The team behind the popular Kryptokit wallet and encrypted messaging extension for Chrome browsers now has a new offering called RushWallet, allowing near-instant bitcoin wallet creation from any device or platform.
The philosophy behind RushWallet is "ease of use and removing friction"; effectively, bitcoin should be as quick and accessible as reaching into your pocket for some cash. There shouldn't be any need to remember login and password credentials every time you need to spend some money, and you should keep full control over your private keys.
RushWallet is the latest product of the Kryptokit company based at the Decentral cryptocurrency co-working space in Toronto, which includes co-founders Anthony Di Iorio (team leader) and Steve Dakh (lead developer), among others.
A better successor to Instawallet
Di Iorio told CoinDesk that RushWallet is designed to be a more reliable implementation of the now-defunct Instawallet, which served a similar purpose:
"Since then it's been our goal to come up with a new instant wallet service, and that's actually where Kryptokit came from. The key is to have an instant wallet that's very easy to set up without any login credentials."
Created in 2011, Instawallet had over 1 million accounts and was once lauded by bitcoin developers for its ability to quickly create and use bitcoin addresses. But, a 2013 hack saw it fraudulently relieved of all user funds.
Hackers were able to gain access to users' secret URLs, which were stored online. Instawallet later replaced most users' balances after a 90-day claims process.
RushWallet is open-source and does not house any user information, bitcoins, 'brain wallets' or passwords on its servers, instead storing everything locally on users' machines. If the service were to disappear, users could simply import their brain wallet elsewhere without any loss.
Di Iorio explained:
"We never want to hold on to people's coins. And should anything ever happen to us, you have the full ability to import your wallet somewhere else."
How to create and use a RushWallet
To create a new RushWallet, simply go to the company's website and move your mouse (or finger on a touchscreen) around the box to generate added randomness, or entropy. There is the option to password-protect the wallet, though this is not compulsory.
RushWallet then generates a brand new wallet with a public key. Look in the URL/address bar and you will see a random-looking string starting with '#' or hash - the code after the hash is your brain wallet seed, and is a 'secret link' not visible anywhere other than on your local browser. Either copy the full URL somewhere safe or bookmark it for future access.
If you want, you can import this brain wallet seed into the Kryptokit extension, a Blockchain wallet, or anywhere else that supports importing this format.
Users may create an unlimited number of RushWallet addresses and re-use them at any time providing they can remember the secret URLs. The service also integrates with the OneName system, which allows users to send and receive bitcoin using simple user names instead of the standard, difficult-to-remember bitcoin addresses.
Users also have the option to create their own custom brain wallet seeds by typing https://rushwallet.com/# followed by a self-created string.
Not the wallet for life savings, or total anonymity
One word of caution: even though the 'secret URL' is never stored on the Internet itself, most modern browsers will save every URL they see, meaning your new brain wallet may get saved too. That's handy if you're the only person using your machine, but more dangerous if you're using a shared or public computer.
For this reason, the RushWallet team recommends setting a password, or using RushWallet only for quick transactions after which the new wallet is emptied and disposed of. Even if a hacker were to somehow gain access to a user's secret URL, a password would prevent them accessing your funds.
Otherwise, be sure to clean out the browser's history as you would to get rid of any other embarrassing or unwanted URL record.
While using multiple, easily created bitcoin addresses is a step toward anonymity and makes payments more difficult to tie to an individual, Di Iorio said this is not one of RushWallet's primary functions.
Despite early impressions last year, neither RushWallet nor the Kryptokit extension is designed as a competitor the upcoming Dark Wallet, or the various other coin-mixing services available.
The Kryptokit extension
The RushWallet team's previous offering, the KryptoKit wallet extension for Google's Chrome browsers, has proved a solid and easily-accessible bitcoin wallet. It also supports encrypted instant messaging, auto-detection of bitcoin addresses on a page and a directory of bitcoin-accepting merchants.
Kryptokit has proved reliable so far. Its only hiccup was in May, when it was erroneously marked as malware and auto-removed from browsers by Google. It was restored promptly without any users losing funds.
The service counts Erik Voorhees, Roger Ver and Vitalik Buterin as team advisors.
Hardware wallet coming soon
Once RushWallet is launched and running smoothly, the development team will turn to its next project: a hardware wallet.
Led by hardware specialist Deepayan Acharjya, it has already produced a prototype device. The plan for now is to ultimately produce two devices: one version designed to be either portable or even wearable for use "like a checking account", and a second for 'pure' cold storage in a safe place, eliminating the need to keep a spare computer for the purpose.
The team is currently working with a design firm to produce a more stylish version of the prototype.
Disclaimer: This article should not be viewed as an endorsement of any of the companies mentioned. Please do your own extensive research before considering investing any funds in these products.
Images courtesy RushWallet