Bitcoin adoption is growing by leaps and bounds this year, and many bitcoin users are just getting familiar with the basics of bitcoin security. For most users, that means increased risk of losing access to their bitcoin.
The good news? The BitPay wallet is already among the most secure true bitcoin wallets available today. You can secure your funds in the app with a spending password or PIN, but the underlying architecture of the wallet lets you take security even further.
Most bitcoin wallet addresses only have one private key that can sign and authorize transactions. If that key is stolen or lost, you won't be the only person that can spend your bitcoin.
One solution lies in multi-signature bitcoin wallets.
What is a Multi-Signature Wallet?
A multi-signature wallet requires several private keys to authorize bitcoin transactions. The multi-signature bitcoin address structure lets you splits those private keys across multiple devices or among multiple people. You choose how many devices or people ("copayers") you will share the wallet with. You also choose how many copayers need to sign off on a transaction.
For example, you can create a multi-signature bitcoin wallet, choose two copayers, and require two private key signatures for every bitcoin transaction. This would mean that both of the copayers would have to sign off before money can move from your wallet.
Why Use a Multi-Signature Wallet?
With a multi-signature wallet setup like the one above, a thief would need to steal both private keys to access your bitcoin. Even if a thief got one of your private keys, he wouldn't be able to do anything with your money. He would need at least two private keys to make a transaction.
A multi-signature wallet setup can also protect your private keys against operating system vulnerabilities and security bugs. If you have a 2-of-2 wallet with private keys on two different operating systems (say, a Windows desktop and an iOS smartphone), you won't have to worry about your funds if one of those platforms gets compromised.
As you can see, a multi-signature wallet secures your bitcoin better than just about anything else available today.
Remember that owning a multi-signature wallet not only increases your security but also your personal responsibility. You will need to make sure to securely back up each of your two copaying private keys. In the example above, if you lost either of the two devices with which you shared your wallet and do not have their wallet backup phrases, you will lose access to your bitcoin.
However you choose to set up your multi-signature wallet, think through your security setup and act carefully to keep your backup phrases safe and accessible.
Getting Started with a Multi-Signature Wallet
Ready to get started with multi-signature wallet security? The following video shows how to create a multi-signature wallet and send a multi-signature payment in the BitPay wallet app: