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The escalating price of bitcoin leaves the world holding its breath once again. Hodlers, traders, and even small investors are looking for the best solution – which will merge security and functionalities together. Opolo wallet recently entered the famous TOP 10 Forbes Best Hardware Wallets. Likewise, it’s about to launch a Crowdfunding campaign at the end of Q1, 2021.
Let’s dive into this new challenger with the founder’s interview.
Hey Julien & Fahad! Happy to connect today and learn more about the OPOLO Hardware wallet! Can you tell us more about the founding of the project and what the problem is that you were addressing?
Thanks for having us. The project started 2 years ago when I (Fahad) noticed that existing hardware wallets are not user-friendly and only allow us to use a few crypto assets at once. In other words, these wallets were not suitable for common users and day to day use. If we want mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, we have to make them super simple to use. I often say, all of our products should be so handy that even our grandma should be able to use them. Security was on the top of our list. So we wanted to develop a new, secure, and user-oriented hardware wallet, that’ll support as many coins as possible.
After 2 years of development and burning the midnight oil, the device is finally ready. This new wallet provides ease of use for both the novice users and the experienced ones e.g. traders.
Could you please give us a rundown of the most important things about the OPOLO Hardware Wallet?
Security of the product: to define the security by design, not just an extra layer added at the end of the project. That’s the first pillar, and we have achieved it by using EAL6+ Secure Element (SE). Most of the devices are not convenient, so we wanted such a device which is user-friendly, manageable, and supports as many cryptocurrencies as possible.
At this time, such a level of security, with an extensive selection of coins, and so many functionalities going on concurrently does not exist excepting OPOLO. It’s like a Hardware Wallet 2.0.
So going forth into 2020 and beyond, how will your project make an impact in the crypto space, or on the world?
Today, many crypto traders and/or miners are either using online exchanges or insecure devices such as laptops and smartphones to save their crypto assets; it’s an extremely alarming situation. As you know that billions of dollars had been lost due to exchange hacks or computer/mobile hacks. So we don’t want the user to take the risk by storing their hard-earned assets in insecure or risky places. Only a few people are using hardware wallets for the safekeeping of their assets. We want to help crypto hodlers and traders to have a better option to store their crypto assets, by giving them a more secure way to store and access crypto assets. We offer our users an ecosystem where they can store, trade, and exchange their crypto assets in a frictionless manner.
We also want to help newcomers to come into the crypto world effortlessly, so they don’t need to know anything about blockchain and still can send / receive crypto assets. It’s like the Steve Jobs moment where he introduced the Apple iPhone to the world. When all existing mobile phones had so many buttons that were tough to deal, he gave a simpler option i.e. the touch screen. We want to serve the crypto owners in the same manner.
Now, could you tell us about your accomplishments so far, and in the history of the OPOLO Hardware Wallet, please tell us what you are most proud of.
The biggest challenges were to meet all of the competences: hardware, design, development, crypto coins integration, security of the hardware wallet, and to make them all work. Another prime challenge was to design a sleek and eye-catching product, that looks simple yet elegant. Eventually, two years of hard work by our team brings us to this moment. We can say that we are proud of the result: OPOLO allows dealing with more coins than we expected at the beginning and we are improving the product every single day. OPOLO already supports more than 120 coins and all ERC20 tokens. Working is so exciting with such a talented team especially when everybody tries to reach the moon!
So OPOLO is using dedicated Secure Element to store the private keys, could you tell us more about this?
The secure element is designed to keep a secret and it’s almost impossible to break the security around them. For example our passports and credit / debit cards issued by the banks have a secure element to protect their keys. In OPOLO, the Secure Element is keeping the seed of the wallet i.e. the 24 words mnemonics.
Some hardware wallets don’t have a secure element, which makes them vulnerable to physical attacks. Hence, a user will lose his funds if someone will get access to his wallet. A few hardware wallets are relying on EAL5+ secure element, however, we wanted to provide state of the art security components. OPOLO Cosmos is designed around EAL6+ secure element. EAL means Evaluation Assurance Level which is based on Common Criteria: this identifies the level of tests that have been done on the component: 6+ is the best certification at this moment for a Secure Element.
