Bitcoin Magazine featured the new COLDCARD Mk4, a new version of Coinkite’s Bitcoin hardware wallet that improves on the successful COLDCARD Mk3.
There are no limits on the number of Bitcoin (BTC) transactions made on the new model. It has a USB-C port, Near-Field Communication (NFC), a slide cover, a USB virtual disk mode, and a wide range of Trick PIN options.
NFC for COLDCARD Connection
Using Near-Field Communication (NFC) is an option for people who want to connect their Mk4 to other things, but by default, it isn’t on. The user can turn it on in the device’s settings. A compatible device can then use NFC, which means the COLDCARD can come near the device to sign a transaction or message, help sign a multi-signature transaction together, or share information from the device’s MicroSD card, like a payment address or an extended public key, a partially-signed Bitcoin transaction (PSBT), and text files, as well as a transaction file.
NVK, the company’s founder, told Bitcoin Magazine that NFC aims to reduce costs, enhance usability, and disseminate information about the technology.
Hardware Wallets with Tap-to-Pay
QR codes have recently become popular in some hardware wallets. But NVK says QRs are not in use in the bigger payment industries because they have very little data bandwidth. They have more complications for humans to read, and require more expensive hardware.
NVK said this feature is present to make the phone-wallet experience better because all modern phones have NFC, which is free, and it was already there. It will be possible to use NFC for all COLDCARD functions that allow us to send or receive data, just like an SD card or a USB cable does.
As well as requiring NFC to be turned on for use, NVK told Bitcoin Magazine that the Mk4 will also let users permanently turn off the feature by scratching a PCB trace on the MicroSD opening.
COLDCARD Additional Secure Element
There is another way to keep your private keys safe on the Mk4 COLDCARD, which comes with a second piece of hardware (SE). When you use another company’s SE, you don’t have to worry about problems or flaws in the design of that SE.
In order to get seed words from the COLDCARD Mk4 device, an attacker would need to get into the two parts that are safe and the main microcontroller (MCU). The encryption key now spreads out among the three parts of the gadget. It doesn’t matter if all three parts of the device are stolen. You still need the PIN code.
Additional Enhancements and Trick PINs
Mk4 allows for the creation of an unlimited number of Trick PINS. The actual PIN code allows you to use the wallet and unlocks the device, however Trick PIN codes might slow down the login process or even wipe the COLDCARD.
These PINs come in handy if someone is pressuring you to access your COLDCARD. Using a Trick PIN to access a duress wallet, for example, allows the user to maintain their innocence. Using a Trick PIN, the user can completely delete the COLDCARD and render the phone inoperable until installing a new one.
Additional features include faster boot times and faster processor speeds of 120 Mhz and 4 Kbytes, respectively, in the Mk4’s 512 Kbytes of settings storage. There are more multi-signature wallet alternatives. Previously, it took two minutes to upgrade the firmware. Today it only takes 15 seconds. When the USB connection is in use, a blinking light displays that there are 216 bytes of new, secure storage next to the primary seed phrase. A USB disk emulator is available for usage with web browsers and other PSBT sources. Among other things, it has a doubled flash memory for firmware.
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