Mycelium Entropy is a small USB device that uses hardware based entropy to generate printable Bitcoin paper wallets.

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Mycelium is an Android wallet provider. It is available on the Google Play Store for download for free. The wallet has many features some of which include

– full control over your private keys
– No block chain download, run instantly
– Super fast connection to Bitcoin through Mycelium’s super nodes
– Watch-only addresses and private key import for secure cold-storage integration
– Encrypted PDF backup and restore
– Secure your wallet with a PIN
– Compatible with other bitcoin services through bitcoin: uri handling
– Compatible with Orbot (socks setting) so you may connect via Tor even without rooting.
– Support for Bip38 Keys
– Find other people to trade Bitcoins with

and much more.

Mycelium made an announcement that they are working on a new project called Entropy. Essentially it is a USB device that looks like a regular flashdrive which is able to generate a new bitcoin address and a private key each time you put the device into the usb port of any printer. The company says that the device needs a few software fixes but its functionality is essentially complete. Check out this video for a brief explanation:

Transcript:

Finding a safe haven for one’s fortune is not easy nowadays. I recommend to have a closer look at Bitcoin, a digital alternative to gold and silver. To invest in Bitcoin you have to understand two things. The bitcoin address, and the private key.

The bitcoin address is like the number of your bank account. Everyone who knows it can send you money. The private key however, is like a pin code that you need to access your account. You have to be very careful with your private key. If you loose it, you will loose your bitcoins. As any computer may be intruded by hackers I deeply recommend to store your bitcoins on a paper wallet.

For this purpose I use this jolly device called Entropy. Each time you put it into the USB port of your printer it generates a new bitcoin address and private key that you can print out as a paper wallet. Once the entropy device has been removed, the private key is irradicated for good. So, it only exists on paper and can never be stolen by hackers.

I have in trusted the heritage for my grandchildren to an entropy paper wallet. In this case I have split the private key into several pieces. Thus, when I pass away both my heirs and their legal guardian has to consent in order to access the funds. I love my entropy.

How it works


The USB device – Entropy, generates a random number with 256-bits of entropy. That number is used to generate a paper wallet with private and private keys. Thus it brings a solution to 2 problems and bridges them in a nice way. One problem is the question as to how to generate a truly random number – which Mycelium solves by using the hardware’s entropy. The second problem is the ease of creating a bitcoin paper wallet. This way the device both creates a random address with a unique randomizing algorithm and creates an easily printable bitcoin paper wallet.

Here is how the results look like once the keys are printed:

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Mycelium further states that Entropy has additional security features unlike other paper wallets:

This is currently the most secure way to create paper wallets, since the keys are never exposed to the web, use true high level entropy, and only exist on paper. For extra security, Mycelium Entropy can also create M-of-N split keys, where the private key is split up in such a way that you need two out of three parts to spend from an address. In this way, if one of your paper backups is lost or stolen, the thief still can’t steal your coins, and you can still access them using the remaining 2 paper backups.

Raising money

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The company is raising money on indiegogo and currently has raised $9590 out of a total of $20,000 goal. By contributing you will either receive a shirt, a Mycelium Entropy device, or if you are a business owner and would like to order 40 Entropy devices to help promote your business you can do so as well.

Compatibility

One Issue I see arising with the Entropy device is compatibility. Since the device needs a compatible printer in order work it might be tedious to install drivers and configure the printer. Furthermore, many printers are connected to the internet which means they are hackable. However, the device does work with a completely offline printer but some printers store pictures of everything they print in memory which means that the paper wallet would be stored elsewhere.

The device seems like a neat way to generate random bitcoin addresses with a unique randomizing algorithm but the fact that it relies on a “secure” printer in order to make that paper wallet might bring the security level way down. Now if a company came out with scratchable bitcoin paper wallets we might have a breakthrough.

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