A Storage OEM View
Many years ago, I was at Canon headquarters in Japan contracted to a now defunct high performance chip design company. The chip I designed performed numerous operations on images, and Canon is a printer copier company that manipulates images for a living. Down a darkened narrow hall a Canon team came toward us. An older man paused, looked me in the eyes, and spoke some English. “One thing I learned a long time ago, Professor Thibadeau, is that when you make a copy, it doesn’t have to look like the original, it must look better than the original.”
He smiled kindly and moved on. This was unforgettable advice from someone worth hearing.
And, of course, I had engineered the wrong chip. Actually, I engineered the right chip, but failed to add computations needed to make a copy look better than the original. So, Canon demurred, and we didn’t sell the chip.
Crypto has the same problem, I think. Just because blockchain provides digital copy protection of assets not controlled by central banks or other centralized authorities is not enough. I have some ideas.
If we make crypto better, then people will love Crypto and NFTs. We are not doing that today. The digital storage industry should sit up and say, how can we help make Crypto stuff something people will like?
This talk is about a series of features I want in my Crypto Wallet. This wallet holds access to coin and other non-fungible tokens. My purpose is to make the crypto better than money by architecting my Wallet to make me really happy I got it.
This talk is not here to explain existing technology for blockchains any more than I have to, but to speak to making them better than what blockchains replace.
The topic will be on Crypto Wallets. To skip ahead a bit, imagine we build flash or disk drive technology for creating really great Crypto Wallets for all forms of blockchain assets. Ultimately, wallets of course must involve software, but storage OEM product architectures can drive software developers. We know that.
Crypto Wallets in universal use today play the central role in the crypto world of connecting blockchains, like Bitcoin and Etherium in the cloud, middlemen like the Merchants and the DeFi, or Distributed Finance, services, and the end user. The end user Crypto Wallets hold the keys to the likeability kingdom.
A Crypto Wallet always manages four things for each blockchain account in your wallet:
- Foremost is public-private key pairs that authorize you to buy or sell digital coin and other tokens.
- Critically, the wallets also hold blockchain addresses on the blockchains for those tokens.
- Passwords give access to your wallet’s account management functions, and
- Recovery phrases allow you to recover your private keys.
The middleman services may include DeFi service providers to provide custodial backup of keys, addresses, passwords, or recovery phrases. Some people prefer to own their own Personal Custodial Node in the cloud if they don’t want to trust commercial DeFi service providers.
The main idea in this flashy view of crypto is being able to manage and transact directly with other Wallets. This would be a way to help further standardize certain services provided by the DeFi and blockchain providers.
More specifically, I want a Wallet that can keep track of copies made of that Wallet, and also Wallet copies made by other people for special uses which they may define. This is new. A Wallet can keep track of copies of itself in various special forms, and who may have one of these special wallet copies in their wallet.
Today you can get two kinds of secure Wallet. One is called a Soft Wallet because it runs in software in your computer or phone. Hard Wallets use custom hardware to protect your keys, blockchain addresses, account passwords, and recovery phrases. These are the kind that the storage device makers could make.
Hard Wallets also include Cold Hard Wallets for extra security, because they can then be kept away from any computers until they are needed to make blockchain transactions. Sounds like a flash drive or attached storage device to me. Indeed if the wallets are attached storage devices they are, by definition, all Cold Hard Wallets. Today you can buy Cold or Hot Hard Wallets. They just don’t do all the things they need to do to make crypto wallets great.
There are about six such improvements to my life that this new kind of Cryptowallet can give me. This talk is about these six improvements. These improvements are likely to surprise you. So be prepared to be amazed about what the storage industry could do, if it set about to make great wallets possible.
Let’s just start with a book that I published in 1999 called “No Taxes.” Here is the book on Amazon.
No Taxes: What to Expect from the Internet
No Taxes: What to Expect from the Internet - Kindle edition by Thibadeau, Robert. Download it once and read it on your…
Nowadays, the crypto community is currently petitioning taxing authorities about how crypto transactions should be subject to government taxation. Most certainly this will be sorted out. But all that talk I think hides a more interesting discussion.
