Keystone (Formerly Cobo Wallet)

Written By
Deniz Saat
Reviewed By
Ari Ramdial

Are you considering storing your Bitcoin offline with a hardware wallet? The Keystone device 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?

Keystone (formerly Cobo Wallet) 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. Keystone emphasizes their long-term approach in security, reliability, and convenience for their customers. They address all major storage markets with products like: Keystone companion app (an interface to view your funds when your hardware device is not connected), Keystone Essential (a cold storage wallet that does not connect to devices with internet access), Keystone Pro, and Keystone Ultimate. The main differences between the 3 Keystone device packs are the accessories included in each.

Along with security, Keystone’s mission is to be a one-stop shop for everything crypto by supporting 9 different coins, 700 tokens, and providing access to an integrated DApp store (decentralized applications that run on distributed computer networks).


With the Keystone Essential pack (base model pack), the 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:

 

  • Keystone device
  • AAA battery holder
  • 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 pack.
  • Keystone coupon.
  • SD card slot for updating firmware.
  • 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.
  • Camera for scanning QR code addresses.
  • Sleek and easy to navigate interface.

Keystone 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 Keystone 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 Keystone requires less steps with the air-gapped feature when compared to Coldcard.
  • The Keystone 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 Keystone device supports 9 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 Keystone device
  • Battery pack to power the device on
  • Seed phrase booklet
  • Smartphone


Setting up your your Keystone device:

  • Power on the Keystone device. You will then be prompted to authenticate the device by scanning a QR code with the Keystone device’s camera on the Keystone 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 Wallet” 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 Keystone device to verify that you have copied down the seed phrase on another material.
  • Keystone 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 the Keystone app. Download the app from the Apple App store or Google Play store.
  • Open the Keystone app on your smartphone and then select “Bind”. A QR code will appear on the Keystone device and you may then scan the QR code with your smartphone camera.
  • The Keystone device 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 Keystone device. You may think of the phone as the place to prep transactions but cannot send any funds without the approval of the Keystone device.

 

For receiving:

  • Open the Keystone App 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 Keystone address. Also, adjust the fees for the transaction if necessary.
  • Verify to send the funds to the Keystone address on the exchange you are sending from.
  • In the Keystone 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 Keystone 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 Keystone 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 Keystone app on your phone, select send and confirm.
  • A QR code will appear in the Keystone app. Turn on the Keystone device and sign in with your fingerprint or password. 
  • Select the square in the top-right of the Keystone device to open up the camera. 
  • Scan the QR code displayed on the phone with the Keystone device’s camera.
  • The transaction details will now appear on the Keystone device’s screen. Select to sign and confirm the transaction with your password or fingerprint.
  • A new QR code will appear on the Keystone device that holds all of the transaction details and signature. In order to broadcast the transaction, we must use the Keystone app on the phone to scan the new QR code. Select the “Scan the QR code on the Keystone” button on the phone to open the camera.
  • Once the new QR code is scanned from the Keystone device with your phone, a popup will appear to broadcast the transaction to the network. Select the “Confirm” button.

Is 

Keystone (Formerly Cobo Wallet)

 safe? 

  1. The Keystone 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. Keystone’s air-gapped option, also known as a 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 Keystone 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 public addresses 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 Keystone wallet cannot be recovered. It is important to have multiple backups of the passphrase and recovery seed written down.

Pros of 

Keystone (Formerly Cobo Wallet)

The pros of using the Keystone 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 Keystone device.
  • Private key is generated and stored offline. 
  • Air-gapped (PSBT) transactions allow an extra layer of security.
  • The Keystone device has an easy to use touch screen and camera for faster transaction configurations.
  • Multi-signature support.

Cons of 

Keystone (Formerly Cobo Wallet)

The cons of using Keystone are:

  • Matched pricing with Coldcard but both are more expensive than competitors. 
  • Within the default Keystone 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 Keystone 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 Keystone support?

Keystone 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 Keystone 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 the Keystone app with my Keystone device?

A watch-only wallet is required to be used with a Keystone device because it is only to be used as a storage device for the private keys. The user may only view their balances and transactions with the phone app while the Keystone device is used only for verifying and signing transactions.

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

Keystone supports importing 12/18/24-word recovery phrases generated by any BIP39 wallet. Note: Keystone supports segwit addresses for BTC, which require less fees than legacy addresses for the same transaction.

What is PSBT?

PSBT is an emerging standard for "Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions" or BIP 174. The Keystone device uses PSBT with the attached camera to scan addresses and never connect to another device. This added security layer ensures that the Keystone device 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
Ari Ramdial
CEO of Rhodium Labs

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