It’s a quandary we’re all familiar with, especially those of us initiated to the world of cryptocurrency since the frenzied few months of late 2018.
We want our crypto funds to be safe. We want them to be easy to access, without hiccups from peak traffic or exchange closures due to “technical difficulties.”
We’ve heard from all sides that keeping our funds in centralized exchanges puts it at risk of being hacked. Still, with many of the more sophisticated DEXs and wallets, we feel out of our depth. We are not fintech experts, so we gamble on the centralized exchanges, losing money both in high transaction rates and in the appreciation that holding crypto long-term in a wallet can bring.
Gnosis, the blockchain platform that builds the infrastructure for new markets to redistribute resources, aims to solve this problem and initiate the less tech-minded of us into the benefits of decentralization.
On July 19, they announced the launch of their decentralized wallet Gnosis Safe. Its design is versatile and intuitive, with both a Personal and a Team edition available, and offers users secure storage for their crypto funds.
Gnosis Safe Personal Edition
The Gnosis Safe Personal Edition is a wallet designed for individual users, using a 2+ factor authentication when using mobile apps (either Android or iOS).
Gnosis Safe beta is currently available for Android, while using a browser extension. Note that this version currently runs on the Rinkeby testnet, a Proof-of-Authority network that allows developers to deploy and test smart contracts without paying transaction fees before launching them for real on the Ethereum network. So be sure not to use any real ETH!
The iOS app will be released in the second half of 2018.
Gnosis Safe Team Edition
The Gnosis Safe Team Edition, on the other hand, targets teams that collectively manage crypto funds. It is essentially an enhanced design to the Gnosis MultiSig Wallet, employing superior smart contracts with lower costs for transactions, plus an improved UI.
Why Gnosis Safe?
Currently, the most widely practiced method of storing money among the bulk of crypto users is in a centralized exchange, such as Binance or Coinbase. While these exchanges are adequate and often preferred by newcomers due to their convenience, they can fall short in terms of security, be vulnerable to hacks, charge outrageous withdrawal fees, or all of the above.
Gnosis Safe offers a decentralized wallet that provides the security of cold storage with the user-friendliness of a simple, beginner’s app.
The basic screen that users interact with shows only the fundamental information about funds and user accounts, so as not to overwhelm. For example, more intermediate details such as gas limit, gas price, and private keys are hidden until the user requests to see them.
Making a transaction is simple and painless, and can be done regardless of whether the user holds ETH elsewhere than in the Gnosis Safe.
How To Get Started
Head over to Google Play to download the mobile app for Android, and then the Safe browser extension for your PC. This will automatically set up a multisig wallet connected to both the mobile app and browser extension, and you will be provided with a recovery phrase.
Normally, when it comes to smart contracts deployed on the Ethereum blockchain (as Gnosis Safe employs), the user would need an external account to pay the transaction fees. Gnosis Safe transactions bypass this third-party toll by having users set up a Safe to store funds, which will pay all future transaction fees.
By keeping all transactions internal, Gnosis Safe cuts the legwork in half, simplifying the whole process for users who have enough passwords and accounts to keep track of.
Something every user should be pleased to hear is that with Gnosis Safe they will maintain full control over their funds at all times. And Gnosis Safe will offer an array of recovery mechanisms, boosting wallet security to the extent that losing funds will be nearly impossible.
These mechanisms include:
- 12-word recovery phrase, to be stored offline in a safe location
- Multifactor authentication through signatures from your first 2 signers
- 2 signatures (3rd and 4th signers) accounted to recovery phrase
User Input and Moving Forward
As the Android app recently launched is a beta version, Gnosis are keen on hearing feedback from users. You can check out their bounty program for reporting bugs and glitches on Solidified.
After the beta version is fine-tuned, the team are looking forward to the mainnet release on Ethereum (the test release is currently on Rinkeby). In the coming months, they will also release their beta app of Gnosis Safe for iOS. They also have UX enhancements in the works, including transaction history, wallet support, and a clear display of the fiat values of ether and other currencies stored in the Safe.
With user feedback, the Gnosis Safe user interface should become even more intuitive and easy to work with, bringing cryptocurrency transactions one step closer to the mainstream.
This is great news for anyone who’s held back from venturing out of the tidal pool of centralized exchanges by unfamiliarity with more complicated dapps. And, equally importantly, it’s also great news for blockchain as a whole, whose longevity depends on democratization and mass adoption.