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eToro Money

latest release: 30.0.0 last analysed  24th April 2021 Custodial: The provider holds the keys  
1.7 ★★★★★
99
5th March 2019

Jump to verdict 

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Please help us spread the word discussing the risks of centralized custodians with eToro Money  via their Twitter!

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.

If you find something we should include, you can create an issue or edit this analysis yourself and create a merge request for your changes.

The Analysis 

From the eToro wallet FAQ:

**Where is my private key? (eToro Wallet)
eToro secures your private key using market-leading security technologies. As per eToro’s security protocols, we do not share our wallet addresses, as doing so may expose our clients’ funds to potential attacks.

which is a convoluted way of saying:

  • Not your wallet but the company “eToro secures your private key”
  • You cannot even know if they have all your coins as they “do not share our wallet addresses”

The other question is also not really answered:

Where are my coins held? (eToro Wallet)
When the coins are in the wallet, they are stored on the blockchain (hot storage). Coins on the platform are held mostly in cold storage.

which again means nothing. All coins are stored “on the blockchain”, hot or cold. This dichotomy makes no sense but we think they try to say that the amount stored in this app (eToro Wallet) is fully in their server’s hot storage while balances on their trading product are mostly in cold storage.

Please also note that this app achieved a considerable amount of installations despite a miserable 1.8★ rating. In this case, this app is only for users of their other app eToro Cryptocurrency Trading and this app is the only way to get your Bitcoins out of the other app.

So we assume this app is custodial and thus not verifiable.

(ml, lw)

Verdict Explained

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.

Apps 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.
The app 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 app 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.