No Income Taxes, No Property Taxes, No Medical Taxes, No Social Security Taxes, No Local School Taxes, No Sales Taxes, and No Value Added Taxes.
The first time I presented this idea was almost 30 years ago.
In Chicago, I gave an invited futurist talk on the electronic world I expected by 2050.
My talk was sandwiched between Tipper Gore, Vice President Gore’s wife, and Past Vice President Dan Quayle. Between Tipper, a serious Democrat, and Dan, a serious Republican.
So, I started my talk saying, when I hear a Democrat say more money for government services, I say go for it! You can have more! When I hear a Republican say to lower taxes, I say No Taxes! Period! You can have your cake and eat it, too! Interested? Here’s what we have to do:
We have to do away with all printed and coined money.
I then explained how new technology could enable No Taxes with cryptographically protected digital currency. This was in 1994.
It required public key cryptography to secure the digital currency. This was not implausible since interbank transfers worldwide were already using public key cryptography for digitally transferring billions of dollars a day. Today such digital interbank transfers are trillions of dollars a day.
But in 1994, few of my audience of over a thousand people had even experienced the Internet. Dan Quayle who spoke after me made an awkward joke about geeks not making any sense. The audience, too confused and befuddled, did not even laugh.
But I was, and am, right. The hassle of taxes could be transferred entirely to the government if we wanted. A Crypto Wallet just needs to do some new things that the current wallets do not do.
With all currency digital, every dollar must be tracked down the moment it moves to another Wallet account. You can do this while preserving anonymity.
The government can know how much money it can just print, out of nothing, to pay for its own services. This government money is not free. It depends on growth in the economy. But growth, historically, is a good bet for economies worldwide.
People will still vote, but not about taxes. Now they will vote to create more economic growth in order to avoid taxes. The government can spend out of its own Wallets based on growth in the economy in order to give us, the citizenry, more services from the government.
We pay by moving the money around in ways they can track, without knowing who the buyers and sellers are, individually. But they do know when, where, and what was transacted for what. Moment to moment.
Banks already provide weekly detailed accounts of money flows to US Government regulators. You all saw this fact most recently manifest when the Trump government approved just printing money from nothing during Covid and businesses, in the trillions, before that.
But what they didn’t tell you was that real time, more comprehensive, tracking would allow them to print even more money without being noticed by a growing economy. Growth makes the growth in debt manageable.
If you think I am lying, this is exactly what you have heard out of the economists since 2008 as “quantitative easing.”
No Taxes requires proper controls. A government needs three independent agencies, separated from politics. The first carefully monitors who is paying for what and to whom, by the moment, by the amount, by locations, and by category of goods and services. A second agency would develop strategies for increasing the digital currency flow to meet economic growth targets. This agency targets government spending on stimulating growth in the economy both short term and long term.
And the last independently motivated agency is responsible for the actual quantitative easing to make sure no one ever pays taxes. It would give newly minted money to government Wallets to pay our Wallets when we do something for the government.
In the last five years we have seen the government printing money out of nothing in the Trillions of Dollars a year. It’s enough to convince you they could also cover all government expenses. No taxes.
So, the first thing you should demand from your Crypto Wallet is not a lame “I want to change how crypto transactions are taxed.”
That is not enough to demand. You should instead demand, “I did my part. Now I don’t want to pay any taxes, of any form, ever again.”
After writing my book, I found out my new idea was not new at all. In the 1920s and 1930s an extremely popular book called “Social Credit” was written by C.H. Douglas. The US, England, and many other countries actually had political parties called the “Social Credit Parties.”
Douglas was an amateur economist such as myself. John Maynard Keynes, the Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, had graciously approved Douglas’s 1934 book as competent economics.
Social credit - Wikipedia
Social credit is a distributive philosophy of political economy developed by C. H. Douglas. Douglas attributed economic…
You may be surprised that one big government today has “Social Credit” as plan of record. That government is the Peoples Republic of China.
To eliminate all taxes, the crypto wallet must be improved to send anonymous, but verified, transactions like those that banks report today, to the government, so that the government does not need to require taxes.
Now, what else would I like my crypto wallet to do?
