Press Release

For General Release
October 23, 2018
Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.
Sony CSL Develops Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Technology Using IC Cards
~ Aims to Further the Spread of Blockchain Technology ~
 

Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (hereafter “Sony CSL”) has developed a contactless IC card type cryptocurrency “hardware wallet technology *1 ” by utilizing Sony Corporation’s IC card technology.

Currently, many cryptocurrency users are trading cryptocurrencies using online wallets *2 from the locations where they initially purchased their cryptocurrencies. When a user owns a cryptocurrency, what they actually own is not the cryptocurrency itself, but a private key *3 that allows you to freely trade that cryptocurrency. If you own the private key, you can freely use the cryptocurrency associated with the private key. If that private key is known to others, it is possible that others will use the cryptocurrency associated with the private key. In online wallets such as cryptocurrency exchange websites or services, the private key is managed by the online wallet operator, not the user, meaning that users are able to access to the wallet itself, but do not manage their personal private keys. Therefore, when an online server managing a user’s private key receives unauthorized access and the private key leaks, there is a risk that the cryptocurrency held by the user will be used by others.

A hardware wallet is a device that is independent from the PC or smartphone connected to the online network and manages the private key by the user, in order to avoid the risk of leakage of the private key by unauthorized access to this online server. This makes it possible to avoid unauthorized access via online networks and to securely manage cryptocurrency by storing private keys in the hardware wallet independently of any online network.

Sony CSL has developed a contactless IC card type hardware wallet which includes mutual authentication/encrypted communication technology by applying Sony’s expertise in contactless IC card technology cultivated over many years. The IC card type hardware wallet is small, portable and useful, unlike typical existing hardware wallets that connect to PCs via USB. In addition, it is possible to securely generate and store a private key with a highly reliable tamper-proof module within the IC card.

This IC card-type cryptocurrency hardware wallet technology not only manages the private keys used for cryptocurrency transactions, but also manages private keys used for other purposes, such as those for permitting the use of personal information using blockchain technology. It is an infrastructure technology with multiple possible applications.

Sony CSL will continue advancing initiatives towards the commercialization of its “cryptocurrency hardware wallet technology” that allows for safe and secure transactions of digital assets including cryptocurrencies with the aim of furthering the widespread adoption of blockchain technology.

 
      
  • *1 A hardware wallet is a technology for devices that independently and securely store information (private keys *3 ) necessary for trading digital assets utilizing blockchain technology including cryptocurrency.

  • *2 Online wallets store information (private keys *3 ) necessary for transactions of digital assets including cryptocurrency, while connected to online networks, unlike hardware wallets. For example, there are web wallets managed by cryptocurrency exchange or other trading sites/services.

  • *3 Private keys are secretly held by the owner out of a pair of keys in the public key cryptosystem, and they are necessary information for conducting a transaction of digital assets including cryptocurrency.

Contact:
Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.
pr@csl.sony.co.jp
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