Custody Solutions
Nov 21, 2023

The Future of Consumer Bitcoin Self-Custody: Mobile-First Multisig

Discover the future of Bitcoin self-custody with Theya's mobile-first multisig. Say goodbye to complexity – embrace user-friendly, secure Bitcoin management.

The Future of Consumer Bitcoin Self-Custody: Mobile-First Multisig

This guest post is from the team at Theya, who are building a new collaborative custody solution for Bitcoin. They are currently in beta, which you can join here. Disclaimer: the opinions expressed here are Theya’s and are published without editorial input from Apollo, though we’re excited to help them launch their product and encourage Apollo users to test their Vault product.

The growing adoption of Bitcoin has emphasized the need for secure and user-friendly self-custody solutions.

The complexity of using hardware wallets in their multi-signature vaults is too overwhelming for most newcoiners and precoiners. On the other hand, retail crypto investors learnt from FTX, BlockFi, PrimeTrust, and Celsius that trusting such centralized exchanges and custodians is asking for financial calamity.

This needs to change.

Picture from Wall Street Journal

Self-Custody is Idealized in Bitcoin, but UX is Overlooked and Sacrificed

"Not your keys, not your coins" is a foundational principle that sets Bitcoin apart as a unique asset. The ability to hold and control your private keys is essential for unlocking the full potential of Bitcoin as a financial asset. By holding your own keys, you gain the power to transact and store wealth without relying on third-party intermediaries. 

This level of autonomy offers true financial freedom. Unfortunately, as Bitcoin is still its early phase, the user experience (UX) of Bitcoin self-custody, wallets and hosted vault services is was largely overlooked and unnecessarily sacrificed for the sake of security. Early adopters may have been comfortable with using specialized, geeky devices to secure their private keys, but as Bitcoin gains traction among a broader audience, the next wave of users, the "newcoiners," will rightfully expect a high-grade, slick consumer experience when they embark on their journey to embrace the money of the future. To drive mass adoption, it is imperative that the UX of Bitcoin self-custody is refined and made more intuitive.

Single-Key vs Multi-Key Self Custody

The most common approach to self-custody involves using a single signature hardware wallet with one recovery seed having complete access to Bitcoin. While it offers advantages like eliminating counterparty risk, it also poses drawbacks, making users vulnerable to potential risks if the key is lost or stolen. A single key introduces a single point of failure.

Multi-key vaults offer a secure solution by requiring multiple keys to access funds. This enhances security and resiliency, safeguarding against key compromise and ensuring access even in unfortunate situations. Creating a spare key provides a backup plan, ensuring peace of mind and full control over Bitcoin holdings. Multi-key vaults are a valuable solution to address concerns of security and access in self-custody.

While many users start with exchanges or basic mobile wallets, the innovative next step is embracing a mobile-first multisig product. This upgrade significantly enhances the security, resiliency, and useability of consumers' Bitcoin holdings. In this post, we explore the potential of mobile-first multisig as the future of consumer Bitcoin self-custody, and Theya is proud to be at the forefront of this innovative approach.

The Case for Mobile-First Multisig

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash

Traditional custody methods, such as single hardware wallets, exchanges, and single signature software wallets, have inherent limitations and risks. To address these shortcomings, multisig wallets have gained prominence. Multisig wallets utilize multiple signatures to increase security and eliminate single points of failure. As we examine the evolution of self-custody and consumer technology products, it becomes evident that a shift towards mobile-first solutions is underway, given the ubiquity of smartphones and their integration into our daily lives.

Advantages of Mobile-First Multisig

Mobile-first multisig offers unparalleled accessibility and convenience, as users can access and manage their Bitcoin anytime and anywhere using their mobile devices. The built-in security features like biometric authentication and secure enclaves further enhance the overall security of multisig wallets.

A critical feature of using hardware wallets is to isolate the private keys and transaction signing process from the rest of the wallet. Building multisig on mobile devices takes advantage of the fact that a large portion of the world already has their own unique device. Using multiple devices dramatically enhances security as more than one device needs to be compromised at the same time. This dramatically reduces security risks, and it enables a comfortable, more familiar experience for new users. By leveraging the ubiquity of mobile devices, mobile-first multisig provides a comfortable and familiar experience for new users, making self-custody more approachable to a broader audience.

Theya's Comprehensive Solution

At Theya, we are dedicated to providing a holistic and simple self-custody solution that uses the 2-of-3 multisig security model. Our approach combines the strengths of iPhone technology with hardware wallets, delivering a powerful and secure user experience. 

While users have the option to utilize hardware wallets, our platform operates seamlessly with just iOS devices, making it more accessible for the masses. We recognize the importance of simplicity and convenience without compromising security, and our mobile-first multisig platform exemplifies this commitment.

The Importance of Getting Mobile Multisig Right

A crucial aspect of driving mass adoption of self-custody is creating an intuitive and user-friendly mobile experience. Addressing potential concerns such as usability, trust, and security is paramount in ensuring widespread acceptance of mobile-first multisig solutions. At Theya, we have placed these factors at the forefront of our development process, focusing on robustness and user-centric design. By prioritizing the user experience and instilling trust, we aim to overcome barriers and facilitate the adoption of mobile-first multisig.

Theya is Building the Future

As the future of consumer Bitcoin self-custody unfolds, mobile-first multisig emerges as a key component. Theya remains committed to providing a comprehensive and simple solution that seamlessly combines the convenience of mobile devices with the security of multisig and hardware wallets. 

We encourage readers to embrace the opportunities presented by mobile-first multisig, empowering themselves with greater financial sovereignty and control over their Bitcoin assets. Join us on this transformative journey by visiting https://www.theya.us/.