Coinbase Wallet Users Can Now Back Up Their Private Keys on Google Drive and iCloud. How Safe Is It?

On Feb. 12, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced that users of its Coinbase Wallet can now back up their private keys on cloud storage, namely on Google Drive and iCloud.

The move has received mixed reaction from crypto community and cybersecurity experts, some of whom seem skeptical about the idea of storing private keys on centralized servers. Others are confident about the new feature, stressing that it entails encryption.

A brief introduction to Coinbase Wallet, formerly known as Toshi

Coinbase Wallet differs from the main app, Coinbase (or Coinbase.com). With the latter, the cryptocurrencies purchased by customer and their private keys are stored by Coinbase. With Coinbase Wallet, in turn, users store their own crypto protected by their unique private keys. Those keys are purportedly secured with Secure Enclave and biometric authentication technology.

Initially, Coinbase developed Toshi, an open-source, mobile-focused