BitFi is a smartphone-like hardware wallet designed and developed by John McAfee – the techpreneur behind McAfee Antivirus software. It is a highly intuitive crypto vault that integrates both industry standard and some innovative operational and security features. For instance, unlike most software and hardware crypto wallets that have a backup seed and store private keys offline, BitFi doesn’t provide you with a recovery seed, and neither does it integrate the cold storage feature.
BitFi became hugely popular because of McAfee’s bold claim that the wallet is “unhackable” and even referring to it as the ‘Fort Knox’ of crypto hardware wallets. A security audit of its source code, however, revealed numerous bugs and vulnerabilities. The wallet was then hacked. This saw McAfee drop the ”Unhackable” tab, agree that no wallet or computer system is unhackable, and defend BitFi by arguing that it was all a marketing stunt.
In this BitFi hardware wallet review, we outline and explain all the security and operational features that first convinced John McAfee that this Crypto vault is unhackable. We will also vet its ease of use, its pros, and cons, and provide you with a step by step guide on how to activate and use BitFi.
Large screen: BitFi hardware resembles an ordinary smartphone and has a full OLED screen. The on-device screen is large enough to fit the entire wallet address and plays a crucial role in making BitFi as intuitive as possible.
Native interface: You don’t need to download a desktop or mobile app wallet companion for the BitFi hardware wallet. The hardware device features a native user interface that you can use to navigate and interact with the wallet and your private keys.
Multi-wallet hardware vault: BitFi is a multi-wallet hardware vault because there is no limit to the number of wallet addresses you can hold on the device.
Passcode + SALT: Like any other wallet, BitFi requires you to set up a 6-digit passcode to protect your BitFi account. But unlike any other wallet, it requires you to create “SALT,” a passphrase that you will need to login to the BitFi hardware device.
Open sourced: BitFi is a fully open-sourced hardware wallet whose source code is available on both the official BitFi wallet website and its GitHub page.
Secret phrase: In the place of the near-traditional recovery/backup seed generated by most hardware/software wallets, BitFi lets you create a secret phrase that you can use alongside ‘SALT’ to calculate your private keys.
No storing private keys: Though it is a hardware wallet, BitFi doesn’t store your private keys in cold offline storage. Instead, it uses Salt and your secret phrase to calculate your crypto wallet balances every time you log in. This technically means that you can log in and access your digital portfolio using any hardware BitFi device.
Locked Bootloader: BitFi derives its claim of tamper-proof hardware wallets from the fact that it has a locked bootloader. This means that BitFi’s firmware is locked and will not allow the injection of any foreign programs or instructions.
No counterfeits: BitFi official website claims that the hardware wallet cannot be counterfeited. This argument is based on the fact that the wallet’s firmware uses a specially packaged and unique fingerprint – the Trusted Execution Environment – that cannot be replicated.
How to set and activate the BitFi wallet
Step 1: Start by making your purchase of the Bitfi Knox crypto hardware wallet.
Step 2: Create a user account on Bitfi official website. This step requires you to create a password and verify your email address.
Step 3: After email confirmation, the website will ask for the 6-digit code on your hardware wallet
Step 4: It will now require you to create a SALT. Think of it as a username that should be unique but easy to remember
Step 5: Create the secret phrase of a minimum of 7 words if they are multi-character or 9words with no special characters. However, you are free to push this to 10, 12, or even 15 words for improved security. You can use the BitFi randomizing system by rolling the dice that accompanies the hardware device and their online word list.
Step 6: Turn on BitFi hardware wallet and connect to the same Wi-Fi as the computer or phone you are using to create a user account.
Step 7: Hit the Sync button on the online wallet user dashboard to connect the website account with the hardware device
Step 8: Enter the SALT and secret phrase to login to the hardware device and access your wallet address and QR code.
Step 9: Your Bitfi wallet is now active and ready for use
How to add/receive crypto into your BitFi wallet
Step 1: Log in to your Bitfie wallet
Step 2: Copy the wallet address and send it to the person sending you cryptos or have them scan your wallet’s QR code.
Step 3: Wait for the funds to reflect on your wallet.
How to send crypto from your BitFi wallet
Step 1: Log in to your BitFi online wallet and hit the send button on the user dashboard.
Step 2: Select the coin or crypto asset you want to send
Step 3: Enter the recipient’s wallet address and the number of cryptos you want them to receive
Step 4: Log in to your Bitfi hardware wallet and synchronize it with the online user dashboard.
Step 5: Confirm that the transaction details and correct and authorize the transfer via the hardware device.
BitFi wallet ease of use
Bitfi is a very intuitive and beginner-friendly hardware wallet. The setup process is relatively easy and straightforward. The fact that you can access your digital assets even on a (trusted) friend’s BitFi hardware wallet solidifies this ease of use claim.
Additionally, you don’t need to worry about losing/misplacing the paper/card that holds your recovery seed. You do not need it. You only need Salt and the easy to remember Secret phrase to access your digital assets.
BitFi wallet supported currencies.
BitFi is a multicurrency wallet that supports 12 cryptocurrencies and a host of ERC-20 tokens.
It is especially hailed as the first hardware wallet to support Monero crypto. Their official website also mentions that the development team is working towards incorporating more cryptos tokens in the near future.
BitFi wallet cost and fees
BitFi hardware wallet retails at $120.
The only other charge you might have to factor in when using the BitFi wallet is the transaction fee charged and collected by blockchain miners and network administrators to confirm and verify crypto transactions.
BitFi wallet customer support
BitFi has the technical and customer support team on standby 24/7 via phone, email, or live chat functionality on your hardware device.
What are the pros and cons of using the BitFi wallet?
- BitFi is an easy to use and beginner-friendly crypto hardware wallet.
- The hardware wallet doesn’t store your private keys in a specific device.
- It is a multi-wallet and multi-signature vault that you can share with family or friends with everyone creating wallet address-specific Salt and Security Phrase.
- Your private keys never leave the wallet.
- It will only work if connected to the internet via Wi-Fi.
- The $120 price tag is restrictive.
- It doesn’t support anonymous user registration or trading.
Verdict: Is BitFi wallet safe?
Yes, Bitfi has embraced highly advanced security and privacy protocols that guarantee your private coins’ safety. For instance, their hardware wallet doesn’t hold any coins. Its specially designed firmware is also locked to eliminate counterfeiting and injection of malicious codes. And though its open-sourced nature helped many blockchain security experts uncover its vulnerabilities and soil its reputation as an ‘Unhackable’ wallet, it has helped identify many more bugs and their patches. Our only reservation with the use of the BitFi hardware wallet is its restrictive acquisition cost and the fact that it has already been hacked.