Glacier: Bitcoin cold storage for the rich and paranoid

Glacier: Bitcoin cold storage for the rich and paranoid

How to securely store bitcoin? The Glacier Protocol is a step by step guide how to generate a paper wallet that eliminates every known attack.

At the latest once you’ve lost a chunk of bitcoins, be it due to your own negligence or because your online wallet was hacked, you will wonder what would be the ultimate solution to store your precious coins.

Well, don’t look further than the Glacier Protocol!

Developed by James Hogan and Jacob Lyles and guided with input from Bitcoin technology and security experts.

The Glacier Protocol is a step-by-step protocol that allows its users to enjoy a high-security cold bitcoin storage. It’s aim is to be an alternative to online and hardware wallets. It’s a free, open-source software that is available on the projects website. By following the steps you can give yourself a bitcoin wallet that is impossible to attack.

The Glacier Protocol solves a classic problem in the world of bitcoin storage: offline key generation is great, but it’s not bulletproof. Meanwhile, hardware wallets generally provide good security, but you can’t be 100% certain that an undiscovered vulnerability isn’t being used to grab your private keys over that USB connection. Glacier is intended to offer an even higher level of protection than today’s hardware wallets can provide.

With that in mind, the developers of the Glacier Protocol created a solution. It walks you through cold storage step-by-step. The beta was released onto the internet in February 2017.

The protocol is mainly built for people who store large amounts of bitcoin and are willing to invest time and money into a high-security storage solution. It’s not an easy-to-use software you download now and setup within the next hour.

It’s a solution that requires several hours and at least several hundred dollars of equipment to execute. You need to have multiple computers, including computers that have never been connected to the internet before.

Are you getting nervous leaving your cryptocurrencies in an online wallet and also don’t feel totally comfortable having your coins in a hardware wallet? Then Glacier Protocol might be the right solution for you.

As one website explained, it’s a protocol “for the rich and paranoid”. Let’s have a closer look at how the Glacier Protocol is working.

The key features of the Glacier Protocol are:

  • It’s a self-managed storage: All your bitcoins are in your control – and in your control only. There is no middle-man. You don’t rely on online wallets nor offline wallets and this includes hardware wallets.
  • The private keys securing your bitcoins are created and stored entirely offline, which makes them virtually invulnerable to electronic theft.
  • Multiple keys are required to access your bitcoins, greatly reducing the risk of loss due to physical theft or destruction of keys.
  • Glacier makes heavy use of well-secured software such as Bitcoin Core, and the Glacier’s own software is limited in scope and open source for public review.
  • The Glacier Protocol is available for free.
  • Glacier is intended for security-critical scenarios, not everyday use. The protocol requires several hours and at least several hundred dollars of equipment to execute.
  • So how does it work?

    The sole goal the Glacier Protocol aims to achieve is to generate stone secure private keys for addresses in a complete offline and secured environment, away from the prying eyes of spies and hackers.

    Another key feature is multi-sig (Multi Signature) support. This means that your bitcoins stored to your newly created addresses can only be transferred if the transaction is signed by several keys.

    Recommended is the “two of four” script, which means that two of four keys have to sign each transaction. The advantage is that if you lost one of your keys, you can still sign the transaction with two of the remaining three keys. If somebody steals or got otherwise hold of one of your keys, they simply can’t steal your funds with only that key.

    To accomplish your objective of an impenetrable bitcoin storage, you’ll first need to invest. The Glacier Protocol requires to have a “Setup System” with an active internet connection and a so called “Quarantine System,” which is a brand new never used laptop, that never gets connected to the internet. But that’s not enough: Glacier requires that every operation must be performed on two systems, from two different manufacturers. So you have to buy everything twice! This is done to prevent attacks that subvert the process of sensitive data generation to make it less secure.

    In addition you’ll need time to setup the Glacier Protocol. The developers recommend to spend about one day to work carefully through the protocol, step by step. I needed about nine hours, though with some short breaks I have to admit.

    If you have a large amount of bitcoins and want to protect them at the highest grade, then the Glacier Protocol might be the best choice for you.

    You can download the Glacier Protocol here and please remember to follow the directions very carefully and once done, I would recommend to transfer only a small amount of bitcoin to your newly created address. Once the transaction is confirmed transfer it somewhere else, just to check that everything is working as supposed.