Buy & Sell Bitcoin - Koinwalatest release: 2.0.5 ( 20th October 2021 ) last analysed 11th November 2021 Custodial: The provider holds the keys
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 ¶
The app describes itself as a “digital exchange” that services the Kenyan and Nigerian regions.
Third Party Media Mentions
User can apply for a minimum of N10,000.00 and a maximum of N100,000.00 worth of crypto assets. Any User that intends to access the crypto credit facility on the Platform must provide referee(s) that must run an account on the Platform.
For a loan within the range of N10,000.00 to N19,999.00, the User must provide another User as guarantor; N20,000.00 to N49,999.00, three guarantors must be provided and one out of the three must be a crypto trader on the Platform; for N50,000.00 to N100,000.00, user must provide three guarantors with two being a crypto trader on the App and one out of the two must have completed three crypto trades.
A compound annual Interest shall commence accruing as of the start date of the Koinwa Crypto Credit at the rate determined at the time the Nexo Crypto Credit is granted and indicated in the Nexo Account and on the Nexo Platform. The Interest shall be subject to revision from time to time, at our sole and absolute discretion.
We tried the app and found a bitcoin wallet denominated in Naira and BTC. It has send, receive and transfer functions. What we found odd was the requirement of adding a bank before BTC could be sent. The transfer function is for transferring bitcoin to Koinwa community members. We were not able to find backup and restore functions. There was also no seed-phrases on the platform.
Buying Bitcoin gets credited on the app itself and not on a third party app.
Bitcoin loaning apps with a built-in wallet that needs to input a bank account are usually custodial. This means that the app cannot be verified.
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 not, we tag it Custodial!
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.
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