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JAG Electromagnetics DIY Hardware Wallet

🔍 Last analysed 4th April 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 

The social media account for this specific project has not been updated since 2018 and the website is down. Any quotes listed below were taken from the archived version of the website.

From the description:

Shown below is the original transaction scheme proposed by JAG Electromagnetics in early 2017 for a client that had requested the development of a professional hardware wallet. This scheme was first tested with a raspberry pi zero loaded with firmware to prove that bitcoin transactions could be done by the JAG R&D team. After the proof of concept phase, JAG moved forward to the second and third phases of development and this proof of concept model was abandoned and was slated for destruction.

A JAG R&D team member suggested that instead of destroying the work that had already been done in the proof of concept phase, that we should turn it into a DIY project for hobbyists and makers and give away the firmware and the use of the associated basic web application (terminal) for free. As a consequence, the DIY bitcoin hardware wallet project was born.

Here is the list of required materials:

  • Adafruit 128x64 OLED Bonnet for Raspberry Pi Zero, PRODUCT ID: 3531, Price $22.50 USD, Link https://www.adafruit.com/product/3531
  • Raspberry Pi Zero WH (Zero W with Headers), PRODUCT ID: 3708, Price $14.00 USD, Link https://www.adafruit.com/product/3708
  • 8GB SD Card w/ Stretch Lite, PRODUCT ID: 2820, Price $9.95 USD, Link https://www.adafruit.com/product/2820
  • Adafruit Raspberry Pi Zero Case, PRODUCT ID: 3252, Price $4.75 USD, Link https://www.adafruit.com/product/3252

The repository that purportedly contains the DIY wallet’s firmware also seems to have been deleted or moved. This is also the case for the “companion website” where the user could manage the wallet. The homepage is still there but the rest of the page does not function properly.

Because of this, we have to assume this project is defunct.

(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.