Introducing Passport Batch 2 & Envoy Mobile App

Last November, we announced that Passport Founder’s Edition sold out to rave reviews. With nearly 1000 of our next-gen Bitcoin hardware wallet in the wild, the Foundation team has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare for Batch 2.

We are beyond excited to share all the details with you today.

Passport Batch 2 was an opportunity to go back to the drawing board. Faced with supply chain challenges, rising component costs, and a sizable wishlist of improvements, we asked ourselves – how can we reduce costs while delivering the industry leading Bitcoin hardware wallet?

But more than that, we knew that Passport needed a companion. A way to streamline onboarding, firmware updates, and learning. A refreshingly simple Bitcoin wallet experience.

So today we are announcing not one, but two new products: Passport Batch 2 and Envoy mobile app! 

Passport Batch 2

After shipping Passport Founder’s Edition and surveying our customers, we went heads-down into design mode for Batch 2. This new Passport is the culmination of months of design and engineering work.

Price

The most common feedback on Passport Founder’s Edition was cost – its $299 price point was steep, especially compared with other hardware wallets.

By redesigning Passport Batch 2 and putting every component under the microscope, we reduced both the cost of materials and assembly. Passport Batch 2 presells for $199. Once we begin shipping, Passport’s price will increase to $249.

Design

Ultra-minimalism is everywhere, and the Foundation team is sick of it! Rather than pursuing a minimalist, boring design, Passport Batch 2 embraces a new design language that we call digital deco. The new Passport borrows ornate elements from the art deco movement and brings them into the 21st century.

Like Passport Founder’s Edition, Batch 2 is constructed of high-quality plastic and copper-plated zinc alloy, a responsive physical keypad, and a magnetic rear cover. 

Notably, Batch 2 is almost 20% thinner than Founder’s Edition!

Battery

Batch 2 uses a standard form factor lithium-ion battery instead of AAAs. This allows for longer battery life and an accurate battery indicator.

Passport uses a standard Nokia BL-5C battery pack. This pack is readily accessible from online retailers, so you are not dependent on a proprietary Foundation battery.

Charging occurs via a power-only USB-C port on Passport. This is a special port that only has pins for power, not data, therefore preserving Passport’s airgap. No need to trust us – you can take a quick look at the port and see that most pins are missing!

Display

Passport Batch 2 incorporates a stunning, high resolution IPS color display bonded to ultra-hard glass. The display is scratch resistant and vibrant, rendering brighter and clearer QR codes in all types of lighting conditions.

The Foundation team designed an overhauled user interface to take advantage of the new display! The UI is modern yet simple, with a new left-to-right navigation.

Little Details

We are especially proud of Batch 2’s little details – like a physical power button for simplicity and convenience, and an improved microSD slot that allows the card to sit closer to Passport and eliminates the possibility of backwards insertion.

Passport now ships with new accessories. In addition to an industrial-grade microSD card and removable lithium-ion battery, Passport includes microSD adapters for iOS and Android alongside a USB-C charging cable.

We also can’t stop ogling the packaging.

Security Architecture

While Passport features an all-new design, its underlying security architecture is unchanged. Passport uses an ultra-fast STM processor, Microchip 608a secure element, Omnivision cameracube, and an avalanche noise source for entropy.

Passport’s hardware and firmware are fully open source under copyleft licenses (CERN-OHL-S and GPLv3).

Envoy

Passport is already easy to set up and pair with the software wallet of your choice, but the Foundation team wanted to take it a step further. We sought to deliver an experience that makes life easier for advanced Bitcoiners and lowers the barriers to entry for new Bitcoiners purchasing their first hardware wallet.

So we made Envoy, a mobile companion app for your Passport. Envoy performs four key functions:

  1. Helps you securely and easily set up Passport.
  2. Keeps you up-to-date with firmware updates, no computer required!
  3. Provides quick and easy access to support resources.
  4. Offers a refreshingly simple Bitcoin software wallet.
Onboarding

Envoy guides the user through unboxing Passport and setting it up securely. Instead of using our support website from your computer or phone, you’ll now be able to use the Envoy app for a much improved experience. 

Security 

Envoy primarily communicates with Passport via airgapped QR codes, ensuring that Passport is never directly connected to an online device. Initial Passport setup, supply chain validation, and Bitcoin transactions are all facilitated with QR codes. 

Passport firmware updates are securely downloaded by Envoy and transferred to Passport via microSD card. Envoy sends a push notification when a new firmware update is available, making it easier than ever to always run the latest firmware.

