Hardware wallets are useful key management electronic devices which combine the security of a cold storage setup with the convenience of a hot wallet. In their most basic form, they are made from general-purpose parts which get powered by free and open source software (like the Trezor). In more complex and trust-requiring ways, they use proprietary secure element chips whose operations are opaque to everyone (as is the case of the Ledger).
But regardless of how they’re built and to which extent their security is transparent and auditable, all hardware wallets should work very well with Wasabi. Not necessarily because the wallet software is maintained in a way which adds support for every new hardware release (though you can find separate optimizations for the Ledger Nano and the Coldcard), but by virtue of Andrew Chow’s HWI (Hardware Wallet Interface) library.
As described by Max Hillebrand on the Bitcoin Takeover Podcast, HWI is a powerful tool which allows Wasabi to keep up with the latest hardware developments wallet and provide privacy by default to a greater number of users. Unlike popular user interfaces such as Ledger Live, Trezor Suite and BitBoxApp, Wasabi wallet offers Tor routing by default, easy UTXO management (also referred to as “Coin Control”), and a trustless onboarding via automatic full node connectivity or block filter download. No other popular hardware wallet interface comes with all of these features enabled by default and there always seem to be tradeoffs and compromises involved – yet Wasabi is perfect to manage your single-sig setup.
But what about the future of hardware wallets? The devices that anyone can build and are 100% auditable? In the case of the Trezor, we expect the Tropic Square project to deliver transparent open source secure element chips by the end of 2022 – a rather ambitious promise which, if executed well, can turn into a game changer for the entire industry. And given Trezor’s excellent documentation and support, it’s very likely that the HWI libraries will get updated to support the new Trezor as soon as it gets launched.
In the case of DIY hardware wallets like Specter, SeedSigner and Bowser, there should be no compatibility issues. Specter uses PSBT, which means that you can use the wallet in the same way you would do with a Coldcard or a KeyStone. On the other hand, SeedSigner and Bowser are air gapped devices which deal with QR codes and offline signatures. You shouldn’t have any kind of problem when you plan to send or receive to Wasabi.
We’re living truly remarkable and exciting times when free markets prove their efficiency in making hardware wallets more efficient, more affordable, and accessible to non-technical people. Anyone who can afford a $5 Raspberry Pi Zero can build his own SeedSigner, while M5Stack enthusiasts can put together a Bowser wallet in only a few minutes. But as Trezor co-founder and CEO Slush mentioned, hardware will always lag behind software development. And Wasabi, as a software wallet which integrates the right tools to support hardware wallets, is part of this trend of being ahead of the curve. No matter what the future of hardware wallets holds, Wasabi will provide a stable and privacy-friendly interface which maximizes user sovereignty.