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AJGlobalV

App Store
Latest Release: 2.1.0 17th June 2024

Our wallet review process

We examine wallets starting at the code level and continue all the way up to the finished app that lives on your device. Provided below is an outline of each of these steps along with security tips for you and general test results.

Developer

AJ TRUST MERCHANTS GLOBAL LIMITED

Custody

Custodial!

As part of our Methodology, we ask: Is the product self-custodial?

The answer is "no". Therefore we marked it as "Custodial: The provider holds the keys".
Read more

Source code

Private

Released

8th September 2020

Application build

As the provider of this product holds the keys, verifiability of the product is not relevant to the security of the funds!

See test result
Tested 19th October 2021

Distribution

App Store
3/5 stars

Platform notes

On the Apple App Store, there are many apps that have Bitcoin in their name or description but don’t allow the user to use Bitcoin or they don’t look like Bitcoin wallets but turn out to be. We run our tests and document our findings.

WalletScrutiny started out looking only into Android. This is because mobile wallets are the most used wallets, and Android is the most used among mobile wallets, but looking into iPhone wallets was high on the list from the start.

For Android, the reproducing build process is relatively clear; some apps did this before we started the project. For iPhone, this was not the case. As a result, iPhone app reproducibility was an open question.

We asked around. Several years passed. Nobody could reproduce any iPhone app.

At this point, we shift the burden of proof onto the providers (or Apple). If you want people to trust your app (or platform), explain how it can be audited. We will move on in the meantime and list iPhone apps with an empty reproducible section until then.

Passed 4 of 9 tests

We answered the following questions in this order:
We stopped asking questions after we encountered a failed answer.

Is this product the original?

The answer is "yes".
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Fake" and the following would apply:

The answer is "no". We marked it as "Fake".

We did not ask this question because we failed at a previous question.
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Fake" and the following would apply:

The bigger wallets often get imitated by scammers that abuse the reputation of the product by imitating its name, logo or both.

Imitating a competitor is a huge red flag and we urge you to not put any money into this product!

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.
Is it a wallet?

The answer is "yes".
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Not a wallet" and the following would apply:

The answer is "no". We marked it as "Not a wallet".

We did not ask this question because we failed at a previous question.
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Not a wallet" and the following would apply:

If it’s called “wallet” but is actually only a portfolio tracker, we don’t look any deeper, assuming it is not meant to control funds. What has no funds, can’t lose your coins. It might still leak your financial history!

If you can buy Bitcoins with this app but only into another wallet, it’s not a wallet itself.

Is it for bitcoins?

The answer is "yes".
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "A wallet but not for Bitcoin" and the following would apply:

The answer is "no". We marked it as "A wallet but not for Bitcoin".

We did not ask this question because we failed at a previous question.
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "A wallet but not for Bitcoin" and the following would apply:

At this point we only look into wallets that at least also support BTC.

Can it send and receive bitcoins?

The answer is "yes".
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Can't send or receive bitcoins" and the following would apply:

The answer is "no". We marked it as "Can't send or receive bitcoins".

We did not ask this question because we failed at a previous question.
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Can't send or receive bitcoins" and the following would apply:

If it is for holding BTC but you can’t actually send or receive them with this product then it doesn’t function like a wallet for BTC but you might still be using it to hold your bitcoins with the intention to convert back to fiat when you “cash out”.

All products in this category are custodial and thus funds are at the mercy of the provider.

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.
Is the product self-custodial?

The answer is "yes".
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Custodial: The provider holds the keys" and the following would apply:

The answer is "no". We marked it as "Custodial: The provider holds the keys".

We did not ask this question because we failed at a previous question.
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Custodial: The provider holds the keys" and the following would apply:

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.
Is the source code publicly available?

The answer is "yes".
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "No source for current release found" and the following would apply:

The answer is "no". We marked it as "No source for current release found".

We did not ask this question because we failed at a previous question.
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "No source for current release found" and the following would apply:

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.

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.
Is the decompiled binary legible?

The answer is "yes".
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Obfuscated" and the following would apply:

The answer is "no". We marked it as "Obfuscated".

We did not ask this question because we failed at a previous question.
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Obfuscated" and the following would apply:

When compiling source code to binary, usually a lot of meta information is retained. A variable storing a masterseed would usually still be called masterseed, so an auditor could inspect what happens to the masterseed. Does it get sent to some server? But obfuscation would rename it for example to _t12, making it harder to find what the product is doing with the masterseed.

In benign cases, code symbols are replaced by short strings to make the binary smaller but for the sake of transparency this should not be done for non-reproducible Bitcoin wallets. (Reproducible wallets could obfuscate the binary for size improvements as the reproducibility would assure the link between code and binary.)

Especially in the public source cases, obfuscation is a red flag. If the code is public, why obfuscate it?

As obfuscation is such a red flag when looking for transparency, we do also sometimes inspect the binaries of closed source apps.