Privacy

Envoy connects to Foundation’s server and Bitcoin node through Tor. This means that Foundation does not know your IP address and is less able to track your activity.

For those seeking greater privacy, Envoy offers the ability to connect to your own Bitcoin node, cutting out Foundation as the middleman.

Openness 

Like all our products, Envoy is fully open source with a copyleft license (GPLv3). This means that advanced users can inspect the code, build from source, and even fork and improve the app. Envoy relies heavily on popular open source toolkits, including Flutter and BDK.

Due to Envoy’s open source nature, you can be better assured that Envoy does what we claim. You don’t have to blindly trust Foundation with the security of your Bitcoin; you can verify for yourself!

Alongside releasing Envoy in the Android and iOS app stores, we will make an APK available for advanced Android users, and will also explore releasing to the F-Droid open source app repository.

Wallet

For new Bitcoiners and those who seek a zen-like experience, Envoy offers a simple Bitcoin software wallet that automatically pairs with your Passport. 

Envoy allows you to pair multiple Passports, each with its own account to send and receive Bitcoin. The only user input is whether to “boost” your transaction by paying a higher fee – that’s it! We suspect Envoy is the simplest Bitcoin software wallet on the market.

Over time we plan to add more advanced features like coin control, but will always offer an unparalleled zen experience for new Bitcoiners.


We hope you’re as excited as we are about Passport Batch 2 and Envoy.

Passport Batch 2 is expected to ship in April. We’re beginning circuit board production later this month, and are just waiting for the plastic and metal parts to arrive. We’ll have the first set of Batch 2’s on-hand at Bitcoin 2022 in Miami next month.

Envoy will launch in app stores alongside Passport Batch 2.

Our website is now updated with all the details of Passport Batch 2 and Envoy! As Batch 2 is limited to 2500 units, we recommend preordering today to ensure availability. Please contact us with any questions via email or Telegram.

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Foundation’s New Mission and Logo

We publicly announced Foundation in May of 2020 with the goal of making Bitcoin and decentralized technologies accessible to each and every individual in order to build a new era of sovereignty, ownership, and privacy. We aimed to build a different kind of hardware company with an emphasis on open source and local manufacturing.

Since then we’ve shipped our first 1000 devices, raised funding from investors, and built a superstar team. We’ve also had more time to reflect on the state of the world. Censorship, privacy violations, uncontrolled money printing leading to historical inflation. We’ve asked ourselves – what can we do to help guide humanity through these challenging times? As in Asimov’s Foundation trilogy – what can we do to reduce this period of chaos and more quickly usher in a new era of freedom and prosperity? 

We realized that an evolved mission and logo were necessary to crisply communicate what we are building and what we stand for. We are proud to unveil both today.

With the rise of the Internet, a digital currency like Bitcoin was inevitable. The Sovereign Individual, authored in 1997, presciently details how society will be transformed in this fourth stage of human society – the transition to the Information Age, powered by the Internet.

Beloved by Bitcoiners and digital currency enthusiasts, The Sovereign Individual predicts the separation of money and state, the corresponding decline of the nation state, and the rise of the individual. 

Today, most people know there is something wrong with the world. They know their privacy is being violated by technology companies that resemble surveillance apparatuses. They know that corporate media and social media are censoring factual information. They know that quarantine camps and social credit scores are simply wrong. They want privacy, they want sovereignty – they just don’t know where to start.

That’s where we come in. If we can lower the barrier to becoming a sovereign individual, we believe that more and more people will reclaim their sovereignty and freedom. This is not a guess; this is our conviction.

Foundation builds Bitcoin-centric tools that empower you to reclaim your sovereignty.

This starts with Passport, our best-in-class Bitcoin hardware wallet. But over the coming months and years we’ll release a suite of hardware and software that makes it easy to become a sovereign individual.

With our refocused mission, we realized that a new logo was also needed. Our current logo evokes a strong foundation and a futuristic cityscape. The triangle evokes strength and positive change, while the trapezoids represent a sturdy bedrock on which to build. But the current logo does not represent sovereignty or properly reflect the state of our world.

Instead of a prominent triangle, we designed a logo that consists of three chords arranged in a circle. A chord is filled with meaning in the fields of linguistics, mathematics, culture, science, and technology. When we consider a chord we think of harmony, we think of geometry, we think of engineering.

