Diversified Set Of Guardians Required For Safe Self-Custody
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Diversified Set Of Guardians Required For Safe Self-Custody

written by John Murphy | March 18, 2023

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, believes that a diversified set of guardians is required for safe self-custody. In a recent Tweet, he made a case for multi-party security solutions for people who want to take custody of their cryptocurrency assets.

Self-custody is a popular trend in the cryptocurrency market as it allows individuals to directly control and manage their cryptocurrencies without relying on third-party custodians such as exchanges.

However, self-custody brings risks as the individual must manage their private keys, the only means for accessing and transferring cryptocurrency assets.

If the private keys are lost or stolen, the assets become permanently locked away, and there is no way to recover them. Thus, self-custodianship requires a high level of security to protect private keys and prevent any unauthorized access.

Buterin argues that a diverse set of guardians would be more secure than relying on a single guardian for self-custody.

He referenced a tweet by Balaji Srinivasan, the former CTO of Coinbase, who suggested using friends and family as part of a multi-signature wallet, hardware wallets, and other security measures.

Buterin reiterated the importance of a multi-party security solution and said it adds an extra layer of protection against loss, theft, or attacks. For example, if one guardian is compromised, the other guardians can act as a failsafe to prevent any loss of assets.

Diversifying the guardianship also helps prevent any attempts at coercion or blackmail, where a malicious party may try to force an individual to hand over their private keys or access to their cryptocurrency assets.

Buterin’s suggestion is a departure from the traditional approach to self-custody, which typically involves relying on a single hardware wallet or multi-signature wallet controlled by one entity.

Instead, he advocates for using multiple devices and entities as guardians to protect private keys and ensure the safety of cryptocurrency assets.

The Ethereum co-founder has been a vocal advocate for self-custody and individual control over cryptocurrency assets. He has previously criticized centralized exchanges for their lack of security and transparency and has argued for the need for better security solutions that cater to individual users.

In a blog post from 2019, he wrote,

 “The most productive way forward for the industry is to continue pushing for better and safer products and services that enable people to take full control over their digital assets without sacrificing anything on the security and usability front.”

Buterin’s call for a diverse set of guardians is a step in that direction, as it encourages people to take more control over their cryptocurrency assets while also mitigating the risks of self-custodianship.

Buterin’s suggestion for a diversified set of guardians for safe self-custody is a welcome addition to the ongoing conversation on cryptocurrency security. It emphasizes the importance of protecting individual users from the risks of self-custodianship by diversifying the guardianship of private keys. 

It also highlights the need for better and more secure solutions for self-custodianship, which will help broaden the adoption of cryptocurrencies and enhance the safety of the entire ecosystem.