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IriKey

🔍 Last analysed 23rd March 2022 . No source for current release found Not functioning anymore

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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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The Analysis 

While Iritech’s social media still looks to be active, there is little recent information online concerning their bitcoin hardware product. They are primarily a biometrics company. Listed relevant videos and articles all come from 2018-2019. Additionally, we found it odd there does not seem to be any clear link to any store for this hardware wallet.

IriKey is said to be a hardware wallet that utilizes iris biometrics. Here is a video demonstrating this product’s functions.

The providers state that IriKey does not utilize seed phrases. From its article:

IriKey has a built-in NIR iris camera and on-board iris software that is used to “mix” (or “lock”) the wallet’s secret seed with its owner’s iris data. Once the so-called “iris locked seed” is generated (i.e., the mixture is done), the original seed and iris data will be forensically deleted for security purposes. The original seed can be retrieved from the locked seed if and only if a newly captured iris image is determined to be from the same eye used in locking the seed. That way, it will only take the owner an iris scan to login to IriKey (no PIN needed) or recover their assets in case the device is lost or stolen, given that the locked seed has been backed up in advance.

Generally, using biometrics for authorization is a bad idea. The presence (or mere visibility) of the user’s eye does not mean the user’s consent as

  • it has no good replacement for duress or decoy wallets
  • you can’t change the PIN if the login credentials (biometric features) leaked
  • you have no plausible deniability about knowing a PIN/password

There wasn’t any information on IriKey’s source code. With little information about this product, we’ll have to assume its code is not up for review.

(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. You should still prefer actual open source licenses as a competing wallet won’t use the code without giving it careful scrutiny.

But we also ask:

Is the product still supported by the still existing provider? If not, we tag it Defunct!

Discontinued products or worse, products of providers that are not active anymore, are problematic, especially if they were not formerly reproducible and well audited to be self-custodial following open standards. If the provider hasn’t answered inquiries for a year but their server is still running or similar circumstances might get this verdict, too.