StrongCoin is a bitcoin wallet that stores an encrypted version of your private keys online while encrypting and decrypting keys from within your browser. The team has been offering bitcoin storage solutions since 2011, although the StrongCoin consumer-facing wallet is relatively new.
StrongCoin emphasizes benefits like full control over your money, transparency, and a secure environment. However, reviews online will show that there’s limited information about StrongCoin overall, and that many users have complained about the fee structure.
StrongCoin isn’t a hardware wallet. There’s no physical device you can hold in your hands. It’s also not technically a software wallet: you’re not storing your private keys on your own computer or running specialized wallet apps or software. Instead, StrongCoin is a hybrid wallet because the keys are encrypted within your browser, then sent to StrongCoin’s servers. You can access those coins at any time.
Decentralization advocates will shy away from hybrid solutions like StrongCoin. Many members of the crypto community will claim that StrongCoin’s centralized verification services negatively affect one of the major benefits of cryptocurrency: the ability to use and access your money without the need for a centralized entity or bank.
Nevertheless, StrongCoin remains a popular wallet among users who want to trade complete security over their money for easier access to the crypto funds.
StrongCoin also has another benefit: you can print out a paper wallet and maintain complete control over your private keys. Your entire account can be downloaded as a PDF document, then printed out and stored at your convenience.
How Does StrongCoin Work?
StrongCoin, like other hybrid wallets, lets you send and receive bitcoins like an ordinary wallet. You have a public key that you can use to send and receive money.
The main difference with StrongCoin, however, is that the bitcoin private key used to verify transactions is stored in StrongCoin’s servers. StrongCoin stores your private keys after encrypting them within your browser. Your browser handles the encryption and decryption, and then StrongCoin handles your encrypted private keys.
“Therefore our servers only hold encrypted private keys and neither we nor anyone else can spend your bitcoins,” explains the official StrongCoin website.
StrongCoin is an ideal solution for those who believe that non-hybrid wallets and desktop clients are not safe.
The main advantage StrongCoin has over a non-hybrid wallet (like an exchange’s wallet) is that you have more control over your private keys. When you leave your coins in an exchange, you risk the fact that the exchange is going to take your money. All it takes is one rogue employee or hacker for your funds to be lost – something that has happened too many times to count across cryptocurrency exchanges.
Most people area aware that holding cryptocurrency on an exchange wallet is a bad idea. But why would you choose StrongCoin over a hardware wallet or a desktop client?
The core advantage StrongCoin has over bitcoin wallet apps, software, and hardware wallets is user-friendliness: over 4 million bitcoins have been lost over the years due to user error or loss of private keys.
When something goes wrong with your bitcoins – say, you forget your passcode or lose your private keys – there’s no customer service helpline you can call. Your bitcoins are lost forever.
“Even experienced bitcoin users have lost coins because they accidently deleted their wallet file on their personal computers.”
With StrongCoin, you get a secure backup of your private keys. If you lose your own private keys, then you can rely on StrongCoin to keep your coins safe.
StrongCoin first became available online in 2017. However, the company has been securing clients’ bitcoins in this manner since 2011. A few years ago, StrongCoin decided to offer its coin storage services to regular clients.
After sending your encrypted bitcoin private keys to StrongCoin, you’re encouraged to print off your entire account as a PDF document. Your StrongCoin PDF file holds a copy of all your bitcoin private keys AES encrypted with the password you used when you created each account. You can print off this document to have access to your encrypted bitcoin funds. StrongCoin claims this gives users complete control over their bitcoins.
StrongCoin emphasizes all of the following features:
Users Hold the Private Keys: Unlike on an exchange, where the exchange holds your private keys, with StrongCoin, users control the private keys. Bitcoins are held on the bitcoin blockchain – not in an exchange’s server.
Buy Bitcoins Directly: StrongCoin also lets you buy bitcoins directly. The company has partnered with bitcoin purchasing platform called Glidera to offer direct bitcoin purchasing to clients.
Works on Multiple Devices: StrongCoin’s site is accessible on tablets, mobile devices, and desktops.
Available Since 2011: StrongCoin’s consumer-facing bitcoin storage solutions first started appearing online in 2017, although the company has been storing bitcoins for clients since 2011. As of October 2018, over 130,000 people are using StrongCoin to store their bitcoins.
Hybrid Wallet: A hybrid wallet allows you to send and receive bitcoins like a normal bitcoin wallet, but you maintain control of your private keys. With StrongCoin, the private keys are encrypted and decrypted in your browser, and then the encrypted private keys are sent to StrongCoin’s servers.
StrongCoin is a London, UK-based company founded in 2011.
The company is led by founder, CEO, and CTO Ian P. Ian P is also the founder and CTO at Carbon Wallet, a company he launched in January 2013.
It’s not clear what Ian P’s full name is. His LinkedIn page simply lists him as Ian P. Carbon Wallet, meanwhile, is a multi-signature bitcoin storage solution where you get one signature and Carbon Wallet gets the other for added security. Like StrongCoin, there’s limited information about Carbon Wallet available online.
StrongCoin doesn’t disclose its fees to the public on StrongCoin.com. Meanwhile, a Google search for StrongCoin will reveal a number of users complaining about high fees.
BitTrust.org, for example, has given StrongCoin a 1 star rating after multiple poor reviews from users. Most users, however, report being charged a fee of 1%. Others report a fee of 0.004 BTC. It’s possible that StrongCoin charges whatever fee is higher.
If you don’t trust yourself to manage private keys correctly, or if you’re worried about losing your private keys, then a hybrid bitcoin wallet service like StrongCoin may be the right choice for you. However, there are concerns about StrongCoin’s mysterious fee structure, and there’s limited information about the service available online overall.