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Kinesis Money - Exchange Gold, Bitcoin & Currency

latest release: 1.2.65 ( 12th October 2021 ) last analysed  30th September 2021 No source for current release found 
3.8 ★★★★★
375 ratings
10 thousand
28th February 2020

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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.

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The Analysis 

Google Play

Kinesis app tries to integrate different markets for trading, sending and receiving. With the app, you can trade Kinesis gold (KAU), Kinesis silver (KAG) and cryptocurrencies. It also has an option for a Visa debit card. The app also features a ‘cryptocurrency exchange’ service that allows users to trade KAU and KAG with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The App

We downloaded the app and registered via email. It then asked us to verify and create a pin. We verified our identities via government ID, selfie and utility bill.

You need to setup 2FA in order to access the BTC wallet. Once you have that up, you can receive or send bitcoins. We then tried to look for options to backup the BTC wallet via a mnemonic or a seed. We were not able to locate it on the phone.

The Site

We were able to find some information that proves the app can send, receive and store bitcoin. One of them is the withdrawals fee page.

The options from the web application of Kinesis has more details regarding the 12-word recovery seed phrase. Note that we were not able to access this option via the mobile app.

What is your 12-word recovery (seed) phrase?

Your Kinesis 12-word seed phrase, also known as a “private keys”, “recovery phrase”, or “mnemonic phrase”, are a string of numbers and letters that are unique for each account. They are used to generate the public keys and these public keys are used to generate the public addresses you use to receive cryptocurrencies.

When you activate a wallet on your laptop using chrome, for example, this is the only place you can access it. If you want to access it on a different browser, or on another device, you will need to use that recovery phrase again.

While we were also able to locate the source code for the Android wallet, the repositories last commit was from May 18, 2018. The appID was also com.kinesiswalletapp rather than com.kinesis.kinesisapp, the appID on the Play Store.

From the Help Center: Can I use the Kinesis Wallet on multiple computers?

Yes, you can, however, you will need to import your Wallet on each new device and browser which will require your recovery phrase. Be aware, clearing your device cache will require you to re-import your wallet using the recovery phrase.

On the web application, we are able to import an existing wallet via a 12-word phrase or create a new wallet. Once we created a wallet, we were provided with our new 12-word phrase. After confirming that the user has saved the key, we were compelled to check the user agreement:

I understand that my wallet and Kinesis are held securely on this device and not on any servers.

Verdict

From the above, we can conclude that this app is non-custodial.

However, with the app’s latest update being on 2021-08-09 and the Github repository having last been updated back in 2018, it’s doubtable that the source code will match up. As such, this app is not verifiable.

(dg)

Verdict Explained

Without public source of the reviewed release available, this product cannot be verified!

As part of our Methodology, we ask:

Is the source code publicly available? If not, we tag it No Source! 

A wallet that claims to not give the provider the means to steal the users’ funds might actually be lying. In the spirit of “Don’t trust - verify!” you don’t want to take the provider at his word, but trust that people hunting for fame and bug bounties could actually find flaws and back-doors in the wallet so the provider doesn’t dare to put these in.

Back-doors and flaws are frequently found in closed source products but some remain hidden for years. And even in open source security software there might be catastrophic flaws undiscovered for years.

An evil wallet provider would certainly prefer not to publish the code, as hiding it makes audits orders of magnitude harder.

For your security, you thus want the code to be available for review.

If the wallet provider doesn’t share up to date code, our analysis stops there as the wallet could steal your funds at any time, and there is no protection except the provider’s word.

“Up to date” strictly means that any instance of the product being updated without the source code being updated counts as closed source. This puts the burden on the provider to always first release the source code before releasing the product’s update. This paragraph is a clarification to our rules following a little poll.

We are not concerned about the license as long as it allows us to perform our analysis. For a security audit, it is not necessary that the provider allows others to use their code for a competing wallet.

The product cannot be independently verified. If the provider puts your funds at risk on purpose or by accident, you will probably not know about the issue before people start losing money. If the provider is more criminally inclined he might have collected all the backups of all the wallets, ready to be emptied at the press of a button. The product might have a formidable track record but out of distress or change in management turns out to be evil from some point on, with nobody outside ever knowing before it is too late.