Whether or not you think Bitcoin (and its crypto-currency ilk) is the future of online money, or a slightly dodgy new asset class akin to a gold rush, securing those coins offline or in an online wallet service has risks of its own. Take the well-publicised story of the $6 million buried Bitcoin hard drive in the UK, or numerous headlines about hacked online wallets, as proof: Bitcoin storage is a problem waiting to be solved.
Enter Netagio, which claims to have launched Europe’s first free digital currency “cold storage” vault, offering gold standard offline storage for Bitcoins. The use of the word “gold” isn’t a reference to Bitcoin’s asset class-like properties, or the currency’s recent boom, but refers to the fact that Netagio’s parent company, GoldMoney Group, currently stores $1.4 billion in precious metals for customers in independent secure vaults across five countries. Using this expertise, it seems that Bitcoin presents the next opportunity.
One problem with storing Bitcoin in a secure offline vault is it then makes it that bit harder to use the crypto currency, pushing it very much towards a slow, cumbersome asset class. However, Netagio attempts to solve this issue by keeping a portion of your Bitcoin in an online wallet, readily available to spend (or trade), while the majority is locked away in cold storage.
“The majority of our customers’ Bitcoins are kept in Netagio’s offline vault, beyond risk of theft by hackers, while a handful of Bitcoins remain in Netagio’s online storage for swift transfer to other customers or exchanges,” notes the company. “Netagio’s free-to-use accounts sit behind two-factor authentication security and can be set by customers to allow access only from preset, user-defined locations.”
Another headline-grabbing aspect of Netagio is that it’s (sort of) free to use, although the company charges a small fee each time you move Bitcoins out of storage. Its future plans also give a glimpse into how it eventually plans to further monetise its offering. It says it will soon offer customers the ability to buy and sell Bitcoin, as well as other asset classes, directly through its platform.