Glacier Protocol

Glacier Protocol Explained – Utmost Protection for Bitcoins

Glacier Protocol offers an advanced level of security for safely storing Bitcoins. The architects of the protocol claim that it is one of the most secure among all forms of storage methods for digital assets, and is recommended for those storing and securing a large number of Bitcoins.

Glacier Protocol for Security Conscious People

Glacier Protocol is for people who take security and privacy very seriously when it comes to storing and securing Bitcoins. The protocol is intended for people with the following requirements.

  • Large Amount of funds in Bitcoins (More than 100k).
  • Long-term storage of funds.
  • People who don’t want frequent access to the funds.

The protocol is only for storing the funds and not for procurement. It is much more secure than hardware wallets or paper wallets. People who want the utmost security for their Bitcoins should go for this protocol.

Glacier Protocol is the Most Trusted

Some people would question the trust and reliability of this protocol. The reason for believing in this protocol is for the following reasons:

  • The protocol was developed over time with input from the most trusted security experts in the world, as well as from the Bitcoin experts. You can see the advisors listed in the protocol document itself for you to believe and make use of this protocol.
  • The GlacierScript used in this protocol is open-source and well-documented to allow easy review for developers and to address any vulnerability.
  • The protocol is community driven, and major contributions have come from the Bitcoin community itself.
  • Others can publish their own version since this protocol is under an open license.

Security Issues in Online Storage

There are many issues when we store our Bitcoins using online storage like exchanges and online wallets that are constantly exposed to the internet. Hackers around the world continuously try to hack into online wallets to steal Bitcoins. The most infamous Mt.Gox and Bitfinex hacks cannot be easily forgotten since they were considered the black days in the history of Bitcoin. Millions of dollars of funds have been lost due to these exchange hacks. The major security risks in storing Bitcoins on online storage platforms are listed below.

  • There are many cases of identity spoofing on online exchanges by trying to identify as you and getting access to the funds.
  • The information and funds can be exposed when they are relayed over the internet. This will help hackers to steal the funds easily.
  • Online services are constantly hit by hackers since they know that they store a lot of funds and they are attacked from across the world 24/7.
  • Moreover, the exchanges and online services also have to safeguard the funds from their own internal employees, since they know the whereabouts of the funds and the wallets can be easily targeted by them.
  • Last but not least, there is a single point failure if the government or any other authority wants to take control and seize the funds from these exchanges.

Security Flaws in Hardware Wallets

Hardware wallets are considered to quite safe, but when the degree of security is considered, then the security is relatively low compared to Glacier protocol. Many people store their Bitcoins in hardware wallets like Trezor, Ledger, and keepkeys. Glacier provides a higher level of protection compared to hardware wallets.

Major security flaws identified with hardware wallets is that we connect them to computers using USB and there could be a case where there might be some vulnerability in the computer or some malware that might try to steal the funds from the hardware wallet. Glacier is recommended for storing a large amount of funds, but everything comes to personal choice and risk tolerance. If one doesn’t want to spend a huge sum of money in securing their funds using this protocol, then they can stay with hardware wallets, since the effort and cost required to store Bitcoins in hardware wallets is less. But the security is somewhat compromised since the user has to completely trust the computer and the USB device of not having any malware that might be trying to steal the users’ private keys.

Glacier Protocol Overview

The Glacier protocol involves putting Bitcoin in cold storage using Multi signature security. Below are the security precautions taken by this protocol for providing the utmost security.

  1. The Glacier Protocol uses Eternally Quarantined Hardware to safeguard against theft of private keys by malware. Quarantined hardware means limiting the hardware from outside access. Outside access does not mean just the internet. It also includes USB, network, printer and other ways that communicate or connect with the “outside world”. Eternally Quarantined means the hardware is “fresh” from the factory and has never been accessed by external sources in communicating with the outside world. In other words, buying a factory new hardware and never lifting the quarantine ever in its history for utmost security.
  2. The protocol also never trusts the factory-ready hardware. The reason behind it is that the hardware might come with malware pre-installed by the hardware vendor. The malware might have been present when the quarantine system arrived from the manufacturer. This is tested by replicating the entire data generation process across two eternally quarantined hardware devices coming from different hardware manufacturers. This process is achieved by generating identical data on both pieces of hardware and checking if the output is the same to verify if the malware is not pre-installed on the hardware.
  3. This protocol used Bitcoin Core software for cryptographic and financial operations, since it is time-tested and used for storing huge amounts of funds across the world. Also, Bitcoin core software is worked on by best cryptographers and it has undergone extensive code review. In addition to this, Glacier also uses its script called GlacierScript that automates most of the manual work.

Glacier Protocol Output

After securing your funds by using Glacier Protocol, you will get the output that can be used to access the funds. The output is a set of paper, and each  paper contains validation information. We say a set of paper because Glacier protocol involves Multi-signature withdrawal policy and so each one of the trusted people who are part of multi-signature should have their paper output. Below is the output that you will receive which you should use to access your funds.

  • Private Key – Key used to secure the funds.
  • Cold Storage Address – It is an alphanumeric string that will take you to the virtual “location” of the funds.
  • Redemption Script – An additional code for accessing the funds shared by all private keys. This code is used for accomplishing multi-signature withdrawal policy.

The above is the Glacier protocol that gives us the utmost security with limited access to the outside world. It also has multi-signature support for trust purpose. We recommend that everyone who takes security as the highest priority in securing funds to consider using this protocol. The protocol steps and instructions are in this document.