  Shingo served on the Voyager Board of Directors until he left in 2020.  


Adam Lavine

Adam is a lifelong entrepreneur working with major corporations including Verizon, AT&T, Universal Music and Chiquita to build scale consumer platforms and revenue. He is a co-founder of FunMobility, Motzie, Particle and Ethos 1.0 which merged with Crypto Advisors to form Voyager Digital. He specializes in return on capital through focused mission and team building. 


Why We Created Ethos Magic Keys

  • There is a big burden placed on users to manage their own keys
  • The way other wallets give you 12 or 24 word phrases is antiquated and insecure and places a lot of risk on the customer
  • Key technology is critical to mass adoption of decentralized platforms
  • Without easy to use key technology, people will continue to go to centralized platforms where centralized operators will abuse trust and lose funds


Vitalik (Founder of Ethereum) on Why We Need Wide Adoption of Social Recovery Wallets

  • 3 Major Issues
    • Wallet Security is a big problem
    • Hardware wallets along aren’t good enough
    • Mnemonic phrases aren’t good enough
  • 3 Criteria that are needed for effective wallet design
    • No single point of failure
    • Low mental overhead
    • Maximum ease of transacting
  • Ethos Magic Keys solve this issue


How Magic Keys Work

  • Magic Keys use “Safe Words” to encrypt “shards”
    • Shards are pieces of a key that have been cryptographically split such that any individual piece can’t reconstruct the key without the other pieces
    • This means that even if someone gets ahold of a couple shards, they can’t access your key without all the shards
  • Safe words encrypt 2 out of 3 of the shards
  • You choose 5 safe words like security questions that encrypt your shards 
  • You need to remember at least 3 out of the 5 security questions
  • ⅔ shards are held with you encrypted by security questions
    • You can safely put this on cloud storage because it doesn’t give access to your keys
  • ⅓ shards are held in secure storage protected by your social guardians
  • If someone ever cracks your safe words you can “reset your password” by generating new safe words and a new backup file


Magic Keys and Social Guardians

  • Based on Vitalik’s social recovery concept – social guardians protect your keys and help you restore them if you need to
  • Social guardians can approve or reject restoration requests
    • This means that if a fraudulent restoration attempt is detected by your social guardian, they can protect you and then you are able to secure your wallet
    • Unlike with mnemonics where you have no recourse if someone gets your key phrase
  • This introduces a powerful security measure that is combined with additional layers of security such as 2FA


Magic Keys & The Secure Enclave/TEE

  • For an in depth written exploration of the Magic Keys & Secure Enclave, you can read this whitepaper: Turning your phone into a hardware wallet (Whitepaper): Meet The World’s Most Secure Custody Device : Your Mobile Phone
  • Magic Keys use the secure enclave on iPhone and TEE on android to secure your keys
  • This gives you hardware level security with maximum ease of transacting
  • Through this system you can get live blockchain access to DeFi protocols and on-chain opportunities while always remaining in full control


When are you launching?

We are planning to launch in April or May.  We have 120,000 people signed up on our waitlist, so thank you to everyone who has signed up.  We also have 300 people on a Product Council that will be testing our alpha and betas, and also 300 Ambassadors who are going to spread the gospel of self-custody around the world.

We’re also sponsoring a recovery airdrop for people affected by the Voyager or Celsius bankruptcies.

Join our waitlist to be the first to know when our app releases!

Comments are closed.