BlockFi: Buy and trade cryptoLatest release: 5.11.5 ( 10th January 2023 ) 🔍 Last analysed 27th August 2021 . Custodial: The provider holds the keys
As the provider of this product holds the keys, verifiability of the product is not relevant to the security of the funds!
As part of our Methodology, we ask:
Is the product self-custodial?If the answer is "no", we mark it as "Custodial: The provider holds the keys".
A custodial service is a service where the funds are held by a third party like the provider. The custodial service can at any point steal all the funds of all the users at their discretion. Our investigations stop there.
Some services might claim their setup is super secure, that they don’t actually have access to the funds, or that the access is shared between multiple parties. For our evaluation of it being a wallet, these details are irrelevant. They might be a trustworthy Bitcoin bank and they might be a better fit for certain users than being your own bank but our investigation still stops there as we are only interested in wallets.
Products that claim to be non-custodial but feature custodial accounts without very clearly marking those as custodial are also considered “custodial” as a whole to avoid misguiding users that follow our assessment.
This verdict means that the provider might or might not publish source code and maybe it is even possible to reproduce the build from the source code but as it is custodial, the provider already has control over the funds, so it is not a wallet where you would be in exclusive control of your funds.
We have to acknowledge that a huge majority of Bitcoiners are currently using custodial Bitcoin banks. If you do, please:
- Do your own research if the provider is trust-worthy!
- Check if you know at least enough about them so you can sue them when you have to!
- Check if the provider is under a jurisdiction that will allow them to release your funds when you need them?
- Check if the provider is taking security measures proportional to the amount of funds secured? If they have a million users and don’t use cold storage, that hot wallet is a million times more valuable for hackers to attack. A million times more effort will be taken by hackers to infiltrate their security systems.
Help spread awareness for build reproducibility
Please help us spread the word discussing the risks of centralized custodians with BlockFi: Buy and trade crypto via their Twitter!
Do your own research!
Try out searching for "lost bitcoins", "stole my money" or "scammers" together with the wallet's name, even if you think the wallet is generally trustworthy. For all the bigger wallets you will find accusations. Make sure you understand why they were made and if you are comfortable with the provider's reaction.
The Analysis ¶
While this might be a good thing:
- External Custodians are usually highly specialized in securing assets
- External Custodians will care about fixing issues with one client, to not lose others
- External Custodians are usually registered businesses under regulatory oversight
- External Custodians will try to protect your funds even from your wallet provider: With fraud detection, they will certainly try to avoid the emptying of all users' wallets at once
- External Custodians are extra intermediaries: Even when the wallet provider wants to let you use your money, they might turn out to be uncooperative
- External Custodians holding custody of many wallets are interesting targets for hackers and thieves
- External Custodians, being publicly registered will not be able to resist if in their jurisdiction rules on the use of Bitcoin get tightened
As External Custodians usually don't publish lists of companies they are working with and past information might be outdated, we have no way of assuring claims by wallet providers to be using their custody solution. Please let us know if you found proof that the provider is being dishonest about their business relation to External Custodians!
BlockFi is the easiest place to buy, sell and earn cryptocurrency
BlockFi provides financial services to individuals and businesses worldwide and in all 50 U.S. states. Our offerings include interest-earning accounts, low-cost USD loans secured with crypto and fee-free trading.
Its partner/custodian is Gemini. More info
Link to BlockFi Terms
Except as set forth in terms specific to your BlockFi account, digital assets you purchase from us shall be accessible via Online Platform in one or more omnibus wallets, via a third-party custodian. You can learn more about these arrangements at https://blockfi.com/securely-stored-assets/. BlockFi will track the balance and ownership of digital assets stored through the Online Platform in hosted wallets, and you can view the balance of digital in your BlockFi Account through the Online Platform.
Blockfi Wallet Terms
Our BlockFi Wallet is a non-interest-bearing crypto custody account that allows you to hold, transfer and manage your cryptocurrency held in your account
More info on Blockfi custodial services
In order to pay our clients crypto interest on a monthly basis and to meet withdrawal requests on a timely basis, we engage in a number of activities, including (1) keeping a material amount of digital assets available for withdrawal with third parties such as Gemini, BitGo, and Coinbase; (2) purchasing, as principal, SEC-regulated equities and predominately CFTC-regulated futures, and (3) applying risk management to the lending activities in the institutional market. The credit risks to these institutions are mitigated by credit due diligence and/or collateral (such as cash, crypto, or other assets). BlockFi also engages in a number of other revenue-generating activities that support its balance sheet and its payment of crypto interest.
BlockFi Interest Accounts (BIAs) are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). BIAs are not registered with any federal or state securities regulatory authority.
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