“The use of advanced cryptographic tools to improve the care, maintenance, control, and protection of digital assets.”

Our goals:

  1. Raise the bar on best practices for digital-asset custodianship by building a greater understanding of different custody use cases, risk models, and adversary analyses.
  2. Prepare for newer custody technologies that break older models for custodianship.

We are coordinating a series of workshops and inviting key ecosystem participants to share and learn the latest in technical and regulatory custody considerations. #SmartCustody is a project of Blockchain Commons, which supports blockchain infrastructure, internet security & cryptographic research.

Blockchain Commons Releases First #SmartCustody Book

Your digital assets are more vulnerable you might think!

Following on the success of its #SmartCustody workshop held in early 2019, Blockchain Commons has released #SmartCustody: Use of Advanced Cryptographic Tools to Improve the Care, Maintenance, Control, and Protection of Digital Assets, by Christopher Allen & Shannon Appelcline, an 186-page book detailing “the use of advanced cryptographic tools to improve the care, maintenance, control, and protection of digital assets.” It’s what you need to read to ensure that you don’t lose your Bitcoins, your Ether, or your self-sovereign identity, and it’s available for free download from Blockchain Commons.

This first #SmartCustody book focuses on a risk-modeling exercise, which teaches digital-asset holders to itemize their assets, assess vulnerabilities, and resolve those problems. It does so using the foundation of a robust 14-step cold storage self-custody scenario and a set of 27 personified adversaries who may be trying to steal your digital goods.

Though this first book is focused on a self-custodian scenario, it also discusses fiduciary duties and demonstrates how the risk-modeling exercise may be used for the more complex scenario of a family fund. Future #SmartCustody releases will expand on dual-control, multisignatures, and other #SmartCustody technologies required for custodianship models of that sort.

(See full blog post…)

#SmartCustody: Simple Self-Custody Cold Storage Scenario

Best Practices for Protecting Your Personal Digital Assets Using Cold Storage

Part of the #SmartCustody project of the Blockchain Commons

Version: 2019-03-25 Release 1.0.0

(This is an archive copy of the specific 1.0.0 release. The current release will always be on GitHub.)


The information below is intended to inform a set of best practices. It may not address risks specific to your situation, and if it does not, you should modify appropriately. While this information may inform best practices, there is no guarantee that following this advice will sufficiently ensure the security of your digital assets. In addition, this information is only a window on best practices at a specific moment in time. Be aware that the Bitcoin & blockchain ecosystems may have evolved and the risk assessments of specific products may have changed since the publication of this draft. In other words: be cautious, be careful, and be aware of the current Bitcoin & blockchain landscape before you use this information.

See full blog post…

Wrapping up our First #SmartCustody Workshop

Our first #SmartCustody workshop, on Simple Cold Storage & Self-Custody was held on Tue, January 29, 2019, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM PST, in Mountain View, California. This workshop was designed for individual holders of digital assets, in particular cryptocurrency traders and those high net-worth individuals who are already familiar & working with digital assets, but were seeking to learn best practices for protecting themselves and their business from theft, fraud, or loss.

We asked them the questions:

  • Are you considering all possible threats to your digital assets?
  • Do you have comprehensive procedures to assess your risk profile?
  • How does your system stack up against others in industry?

We had 17 people signup for this event from a very diverse set of backgrounds, including: two attorneys, a hedge-fund advisor, a Bitcoin Core contributor, a Dash blockchain expert, some operations and IT people, a long-tem bitcoin HODLer, and few people from an upcoming custodial service. All participants received a printed workbook, titanium tiles, engraving tools, waterproof paper and permanent marker, dice and EFF word list, and Pamela Morgan’s book on Cryptoasset Inheritance Planning.

Workshop Sessions

The morning of the workshop focused on a cold-storage scenario meant to introduce the larger process of how custory scenarios are created, and how and why various risk decisions were made (especially since mitigating one risk might increase a different risk). We also covered in detail nine of twenty-four digital asset “adversaries” that we’ve identified and had a good discussion about them.

(See full blog post…)

All Blog Posts…

Future Events & Mailing List

Simple Cold Storage & Self-Custody is the first of three different #SmartCustody workshops. Future workshops will be focused on holders of digital assets that have fiduciary responsibility to others, such as small investment funds & family firms, and those who are required to use third-party qualified custodians for management of digital assets due to the amount of funds held.

Keep apprised of our workshop and release of best-practices and other educational documents through our email newsletter:

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