Getting started with Bitfi

Josiah Spackman
Jun 19, 2019 · 7 min read

The Bitfi team have recently announced support for DigiByte!

This is fantastic, and as somebody who only owns DigiByte, it wasn’t something I was able to use previously. As soon as I got wind that support was coming, I ordered one for myself immediately.

Now that DigiByte is supported and ready to go, what follows is my experience with getting setup with it.

A week after ordering my Bitfi, the package arrived:

Not too bad for shipping, coming internationally, most things take their time to get to this corner of the globe we call Middle Earth. Inside a relatively plain looking box, with a tamper-seal to indicate it hadn’t been messed with since the factory:

A few other things such as a dice, a brief instruction booklet, charging cable etc, but unfortunately my wife was super excited to rip it open and have a look (potentially even more-so than I was) that we didn’t get enough photos.

Even though she’s not big on Cryptocurrency herself, using this made a lot of sense to her, and she was incredibly eager to dive in to it.

It comes with a nice wallet casing for the Bitfi device, which is a nice touch. I thought it would just be the “unit”.

The hardware itself a small screen, with just a physical power button, a capacitive back-button, and a Micro USB charging slot. Nothing too exciting there, mostly because all the additional “fluff” that a cellphone would have is intentionally not put into it. No need for an accelerometer, barometer, bluetooth etc in the device. My unit arrived almost completely charged too which was nice, meaning I could get the ball rolling right away.

Simply push the power button, it boots up, I join the WiFi and away you go.

Creating my (brain)wallet

The next part of the setup process involves a PC (Or, your cellphone, but PC for me).

You start by going to https://bitfi.com/knox and hitting the “Setting up a new wallet?” link. It takes you to a new screen:

I’ve talked with the Bitfi team who’ve confirmed they’re looking at ways to remove the email requirement. In fact they even suggested I don’t use my real name.

I’ve made mention to the Bitfi team that Digi-ID would be a *perfect* fit for replacing this.

Unfortunately I ran into some issues due to the newly upgraded dashboard (That was rolled out at the same time as DigiByte support), there were security settings preventing me from getting in. Thankfully the support from Bitfi has been absolutely top-notch and they were emailing me back within minutes, working with me to get things setup.

They’ve been super responsive the entire time, both in terms of questions I’ve had before ordering, general feedback, and this one support request. This is a HUGE benefit in my mind, that should I ever need a hand with something, they’re there to help.

They could also talk nerdy back, which was great! They’ve not outsourced their help to an incompetent 3rd-party, which again is very reassuring in my opinion.

Anyway, once you’ve entered your details, you get an email confirmation. Pretty standard stuff, back to then log in:

I enter my Device ID here. In this respect the Bitfi is effectively a “dumb device”, in the sense that it’s replaceable. I could use another device, like one for my wife, if I was not around mine and needed to log-in in a pinch.

It then takes you through a brief “Enter your desired salt, and your seed phrase”.

There’s some instructions that came with it for suggestions around a good salt + seed.

Once done, you need to then add a new address to send your cryptocurrency to. DigiByte in my instance, of course:

Another round of entering my salt + phrase (I’m getting really good at this by now) to confirm that I haven’t forgotten it already:

And I’m then taken to a new screen to add some DigiByte!

That’s it, nice and easy!

Sent all of my DigiByte across and they’re now nice and secure, held within my brain, and nowhere else.

Thoughts on Bitfi

So when I was asking the Bitfi team about the wallet, we asked them some pretty tough questions. They didn’t shy away from the answers either and were refreshingly transparent. What they did for me to show their faith in it was allow me to log in to the dashboard, as them!

You see when you log in to the Bitfi Dashboard, it prompts you for your Device ID, so that it knows where to ‘expect’ you to enter your salt + phrase:

You enter your Device ID, and it then sends a “Do you want to sign in?” dialog to your Bitfi:

This means I could give somebody access to my Bitfi account, telling them the email & password, and they still can’t get in to the “wallet”. This is because you need to also enter in your salt + phrase. Only then are you able to see your balance etc.

Want to send some DigiByte from the wallet? Same deal, because the private key is dynamically generated each time from the seed + phrase, it’s not kept anywhere. This means you’ve got to enter it in to send any DigiByte, maximum security!

This is a fundamental change in the way that private keys are held, maintained, and looked after, compared to other wallets.

Not only that but it’s an incredibly powerful one.

My only gripe is the size of the screen is a little small, like going back to an old iPhone 3GS after you’ve been using something like a larger iPhone X or Google Pixel phone. It’s rather difficult to mash the buttons with speed. I’ll confess a few times I managed to mis-type a letter or two, but, after having entered it in half a dozen times now for practice, I’m significantly speedier and it’s not really an issue.

So, I’ve sent all my DigiByte across to the Bitfi wallet. I mean, my head… Coz you can actually take the Bitfi device (Or I can lose it) and I’ll just go order a new one.

Am I happy with it?

Definitely!

My only suggestion would be an oleophobic screen protector:

You can see from this image and my greasy-as fingers that I don’t use the “Q”, “Z” or “X” characters. Not the end of the world given my phrase is over 35 characters long, plus a similar length salt, I don’t envisage that being problematic.

It would also be nice if the elastic band that keeps the wallet closed didn’t cover the MicroUSB, because then I could keep it closed and charge it at the same time (Unless, that was intentional, to prevent overheating during charging?).

It’s money well-spent in my opinion, a great way to secure your crypto.

Want to know more?

Check out bitfi.com and have a look for yourself. They take payment in Crypto as well. Finally, if you’re a DigiByte fan like me, and you’re after a bit of a discount, they’ve kindly made a voucher-code for us, just use the following link:

https://go.bitfi.com/DGB

I don’t get any kick-back from this, but, you’ll shave a few dollars off the price of ordering one, the code will be applied at checkout

NOTE: I paid full price for my Bitfi, and this article is not sponsored or even endorsed by Bitfi in any way, shape, or form.

Josiah Spackman

Written by

I write interesting things about cryptocurrency, especially DigiByte

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