Cobo Wallet

Written By
Deniz Saat
Reviewed By

Are you considering storing your Bitcoin offline with a hardware wallet? The Cobo Vault is a secure and reliable hardware wallet that has an easy to use air-gapped option.

Overview

Air-gapped wallet that does not need to connect to an online device.

Open-source.

Multiple cryptocurrency support.

Overall Rating
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Security

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Who are they?FeaturesCurrencies SupportedHow does it work?Is it Safe?ProsConsFAQ

Who are they?

Cobo was founded at the height of Bitcoin’s 2017 bull market by Discus Fish (CEO) and Changhao Jiang (CTO). The company is headquartered in Beijing with offices in Shanghai, Xian, and Seattle. Fish founded F2Pool, a mining pool company, and Jiang is a former Facebook engineer. Their company provides the needed tools for individuals and institutions to custody their cryptocurrencies. Cobo emphasizes their long-term approach in security, reliability, and convenience for their customers. They address all major storage markets with products like: Cobo wallet (a hot wallet to store crypto on mobile devices that are connected to the internet), Cobo Vault (a cold wallet that does not connect to devices with internet access), and Cobo custody for those who want the convenience of having Cobo manage the storage solutions for them. Along with security, Cobo’s mission is to be a one-stop shop for everything crypto by supporting 12 different coins (with the Cobo Vault Pro device), 700 tokens, and providing access to an integrated DApp store (decentralized applications that run on distributed computer networks).


The Cobo Vault Pro device comes in a box sealed in plastic. Make sure that the packaging is not tampered with or opened. Inside the package, you will find the following:

 

  • Cobo Vault Pro device
  • Coupon code
  • AAA battery pack and USB-C rechargeable battery pack
  • USB-C cord
  • Recovery Seed cards
  • Installation manual

Features

  • Large display screen makes it easy to use and view all assets. 
  • Hardware is more durable than competitors. 
  • Open-source firmware.
  • Supports multiple currencies and digital tokens. 
  • Also has a Bitcoin-only firmware. If you decide to download the Bitcoin-only firmware, it cannot be reverted back to support multiple cryptocurrencies.
  • Detachable battery.
  • Micro SD card slot to be used for firmware updates.
  • Multi-signature support. This method allows for a user to require 2 out of 3 signatures for verifying a transaction. A signature is a verification from the user to allow funds to be sent from the wallet in the device to another wallet.
  • Fingerprint scanner for unlocking the device.
  • Camera for scanning QR code addresses.
  • Sleek and easy to navigate interface.

Cobo Vault versus Coldcard

If a user is interested in using an air-gapped feature with their hardware wallet to add an extra layer of security, they may find Cobo Vault to be more straightforward than its competitors.

  • Camera on the device allows for QR codes to be scanned rather than manually transferred. A Coldcard requires the user to utilize a micro SD card to sign transactions.
  • Set up with a Cobo Vault requires less steps with the air-gapped feature when compared to Coldcard.
  • The Cobo Vault device is a touch screen and easier to use than the Coldcard number pad.
  • According to many Bitcoiners, Coldcard is considered to be the most secure hardware wallet on the market and has received excellent feedback from its users.

Supported Currencies

The Cobo Vault device supports 12 cryptocurrencies and a number of ETH, TRON, and EOS digital tokens. Here are the most popular: 

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • EOS (EOS)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Polkadot (DOT)
  • Tether (USDT)
  • Tron (TRX)
  • USD Coin (USDC)

How does it work?

Required:

  • The Cobo Vault device
  • Battery pack to power the device on
  • Seed phrase booklet
  • Smartphone
  • Users have the option to have a mobile wallet already be set up on their smartphone. This list includes: Cobo Vault app, Specter, Electrum, Wasabi, BlueWallet, and Sparrow.


Setting up your your Cobo Vault device:

  • Power on the Cobo device. You will then be prompted to authenticate the device by scanning a QR code with the Cobo device’s camera on the Cobo website. Once the QR code is scanned, a code appears on the device that must then be entered on the website.
  • A password must then be set up on the device.
  • Select "agree to the terms of service" and then tap the “Create Vault” button. 
  • Copy down the 24 word seed phrase onto the provided seed phrase booklet or on a non-digital material. Never take a picture or type your seed phrase onto a computer or smartphone. 
  • Type in the 24 word seed phrase on the Cobo Vault device to verify that you have copied down the seed phrase on another material.
  • Cobo Vault is only used as the storage device for the seed phrase as well as an interface to approve and sign transactions. Keeping this in mind, you must then pair the device with one of the compatible wallets to view the balances of your Bitcoin funds. The watch-only wallet apps include: the Cobo Vault app, Specter, Electrum, Wasabi, BlueWallet, and Sparrow. You may select whichever one you prefer.
  • For the Cobo Vault app, you may download it on your phone to pair the device.
  • Open the app on the smartphone and then select “Bind”. A QR code will appear on the Cobo Vault device and you may then scan the QR code with your smartphone camera.
  • The Cobo Vault is not connected to the internet and the app on the phone is the interface used for viewing all balances tied to the seed phrase of your Cobo Vault. You may think of the phone as the place to prep transactions but cannot send any funds without the approval of the Cobo Vault device.

 

For receiving:

  • Open the Cobo Vault App (or any of the apps, you decided to pair with your Cobo Vault device) and select the “Receive” button.
  • A QR code and an option to copy the address will display on the new window in the app.
  • Send the address to the party sending funds to the wallet or paste the address into the exchange account you wish to withdraw funds from.
  • Designate the amount you want to send to the Cobo Vault address. Also, adjust the fees for the transaction if necessary.
  • Verify to send the funds to the Cobo Vault address on the exchange you are sending from.
  • In the Cobo Vault app, swipe down on the main page to refresh and see if the transaction is pending. Once the transaction is confirmed on the network, it will state that the funds were received in the transaction history.