We will not restrict security checks to Secure Element only. Keeping in mind the constantly increasing security practices, we are continuously working and testing on three parallel approaches:
- Internal pentester team is checking the full white box approach
- Well known external auditors are making in depth analysis on IoT and interface
- Independent consultants are performing bug bounty on the device
That’s how the security level of Opolo stays as high as possible.
You also want to make it possible for users to exchange their crypto assets from the hardware wallet and directly to the exchanges so they can do trade on any exchange of their choice. How will you make this possible?
OPOLO Cosmos comes with a desktop application called OPOLO Desk, which interacts with the hardware wallet. It brings an overview of all the coins and tokens stored inside. OPOLO Desk can do a lot more than a visualization, because it offers the capability to exchange a coin by another coin. In fact, OPOLO Desk has integrated APIs from the most famous coin swap platforms that enable the user to swap coins instantly, even without leaving the application.
For instance, if the user has Bitcoin and wants Ethereum instead, he only has to go to the EXCHANGE menu on the OPOLO Desk, choose initial and requested COINS, and the transaction will be executed. Easy and quick process!
I know that OPOLO Hardware Wallet has a lot of focus on user experience right? How do you test this, and how do you make the user experience better?
We rely on the experience of end-users like crypto traders, coins miners, and hodlers. We collected information through surveys on social networks. Our team members also belong to these backgrounds. At Opolo, we experiment with functionalities gradually and modify them until the functionalities fully match the expectations. That’s why the first production batch took less than 2 years to come! Many prototypes and many tests have been made to reach such a product.
Needless to say, we want to keep improving the user experience. We will continue to hear feedback and to modify or add functionalities. It’s a long road, but we still maintain the direction to reach excellence. So don’t hesitate to give us your feedback, we are active on many networks like Telegram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also contact us through our website.
Now, give us a quick rundown of the future of the OPOLO Hardware Wallet. For example, what new things are you seeking to bring to life?
In our pipeline: we are planning to make an uncomplicated hardware wallet that’ll have as many blockchains as possible. In addition, we are also working on another model of OPOLO that is immensely affordable; everyone would be able to buy it, without thinking twice i.e. for mass adoption. We are working on several projects – all are related to crypto. There are so many things to improve in the crypto world, like making it easier for non-IT/technical and non-finance-related people. There is so much to be made in terms of Point Of Sale, Payment Terminals, and we are still at the beginning. We are checking and measuring each opportunity we can have and trying to work on it.
Tell us about your team. Who’re the people behind the screens?
Our team includes adept Hardware Developers, Firmware Developers, Secure Element Programmers, Software Developers, Crypto specialists, IoT Security Penetration Testers, Projects Manager, Marketing team and Business Angels. The company is based in Luxemburg, but all these people are spread globally. That’s our speciality. We have a Product Designer from South Africa, a Content writer from the USA, a Hardware Designer from Vietnam, a Firmware Developer and a Pen-tester from Europe. We may not share the same culture or the same nationality, but we are united by the same goal / mission, the same passion that drives us. In the beginning, we thought it was a challenge but it’s so easy when the team is utmost dedicated. We all believe that crypto is the future, and we want to help people to see the opportunities it brings.https://www.OPOLO.io
Which partnerships have you engaged so far, and which ones are the most impactful?
We are collaborating with many blockchain projects and we will be announcing a lot of partnerships, soon. Also, we’re working with coin swap platforms and have had very positive developments. We even got interests from different projects for investment, but we are leaving it for later.
If people would like to follow you on your social media pages or visit your website, what are the links they need to visit? Please list them below.
Thank you so much for your time! Do you have anything to add before we finish?
Yes, of course, Opolo is launching its Crowdfunding campaign. Early birds can have a 51% discount on the product. You can book it now on our website.