If you’re a cryptocurrency wallet creator and decide to use the word “unhackable” in your marketing, you really are asking for trouble. From the very moment this term was used in Bitfi’s promotion it had a target on its back, with hackers and crypto security researchers ready to chop down the new wallet. John McAfee is the key name behind Bitifi, with his involvement helping to increase the public interest, but his outlandish behavior has certainly made this situation much more comical than it would have been otherwise.
Anything but Unhackable
Bitfi made the decision to withdraw the term at the same time it closed its bounty program. This was revealed in a tweet published a few days ago, as the word “unhackable” vanished from the brand’s marketing. Revealing what most already knew, Bitfi has vulnerabilities – vulnerabilities that have hurt the wallet’s reputation almost from the outset. In an attempt to put the project back on steady ground, Bitfi confirmed that it’s in the process of hiring a security manager to validate the vulnerabilities that have been reported by researchers. While the company has been open about the wallet’s hardware vulnerabilities, it has refused to speak about the spate of hacks that it has supposedly suffered.
Bagging the Bounty
Bitfi expressed thanks to those that were part of the bounty program for helping point out the wallet’s flaws. Interestingly, Bitfi said it wouldn’t make any further comment on remuneration until September, which is worrying given the fact that they announced a $100,000 reward bounty in July. It was this bounty that triggered the rush to hack the supposed “unhackable” wallet in the first place. It’s safe to say that this response was not warmly greeted by the crypto community, who soon started to flood social media with complaints. The #RecallBitfi hashtag even began trending, with many feeling that the misleading promotion was hurting the crypto wallet sector overall.
Controversy Doesn’t Create Cash
John McAfee is the executive chairman of Bitfi, so the product was almost certainly going to face controversy – poor marketing efforts or otherwise. When he claimed that the device was unhackable it created a world of problems, as security experts and hackers moved quickly. McAfee labelled it as the “most sophisticated instrument in the world,” but it didn’t take long for this claim to be dashed. After early pictures emerged of Bitfi’s components, it was labelled as nothing more than a “cheap android phone.” Negative press soon followed, along with numerous supposed hacking attempts.
Doomed to Fail
The conditions of the bounty program have been met, but Bitfi hasn’t paid out a penny so far – let alone the $100,000 as promised. It’s gone as far to claim that there has been nothing more than attacks from rival hardware wallet brands Ledger and Trezor, effectively saying that no single person had managed to penetrate Bitfi. Yet, after Saleem Rasheed – a 15-year-old Twitter user – cracked the wallet and launched Doom on it, Bitfi simply had no defense.
Bitfi Goes Down in Flames
Bitfi should be feeling rightfully embarrassed right now, as this hacking episode has confirmed all the doubts the crypto community had about the device. The big question now is whether or not Bitfi will actually payout its hacking bounty as promised, as it’s certainly not the “unhackable” device that it was promoted as.
This product falls short, but if you want more information on hardware wallets that actually do live up to the marketing hype, check out our list of the best hardware wallets of 2018.