Vault12 Review

Vault12 Review: Decentralized Custody for your Cryptocurrency

Every blockchain aficionado and crypto-lover has faced a unique problem after securing their first crypto assets. Namely, the hesitation, anxiety, and doubts about the safety and security of their newly prized assets.

Perhaps you can relate:

“You pick up a new piece of paper and peer over your shoulders as you swiftly write down your secret seed words. You make at least 3 copies as you think of 3 places to hide them where they could never be found..”

Now, in this instance… I remember my wife walking into the room looking at me “surprised” as I sat hunched over looking highly suspicious, she remarked:

In the blacksmith’s house, a wooden knife”.

Being a part of one of the most amazing times in the history of this technological revolution, requires something slightly more reassuring and technical than a simple piece of paper to secure your crypto assets.

An incredible team of developers, advisors and world-class investors agree that this needs to be changed and so here comes Vault 12. A new platform based on “Hierarchical Shamir’s Secret Sharing” – we’ll dive into what this is later –  that will allow you to protect and store your cryptocurrencies with your complete control, privacy, and guaranteed reliability.

This is a necessary step toward achieving mainstream blockchain adoption as not everyone is willing to take on the same risks that current crypto enthusiasts face by “being your own bank”.


Problem

As mentioned, these are amazing times, a new economy is forming right before our eyes and for many of us, this transformation is a once in a lifetime event that will change the way we all think about money.

With the new wave of technology, users are now passed on the responsibility to maintain the information of their:

  • Private keys
  • Public keys
  • Location of each wallet holding assets
  • Password access to certain wallets
  • Seed Words to recover and backup certain wallets

The responsibility to maintain every form of access to these assets thus become in full control of the owner. While that is something that is a huge benefit to society, it also allows the human error and nature of mistakes to cause crypto assets to be lost permanently, due to loss a variety of reasons including forgotten keys and access.

This isn’t quite user-friendly enough to help spur widespread adoption throughout society or to even deliver the full benefits of decentralized services that many crypto projects promise.

Vault 12 aims to make securing crypto assets as easy as downloading and launching an application on your smartphone, providing convenience and ease to users in safely and securing their crypto assets.


Solution

Vault 12 was designed as an application that will make securing crypto tokens as easy as opening an application on our smartphone or computer, selecting people out of our friends and relatives that we want as our verification circle and then providing the mechanism to protect those valuable coins until we ourselves or our progeny (upon an untimely event) wish to use them.

In order to implement the application and solve the problems listed above, Vault 12 has built a platform designed  to protect our cryptocurrencies using a decentralized storage system and ¨Shamir’s Secret Sharing¨, a powerful cryptographic algorithm.

The aim of Vault 12 is to provide crypto users with the tools to actually store and secure their crypto assets without facing any undue risks, thus providing users with complete control and ownership of their crypto assets in a private and autonomous manner.

Shamir’s Secret Sharing Algorithm provides a means to shard documents, files, and pictures over Vault 12’s decentralized storage network.

What this means is that this cryptographic algorithm literally divides (or shards) your documents (say a picture of your seed words) into multiple parts, as if dividing an A4 piece of paper into 4 squares, and then distributes them across different authorized devices or people that you have selected.

You can think of it as dividing an A4 physical piece of paper that has 24 seed words on it into 4 square lots, with each square having 6 seed words written on it. One square that has 6 seed words on it is useless and anyone who gets their hands on it won’t be able to reproduce the full 24 seed words, however when the squares are reassembled it’s possible to get the complete picture.

Basically your documents, seed words, or whatever passwords or private keys you can imagine, gets divided up and is sent to multiple, yet different authorized devices and people. To restore the document or key, a preset number of devices must recall a certain amount of these pieces (shards) for you to gain access to your document or private key stored on Vault 12’s decentralized storage network.

The best part is that none of these little pieces carry any information by themselves about how much crypto you own, or what kind of movement you have done.


Main Features

One of the main foundational features in Vault12 is a powerful algorithm called Shamir’s Secret Sharing created by Adi Shamir, an Israeli born master cryptographer who devised a way to take a secret, in this case your Vault 12 private keys, and divide it into many parts giving each participant it’s own unique part.

Let’s examine how this algorithm specifically works within Vault 12’s mesh network:

Your most trusted family and friends’ mobile devices are called upon to form an encrypted, distributed and decentralized storage network, in this network the Secret Sharing (Shards) of your Private Keys, Recovery Phrases and other critical information are stored.

As mentioned above, by splitting this critical information into encrypted shards (pieces), there’s no centralized point that can be breached by any malicious actors because multiple shards are required (represented by your chosen family and friend’s devices) to decrypt your private information.

