Bitcoin Brink’s: ​​Storied Security Firm Protects Crypto Wallets Now

Brink’s is working with Swiss crypto custody firm Metaco to facilitate the distributed storage of disaster recovery backups.

May 5, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 5, 2022 at 2:28 p.m. UTC

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

Brink’s (BCO), the company best known for moving valuables around in armored trucks, is bringing a physical security layer to the safekeeping of digital assets.

Partnering with Swiss cryptocurrency custody firm Metaco, the 162-year-old firm is helping institutions prep for worst-case scenarios.

“In the case of a catastrophic failure there’s a backup, which is typically in the form of certified, HSM [hardware security module] smart cards,” said Metaco Vice President of Strategic Alliances Seamus Donoghue in an interview.

Retail crypto holders with a hardware storage device like a Ledger Nano, for instance, will have something like a 24-word seed phrase to back it up.

But institutions investing billions on behalf of clients can have backup master keys fragmented and stored on multiple smartcards, which can be reconstituted and loaded into an HSM to recover the private keys.

This leads to a dilemma over what to do with these physical devices, Donoghue said, since investors want to avoid storing them at a central point of failure – which is where Brink’s comes in.

“Brink’s has custody locations around the globe and their specialty is secure logistics, handling banknotes for all the major financial institutions, precious metals and storage of those precious materials on behalf of institutions,” Donoghue said. “So it was a very natural fit for the physical backup of private keys to be stored in a distributed way across multiple vaults by Brink’s.”

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Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

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