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Axiom Crypto

🔍 Last analysed 23rd March 2022 . Provided private keys

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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.

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What is a bearer token?

Bearer tokens are meant to be passed on from one user to another similar to cash or a banking check. Unlike hardware wallets, this comes with an enormous "supply chain" risk if the token gets handed from user to user anonymously - all bearer past and present have plausible deniability if the funds move. We used to categorize bearer tokens as hardware wallets, but decided that they deserved an altogether different category. Generally, bearer tokens have these attributes:

  • secure initial setup
  • tamper evidence
  • balance check without revealing private keys
  • small size
  • low unit price
  • either of ...
    • somebody has a backup and needs to be trusted
    • nobody has a backup and funds are destroyed if the token is lost/damaged

The Analysis 

Product Information

Axiom is a metal cold device which has the public key engraved at the front in text and in QR form. The back of the card has the private key with a scratchable QR code. There is very sparse information about this product that we can find as they also do not have social media accounts. The project also has a similar name with another unrelated cryptocurrency project called “Axioms Crypto”.

Private Key

We can see some security concerns about this product. But first, here’s how they handled the private key:

All cards are made in our shop in Los Angeles, CA with no 3rd parties involved.

Key pairs are generated on fly mode while printing (engraving) on PC without hard drive (running on DDR memory)

We can find some information about the components of the card here:

The front portion

  • 0.5 MM Black Painted Stainless Steel
  • Deep Laser Engraving
  • Cryptocurrency and Logo
  • Public Key QR Code
  • Serial (Inventory) Number
  • Public Key Text

The back side

  • Private key QR code
  • Serial (inventory) number
  • Private key text
  • Cryptocurrency Abbreviation
  • Logo

Initially, the QR code is sealed with a sticker which bears the logo of Axiom as well as the inventory serial number.

Important Note: (The website does not indicate if the private key text is sealed as well! The picture on their site appears to show that it isn’t!)

The back side of the card also contains these instructions:

Use the QR code/wallet address on the front of this card to load (BTC) to your (BTC) wallet.

Gently scratch off and reveal your private QR code/private wallet address when you are ready to spend/use/sell BTC.

ANALYSIS

An unreasonable amount of trust has to be placed on the vendor. Even if they say that the key pairs are generated on “fly mode on a PC without a hard drive”, they have not offered any guarantee that they won’t simply take pictures of it themselves. If they have, we were not able to find it.

Secondly, only a sticker covers the private key QR code at the back of the card. An attacker in physical possession of the card would find it convenient to scan. There are also no indications that the private key text are sealed. With a low unit price of $5.99, the Axiom Crypto can be handed from one user to another.

(dg)

Verdict Explained

The device gets delivered with private keys as defined by the provider!

As part of our Methodology, we ask:

Are the keys never shared with the provider? If not, we tag it Provided Keys!

The best hardware wallet cannot guarantee that the provider deleted the keys if the private keys were put onto the device by them in the first place.

There is no way of knowing if the provider took a copy in the process. If they did, all funds controlled by those devices are potentially also under the control of the provider and could be moved out of the client’s control at any time at the provider’s discretion.

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.