This gives the user (you) true control over your crypto asset storage with the peace of mind that comes from a reliable, redundant distributed wallet like what can be found in Vault 12.

Why is redundancy such an integral part of this equation:

Redundancy:the part of a message that can be eliminated without loss of essential information”

By having a larger number of shards present not only is the system redundant but it is an even more resilient form of storage as the recovery of the private data can be done with any number of shards.

But who determines the roles and the level of responsibility given to the actors within your social network to verify your identity inside the Vault 12 ecosystem?

Enter Hierarchical Extensions- hierarchical secret sharing:

This protocol helps define the role of each device within the mesh network, where certain operations are only possible with specific devices owned by guardians of your choosing.

This Hierarchical Secret Sharing allows for “Tiers Of Trust” that are categorized into three sections:

  1. “The Owner/Master Device”
  2. “The Guardians” – special group of family and friends chosen by the owner.
  3. “The Acquaintances” of the owner – friends that aren’t as close to the owner.

By having various levels within your social mesh network, this allows for a much larger number of shards to ensure redundancy is achieved successfully.

Let’s take a brief walk through of the set up of a Vault

The Owner/Master Device” chooses his custodians (Tiers of Trust) as outlined above, whose phones now become distributed storage nodes. The owner then opens a Vault of distributed data storage on those nodes and the app on the Master Device splits the private keys into encrypted shards which are then distributed to the custodians, specifically the guardian devices for permanent storage. Once the shards are transmitted the app verifies them and periodically monitors the health of the Vault.

If the owner wants to unlock the Vault this is where social verification comes into play, the app begins to collect a threshold number of shards that allows the master device to begin the process of reconstructing the private crypto asset data allowing the Master Device use of said data.

It is also important to note that if the Master Device is lost or compromised by accident the owner is protected as the device itself stores no crypto assets, so there’s nothing of value to recover from the Master Device.

Now that we have a better understanding of the project, let’s see how Vault 12 differs from some of the pre-existing crypto asset storage options:


Roadmap

Roadmap has not been published at this time.


Token Economics

Vault Guardian Tokens (Token Ticker : VGT)

Vault 12, Inc. created the Vault Guardian Token (VGT) to power all services and applications deployed on Vault Cryptostorage Platform. The VGT is intended to be used for the following purposes.

  • Owners can incentivize their Custodians by offering a variety of payment either direct periodic payments or by a smart contract from a professional custodian service. How this works in practice – let’s say that Jon has 6 casual guardians that will be paid 10 tokens per month for their services – John will transfer 600 guardian tokens to his storage app and the custodians will be paid 10 tokens per month each for that full year.  At the end of the year, John would need to buy more tokens to keep his custodians engaged in providing service.
  • Relay operators can establish a token charge policy for a higher level of service, such as higher overall bandwidth or more reliability.  To join this service, Jon would transfer 100 VGT tokens to his platform storage app to acquire these services
Token Issue and Management Policy

To bootstrap operations of the Vault Cryptostorage Platform, Vault12, Inc. will create a fixed supply of 1 billion (1×109 ) Guardian tokens following ERC20 standard and will maintain the ledger. There will be no mechanism for supply to be increased.

In the initial token sale, Vault12, Inc. will apportion the tokens in the following manner

  • 40% of all issued tokens will be sold
  • 10% will be allocated for a community reward pool – to be awarded, at Vault12, Inc.’s discretion, to individuals and organizations for outstanding, high-quality open source contributions to the Vault Cryptostorage Platform and codebase.
  • 50% will remain locked in company inventory for one year after the end date of the initial sale. After the initial one-year lock-in period, Vault 12, Inc. will never sell more than 10% of remaining locked token supply within calendar year.

Every proprietary application published by Vault12, Inc. will offer all options for payments and subscriptions via VGT.


Potential Considerations

List of potential issues that the token/protocol/project will face or has possibly overlooked

  • Lots of new projects are coming up with a solution in the key management area. How will they stay on top of competitors?
  • Some non-professionals may want service from professional firms but $3,000 per month may be too steep – will there be tiered offerings for retail investors with large portfolios
  • What is involved in setting up the relays – are these using staked tokens ?
  • Crypto enthusiasts and users could be highly skeptical and worried about their seed words, recovery phases, or private keys touching the internet and being uploaded online.
  • Securing seed words, recovery phases, and private keys is only the beginning. The long term potential of Vault12 if successful could encompass much more use-cases such as securing vital documents, private and confidential information and data etc.