I admit many occasions where I misplaced my iPhone or iPad, and used Find My iPhone to find it. It really makes you like Apple. Android also has this feature. Google was smart, too.
I should be able to freely download a Find My Wallet app that finds every copy of my Wallet. In fact, since Wallets have to do some anonymous reporting including their location, the Find My Wallet app should be in my Master Wallet and in some copies of my Wallet. So I can realize my social credit to the growth of the economy, it must also report on my transactions.
Again, it could do that with complete anonymity for me and other parties if we engineer this wallet right.
People say blockchain is anonymous. But as I wrote in yet another book ((for which you can buy me another cup of coffee)) called How to Get Your Privacy back, those blockchains have my crypto coin’s keypairs. Every one of these keypairs are Globally Unique Identifiers that can personally track me and my cryptocurrency, NFT, and other blockchain transactions.
How to Get Your Privacy Back
Amazon.com: How to Get Your Privacy Back (Audible Audio Edition): Robert Thibadeau, Daniel Greenberg, Privust…
Not only will the Find My Wallet capability allow me to track my Master Wallet, and create and manage all of its copies, but, like the Find My iPhone app, you should be able to erase whatever you want or modify any copy of your wallet from your Master Wallet. It’s your wallet.
So we need a Find My Wallet app. There also should be another feature of a great universal Crypto Wallet.
One type of copy of itself is what is called by some Wallet providers, a Watcher Wallet. This Wallet does not have the ability to perform my blockchain transactions. It doesn’t have my private keys on it. It simply has the ability to watch my transactions and potentially be called on to approve them. A great crypto wallet though might allow watching transactions, as the government might do, separate from approving them. These would be different types of copies we could call Watcher and Approver crypto-wallet copies.
But, I would like a bit extra to make my wallet really nice.
I should be able to give my wife a copy of my master wallet. If something happens to me, she should be able to Find My Wallets. And, if the stars are aligned, she should be able to use my wallet copy to spend, at least some, of my money.
Of course, she should have her own wallet. I should be able to move my money or possessions to her wallet to transact any way she wants that I cannot observe. And, of course, if something happens to her, and the stars are aligned, I should be able use her master wallet to find and have some use of her crypto accounts. No taxes there.
In fact, everybody should be able to have their wallet and specialized copies of it for others to hold.
Here is a picture of a possible future with Crypto Wallet flash memory chips each holding one hard wallet each, including yours, your company wallets where you may have fiduciary obligations, copies of your wallet you have given to others for special purposes, and hard copies of other people’s Crypto Wallets that they want you to hold for them.
Find my wallet thanks to the No Taxes features, makes sure that all your wallets are synchronized properly at all times that they may be used.
But now let’s continue on to aligning the stars for the blockchain transactions in this great new crypto wallet I am talking about.
The copy of my wallet I give to my wife should allow me to control what she sees and can do. I would certainly let her Find My Wallet for her copy of my wallet.
And, certainly, there will be some money in my wallet that we both agreed we would not touch without both of our permission. So, for some of the coin or goods, I and my wife both need to approve any big or otherwise significant transactions.
The wallets listed in my Master Wallet would have my Hot Hard Master Wallet, perhaps a Cold Hard copy of my Master Wallet, and all the other specialized copies that I have made of my Master Wallet for other people to hold, and they have given me to hold for various special purposes.
Also on my wallet would be a list of the crypto currency accounts, NFT accounts, and other accounts that I have for all my money and stuff.
But my wife’s copy of my wallet will only show her the wallets and accounts that she has authority that I have given her. These include Transaction, Watching, Approver, and so forth.
The role of approver could mean that both of us have to approve a transaction in an account. Having approvers greatly improves the security of major assets. These approvers are all under my control from my Master Wallet.
The natural way is to split the private key between different authorities needed to authorize an account transaction. Some Wallets today provide ways of splitting private keys. The preferred way is to XOR two or more key splits together in order to yield the true private key.
Using this method you can have any list of approver copies of your wallet to give you permission for a transaction. You could securely require your wife, your attorney, and your brother, for example, all to apply their private key splits in order to touch the billion dollar account in your wallet.
But perhaps I also want either my brother or my attorney to approve a transaction with me and my wife. I don’t need both my brother and my attorney. But I always want my wife to approve.
This OR type of split key can use a type of split key called Shamir key sharing. Shamir key sharing notes that the split keys can be the x,y values for a polynomial function where the effective key is the y value intersection of the function at x=0.
Yes, you can mix XORed key splits with Shamir Key splitting.
Many modern blockchain providers also support a special blockchain standard called “Multisig” for “multisignature.” Standards already exist for expressing multisig approvals on blockchain transactions that can be employed by Hard Crypto Wallets.
With no more paper money, as a parent, I am sure I would want to make sure that my children’s wallets are under loving control. For some of their accounts they must work with me on buying something. For others I may be happy allowing them full control over spending. I may, though, want to know if they are being paid and perhaps require my signature on any receipt of funds or other goods.
Yes, what I am proposing is that a great Master Crypto Wallet can use split key access control for Wallet copies which is a hybrid of XOR that everyone in this list must be present, and Shamir that adds only needs approval from a subset of its approvers. Most existing Wallets today give you one or the other, not a mixture of both types of contingent approval. The mixture is needed.
A Master Wallet that can make specialized copies of itself also has other great features. So, if my brother calls me and says he lost my wallet, that’s OK. And I get online and find it or leave a message for it, that if it shows up on the Internet, to just erase itself. If I still like my brother, I can hand him a new of Hard Wallet copy, on a USB drive, that works the same way as the one he lost.
I probably also want to keep a more powerful version of my Master Wallet in a safe deposit box where it is still me but only certain powers are unlocked on that wallet without required approvals. My safe-backup Cold Master Wallet could have its own split key requirements to regain my master wallet’s powers.
So yes, all my wallet copies communicate on activation with each other to conform to my current requirements set through my Master Wallet.
What about the situation where I have allowed a crypto company to be the custodian for my private keys? I’d have a copy of my wallet for them too which restricts sell access to just one of my blockchain accounts.
Another major improvement to make my crypto wallet worth having is how I can secure against a thief creating a copy of my Master Wallet. Splitting the Recovery phrases for my Master Wallet and its copies is also possible to prevent single individuals from having the ability to create copies of my wallet, even if somebody gets my copy of my recovery phrases.
If you are familiar with blockchain wallets, you know about 24 word recovery phrases. These use 24 words from a standard list of 2048 words. The order of the words in the recovery phrases counts. These recovery phrases provide a means to restore a block chain private key.
The basic security technology in recovery phrases makes use of the fact that the wallet has what is called a “pseudo random number generator” to generate private keys. The recovery phrase is just an address into that generator to regenerate your original private key which is, effectively, the Nth key that that generator will always generate.
Recovery phrase numbers are so large that the probability of any two people having or guessing the same generated private key is for practical purposes impossible.
With your Master Wallet you could create a Cold Hard copy of your master wallet that uniquely contains a recovery phrase. You could also create another Cold Hard copy of your Master Wallet that is the only wallet that can recover your private keys from the recovery phrase and thus restore your entire Master Wallet.
So, you are getting the idea. My Wallet is my agent in this big bad world. I never have to pay taxes and I can have exceptional protection against people gaining the authority to steal or misuse any of my assets, or those of people I love.
Storage devices should protect my hard wallets. There is an old saying about Microsoft Windows that it is a “Bug with an Operating System built around it.” Bugs get into your stuff. They can get into your wallet.
Hard wallets are good. Soft wallets, exposed to other potentially buggy software are not so good.
I would never want the operating system of any computer to ever see me open my wallet, tell it some super secret things, and see what my wallet says back to me. I certainly don’t trust my brother or one of those escrow companies, to keep his computer free of bugs. I want those guys to have copies of my wallet, that I control in terms of where it is, and how it operates, on my stuff.
As one obvious example. Anytime you allow the Operating System, or, for that matter, most any other application, on your computer to provide automatic updates, you are giving those guys, and their buggy code, the ability to bug your wallet.
If I knew they couldn’t bug my crypto wallet, I would like my crypto wallet better.
