Project Rundown Interview with Julien & Fahad, founders of the OPOLO Hardware Wallet.
Hey Julien & Fahad! Happy to connect today and learn more about the OPOLO Hardware wallet! Can you tell us more about the founding of the project and what the problem is that you were addressing?
Thanks for having us. The project started 2 years ago when I (Fahad) noticed that existing hardware wallets were not user friendly and let use a few crypto assets at the same time. In other words, these wallets were not suitable for common users and day to day use. In other words, if we want mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, we have to make them super simple to use. I often say, our all products should be so simple to use that even our grandma would be able to use it. At the same time, we don't want to compromise on security. So we wanted to develop a new secure and user-friendly hardware wallet, with as many coins as possible.
After 2 years of development and burn the midnight oil, the device is finally ready. This new wallet provides ease of use for both novices users and experienced users like traders.
Could you please give us a rundown of the most important things about the OPOLO Hardware Wallet?
In regards to the security of the product, in order to define security by design, and not a security layer added at the end of the project. That’s the first pillar, and we have achieved it by using EAL6+ Secure Element (SE). Many devices are not so user friendly, that was not enough to make a great and innovative product. So we wanted a user-friendly device, easy to use, and with as many cryptocurrencies as possible.
At this time, such level of security, with so many coins and so many functionalities at the same time, it does not exist, except OPOLO. It’s like a Hardware Wallet 2.0.
So going forth into 2020 and beyond, how will your project make an impact in the crypto space, or on the world?
Today, many crypto traders and/or miners are either using online exchanges or un-secure devices such as laptop, smartphones to save their crypto assets, which is alarming situation. As you know there are billions of dollars lost due to exchange hacks or computer/mobile hacks. So we don't want the user to take the risk by storing their hard-earned assets on un-secure or risky places. Not many people are using hardware wallets, to secure part of their money. We want to help crypto hodlers and traders to have a better option to store their crypto assets, by giving them a more secure way to store and access crypto assets. We not only want them to provide a hardware wallet but an eco-system where they can store, trade, and exchange their crypto assets in a frictionless manner.
We also want to help newcomers to come in the crypto world more easily, so they don't need to know anything about blockchain and still, they could be able to send/receive crypto assets. It's like the Steve Jobs moment where he introduced Apple iPhone to the world, when all existing mobile phones are having so many buttons and so difficult to use, he gave a simpler option with just a touch screen. We want to do the same but for crypto lovers.
Now, could you tell us about your accomplishments so far, and in the history of the OPOLO Hardware Wallet, please tell us what you are most proud of.
The biggest challenges were to meet all competences: hardware, design, development, crypto coins integration, security of the hardware wallet, and make all these people work together. Another main challenge was to design a sleek and eye-catching product, that looks simple yet elegant. Eventually, two years of hard work by our team brings us to this moment. We can say that we are proud about the result: OPOLO allows dealing with more coins than we expected at the beginning, and we are improving the product every day. OPOLO already supports more than 90 coins and more than 1500 tokens. Working is so exciting with a talented team, and when everybody tries to reach the moon!
So OPOLO is using dedicated Secure Element to store the private keys, could you tell us more about this?
The secure element is designed to keep a secret and it's almost impossible to break the security around them. For example our passports, our credit or debit cards issued by the banks have a secure element to protect their keys. In OPOLO, The Secure Element is keeping the seed of the wallet, the 24 words mnemonics.
Some hardware wallets have no secure element, which makes those wallets very vulnerable to physical attacks, hence the user can lose their funds if someone got access to those wallets. Some hardware wallets are relying on EAL5+ secure element, however, we wanted to provide state of the art in terms of security components. OPOLO Cosmos is designed around EAL6+ secure element. EAL means Evaluation Assurance Level which is based on Common Criteria: this identifies the level of tests that have been done on the component: 6+ is the best certification at this moment for a Secure Element.
You also want to make it possible for users to exchange their crypto assets from the hardware wallet and directly to the exchanges so they can do trade on any exchange of their choice. How will you make this possible?
OPOLO Cosmos comes with a desktop application called OPOLO Desk, which is interacting with the hardware wallet, it can bring an overview of all the coins and tokens which are stored on it. OPOLO Desk can do more than a visualization, because it offers the capability to exchange coin by another coin. In fact, OPOLO Desk has integrated APIs from the most famous coin swap platforms that enable the user to swap coins instantly without leaving the application.
In an example, if the user has Bitcoin, and wants Ethereum instead of it, he only has to go to the EXCHANGE menu on OPOLO Desk, choose initial and requested COINS, and the transaction will be executed. Easy and quick process.
I know that OPOLO Hardware Wallet has a lot of focus on user experience right? How do you test this, and how do you make the user experience better?
We rely on the experience of end-users like crypto traders, coins miners, and hodlers. We collected much information through surveys on social networks. We also have people in our team with these backgrounds. We experiment with functionalities, gradually, and modified them until the functionalities fully match the expectation. That’s why the first production batch took less than 2 years to come! Many prototypes and many tests have been made to reach such a product.
Of course, we want to keep improving the user experience. We continue to hear feedback and to modify or add functionalities. It is a long road, but we still maintain the direction to reach excellence. So don’t hesitate to give us your feedback, we are on many networks like Telegram, Twitter, Linkedin and through our website.
Now, give us a quick rundown of the future of the OPOLO Hardware Wallet. For example, what new things are you seeking to bring to life?
In our pipeline, we want to make a hardware wallet that is super simple to use and which has as many blockchains as possible. In addition we are also working on another model of OPOLO that is super inexpensive where anyone can buy it without thinking twice, i.e. for mass adoption. We are working on several projects, all are related to crypto. There are so many things to improve in the crypto world, like making it easier for non-IT/technical and non-finance-related people. There is so much to be made in terms of Point Of Sale, Payment Terminals, and we are still at the beginning. We are checking and measuring each opportunity we can have and try to work on it.
Tell us about your team. Who’re the people behind the screens?
We are about hardware developers, firmware developers, secure element programmers, Software Developers, Crypto specialists, IoT security penetration testers, Projects Manager, Marketing team and Business Angels. All these people are not in the same location, that’s the specificity of our company. We are spread across the world, we have a product designer from South Africa, a Content writer from USA, a hardware designer from Vietnam, a firmware developer and a pen-tester from Europe. We don’t have the same culture or the same nationality, but we are united around the same goal or mission, the same passion that drives us. In the beginning, we thought it was a challenge, but in fact, it’s so easy with people when they want to work together. We are all thinking that crypto is the future, and we want to help people to see the opportunities crypto brings.
Which partnerships have you engaged so far, and which ones are the most impactful?
We are collaborating with many blockchain projects, we will be announcing a lot of partnerships soon. We are also collaborating with coin swap platforms. We have had very positive developments. We even got interests from different projects to investment, but we leave this news for later.
If people would like to follow you on your social media pages or visit your website, what are the links they need to visit? Please list them below.
Thank you so much for your time! Do you have anything to add before we finish?
Yes, of course, we didn't talk much about the OPOLO user account. This is an optional feature, that allows users to create an account on the OPOLO platform and store their addresses of different cryptocurrencies on it. The account name is just like a twitter handle, we call it OPOLO handle. This handle is just like one address for all your cryptocurrencies. OPOLO is proud to be the first one to introduce this. Using this handle, any OPOLO user can transfer any coins to any other OPOLO user by just knowing their OPOLO handle.
I would also like to share a limited period discount of 20% (discount code : TheCapital20) for your readers which they can use within next 30 days to buy OPOLO Cosmos on our website.