Our new logo, in its purest form, is three chords – three notes – that represent the classic three-act structure. 

In Act I, the Setup, Bitcoin was invented as the global financial system was faltering. Cypherpunks served as early adopters, rapidly improving the network so that it could compete directly with fiat currencies.

In Act II, the Confrontation, things seem bleak. A global pandemic has been twisted into a worldwide authoritarian power grab via mass lockdowns of populations, restrictions on movement, vaccination passports, mandatory quarantine camps. But on the sidelines, Bitcoin is slowly gaining adoption from millions of individuals, numerous corporations, and even nation states. We are currently in Act II, and it’s where we will likely stay in this decade.

In Act III, the Resolution, we emerge victorious with a Bitcoin standard. Billions of people are transformed into sovereign individuals. A new era of progress and prosperity begins.

Our new logo evokes a strong foundation, but the triangle is not actually there; the triangle is simply the space between the chords. The three separated chords demonstrate that a collection of sovereign individuals – though decentralized – can form a sound foundation for human freedom, strength, and progress.

We’re humbled by the opportunity to build such important technology at a critical moment in human history. Join us as we transition to the era of sovereign individuals!

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Passport Founder’s Edition is Sold Out! Preorder Batch 2 Today.

In Summer of 2020, we introduced our design for a next-generation Bitcoin hardware wallet that uses a camera and QR codes to facilitate airgapped transactions. We aimed to build a device that was beautiful, intuitive, and secure – while also being open source and assembled in the USA. We called it Passport.

We began shipping our first batch of 1000 devices, Passport Founder’s Edition, in May. We are thrilled to announce that our first batch is officially sold out! 

Feedback on Passport has been overwhelmingly positive. In our recent customer survey, we received scores of comments lauding Passport’s ease of use, design, build quality, and commitment to the FOSS (free and open source software) movement.

Our users have also been spreading the good word on Twitter.

Once you use a Passport, there is no going back. Take it from the esteemed Bitcoin Q+A, who after getting his hands on a Passport and writing a fantastic getting started guide, decided to join the Foundation team in a full time role! 

Passport Batch 2

We are now preparing for Passport Batch 2, which is estimated to ship in February 2022. Batch 2 will consist of 2500 devices. All long-lead time components, such as the processor and secure element, have already been procured. 

The Foundation team is made up of perfectionists. So rather than continuing to ship the exact same product, we’ve made numerous improvements to the electromechanical design and manufacturing process, while keeping the security architecture and general form factor unchanged. We’ll detail these improvements over the next couple of months.

This has allowed us to substantially reduce Passport’s cost. So we are launching preorders with a special price of $199, a full $100 price drop!

As of today, you can preorder Passport Batch 2 on our website. Preorders are completely refundable, even if paid in Bitcoin. 

EASIER BITCOIN PREORDERS

If you preorder in Bitcoin but change your mind, we’ll refund your entire purchase amount denominated in Bitcoin.

Likewise, if you pay in Bitcoin but the price appreciates between the day you order and the day we ship, we’ll refund your Bitcoin gains before shipping. This way you won’t have to make the difficult choice between paying in Bitcoin to preserve your privacy or losing out on potential Bitcoin gains between now and February! 

Founder’s Edition Customers

To our Founder’s Edition customers – we massively appreciate your support and faith in us. Passport Batch 2 won’t ship for 3 months, but we still understand that a $100 price drop is significant. Therefore we’ll be emailing you in the next few days a 21% discount off a Passport Batch 2 unit, in case you want to buy a new Passport for yourself or for a family member.

Additionally, though Passport Batch 2 will introduce numerous improvements, Passport Founder’s Edition will continue to receive regular firmware updates! We’re excited to keep improving your Passport experience as time goes by.

Questions? Contact us at hello@foundationdevices.com, DM us on Twitter, or join our Telegram group.

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Bitcoin and Asimov’s Foundation

In Asimov’s renowned Foundation trilogy, the Galactic Empire is crumbling. Civil war and nuclear holocaust are imminent. An inevitable dark age of 30,000 years awaits humanity.

All of humanity’s knowledge will be lost.

Hari Seldon, leader of a fringe scientific movement called Psychohistory, becomes aware of this impending doom and devises a plan. Mankind will establish a colony on the edge of the galaxy – a Foundation – and catalog all of humanity’s knowledge in an Encyclopedia Galactica. This will reduce the dark age to only 1000 years and allow humanity to rebuild.


Today, we live at the intersection of three major societal shifts.

