FAQ

How do I unseal it to reveal the Bitcoins?

We find that using a Push Pin is the easiest way, simply push it through the hole pointed by the arrow

Can I use this with a phone / tablet?

Yes! Because Opendime emulates a tiny USB flash drive, most devices can read it already. Inside, you'll find text files with the payment address, and if unsealed, the private key in WIF format. We also provide a QR image that is easily scanned. You can also use a USB phone charger, or USB power pack, to check if it's unsealed: plug it into any USB port, and the lights flash in a pattern that indicate it's status.

Why is it a bare board?

We've worked hard to keep costs down. All the fat has been trimmed. At the same time, our packaging is much more rugged that it appears, and because it's clear, any tampering would be visible.

Does this replace my existing Bitcoin wallet?

No, you still would need a third party wallet or the original Bitcoin Core P2P software to be able to move your funds in and out of the Opendime. Opendime works with any wallet that can sweep funds from the blockchain based on a WIF-format private key import.

What would this be used for?

  1. Gift someone a Bitcoin. Put it on an Opendime and mail it to them. Simple!
  2. Deliver the payment for a car when you go to pick it up. Just put your payment on an Opendime and hand it over when you get the keys. Private key for car keys!
  3. Load a number of Opendimes with various denominations of Bitcoin. Keep them in your pocket to pay for things through-out your day.
  4. Sell Opendimes, preloaded with value, in exchange for gold or other precious metals.
  5. Use this instead of a paper wallet. Just as "compatible" but takes care of generating the private key safely.

How do I get funds out?

To be able to move the funds, you must push a pin through the hole marked on the back, or in version 1, break out the middle part of the Opendime.

Once the piece has been broken out, the file contents will change and the private key will be revealed in the private-key.txt file and QR code image. There is no way back, and once unsealed, you should move the funds into another wallet.

Import the private key (private-key.txt) into any Bitcoin wallet to be able to "sweep up" the funds and spend them as needed.

There is also a python program (advanced/balance.py) which can be used to move the funds out and check balance when sealed.

Is the private key unique and secret?

Yes. Opendime is delivered without any private key. You must give it entropy (random numbers) the first time you use it. Once it's gotten enough numbers, it will hash them all together and use that to pick a random number to use as the private key. At that point, the payment address is generated and set in stone.

This whole process is very easy: just copy some files into the USB drive. When it's got enough bits (256k bytes) it will eject itself and come back with its final payment address.

Where are the instructions?

Opendime carries usage instructions in English, Chinese (中文), Japanese (日本語), Portuguese, French (Français), German (Deutsch) and Russian (Русский). They are provided as text and HTML files that are internal to the Opendime itself.

How do I see the deposit address?

Easy, just plug into any USB capable device and it will pop up a QR code image and a text file with the Bitcoin address. No additional software needs to be installed!

Can I re-seal after breaking the seal?

No. A permanent change is made inside the flash memory of the processor.

Check Opendime's balance on a smart phone?

Yes, it can be connected via a USB adapter to Android phones/tables (USB OTG adapter cable required) and Apple iPads (camera kit USB adapter required). It is typically seen a photo card, containing a single image, which is the QR code. If your phone can see the HTML file on the Opendime (and allow you to open it) then you will be able to check balance and do all the other functions as well.

How do I know I'm seeing a real Opendime

There are a number of ways to verify the device; first, you can click on a link shown in the index.htm file present on the device. That link includes a signed message, that only an Opendime with access to the private key can generate. With version 2 products (rounded type) there is a factory key which can be verified with using the factory public key. This proves the hardware was produced by us.

With our newest hardware (V2), there is a dedicated anti-counterfeiting chip which holds a secret key assigned by the Opendime factory. We publish the matching public key, and so it's easy to verify that you have a genuine Opendime in your hands. Learn more by reading our technical white paper (link coming soon) which details the cryptography involved.

We also use clear packaging, so any tampering or other funny business is very easy to see in the first place.

Opendime Electrum Plugin

This plugin supports Opendime from inside Electrum.

  • once enabled, a new tab is shown (to left of Console tab).
  • click "Find Opendime(s)" and any connected Opendime units are found, and verified
  • real time balances for those units are shown in a table
  • send funds to, or sweep up funds from, any attached device with a click or two
  • new units are loaded with 256k bytes of crypto-quality entropy with one click
  • performs in-depth verification of device if libusb (PyUSB) is installed
  • verifies factory key and signature (V2 only)

What about address reuse? Isn't that a privacy concern?

