Casa, a popular Bitcoin self-custody firm, is adding Ethereum support to its platform in what some may consider an unlikely move. An overhauled version of the Casa app will launch in January, according to the firm.
Although the company's original CEO and co-founder, Jeremy Welch, had floated the idea of onboarding multiple cryptocurrencies early in the firm's history, some people consider Casa to be a purely Bitcoin company. This may have to do with the popularity of the firm’s chief technology officer and co-founder, Jameson Lopp, an outspoken cypherpunk and Bitcoin advocate with nearly half a million Twitter followers.
Read more: What Is Crypto Custody?
Regardless of the public perception, come January Casa will not only support Ethereum's native cryptocurrency, ether (ETH), but will also be easier to use, thanks to user experience improvements that will be part of the platform overhaul, according to a release provided to CoinDesk.
“Casa will soon debut a refreshed app, with an enhanced look and feel that will improve members’ experience. Following that, Casa will introduce Ethereum storage, as well as new membership plans,” the release said.
The app works by leveraging crypto’s multisignature, or “multisig,” functionality. Multisig is when a user needs more than one signature to spend crypto funds. A user holding bitcoin (BTC) in a Casa wallet for example, could use a “2-of-3” multisig, meaning, three private keys exist, but only two are required to spend funds. If the user loses one key, they can still access their funds with the remaining two (one of which is entrusted to and securely stored by Casa).
“You have multiple keys protecting one pool of bitcoin or ether. That means if you lose one key, you don't lose all of your money,” current Casa CEO, Nick Neuman, told CoinDesk in an interview. “So you actually have some resilience and redundancy that provides significantly more security, and you don't have these stories of people losing their life savings.”
Crypto custody for 'everything important'
Indeed, cryptocurrency exchange FTX’s swift collapse earlier this month saw many retail investors, including former FTX employees, lose their financial nest eggs. The implosion reinvigorated the “not your keys, not your coins” mantra (meaning, control of crypto assets requires control of the assets’ private keys) and appears to have brought self-custody solutions to the forefront.
“The recent failure of FTX – and ensuing catastrophic loss of customer funds – highlights the critical importance of people having a simple and secure way to hold their own private keys,” said Lopp. “Self-custody is the only way to prove ownership and control of your digital assets.”
What of Lopp’s strong ties to the Bitcoin community and the image of Casa (at least to some) as a “Bitcoin only” platform? Will onboarding Ethereum tarnish that image and trigger an exodus of so-called “Bitcoin maximalists” from Casa’s customer base? Neuman doesn't think so.
“Ethereum has been our most frequent customer request for the last couple of years, and so am I concerned that it will damage our brand or business? No, because we've been listening to our customers,” Neuman said. “The vision for Casa is really about being the private key manager for everything important in your life. So that's not just your bitcoin. It’s all of your types of money.”
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.