For sending:  

  • In the Cobo Vault app, select the “Send” button on the bottom-left portion of the main page.
  • Copy the address you wish to send the funds to and paste it in the Cobo Vault app.
  • Select how much you wish to send and adjust the network fees to the price that works for you.
  • Once all transaction settings are confirmed within the Cobo Vault app on your phone, select send and confirm.
  • A QR code will appear on the Cobo Vault phone app. Turn on the Cobo Vault device and sign in with your fingerprint or password. 
  • Select the square in the top-right of the Cobo Vault device to open up the camera. 
  • Scan the QR code displayed on the phone with the Cobo Vault device’s camera.
  • The transaction details will now appear on the Cobo Vault device’s screen. Select to sign and confirm the transaction with your password or fingerprint.
  • A new QR code will appear on the Cobo Vault device that holds all of the transaction details and signature. In order to broadcast the transaction, we must use the Cobo Vault app on the phone to scan the new QR code. Select the “Scan the QR code on the Cobo Vault” button on the phone to open the camera.
  • Once the new QR code is scanned from the Cobo Vault device with your phone, a popup will appear to broadcast the transaction to the network. Select the “Confirm” button.

Is 

Cobo Wallet

 safe? 

  1. The Cobo Vault device stores your private keys separately in an offline environment that never needs to connect to an online device (phone or computer). 
  2. To use the device, a password or fingerprint scan is required to access the private keys and send funds.
  3. Cobo Vault’s air-gapped option, also known as partially signed Bitcoin transactions (PSBT), allows users to sign their Bitcoin transactions by scanning QR codes rather than connecting the device directly to a phone or computer. This method further removes the already small possibility that the keys may be compromised on the device.  
  4. The user is able to back up their Cobo Vault wallet by copying down the provided 24 word seed phrase. If the device is lost, the user may still access their funds by importing the recovery seed onto a new device. 
  5. All firmware is open-source and available for everyone around the world to see.
  6. New wallets may be manually generated for every transaction to ensure more privacy for the user. If a user’s identity is attached to a wallet, the funds within the wallet are also known. By having multiple wallets for each transaction, the user’s other funds will still be anonymous. 
  7. The passphrase option allows for higher security but is recommended for experienced users. If the passphrase is lost, the funds stored in the Cobo wallet cannot be recovered. It is important to have multiple backups of the passphrase and recovery seed written down.

Pros of 

Cobo Wallet

The pros of using the Cobo Vault wallet are:

  • Open-source firmware.
  • Multi-currency and digital token support.
  • Bitcoin-only option for firmware that reduces attack vectors for the user. The more cryptocurrencies that are supported, the more likely there are bugs within the firmware.
  • Durable hardware and easy to use interface on the Cobo Vault device.
  • Private key is generated and stored offline. 
  • Air-gapped (PSBT) transactions allow an extra layer of security.
  • The Cobo Vault device has an easy to use touch screen and camera for faster transaction configurations.
  • Multi-signature support.

Cons of 

Cobo Wallet

The cons of using the Cobo Vault wallet are:

  • Matched pricing with Coldcard but both are more expensive than competitors. 
  • Within the default Cobo app, adding new addresses manually for transactions may be cumbersome if someone sends bitcoin frequently. Auto-generated addresses would be a nice option in a software update. The user also has the option to use any of the other supported apps with the Cobo Vault device.

FAQ

What is a recovery seed (seed phrase)?

The recovery seed is a set of 24 words that need to be written down in sequential order. Recovery seeds are a method for saving your private key in a readable format rather than using a very long series of numbers and letters. Whoever has access to your recovery seed can gain control of your wallet. It is imperative to keep it safe and private.

Which cryptocurrencies and tokens does Cobo Vault support?

Cobo Vault supports: BTC, ETH, BCH, DASH, DCR, EOS, ETC, IOST, LTC, TRON, XRP, XZC, DOT, KSM, TCFX, ERC20, TRC20, and EOS Tokens. Here is a list of supported assets.

What happens to my bitcoin if I lose my Cobo Vault device?

As long as you have the seed phrase written down on a non-digital material, you may import that seed phrase onto a new device. By doing so, you will gain back access to all your funds.

Why do I need to use another wallet (watch-only wallet) with my Cobo Vault?

A watch-only wallet is required to be used with a Cobo Vault device because it is only to be used as a storage device for the private keys. Using a preferred software wallet (watch-only wallet) with Cobo Vault allows the user to decide which interface they are most comfortable with. The user may only view their balances and transactions with the phone app and the Cobo Vault Pro device is used only for verifying and signing transactions.

Can I import a recovery phrase generated by another wallet into Cobo Vault?

Cobo Vault supports importing 12/18/24-word recovery phrases generated by any BIP39 wallet. Precautions: Cobo Vault supports segwit addresses for BTC, which require less fees than legacy addresses for the same transaction. You can manage assets on other formatted addresses with Cobo Vault when using Electrum, Bluewallet, Wasabi Wallet or Specter as your watch-only wallet.

What is PSBT?

PSBT is an emerging standard for "Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions" or BIP 174. The Cobo Vault device uses PSBT with the attached camera to scan addresses and never connect to another device. This added security layer ensures that the Cobo Vault Pro is much less likely to be compromised from an infected device.

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WRITTEN BY
Deniz Saat
Deniz Saat is an IT services specialist and technical writer.
REVIEWED BY

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