The founder of Casa points out that many devices face serious difficulties in processing complex and multisigns transactions.
Jameson Lopp: BTC’s physical wallets still need a lot of improvement NEWS
Jameson Lopp, co-founder and CTO of the crypto Casa crypto custody company, published a blog post on September 13, reporting the results of various performance tests conducted on multisig hardware wallets for Bitcoin.
The report shows that physical wallet cryptos are able to handle small and simple transactions well, but they encounter difficulties if transactions become complicated.
Lopp pointed out that although his company has no control over hardware devices, the ultimate goal is to support any product. The CTO has therefore decided to conduct research to help multisig software vendors better understand the limitations of hardware so that they can improve code and increase performance.
Casa is currently compatible with six physical wallets, including Trezor, Ledger, Coinkite and Coldcard. The test was performed on all officially supported hardware devices and also on BitBoxes.
Lopp set up the test using Electrum’s 4.0.2 flatmage on Debian Linux and created multiple P2WSH (native SegWit) multisig wallets using the Bitcoin testnet, with hardware devices connected via USB. In each wallet there was a repository of 100 UTXOs.
Lopp has set up a series of tests to evaluate hardware performance when signing multisig transactions of varying complexity. He repeated these tests several times, concluding that the best thing would be for the hardware to show progress indicators for loading and signing. Finally, Lopp said:
„I have come to the following conclusion: a hardware that does not show a progress indicator for loading and signing the transaction does not really appeal to me. For this reason, I clearly prefer Coldcard and Trezor. BitBox and Ledger are anxious from this point of view, because you can’t tell if they are doing anything“.
Regarding the limitations related to transaction size, Lopp suggested that hardware wallets might try to split a transfer into smaller transactions.
When the transaction process takes too long, in fact, some devices automatically lock down, as if they were inactive. Lopp suggests that the least device manufacturers could do to avoid this is to disable the screen lock timeout while the device is still working on the transaction.
According to Lopp, hardware devices should also support Partially Signed Bitcoin Transaction (PSBT) and all possible valid multisig transactions:
„I think it’s time for hardware manufacturers to start acting as platform providers, making sure they provide robust solutions that can be used to build a wide variety of projects“.
According to Lopp, the process of signing a Bitcoin transaction by a hardware wallet has two distinct phases:
„First, the transaction is uploaded to the device, which analyzes the details and displays them on the screen for user confirmation. These details are generally the address(es) to which the funds are sent, the amount(s) and the fees that are paid. Then, upon user confirmation, the device signs each transaction entered and then returns the signed transaction to the wallet software“.