Armory’s ‘Lockbox’ Brings Multisig to Storage, Escrow and More
Open-source wallet management platform Armory Technologies has released Lockbox, a new feature it claims is the world’s first decentralised multi-signature interface for bitcoin.
Version 0.92 of the Armory client now has a new user interface that allows users to carry out multi-signature transactions, offering claimed “high-security storage”, as well as opening up new possibilities for bitcoin contracts and escrow services.
The Armory client lets users manage multiple wallets and maintain offline wallets, as well as other features.
Armory says its new Lockboxes do not require any third-party services and that they give users complete control over the generation and storage of all cryptographic keys.
Furthermore, each Armory signing device can generate its own wallet even when it is offline – a useful feature for keeping bitcoin in ‘cold storage’, away from the inherent risks of Internet-linked devices.
The company says Lockboxes are very flexible, allowing users to choose any multi-signature combination from 1-of-2 up to 7-of-7, with each increase requiring more signatures to release funds from the wallet.
The company said:
“There are many possible ways to use lockboxes. A basic 2-of-2 scheme may be appropriate for a husband and wife who want their savings to require both of their signatures. A complex 5-of-7 scheme may be appropriate for a large financial institution or hedge fund desiring to widely distribute signing authority among trusted executives, trustees, or even insurance providers.”
Armory says that most other multi-signature services only provide a single type of multi-signature and also require third-party services or signers. The fact that such systems generate multiple private keys on the same system, which then pass through the same channel, creates a “point of failure” in the system, the company asserts.
Armory 0.92 also features support for simultaneous funding or ‘simulfunding’, which is basically a simple bitcoin contract. All parties involved in a funding effort need to specify how much they are willing to contribute, then combine the contributions into a single contract-backed transaction.
The transaction is finalized only when the contract is executed in full, in which case, all the funds are transferred at the same time. If the contract is not executed, no transaction takes place. The bitcoin network enforces the agreement, eliminating the need for trust between the parties.
The company said:
“Armory is the first wallet to implement this powerful feature and make it accessible to advanced users. Additional use cases could include crowdfunding, donation drives or even roommate rent collection.”
Armory is demonstrating the simulfunding feature with a donation drive valued at 20 BTC, with the funds going to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Free Software Foundation and the College Cryptocurrency Network. Armory promises to match the donations with a further 20 BTC contribution of its own.
The company says it is on track to release Armory version 1.0 soon and that it will include a new API for enterprise integration and a ‘supernode’ mode that it claims will “replace the need for third-party services in your bitcoin management platform”.
Combination lock image via Shutterstock.