Opendime transactions are a little different from blockchain transactions: Whenever two people meet and trade goods or services for an Opendime, you could say a transaction has occurred, and yet there is nothing recorded on the blockchain. This is different from a normal Bitcoin wallet which makes blockchain records continuously, and can create a complex web of connections which can later be explored by anyone.

We expect most Opendime units to be loaded once, probably with a "round number" of bitcoins, and unloaded exactly once in their lifetime. It's impossible to know what's happened in the meantime—just like a gold coin that has passed through many hands over the years.

Can I store data on it?

No. The Opendime is completely read-only and cannot be changed, except by unsealing it.

What is the expected lifetime of the device?

Like most electronic devices, if stored properly it should last decades.

The expected reliability of the part that stores the private key as described on the ATSAMD21E17 datasheet is between 25-100 years [page 816]

Can I use it as a secure method for private key generation

Opendime is a very safe and effective way of generating uncompromised private key.

Can I use it on an untrusted computer?

Yes, it's safe to setup, verify and load an Opendime on an untrusted computer. The private key is generated inside, and does not leave the Opendime itself regardless of any malware and keyloggers that may be present on the attached computer. It can also be used on iPads and tablets, which typically see the Opendime as a single photo of a QR code, ready for scanning.

We recommend using a trusted computer after it is unsealed since the private key is in the open at that point. You would need to trust that computer anyway, since you are sending the funds from the Opendime to some other Bitcoin address and you don't want that to be manipulated.

What if I forget my password?

There is no password, nor seed phrase! It's locked in until physically unsealed.

How do I know if the verify link is not fake?

There is no way to input data as the drive is read-only. Also, a different random nonce is signed each time you power up device. You can also plug/re-plug to get a new nonce and matching signature. The Electrum plugin can do additional verification over the USB interface that are not possible via the MS-DOS filesystem. All verification code is open-source Python code.

Is this a central service?

There is never any need use any centralized service with Opendime. It does provide convenient links to existing third-party "block chain explorer" services and this site (opendime.com), but there is absolutely no need to use those.

Any bitcoin wallet that is monitoring the blockchain can be used with Opendime. Opendime itself even carries a simple python program that can be used to verify balance and spend funds (once unsealed). That python code uses a diverse set of public services for blockchain access and does not require API keys or other identifying features.

How do I know the manufacturer doesn't know the private key?

When you first plug in a new Opendime, it has no private key. It shows up as a writable drive and the user must copy files onto the drive. They are immediately forgotten, but the the file contents are hashed (SHA256). It's the hashed output of that which forms the private key (along with the unit serial number and entropy we derive from the environment). That happens as soon as 256k worth of bytes have been written to the drive. The private key is created and the drive "ejects itself" and comes back read-only and in "normal" mode... only the public key is shown until unsealed.

But Opendime could be generating private keys that look random, but are all from the same HD (bip32) tree which we control?

You can actually prove to yourself that we cannot know the private key. The process for this verification can only be done after the unit is unsealed, and requires a verbatim copy of the original data written. Plus, you'll need to precisely control what is written to the drive, which cannot be done with higher-level commands to load entropy (so drag-n-drop will not work).

In summary, the process is as follows: take a new Opendime, power it up and precisely write 256k of known bytes to it (ie. use dd to write it starting at block zero). The unit will pick a private key as normal. Unseal the Opendime (poke the hole / break the tab), and run the file advanced/rngverify.py with Python. That file is a simple program that contains the (previously) unknown entropy value from the Opendime, and it checks that your entropy is hashed into the secret key. Effectively, it re-creates the entire key-picking process and to demonstrate we used exactly that process. Because it's just 75 lines of python, it's very easy to audit.

As you will see, the secret exponent of the private key is the double-SHA256 of these values concatenated: (the 256k bytes from you) + (128-bit serial number of the Opendime in base32) + (32-byte nonce picked by Opendime's RNG).

See our source code on github for a complete and executable example.

How is Opendime different from Casascius or other physical coins?

Opendime is different from Physical Bitcoins by Casascius, and other 'metal bitcoin' products, because the private key is never known by the manufacturer or mint. With Opendime, the key is generated at the time of setup by the user, and is not known by anyone, anywhere—not even the first owner.