The easy way to accomplish this is to use self-protecting storage devices.
One company called electronic.us from Kiyv Ukraine specializes in secure remote reading and writing control of USB attached storage devices. Our own open source code for TCG Opal and Enterprise SEDs has customers using it for remote access control to their storage services in a way that even the owners of the data centers cannot affect.
Combining these secure remote controls, self-protecting disk drives and flash drives can hide my wallet and any activity needed to manipulate it. That is pretty easy. Each crypto wallet copies whether a master or a copy of a master is married to a specific storage device. I may have copies of my wallet just as software in an OS just keeps a key on a soft-only copy of my small spending accounts. If someone gets the key out of that wallet, it will be like losing a twenty dollar bill when you lose your legacy leather wallet.
The Storage Workgroup of the Trusted Computing Group (TCG) has Storage Device Specifications we can use for defining hard cryptowallets.
It may be of interest that an existing Industry Standard for security services from storage devices can implement our ideal wallet, and also support many of the more inferior forms of wallet that already exist in the marketplace. This standard is called the TCG Storage Workgroup standard.
Storage | Trusted | Computing | Group | (TCG)
The Storage Work Group builds upon existing TCG technologies and philosophy, and focuses on standards for security…
Any given TCG storage product specification is based on what is called the TCG Core Specification. The Core provides a definition of services that any given storage device can choose to implement. Specifically identified selections of these services are called “Storage Subsystem Classes.”
The specifications concern self-protected storage and computing inside the storage device in the form of Security Providers or SPs. These SPs contain program and data (methods and tables) that are not in the User addressable space of the drive and are protected by cryptographically strong access controls enforced by the drives themselves.
Two such classes have been widely implemented. These include the Opal and the Enterprise drive specifications. There could be more. For example, we could create a CryptoWallet Specification which would specify a storage device to be our ideal crypto wallet for managing all our blockchain transactions.
Since I am the original architect for all these existing specifications, I can briefly describe functionality that can be selected out of the core, and additional functionality which could be added.
Each SP is defined as one or more SQL style tables of columns and rows, and a set of methods for manipulating labelled values inside each table. To design our ideal Wallet for a TCG storage specification, we need only to specify the different SPs, their tables, and how they function and interact.
The existing Opal and Enterprise Drive specifications have an Admin SP and a Locking SP. The Admin SP manages information about the drive itself, as a device. The Locking SP manages information about the encryption of user data ranges, or partitions, on the drive.
So what new SP would we add to the TCG Storage Specification to have a great Wallet? It would naturally be a CryptoWallet SP.
When you buy a new drive that can be used as a CryptoWallet, you simply activate it the same way people activate TCG SEDs today.
First, in order to use the crypto wallet, it needs a A CryptoWallet SP. This SP includes a table that describes the legitimate users, called “Authorities” on that wallet. These authorities would include the owner or owners of the wallet that have the right to perform blockchain transactions, and other users that may have restricted rights of approval and viewing.
The rows of that table are the various users and the columns define the limits of each user’s rights. Approver wallets may have authorities that cannot alter much of the content on these wallets but may be required to give permission for transactions on certain blockchain accounts in a Master or Master copy Wallet.
Another table in this CryptoWallet SP would list all blockchain assets managed by this CryptoWallet including which account, a familiar name for it, its type for example whether it is a cryptocoin account or an NFT account, which blockchain, the hash for the password for the account, the public key, the private key, the address of the coin or token in the blockchain, a hash of the recovery phrase key to reconstruct the private, and what users have what multisig roles on performing a blockchain transaction on the account.
Another table, the Other Wallets SP would keep track of all the Wallet copies and their authentication credentials and accounts needed to securely syncronize with instructions from their owners’ Master Wallets.
The Crypto Wallet can also list every other of his Master Wallet copies associated with the Master Crypto Wallet. He will see his Master Wallet, perhaps a cold backup of his Master Wallet, all the limited copies he has made of his Master such as Watchers, Approvers, Reporters, and BlockChainProvider copies, where these Wallets are, whether they are soft or hard, hot or cold, and who the Authorities are that are the custodians of these copies his wallet.
