As mobile payments are becoming increasingly common, Copay recently announced the release of the first bitcoin wallet platform. Bitcoin enthusiasts can download the platform for free on the Windows Phone app store. The app was previously made available on iOS and Android.
Backed by BitPay, Copay is an open source project. Over the last year, BitPay, which is currently the leading bitcoin payment processor in the world, has been working toward building Copay at a steady pace. The Copay software was originally built for the purpose of offering an open source platform that would make it possible for building ultra-secure bitcoin wallet services. Although the copay app is still beta software, it has made significant strides in terms of demonstrating the capabilities and power the platform offers. BitPay has been keen about encouraging developers to not only review their software but also build upon it.
The release of the software also serves to demonstrate BitPay's continued developing relationship with Microsoft. Recently, Microsoft began to accept bitcoin as a payment method for gaming as well as mobile content.
The Security of Multi-Signature Bitcoin Wallets
As a multi-sig wallet, Copay certainly has the potential to change the bitcoin landscape. Known for providing bitcoin users with the highest level of security available, multi-signature wallets have received increased attention of late. Prior to any money being able to be moved from a multi-signature wallet, the wallet must first be provided with at least two of three keys. For example, a private key might be maintained on a mobile device or a computer, utilizing all of the required security precautions. A second key could be maintained in a safety deposit box and a third key could be maintained by the wallet provider.
When the user of a multi-signature wallet wishes to spend money, the wallet provider will need to enter the first key in order for the funds to be released. This alone would not be enough to send the bitcoins, however. The user will also need to input one of the other two remaining keys in order to initiate the transaction. Once those two keys have been used in combination, the funds will then be released.
As a multi-signature wallet, Copay offers the potential for a number of uses, including corporate use and even as a family fund, requiring at least two family members to agree on a purchase prior to funds being sent.
Power to Transform the Bitcoin Industry
The primary benefit of a multi-sig wallet such as Copay is that it can help to thwart the theft of bitcoins. Even if someone should compromise the wallet provider and attempt a transaction, they would not be able to finalize the transfer of funds without one of the other two remaining keys, which are controlled only by the user.
Multi-signature wallets certainly are not a new phenomenon, but they have been growing more popular this year. Chief Scientist of the bitcoin Foundation, Gavin Andresen, even referred to 2014 as the "year of the multi-signature wallet" during his State of bitcoin address during the bitcoin 2014 conference held in Amsterdam.
BitGo was the first multi-signature wallet, introduced, in 2013, but there have been many other introductions to the market since then, including Coinkite, Circle, Armory, Coinbase, and GreenAddress. Coinkite and BitGo have quickly gained reputations for helping to simplify the multi-signature approach by providing additional security features, including offline key generation. In the event that multi-signature wallets continue to make gains in the mobile market, bitcoin could be well on its way to transforming the consumer spending and banking process.
Windows Phone. Copay Wallet.