Big changes at ether.cards


If you visited us in our first week or two, you might have noticed things have changed a bit around here. The response to our initial launch was overwhelmingly positive, so we’ve been working to improve things further and turn this from a quick test run into a real, lasting project. For this we owe huge thanks to all the people who placed orders, spread the word, and generally made the launch such an astounding success - thank you all!

The first, most obvious, but least important change is that the site (hopefully) no longer looks like it was thrown together in half an hour in Gandi’s site editor. We’re not graphic designers but we’re doing our best to make everything attractive and easy to use. The site’s now hosted on Github Pages - you can see the source here - and is set up with SSL, too.

The second big bit of news is that we’re now using coinpayments.net to accept payment for Ether Cards. That means we can take payment in Fiat (GBP), as well as ETH, ETC, and BTC.

The next big bit of news is that we’ve bought our own card printer!

This will enable us to order blanks - cards with everything but the keypairs printed on them - and do the final high-security step of printing the keypairs entirely inhouse, substantially reducing the number of individuals who have to handle this important information. Look for a post detailing how we handle key material in coming days.

Next, we’ve implemented a smart contract that holds the guarantee money, which can be used to pay compensation in the event of a compromise of private key information. We’re confident that won’t happen, but we don’t expect you to trust us - so we’re doing everything we can to minimize the need to. The contract also allows you to verify that your Ether Card had a deposit paid, so you can be sure we’re not printing cards without putting down the security deposit on them. For lots more details on how that works, see this post, and you can verify your own card here.

Finally, we’re looking into ways to improve the cards themselves. There’s two main aspects we’re looking at. First, replacing the QR code private keys with mnemonics similar to those used by Bitcoin, allowing you to more easily enter a private key on a computer when the time comes to sweep your funds. Second, we’re investigating password protected private keys, again based on a Bitcoin standard, which would allow you to order a custom Ether Card whose private key is protected by a password, which you never have to disclose to us, making it impossible anyone but yourself to determine the private key.

We’re also planning to expand the range of designs we offer, including some for the coming holiday season. If you’re a graphic designer, and are interested in some work, please get in touch.