September 21, 2023

Multisignature Wallets Explained - Pros and Cons

By: Soul Wallet


Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum have paved the way towards a new digital blockchain economy. Central to this economy are crypto wallets, which provide the gateway to this new world. Among the myriad of wallet options available, multisignature wallets stand out as a powerful tool for those prioritizing advanced security. This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of multisig wallets and how they compare to other alternatives.

The Basics of Crypto Wallets and Why Security is Important

At their core, crypto wallets do a few simple things. First, they store two keys: a public key, which is shared publicly and is akin to an address, and a private key, which remains confidential and acts as the password for accessing funds. Second, they allow you to secure interact with the underlying blockchain (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, etc). As digital assets grow in value and acceptance, ensuring their security becomes paramount. While there are various wallets to choose from, most users end up choosing single-signature wallets (like hardware wallets or EOA wallets) which have their pros and cons.

The Shortcomings of Single-Signature Wallets

Traditional single-signature (seed phrase) wallets like Metamask and Coinbase Wallet rely on a single private key to authorize and confirm transactions. This means the entire safety of your assets hinges on the security of that one key. If this key is compromised or lost, so are your funds. The vulnerability of depending solely on a single point of protection becomes apparent, especially in the vast and sometimes unpredictable world we live in. Even for the most savvy crypto users, storing their life savings in a single key can be a source of stress and worry.

Introducing Multisignature (Multisig) Wallets

This is where multisig (multi-signature) wallets come into play. Unlike their single-signature counterparts, multisig wallets require multiple keys or signatures to authorize a transaction. This means that even if one key is compromised from hackers, your assets remain secure. Various configurations exist, like 2-of-3 or 2-of-2, indicating the number of signatures required from a total set. For instance, a 2-of-3 setup would require two signatures from three possible keys. When a transaction is initiated from a multisig wallet, it remains in a pending state until the necessary signatures are acquired. It’s important to note that the security of your multisig wallet is only as secure as the other signers, if you choose secure offline cold storage wallets as your signatures, you are likely going to have better security than if you choose online hot wallets as your signatures.

Use Cases: Where Does a Multisig Wallet Shine?

Imagine an organization where financial transactions need the green light from multiple top-tier executives, such as the treasurer, CEO, and COO. In such scenarios, the functionality of multisig wallets are invaluable. They ensure that funds can't be moved without a collective agreement, thereby adding an additional layer of security and consensus. In this situation, they may have a 2-of-3 multisig setup, which requires approval from at least two of the three executives.

Pros of Choosing a Multisignature Wallet

  1. Decentralization of Trust: Rather than depending on a single entity or key, you distribute the trust across multiple keys, devices and/or persons.
  2. Transparency and Auditability: Being open-source, anyone can review the code and processes, adding an assurance and security layer.
  3. Autonomy: There's a reduced dependence on third-party custodians or singular key wallets.
  4. Collaborative Decision-making: Transactions may require consensus, ensuring collective agreement before funds are moved.

Cons of Using a Multisignature Wallet

However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Multisig wallets:

  1. They can be technically complex and may demand expertise for proper setup.
  2. They might introduce friction, especially if multiple signers are needed for every transaction.
  3. It can get complex when signers have to connect their wallets across various platforms. It's not always an easy user experience.
  4. They hold the risk of collective fraud or transaction blocking by disgruntled parties.

An Easy and Secure Alternative: Soul Wallet

Enter Soul Wallet. Soul Wallet is an Ethereum wallet from the future. It offers security on par with multisig wallets, but with a streamlined user experience, making it more accessible for the average individual and beginners alike. As an open-source platform, it resonates with the transparency ethos of the crypto world. Soul Wallet also boasts a Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) feature, enhancing security further. And should you ever lose access? The recovery process, backed by private guardians, ensures you regain control over your assets seamlessly.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Multisig wallets, while incredibly secure, can be a double-edged sword. Their strengths in security can sometimes be overshadowed by their complexities. However, for those who prioritize the safety of their digital assets, the effort is often worth the reward. We urge users to gauge their needs, understand the intricacies, and choose wisely. And for those seeking a balance between top-tier security and user-friendliness, we recommend giving Soul Wallet a try.