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The Key to Crypto's Mass Adoption? Coinbase Says it's Wallet as a Service

The Defiant

Podcast

Today we're joined by Coinbase's head of cryptography, Yehuda Lindell. He has big news to share as Coinbase just released WaaS which is an MPC wallet. Some are calling this one of the most exciting products from Coinbase yet. Yehuda has an impressive track record. He's a former professor and the former CEO of Unbound Tech, a cybersecurity company specializing in privacy and key management solutions. Unbound Tech, the company Yehuda co-founded, was acquired by Coinbase. Yehuda leads the cryptography team at Coinbase, driving innovation in the field of secure computation and increased privacy and data security.

On today's podcast, we dive into the cryptography team at Coinbase, the new innovative wallet that might just be the key to mass adoption for crypto, bringing self-custody to the masses where we're expecting tech giants to jump on this new wallet opportunity, how WaaS compares to holding crypto on exchanges and Multisigs, Coinbase Self-Custody and beyond. We also get into Yehuda’s advice for aspiring cryptographers and so much more. But first, Yehuda tells us what he's focused on inside of Coinbase.

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🎙️Listen to the interview

7 Key Takeaways

  1. Coinbase launched WaaS  (Wallet as a Service) an MPC wallet, claiming it’s the most user-friendly way to onboard customers to web3.
  2. MPC enables distributed parties to compute a joint function without revealing anything but the result. MPC takes a private key and splits it into two or more pieces enabling signing a transaction with that key, without ever bringing it together.
  3. WaaS enables mass adoption and deployment of crypto wallets in an easy way, for a seamless experience for the end user.
  4. WaaS has the UX of an exchange while being self custody, it gives the experience of a Web2 app with the service from your provider while being truly Web3.
  5. MPC does not hold the key in its entirety, It holds one share of the key. The user holds the other share or the Coinbase server holds the other share of the key.
  6. The WaaS solution solves the self-custody dilemma by enabling self-custody, but without putting the burden of responsibility on the end user, because from Coinbase's side, it gives all of the security protections needed.
  7. MPC vs. Multisig: ​​In Ethereum, Multisig costs gas, it’s a smart contract, more complex than a standard transaction. MPC offloads that to a previous step, plus advantages such as flexibility in terms of changing, and rotating, that Multisig doesn't provide. Multisig doesn't reach the level of functionality and security.

⌛️ TIMESTAMPS

  • 00:00:00 Intro
  • 00:01:25 Background & the Cryptography Team at Coinbase
  • 00:05:55 Coinbase WaaS Announcement, MPC, and the White Paper
  • 00:21:46 Is Coinbase going Crypto-native? First the Base L2, and now WaaS
  • 00:27:10 Security Concerns and Challenges
  • 00:38:45 The Wallets and Exchanges Competition Landscape
  • 00:43:50 Ledger Recovery Fiasco
  • 00:51:25 Thoughts on Trustlessness
  • 00:57:07 Open-sourcing or Not Open-sourcing
  • 00:58:30 The MPC Competitive Landscape
  • 01::03:45 A Message for Cryptographers
  • 01:06:45 What makes you Defiant?