Cryptosteel has launched its Cryptosteel Capsule, a physical backup device for the offline storage of private keys, passwords, and wallet recovery seeds.

The company announced the official launch of the product in a tweet posted on Oct. 21.

Not a hardware wallet

Unlike the hardware wallets that many cryptocurrency HODLers are familiar with, Cryptosteel’s capsule focuses on providing a physical backup for personal, sensitive data — a more durable alternative to storing your private key on a physical piece of paper. 

The device is a pocket-sized, stainless steel capsule containing a central column, onto which a user can manually assemble and thread a sequence of discs that are engraved with characters.

While its obvious use-case remains for private key and seed recovery data protection, the firm proposes that it is more broadly compatible with a desire to store sensitive personal data offline in a way that resistant to physical damage such as fire, flooding and electric shocks.

While many hardware wallets resemble more commonplace devices such as pocket-sized USB drives, the capsule’s singular appearance has already provoked a suspicious reaction from authorities in some cases, as cypherpunk Jameson Lopp revealed:

“In hindsight it was a bad idea to pack this private key backup device that is essentially a sealed steel pipe in my carry-on. Not the first time a gift received at a Bitcoin conference has caused me grief at the airport!”

Other community members have responded with some concern about how best to avoid losing or scrambling the miniature engraved tiles when a user wishes to recover their data.

The crypto hardware space

As reported, the market for hardware wallets — still dominated by Trezor, Ledger and KeepKey — nonetheless continues to expand, most recently with BTCC founder Bobby Lee’s launch of a credit card-sized device offering cold storage of Bitcoin (BTC) and fourteen altcoins

Last year, a new product from Bitfi fielded a PR disaster after testers debunked the company’s claims its wallet was unhackable. The launch had the support of Bitcoin proponent John McAfee, who vigorously defended the wallet until Bitfi admitted it was vulnerable. 

Coinbase has meanwhile tackled the question of backup differently to Cryptosteel’s physical offering by launching encrypted cloud storage services for users’ private keys — a solution that has been met with scepticism due to its reliance on online centralized servers.