Tag Archives: EM shielding

Faraday cages and Bitcoin

Bitcoin has redefined what it means to possess and transfer value, in that the value is no longer entrusted to a 3rd party, e.g. a financial institution, and is instead based solely on the cryptographic keys (“keys”) possessed by the owner or controller of that value. While it is substantially liberating to not require 3rd parties to effect transfers of value, this liberty comes with a substantial increase in personal or organizational responsibility on part of the party that controls the keys that correspond to that value. In order to spend bitcoins, one must create a transaction signed with one or more of these keys on some kind of computer hardware, whether it’s a desktop computer or a calculator-like device. Compromise of the hardware or software that handles these keys could lead to immediate irrevocable theft of the funds they correspond to, which is a much worse failure mode than what could happen with funds stored at a typical financial institution.

Put bluntly, this means “if you get hacked, your funds are gone”, a rather serious and hopefully avoidable failure scenario. Taking a note from military and intelligence services, I felt that it made sense to electromagnetically isolate hardware used to handle Bitcoin keys from their surroundings to reduce their attack surface. Conveniently enough, this problem has already been addressed for the past several decades by a number of companies, so I contacted LBA Group about making a customized version of an existing Faraday cage they manufacture, the EMFaraCage FC-10S. The customized cage has filtered 110V power, an internal power strip, intake and exhaust fans and can hold 2 desktop computers.

EMFaraCage front (open)

EMFaraCage front (open)

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