What is a Multi-Signature Wallet?
There’s no denying that the internet, today, leverages far too many trust models and has abstracted privacy and security measures.
With so many security breaches coming to the limelight every now and then, people are becoming more and more concerned about their online security, especially when it comes to their funds.
When it comes to digital currency, security is your responsibility. One single mistake, and you’ll lose everything. This is why you need to take it so seriously.
That’s the prime reason why Bitcoin requires too many steps when it comes to transactions and the security of your funds.
From a security perspective, your digital wallet plays a significant role in attracting or eliminating the risk of losing your funds. Thereby, you should choose the best wallets to store your cryptocurrencies.
You get two options when creating a digital wallet – a single signature wallet or a multi-signature wallet. The two come with their own pros and cons, and you might want to use both of them for different situations.
Single-Sig vs. Multi-Sig Wallet
Usually, Bitcoins are stored in standard single-key (single-signature) wallets that are based on public and private key cryptography. Managing a single-sig key is faster and easier. But it presents a number of issues in regards to security.
A user would only need one key to sign transactions and transfer the funds. Since you’re the primary point of failure with a single-sig wallet key, you’re more likely to fall prey to the new phishing techniques that cybercriminals are constantly developing to steal your funds from your cryptocurrency wallet.
Now, what does this mean is that whoever holds your corresponding private key will easily access your funds without your authorization.
The Concept of Multi-Signature Wallets
As the name implies, a multi-signature wallet (or a multisig wallet) is a crypto wallet that operates with multiple signature addresses. This type of wallet makes it possible for two or more users to sign documents and transactions as a group.
Take a bank’s vault, for example.
You use this vault to keep your funds and other precious belongings secure. You are provided with one key to the vault and the other key is kept by the bank itself.
None of you can open the vault with your respective keys. In order for you to access your belongings, you will need the consent of the bank. When the bank agrees, you’d need to use each of your keys at the same time to open the vault.
Multi-signature wallets work pretty much the same. The only difference is that you may require more than two keys to access your funds.
From a security aspect, this feature adds an additional layer of security to your cryptocurrency wallet.
Even if you lose your key, your funds will still be safe.
Types of Multi-Sig Crypto Wallets
The number of existing private keys and the number of signatures required to authorize a transaction to characterize multisignature crypto wallets. Here are some of the most popular solutions for personal wallets and even crypto exchanges.
2-of-2 MultiSig Wallet
The 2-of-2 multisignature technique is used in wallets that use two-factor authentication. The concept is to store private keys on two different devices. One private key, for example, is kept on a computer and the other on a mobile device. Without signatures from both devices, transactions cannot be allowed. The 2-of-2 MultiSig wallet improves security, but it risks losing access to your assets if one of the devices is compromised.
2-of-3 MultiSig wallet
This form of MultiSig wallet needs two out of three existing private keys to authorize transactions. Exchanges frequently employ them to improve the security of their hot wallets. One private key is kept online while the other is kept offline on an isolated device (often referred to as a “paper” backup) by an exchange that supports 2-of-3 MultiSig addresses. A different security firm keeps a third private key. Because two independent entities manage private keys, the wallet remains secure even if one of them is compromised. The offline backup also protects the hot wallet if the security partner goes out of business.
1-of-2 MultiSig Wallet
MultiSig wallets can also be used to share money amongst multiple users. You can set up a wallet that permits any of your two keys to creating the signature if you wish to share the use of funds in a single wallet with a trusted person. However, both keys are not required, implying that you can manage the funds individually.
Advantages of a Multi-Signature Wallet
There are a number of benefits associated with a multisig wallet:
A multi-signature wallet imparts users with an extra layer of security for their funds since you need more than one key to sign a transaction on the Bitcoin Blockchain.
A MultiSig can be utilized in a business partnership where numerous people need a say in the company’s finances. A wallet might be set up for each majority, such as a 4-of-6 wallet, in which each person has one key, and no one can access or misuse the funds.
2-of-3 MultiSig wallets are common for two parties to create escrow transactions. If something goes wrong, the transaction additionally includes a third party as a mutually trusted arbiter.
Because the private key can be stored on several devices, Multisig can be used as a two-factor authentication system. However, there are certain disadvantages to employing this strategy. If you use a 2-of-2 private key system and one of the keys is lost, you will lose access to your funds.
Disadvantages of a Multi-Signature Wallet
Despite the fact that multisig wallets are a fantastic solution for a variety of situations, there are still risks and restrictions to be aware of:
- Technical knowledge is required to set up a multisig address.
- Funds deposited into a shared wallet (or a multisig wallet) with multiple keyholders have no legal custodians. Because blockchain and multisig addresses are relatively new concepts, getting legal counsel if something goes wrong can be challenging.
- The speed of transactions is frequently slow. Because multisig relies on a third person, device, or location to access the wallet and sign the transaction, it slows down.
- The recovery process in a multisig wallet is time consuming. It is necessary to import each of the recovery phrases onto a separate device.
Despite a few drawbacks, a multi-signature wallet has many innovative uses that make Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies even more useful and enticing – particularly to businesses. Multisig wallets provide greater security and enable trustless escrow transactions by requiring more than one signature to transfer funds. As a result, the technology is anticipated to see increased usage in the future.
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