BitGo provides one of the most popular bitcoin wallets, having been integrated into exchanges and other bitcoin services including BitFinex, Bitstamp, Wirex (previously E-Coin), and Kraken. The company secures over $1 billion per month in digital assets, with over 10,000 transactions on any given day.
The wallet provider already offers high-security features, such as multisignature wallets, two-factor authorization, a cutting-edge Key Recovery Service, and even insurance for lost funds. Following a partnership with HYPR, BitGo users will soon be given biometric security options to keep their accounts even more secure, and possibly more convenient as well.
"All of our customers are asking how to use biometric security to protect their digital assets. The HYPR team has been laser focused on this and provides a great solution for us."
- Mike Belshe, BitGo CEO
HYPR is a Biometrics startup whose specialty is a password-free login process for mobile phones and apps. The two companies seem to share a common goal of deploying advanced security measures, especially decentralized security solutions.
"It's astounding how often our enterprise clients request a solution for blockchain security upon integration of our technology. BitGo and HYPR share a common view of the importance of decentralized security protocols." - George Avetisov, HYPR CEO
Once these security upgrades go live, BitGo will be adopting the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) security standard protocol, making them the second company in the bitcoin space to do so, after hardware wallet Ledger did so last June.
The FIDO alliance is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization started in 2012, with the goal of streamlining authentication processes of all types, with specifications that define a new level of openness, scalability, and interoperability, in order to fully supplant any reliance on passwords.
"Adopting significantly different authentication methods for different devices will eventually be unsustainable. Mobile-apt authentication methods must also be PC apt. Combinations of X.509 credentials on the endpoint, low-friction biometric modes and contextual authentication will likely fit the bill."
- Ant Allan, Gartner Research Vice President
The resulting new standard for security devices, browser plugins, and now bitcoin wallets will allow websites and applications to interface with a broad range of existing and future FIDO-enabled devices.
Biometrics, such as fingerprint, voice, or photo recognition, for the purpose of improving security processes of all kinds, is rapidly being deployed on more and more mobile devices today, especially for mobile banking authentication.
Leading information technology research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that 30 percent of organizations will use biometric authentication on mobile devices by 2016.
"Gartner recommends that security leaders evaluate biometric authentication methods where higher-assurance authentication is required. Suitable authentication modes include interface interactivity, voice recognition, face topography and iris structure. These modes can be used in conjunction with passwords to provide higher-assurance authentication without requiring any significant change in user behavior.”
Emerging tech strategy and research consultancy, Acuity Market Intelligence, projects annual global mobile biometric market revenues to reach US$34.6 billion by 2020. This figure includes 4.8 billion biometrically-enabled mobile devices generating US$6.2 billion in biometric sensor data revenue from 5.4 billion biometric app downloads.
All in all, the industry could generate an estimated US$21.7 billion annually from a combination of purchases and development fees, representing 807 billion biometrically-secured transactions.
Spanish megabank BBVA recently published a detailed report on using Biometrics for mobile payments too. The bank predicts that Biometric authentication will continue to grow at a fast pace, creating new business and employment opportunities while transforming payment and non-payment transactions.
BBVA views this trend as very positive for everyone involved, from companies to developers and end users: “Rapid adoption is allowing banks to boost security, enhance the customer experience and improve efficiency.”
The HYPR news comes just a month after a BitGo announcement that their wallets have been integrated into Wirex bitcoin debit card services.
According to Wirex their monthly volume is over US$2 Million, and their cards are now available in 130+ countries, with users having created a total of 100,000 accounts, 15,000 of which have had the plastic bitcoin debit cards issued.
BitGo also partnered with instant cryptocurrency exchange service ShapeShift recently. The service has now been integrated into BitGo's wallet so that wallet users can send or receive all leading cryptocurrencies, or at least those that ShapeShift can convert, without leaving their BitGo wallets.
Considering all of the exchanges and other financial services that BitGo integrates with, the company is becoming a powerful, ever-present, and integral provider to the entire cryptocurrency sector. The addition of HYPR’s security offering will no doubt be an addition that many bitcoin users gain some benefit from.