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Status — the Ethereum based messaging app and company — has relaunched its hardware NFC wallet as Keycard. The cold storage card is entirely open-source, and the API enables developers to integrate the wallet with desktop and mobile apps, smart cards, and retail point-of-sale devices.

Shaped like a standard debit card, Keycard can be pre-loaded with numerous cryptocurrencies for use as a debit card. Compatible cryptocurrencies currently include Ether, ERC-20 tokens, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple, and any other ECDSA signature-based transaction scheme.

keycard by status

A Much More Flexible Design

Keycard’s open-source nature with a Java SDK has some compelling consequences. Primarily, many of the underlying technical components of cold storage wallets are abstracted away, enabling developers to tailor Keycard towards multiple applications.

Similarly, the security and portability of a standard credit card design make it a viable option for mainstream users to carry around, and the private keys on the card remain secured even if the card is stolen. The ability to ‘tap to pay’ also mirrors popular services today like Apple Pay, and would enable users to interact with mobile payment apps directly with their cold wallet card.

Third-party companies can use Keycard’s open-facing API to build cost-effective wallet solutions for their products/services. The design and convenience of the Keycard may also be a useful method for attracting more mainstream users to their services.

However, the Keycards are not available until March, and will initially be catered explicitly towards developers. Status is working towards a client-facing version that will be available later this year.

Cold Storage Wallets Expanding

Cold storage wallets are a vital component of security and sovereignty over funds in the cryptocurrency space. Ledger and Trezor have dominated the market for physical cold storage devices, but new competition is emerging. At the same time, Ledger and Trezor have also enhanced the UX/UI of their wallets and continually added support for multiple cryptocurrencies and features — something that was not widely available only a couple of years ago.

Trezor has also demonstrated refreshing transparency on security threats, phishing attacks, and other ongoing developments that help them adapt their products to evolving security perils. Ledger and Trezor are both open-source wallet software.

Keycard presents an interesting opportunity for developers to customize the portable card wallet, enabling a much more accessible and practical wallet design for both cold storage security and usability with third-party applications.

As the industry progresses toward fostering more mainstream adoption, flexible wallet designs and convenience are paramount to making cryptocurrencies more accessible.

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