As looking for code obfuscation is a more involved task, we do not inspect many apps but if we see other red flags, we might test this to then put the product into this red-flag category.

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.
Can the product be built from the source provided?

The answer is "yes".
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Failed to build from source provided!" and the following would apply:

The answer is "no". We marked it as "Failed to build from source provided!".

We did not ask this question because we failed at a previous question.
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Failed to build from source provided!" and the following would apply:

Published code doesn’t help much if the app fails to compile.

We try to compile the published source code using the published build instructions into a binary. If that fails, we might try to work around issues but if we consistently fail to build the app, we give it this verdict and open an issue in the issue tracker of the provider to hopefully verify their app later.

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.
Does the published binary match the published source code?

The answer is "yes".
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Not reproducible from source provided" and the following would apply:

The answer is "no". We marked it as "Not reproducible from source provided".

We did not ask this question because we failed at a previous question.
If the answer was "no", we would mark it as "Not reproducible from source provided" and the following would apply:

Published code doesn’t help much if it is not what the published binary was built from. That is why we try to reproduce the binary. We

  1. obtain the binary from the provider
  2. compile the published source code using the published build instructions into a binary
  3. compare the two binaries
  4. we might spend some time working around issues that are easy to work around

If this fails, we might search if other revisions match or if we can deduct the source of the mismatch but generally consider it on the provider to provide the correct source code and build instructions to reproduce the build, so we usually open a ticket in their code repository.

In any case, the result is a discrepancy between the binary we can create and the binary we can find for download and any discrepancy might leak your backup to the server on purpose or by accident.

As we cannot verify that the source provided is the source the binary was compiled from, this category is only slightly better than closed source but for now we have hope projects come around and fix verifiability issues.

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.

Application build test result

(Analysis from Android review)

App Description

The platform allows the trading of gift cards, Bitcoin and Naira.

Our Vision: to be the most preferred Gift Cards and Bitcoin trading partner – locally and globally.

Google Play Critical Reviews

Note: Out of 87 total reviews, the app received 3.5 Stars. It is also worth noting that the developer responds to each review promptly and professionally.

Ayo gift
★☆☆☆☆ June 23, 2021
So fake can’t even sign in I try using another email account still yet keep saying rubbish..

Muhammad Umar
★☆☆☆☆ June 1, 2021
This app is a bad app doesn’t sign up but nestybag announce the app as if is a good app .. the app is very bad .. wasting of MB…. I will only give him one star ⭐ because I can not post it without putting star

The Site

The Terms and Conditions

Termination Clause

By opening a AJ Global Account you accept and agree that AJ Global may, without further notice and in its sole discretion, terminate, suspend or restrict the account of any customer who uses, or who we reasonably suspect may be using, the AJ Global Site or any AJ Global Account in a manner that is inconsistent with the letter or spirit of these Terms.

KYC

AJ Global implements and maintains the highest standards of Know Your Customer (“KYC”) processes and controls as part of our commitment to combating fraud and assisting in the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. While our industry is largely unregulated, AJ Global voluntarily adheres to local and international compliance standards in relation to customer due diligence.

The App

We downloaded the app to test it. There is a bitcoin wallet that allows users to:

  • Buy
  • Sell
  • Receive
  • Transfer

Buy

To buy bitcoin, the user must input a dollar value, which then calculates the Naira value and the Bitcoin value. You are then asked to fill up a ‘Pin’ field which is assigned by the user. Once an amount is inputted, there is a message that states:

Note: Total bitcoin received by you may differ from the true value we sent.

Sell

Selecting sell from the Bitcoin wallet, we are then presented with different ‘Bitcoin variants’:

  • B1 - 10 to 99 ₦ 530
  • B2 - 100 to 499 ₦ 540
  • and so on

Selecting one presents us with a form that we are supposed to fill. Entering a dollar value calculates the Naira value and Bitcoin value. There’s also a note that says:

Note: Total credited amount may differ depending on the true value sent.

Receive

It is possible to receive Bitcoin via QR code and a BTC wallet address

Transfer

The fields for transfer are:

  • Bitcoin Value
  • Dollar Value
  • Receiver Address
  • Pin

Gift Cards

This includes amazon, Google, iTunes, Steam and others.

Verdict

Most apps with developers catering to the Nigerian population usually uses gift cards and Naira to trade Bitcoin. So far, among the other apps that we’ve reviewed, AJGlobal is one of the few that actually generates a BTC address with functions that allow sending or receiving. However, the service still holds the private keys, implements KYC and has a termination clause that could lock out the user from the platform. This makes the service custodial and the app cannot be verified.

Tests performed by Daniel Andrei R. Garcia

Do your own research

In addition to reading our analysis, it is important to do your own checks. Before transferring any bitcoin to your wallet, look up reviews for the wallet you want to use. They should be easy to find. If they aren't, that itself is a reason to be extra careful.