Team + Advisors

Max Skibinsky – CEO / Co-Founder

  • Max has 13+ years experience as a thought leader, CEO/serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup mentor.
  • Previous positions that stand out are: Resider Mentor at 500 Startups , Partner at Andreessen Horowitz  and Founder / CEO at Hive7.com. Hive7 was later acquired by Walt Disney .
  • In 2003, Max joined newly formed Voltage Security, an encryption startup incubated at Stanford University, where he architected and designed an Identity-Based Encryption messaging system that was showcased at DEMO ’04. Voltage was acquired by Hewlett Packard in 2015.
  • Max graduated with a Master of Science in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics at Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU).

Blake Commagere – Co-founder / COO

  • Blake is a Serial Entrepreneur / Angel Investor / Growth Expert / Thought Leader and Advisor.
  • Blake is Currently Advising for companies in the SF Bay Area.
  • He created the social gaming category by building some of the biggest apps ever (over 50 Million players) on Facebook, including the iconic games Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves. Blake also wrote and designed the first version of Causes on Facebook, which has over 120 Million users and has raised over $100 million for various charities.
  • Blake graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Rice University.

Brandon Forant – Chief Design Officer

  • Brandon has 12+ years as a entrepreneurial digital product design (UX/UI) professional, cybersecurity, enterprise trading, and personal banking.
  • Key roles: Freelance + Principal at Infiltrate NY (Clients include Nike, Mtv, Citi Bank, unicef), Co-Founder / Art Director at Alchemy50 and Senior Visual Designer at FactSet Research Systems.
  • Blake graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design Communication at Philadelphia University.

Wasim Ahmad – Chief Crypto Officer

  • Wasim has 20+ years of executive-level startup experience in launching enterprise B2B and B2B2C companies. Currently he is an Advisor 3 startups.
  • Key roles: Rounder and CEO of Reimagine Strategy. In this role he was a do it all leader. From funding, creating buzz, reimagining the company/positioning, brand, strategic planning and competitive intelligence to acquire new customers.

Jarrod Dicker – Advisory Board Member

  • Jarrod has 10+ years experience in leadership roles.
  • Currently roles:
    • CEO of Po.et, Po.et is a decentralised platform for asset protection similar to copyright.
    • Member of the Board of Advisors : at Ad: tech North America, Rutgers Innovation Education and Mogul Inc.
  • He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, AdAge, AdWeek, Digiday, Axios, AdExchanger, Poynter and more.
  • Graduated with Bachelor’s English Literature  at Rutgers University.

Sathvik Krishnamurthy – Advisor

  • Sathvik has 20+ years experience as serial tech entrepreneur and an expert on cybersecurity and crypto.
  • Currently advising on IT, security, software, apps type in four startup companies. Entrust Datacard, Callsign, Stealth Security, ScanTrust.
  • Key Role as President / CEO of Voltage Security for over a decade which was acquired by HP in 2015.
  • BSc in Computer Engineering at University of California.
  • The World’s First Crypto Equity Platform.

Vinny Lingham – Crypto Adviser

  • Vinny is currently a Co-founder / CEO at Civic Technologies.
  • Current key roles:
    • General Partner at Milticon Capital, Venture-Style funds that invest in liquid crypto assets.
    • Co-founder at Newtown Partners,  Cape town based seed investment fund focused on supporting South Africa crypto and ICO community.
    • Board Member at The Bitcoin Foundation.
  • TV personality playing a Shark (successful Entrepreneur) on the popular TV series Shark Tank South Africa.
  • Previously founded the digital gift card platform, Gyft, which was acquired by First Data Corporation in 2014

Dr. Yevgeniy Dodis – Crypto Advisor

  • Dr. Yevgeniy Dodis is a resident at Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.
  • Research Interests Cryptography, Information Theory and Theoretical Computer Science. Current projects include:
    • Random Number Generation and Extraction.
    • Key Exposure Protection (aka “Exposure-Resilient Cryptography”).
    • Cryptography with Imperfect Randomness.
    • Cryptography from Biometrics and Other Noisy Data.
    • Block Ciphers, Hash Functions and Random Oracle Model.
    • Information-Theoretic Cryptography.
    • other research interests include digital rights management, authenticated and identity-based encryption, privacy and anonymity, non-malleability, secure distributed computation and concurrent composition of cryptographic protocols.
  • Graduated with a Ph.D in Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Advisor: Professor Madhu Sudan. Thesis topic: “Exposure-Resilient Cryptography”.
  • Also holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Master’s Thesis: “Space-Time Tradeoffs for Graph Properties” and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Computer Science and Mathematics. Overall GPA: 4.0/4.0 at New York University.

Partners and Investors

 

Naval RavikantEntrepreneur

Jon Callaghan – Co-founder, True Ventures

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss – Co-founders, Winklevoss Capital Management

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