Edge wallet is here to improve upon security
Recent attacks on Solana have led to talks once again about security on web3. We were lucky enough to be able to to speak to CEO Paul Puey and the team at Edge wallets about how their platform could have aided against such attacks. We learned a lot from Mr. Puey and perhaps our dear readers can too . Please enjoy the interview
On Tuesday August 2nd, more than 8,000 hot wallets on Solana blockchain were hacked resulting in multi-million dollar losses to their users. Would these losses have been prevented if these users had held Solana crypto assets on ‘Edge’?
Absolutely. While the security issue in Slope was simply human error, and no one can ever guarantee against such issues, Edge has stood the test of time with our core development team building secure wallet software since 2014. Edge itself is built on the security architecture of our prior product, Airbitz, which was in production for hundreds of thousands of users as far back as 2014. Launched in 2018, Edge has never had a security breach in over five years with over 3 million accounts on our platform.
What lessons can we learn from these hacks? What advice can you give to hot wallets in general to safeguard their crypto assets?
While it does not guarantee against such security issues, I would highly recommend that wallet developers, whether cold or hot, choose to keep their applications open source so that such security issues have a chance to be quickly discovered by the community. Keeping an application closed source for monetary gain does not outweigh the benefits of security for their users.
Should the industry as a whole spend resources on educating wallet users?
That is a tough one. While the answer might seemingly be a resounding “yes”, our industry needs to move past the need to educate users but rather build products that simply work. In the interim we will have to educate users to look for well vetted, open source, mature products.
Why did you decide to add support to Solana blockchain on Edge wallet? Do you see a potential growth in Solana users in the future?
The decision was simple as it came from our user demand. In addition, unlike many other chains, Solana was clearly making a valid attempt at a new architecture for scaling a smart contract chain. While it is impossible to determine whether an architecture can truly handle its scaling targets while staying sufficiently decentralized, we felt that Solana was an honest, worthwhile attempt.
Would you qualify Solana’s (and its ecosystem) attack surface at higher or lower risk than other blockchains?
I realize this question comes from the context of the recent Solana wallet hack. However the Solana blockchain itself and the rest of its ecosystem are not inherently less secure than other blockchains. However, there is something to be said about the culture of the founders and developers in the ecosystem. Solana has had repeated issues keeping the blockchain functional, and its developers have clearly chosen speed over reliability in their balance of trade offs. As well, there is not a single Solana focused open source wallet. This may lead people to believe that the general culture is more driven around performance, usage metrics, and profit.
Is security the primary concern at Edge? How do you approach the well-known ‘security vs usability’ friction in crypto at Edge?
Security is the foundation of our company and product. However we look at security on a more holistic level. Unlike most other products, we don’t consider security to be purely against outside attackers. In many ways, users have to be secured against themselves and the common user errors. Losing money is losing money whether it is stolen from an attacker, a bug in wallet software, a lost private key back up, or a custodian mismanaging funds- they all equally hurt. We have spent the past eight years building products that prevent the most common losses of cryptocurrency considering all of the above possibilities.
Please tell us more about what drew you to the crypto sector and how you see the next few years in terms of growth and adoption.
I discovered bitcoin in 2013 and all aspects of the technology fascinated me. I felt fully aligned with its vision to disrupt the behemoth financial and governmental powers of our world. As well, the technologist in me was fascinated by Bitcoin’s ability to solve a long-standing problem in distributed computing. And now with the advancement of smart contract platforms, I found a renewed excitement in the ability of cryptocurrency to take away even more layers of the financial stack from the multibillion dollar incumbents. While it is difficult to predict the direction of cryptocurrency adoption, my biggest dream is that the next wave of users coming through the next bull run will largely be taking advantage of self custody products that provide globally accessible, censorship resistant, and privacy preserving financial tools.
We are grateful to Mr. Puey for his time and hope to speak with him again real soon!
Edge is an industry leading self-custody app that lets users buy, sell, and trade hundreds of cryptocurrencies while making self-custody intuitive and accessible for all users. While the saying “not your keys, not your crypto” is true, this saying has a major flaw – it doesn’t account for the usability needs of end users. With client-side encryption, automatic backup of encrypted data, and password recovery, Edge is eliminating the risk of end user error when writing down, backing up, and securing seed phrases.