Coinbase Wallet to Feature Private Key Backup on Google Drive, iCloud

Coinbase's Wallet app will soon allow users to back up their private keys on personal cloud storage platforms Google Drive and iCloud.

AccessTimeIconFeb 13, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:53 a.m. UTC

Coinbase Wallet users will soon be able to back up their private keys on personal cloud storage platforms Google Drive and Apple's iCloud.

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange announced the news in a blog post Tuesday, saying that, in case users misplace their private keys or lose devices, they can use the new feature to back up their 12-word recovery phrase to avoid losing access to funds held in the app.

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With cloud storage backup, users will have to only remember a password to recover their funds, Coinbase said, as the private keys would already be safely stored. For added security, the firm still recommends storing the passphrase manually after activating the cloud backup service.

The backup feature is encrypted with AES-256-GCM encryption and accessible only by the Coinbase Wallet mobile app, Coinbase said. It can only be decrypted using the password.

The exchange further said that neither it nor cloud service providers would be able to access to users’ passwords or funds at any time, as passwords would be in the sole possession of users.

Users wanting to use the feature will have to opt in when the Wallet app gets updated in the "next few days." Cloud backup can be enabled at any time from the Settings menu, by selecting "Recovery Phrase" and following the prompts, according to the post.

Coinbase said it's also planning to add support for other cloud platforms in the future, besides iCloud and Google Drive.

The news is getting a certain amount of pushback on social media, as people raise the risks of storing vital keys on the cloud.

One Twitter user said:

"This is IMO good but remember 1) Cloud storage is compromised all the time, so the password matters 2) if you need to remember your password, where are you storing it? How secure is that location? How redundant?"

Others offered a more cynical take. Again on Twitter, a joke poll asking if people would save their private keys in the cloud using the feature had 100 percent saying "no." The poll was closed with two votes.

Last week, Coinbase announced bitcoin support for the Wallet app on iOS and Android.

Google Drive image via Shutterstock; Wallet screenshot courtesy of Coinbase 


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