IcyWallet: hardware wallet for people with visual impairments

Secure storage of cryptocurrency can be a daunting task, especially for beginners. However, for people with visual impairments search options available is particularly challenging. IcyWallet is a cold wallet with a special function — it is designed to make it easier for people with visual impairments manage offline storage of bitcoin.

The project was launched when Adam Newbold (Adam Newbold) and his wife began to learn Braille. Soon after, Newbold began to chat on Reddit with blind bitcoin enthusiast, who has expressed his frustration with the lack of support for people with visual impairments on the part of software developers for bitcoin. None of the wallets didn’t work correctly in his reader, and he needed help to perform any operations with bitcoin.

«I learned more about accessibility issues and the real challenges that every day face blind,» said Newbold. «This sparked my personal interest, which has been merged with my existing interest in bitcoin, when I realized that there are quite large possibilities to increase the availability of bitcoin for the blind and visually impaired people».

In October 2017, he started a campaign with the purpose of creating a Braille-version of the original White paper on Bitcoin. This campaign was successful, and now the document available to everyone.

This first success spurred the creation Newbold IcyWallet. It aims to provide blind people 100% free bitcoin wallet open-source. In now over it work – some development stages have been completed. Progress can be monitored on the website of the purse.

«One of the reasons why you hear a lot about bitcoin is that it gives you the opportunity to «be your own Bank», which sounds very cool (it is!)», said Newbold. «But it also means that you need to take responsibility for what the banks do, for example, for the protection of your funds».

He explained that although today’s technology has solved many problems faced by people with disabilities when it comes to bitcoin and security – there is still work to be done.

How it works

According to Newbold, here’s how to work the device:

  • First, a transaction is generated on (another) computer connected to the Internet, in order to correctly calculate the Commission;

  • Then the transaction is signed by the device IcyWallet;

  • Finally, the transaction is broadcast to the Bitcoin network the Internet-connected device. This makes the device completely Autonomous IcyWallet, guaranteeing the safety of private keys.

Users just plug in headphones and keyboard or refreshable Braille display. The device is loaded directly to the wallet application with support for functional audio and Braille.

«Support refreshable Braille display means that the device can be used by people with deafness and blindness,» says Newbold.

IcyWallet generates hierarchical deterministic wallets with mnemonic seeds for safe backup. Code developed using the BitcoinJS library and is designed to be run «offline» single-Board computer Raspberry Pi, although Newbold notes that in theory, the software can run on different hardware.

Newbold plans to soon make available a demo video/audio, as well as an early version of the software (possibly only for the generation of the purse) to begin to collect suggestions and feedback on the code, which will improve IcyWallet.

As cryptocurrencies in General and bitcoin in particular are becoming more common, implementation of systems available for different groups of people, it would be important for their further growth. It is expected that IcyWallet will be launched in 2018.

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