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Volt: Defi & Crypto & Bitcoin

latest release: 2.2.1 ( 16th November 2021 ) last analysed  11th November 2021 Custodial: The provider holds the keys 
5 ★★★★★
40
3rd April 2020

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Please help us spread the word discussing the risks of centralized custodians with Volt: Defi & Crypto & Bitcoin  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 

(Analysis from Android review)

App Description

It advertises itself as:

Volt is a wallet that grandma can use by removing key management responsibility away from end users. It is as easy to set up and use as any other apps we use daily.

Volt claims to be able to store funds securely and transfer funds easily.

It also does not provide mnemonics to users as seen in this quote below:

Easy setup: Set up the wallet by verifying email and connect your face id without having to write down mnemonic words and worry about losing it. There is no private key upon wallet creation and nor is a full private key is formed or used during the transaction signing process. This removes single point failure problem which happens with all mnemonic words based wallets.

The Site

There are no private keys generated upon account creation and during all signing process.

This solution provides better security and privacy compared with private key based accounts and p2sh based multisig solutions.

It also claims to restore the wallet from a lost device through facial recognition.

You’ll never lose your assets from Volt even if your device is lost, recover by a simple scan of your face.

The App

We tested Volt to try out its features. Email addresses must be verified via an 8-digit OTP. Users are then allowed to start by setting a local password or a FaceID or TouchID. We did not find a backup or a restore feature. And as it claimed, no mnemonics were provided.

Verdict

Its claim to an innovative approach to wallet security by removing a single-point of failure which it describes as the seed phrase, may fall short. Many questions arise such as: where is the facial data stored? If restoring a wallet from a lost device requires the use of facial recognition, then that data must be stored somewhere else - perhaps their own servers. If that is the case, the one who controls the server containing the user’s data is the custodian. We couldn’t find their code neither on their website nor searching for their appID ‘bitmesh.volt.wallet’ on GitHub. This means that the app cannot be verified.

(dg)

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.

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.
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.