He will also see any copies of other people’s Wallets for which he is a custodian, as a Watcher, Approver, Reporter, or BlockChainProvider. He will see where his copies are. Whether they are cold, hot, soft, or hard.
A Government Reporter, in order to have NO TAXES ever, will include the Government who will now be fed anonymized reports of all blockchain currency transactions by this Master Wallet for monitoring the economy.
A Wallet then has a list of all the copies of it that have been made and an optional list of all the copies of other peoples wallets also being held custodially. Different kinds of such copies, for example, Watcher wallets and Approver wallets will prohibit their copying. For example, if you lose a Hard Watcher wallet, you have to go back to the Master Wallet holder for a new one.
A Master Wallet can be required to be a Cold Hard Wallet. This is a wallet that is required to be offline, disconnected, except for those periods of time where it is employed attached to an approved host. For example, a timer that prevents Master Crypto Wallet copy access to a certain number of minutes a day.
So, if I want to create an Approver Wallet for my Brother, for example, I select the accounts with the split key approval configurations for my Brother and create a special flash drive for him with this much reduced version of my copy of my Wallet. Any changes I make to his rights of approval to one of my accounts would be sync’d to his Wallet when an approval from him is requested. Find My Wallet would be able to locate that Hard Wallet copy in both his or my Master Wallet, and any other Approver Copies held by others.
This means that custodians such as DeFi services could receive restricted versions of my Master Wallet which only refer to accounts they have a right to manage, as seen in my CryptoWallet as well as theirs as a custodian of my assets.
The CryptoWallet will have its own Blockchain on the Drive!
Now, here is the fun part. Each master wallet would have its own blockchain. This is the ‘fast’ kind of blockchain that has no proof of work or proof of stake. It is managed by the person who owns the Master Wallet on this Hard CryptoWallet drive. The SED Locking SP will define the protected user ranges for any public or private blockchain managed by the Crypto Wallet on the same drive.
All the copies of my Wallet that I authorize could be stored in the local blockchain managed on any of my Master Wallet storage devices. This would provide a coherent basis for how the collection of copies of my wallet can be found and understood to be legit. My backup Master Wallet storage devices simply require a number of approvers to replace my first Master if I ever lose it.
In effect, by distributing the Wallet universe through such storage devices we can have an incredibly strong way for the average person to have control over his own assets.
There are many commercial uses for such local, fast, blockchains run under high security controls. A commercial activity for evaluating and teaching disinformation and misinformation on the Internet which my company has also invented is called “The Internet Court of Lies.”
Internet Court of Lies
Find Truth You prosecute lies, not people You are plaintiff, judge, or juror Everyone in a court trial is anonymous…
It is free for anyone who wants to understand if other people understand a lie or a truth like he does. Processing a case in court for the plaintiff and jurors takes under ten minutes. Liecourt also offers paid commercial licenses where it will run perhaps hundreds of cases for companies interested in understanding how their products or services are understood and what lies may be spreading about their products and services, and why. Another company may wish to run the cases themselves but only for participants which are their own employees. These cases can be kept on a mutually held blockchain for verified license billing purposes.
This capability of this Crypto Wallet to run its own fast blockchain for private information on the same device as one of the company’s Wallets is extremely attractive. Similar uses are easy to see for billing control for small business owners or non-profits that may have multiple wallets for each of their corporate entities, and so forth. Again, this is a Crypto Wallet you can like, if not love.
Cold Hard Crypto Wallets could be a standard commodity product by the Storage OEMS if we want to have great Wallets that people will love. People will love these Great Wallets because they are inexpensive, incredibly secure, incredibly inclusive of all a person’s cash and account control needs without the needs for online services outside their control.
People get some brand new wonderful things. The first is a lifetime of NO TAXES of any kind by any National, State, or Local Government.
The second is a way to organize their own assets to achieve great assurance that they always have control of these assets in a way they can understand.
And third is a way to stay anonymous in their transactions if they want, including all the necessary reporting to the government so the government can pay itself out of a growing economy.
It is also not complicated thanks to the existing, internationally accepted, standards for storage OEM products from the Trusted Computing Group storage security standards.
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