An Independent Review of BitVault®, the World’s First blockchain phone
NEW ZEALAND /Guest Writer/2 January 2018 – An Introduction:- The BitVault® Blockchain communicator is a phone that provides secure calls, video calling, messaging, web browsing and storage for some of the most popular cryptocurrencies available on the market.
It uses biometric security with fingerprints and iris scanning with Third Party Independent Multilayer Security (3IMS). A removable security key also applies extra security.
BitVault® uses the encryption algorithm Scrypt on the Blockchain where each application uses an internal Blockchain that is independent to prevent compromise. In order for this process to work, the Encryption Of Things (EOT) virtual asset (coin) is used and therefore has its own eco-system.
By using public keys instead of phone numbers and e-mail addresses others are not privy to data without knowing the private key.
However, the much-anticipated arrival of the BitVault® has been curbed by an unfortunate delay. Expected to be shipped in November it has been put back a few months. Hein Marais, CEO of Embedded Downloads who is behind the Bitvault® explains they had to make changes in order to meet EMC requirements for FCC and CE certification.
For those of us unfamiliar with these standards basically, hardware adjustments were made so any electromagnetic interference are within limits and are to the US and European Conformity.
The company VVDN Technologies have produced this phone in India and has excellent quality controls(ISO 9001:2008). In fact, VVDN has been voted in 2017 as one of the world’s top engineering service providers and has given an inroad for government officials to consider this unique piece of hardware for departmental use.
The components are of high quality and we find a list of global partners that are behind the design.
The BitVault® has its own operating system and special developer tools are required to engage with the software. This, of course, is available by Embedded Downloads and developers are encouraged to get in contact. The submitted software is vetted and there is no availability to Google Play as this could compromise the system with possible backdoors.
The BitVault® was introduced to the FinTech community at London FinTech Week during July 2017 and delegates were able to witness how the BitVault® operates. This event was followed by the launch in London on 31 October 2017.
The BitVault® features a 5.5 inch screen with 64 GB of internal storage and 4GB RAM running on a 64-bit 2.0 GHZ Octa-Core processor. It has a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP camera located on the front. The device supports 4G LTE, Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth. Currently, detailed specifications for this device are unknown until the product is fully reviewed.
The specifications we do know are around some of its biometric security features.
The company Fingerprints have provided the FPC1028 fingerprint sensor and FPC ActiveIRIS electronic components. Learn more – Click here
The FPC1028 is one of the smallest fingerprint sensors and has next-generation pixel technology to give a high-level biometric performance. It also features OneTouch intelligent programmable wake-up functionality giving you the ability to quickly unlock your phone.
Fingerprints have built-in anti-spoofing technology to help prevent unauthorised access. Other features include the FPC360 touch enabling a match of your fingerprint at any angle and algorithms that learn about you – seasonal changes or conditions and/or micro-injuries to the skin. Sensitivity to pressure changes are detected via the sensor and it takes less than 0.1 seconds to verify and unlock your device.
All of this is proprietary and gives the benefit of the high-quality fingerprint image, a 256 gray-scale values from every pixel. Each sensor contains small capacitive plates with their own circuitry and a High Sensitive Pixel Amplifier (HSPA) amplifies each pixel element that boosts small charges thus image quality. These weaker electrical charges are amped up and build a picture of ridges and valleys of the fingerprint and the sensors plates.
After analysing these charges a measurement of capacitance is then taken across the surface. Using HSPA enables a protective coating to be 25-30 times thicker than other suppliers. The advantage to this is to withstand wear and tear (more than one million touches to the sensor) and is well above the European Community Standard Class 4 requirement of 15kV of static electricity.
The FPC1028 uses a 4 pin high-speed SPI, 1.8V and has an operating temperature between -40 to 85 degC with a pixel resolution of 508 dpi, the industry standard.
Because FPC1028 uses a capacitive sensor, 3D technology applied prevents anyone using a high-quality photograph to obtain access
Fingerprint Sensor Statistics
The fingerprint sensor alone can prove troublesome for security. Let’s take a look at the statistical analysis for the False Acceptance Rate (FAR) or sometimes called the False Match Rate (FMR). The FAR ratio will tell you how many times someone needs to try before gaining unauthorised access. This is dependant on the hardware and software for the sensor.
A typical smart-phone today (as does this sensor) has a ratio of 1:50 000. This would mean 1 in 50 000 attempts would gain unauthorised access. This is why smart-phones limit the amount of failed attempts then prompts you for a PIN number. Having a longer PIN compared to the 4-digits would, of course, add to security and limiting these failed PIN attempts again would reduce the chances of unauthorised access.
On the flipside, the False Rejection Rate (FRR) ratio tells you how many times the sensor wrongfully rejects the correct biometric print. An FFR of <2% @ 1:100 000 has been reported. More here – Fingerprint Cards: IR presentation at Mobile World Congress 2017. Market-leading biometric performance.
There is a balance of how fast the sensor wakes up, how intuitive it is and the integration of it with the end product. The flexibility influences the performance and plotting the FRR and FAR ratios gives an interesting graphical representation for different types of biometric authentication systems with their trade-offs.
On the graph to the left, the optimal sensor would be at ‘D’, low FAR ratio and FRR rate.
The patented technologies for the FPC1028 sensor incorporates lower FAR and FRR making it more secure and responsive.
What would make it even more secure would be adding another biometric layer of security to positively identify an individual and that is exactly what Embedded Downloads have done for the Bitvault®, introducing ActiveIRIS technology!
More info here – Fingerprints Biometric Technologies Whitepaper
Active Iris Technology
FPC ActiveIRIS Technology (Sensor) is a touch-less biometric authentication system that brings convenience and security to the user. The iris is a circular structure around the pupil of the eye and controls the amount of light being received by the retina. The corona, filaments, freckles, pits, and striations all make up the appearance and are unique to each individual and can be captured and read with recognition software. Over 200 of these features can be read with CCD/CMOS and infrared cameras.
Iris recognition has advantages and disadvantages including power consumption where it typically consumes 10 times more power than using the standard smart-phone camera. It has a very high accuracy, contactless but is slower than the fingerprint sensor as it needs to process more data. It is possible to spoof data for an iris map if having the technical know-how but in combination with other security features would make it difficult.
FPC ActiveIRIS uses pattern recognition and is initiated by an infrared LED and the infrared camera collects data with an IR bandpass filter. Templates are collected by using the iris of both eyes and securely stored in its trusted environment. The sensor can recognise the template (iris) in less than 150ms whether the user has glasses or not. The focal point ranges from 20-50cm and applied algorithms match out-of-focus images, motion-blur, pupil dilation and even occluded eyes. Its FRR is reported to as low as 1:10 000 000 acceptance rate.
More info regarding features on:
The BitVault® has implemented a variety of security measures to identify through biometric scanning a positive ID of a person. This will no doubt appeal to financial sectors and other agencies that require this level of sophistication.
With fingerprinting, iris scanning, PIN selection and a removable security key the statistical probability of gaining access to your data is much slimmer compared to only have one or a couple of these applications.
With Third Party Independent Multilayer Security, customers have validation to safeguard their data. This is all very important with the use of the Blockchain via the EOT coin – enabling encryption using cryptography. EOT was developed specifically for use in devices and applications connected to the internet. Cybercrime is an increasing phenomenon in our new digital economy. Learn more about this new utility cryptocurrency protecting the connected, EOT – “Encryption of Things”.
The BitVault® is indeed a Blockchain technology to watch out for and has an appeal to many customers that value their privacy.