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Omer Shlomovits & Ouriel Ohayon: ZenGo – The Keyless Crypto Wallet

Published on September 24th, 2019 by epicenterbitcoin

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Those who have been in crypto long enough remember the not-so-good-ol’ days when an air-gapped machine was the only way to store private keys securely. Thankfully, the wallet space has come a long way from that era. But we still live in a world where the seed phrase is the single atomic point of failure. Enter threshold signatures schemes (TSS), a multi-party computation (MPC) where different parties generate a key and are all required to create a valid signature.

We’re joined by Omer Shlomovits and Ouriel Ohayon, Co-founders of ZenGo. Their product is a ‘keyless’ crypto wallet, which means users never need to generate or store a key which gives them access to their funds. Keys are created with an MPC, where both ZenGo and the user are required to sign a transaction. TTS opens up exciting new possibilities like social recovery, user permissions for teams, and inheritance planning schemes. The important distinction between ZenGo and existing multi-signature wallets is that they achieve this using only cryptography, and do not rely on on-chain elements like smart contracts or op_scriptSig in Bitcoin.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Omer and Ouriel’s respective backgrounds in academia and online consumer-facing products
  • What lead them to want to build yet another crypto wallet
  • The state of custody in the crypto wallet ecosystem and the challenge which remain unaddressed
  • A quick refresh on cryptographic primitives and multi-party computations (MPC)
  • The building blocks of cryptographic signatures and threshold signature schemes (TSS)
  • How TSS is different from Bitcoin multi-sig and smart contract multi-sig
  • TSS in ECDSA vs. Schnorr signatures
  • Applications and use cases for TSS
  • ZenGo’s on-boarding, restore process and use of biometrics
  • The future of wallet interoperability in a world of proprietary cryptographic schemes

Links mentioned in this episode:


  • Vaultoro: Trade gold to Bitcoin instantly and securely starting at just 1mg
  • Trail of Bits: Trust the team at the forefront of blockchain security research

This episode is hosted by Sebastien Couture & Brian Fabian Crain. Show notes and listening options: epicenter.tv/306

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