  1. The global economy abandoned a gold standard in 1971, which has since caused the destruction of our middle class and plunged us all into drowning debt and inescapable inflation. The solution from our elected (and appointed) leaders? Print more money!
  2. We are in the midst of a “Great Reset.” The US dollar (cough, petrodollar) is on the decline and competing powers are vying to replace it. China, specifically, aims to displace the United States as the dominant global superpower by 2049. The CCP is already exporting its tried-and-tested, authoritarian, mass surveillance system to the rest of the world.
  3. With the invention and global adoption of the Internet, our world is entering its Fourth Stage as an Informational society. As noted in The Sovereign Individual, an eerily prescient publication, this societal shift will force the Nation State into decline. 

While our world is not at risk of 30,000 years of darkness (we hope), we are experiencing hard times – and they will only continue to grow harder throughout this decade.

One potential outcome is that China becomes the new global superpower and succeeds at exporting its authoritarianism to us all. The CCP uses its digital yuan as a tool of population control and mass surveillance, creating a permanent ruling class of elites that control how money is printed and distributed. Society experiences a twisted combination of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.

Bitcoin offers us salvation. Rather than transitioning to yet another centralized currency, fabricated by a central bank, backed by nothing – Bitcoin reaches mass adoption as the decentralized global reserve currency. We experience a separation of money and state. Permanent inflation ends. Individuals can save and invest in their future. Governments’ ability to wage endless wars, via money printing and taxation, is no more. A new peaceful, prosperous era of the sovereign individual emerges. 

Bitcoin is our Foundation. Mass embrace of Bitcoin will enable humanity to minimize the duration of chaos and emerge in utopia.

A transition to a Bitcoin Standard will not be easy. In this decade we will face seemingly insurmountable resistance from a dying fiat system that is gasping for breath as it drowns. Much of this resistance will be political – governments will attempt to ban, curtail, and cripple Bitcoin as its user base grows. But Bitcoin, and its forces of decentralization, will also threaten the incumbent technology gatekeepers that control how the world accesses the Internet.

The vast majority of the world’s population accesses the Internet via devices and services made by Apple and Google. The vast majority of the world’s population uses closed source devices made by small numbers of large manufacturers. So if we want to opt out of the Fiat Standard, and opt into a Bitcoin Standard, how can we do so as the incumbents resist?

The answer is simple. We must rebuild and catalog humanity’s knowledge, just like Hari Seldon did in Asimov’s Foundation. But unlike Seldon, we don’t need to build our Encyclopedia on a remote planet on the edge of the galaxy. Instead, we can build it in the open – through the power of Free and Open Source hardware and software. 

This is why we started Foundation Devices – to accelerate the adoption of Bitcoin by rebuilding and cataloging humanity’s knowledge as open source. To create a permissionless hardware and software foundation on which others can build. To help guide humanity through our transition to the Fourth Stage.

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The Foundations of Freedom in Bitcoin

In the decentralized, peer-to-peer Bitcoin network, there are no central institutions that protect individuals from fraud or loss. Sovereign Bitcoin users must look after their own security, which makes it critically important that they are able to identify which products and services are trustworthy and safe to use. 

The first step Bitcoin organizations should take in order to be considered credible is to be fully open source under the proper licensing. Open source projects are more likely to be secure because, given an active development community, a greater number of individuals are involved in inspecting and contributing to their code.

Bitcoin is an ecosystem built on a foundation of free and open source software and ideas. Progress in Bitcoin is made as we build on each other’s work. Bitcoin users must have full freedom over the hardware and software infrastructure they use – freedom to fork, freedom to change, freedom to run the programs they want without any intermediaries.

This article will explain why open source development is both more efficient from a security perspective and the only viable way forward for Bitcoin.

Civil Liberties in Hardware and Software

To understand why open source is critical for Bitcoin users, it helps to have some historical context about how the movement’s ideals emerged. Before the Copyright Act of 1976 ruled that computer programs could be considered intellectual property, software programs had often been bundled and sold together with hardware. This created a development environment in which programmers worked primarily out of passion for their field and cooperated with one another in a free-flowing, non-restrictive way. 

However, after the 1976 changes to IP law, companies began working on proprietary software that could be sold on its own. This marked the beginning of a trend that gained full momentum by the early 1980s and which eventually resulted in the walled garden ecosystems we see today.

The irony for many of the originators of the technology that had enabled the personal computing era was that they believed foremost in the civic duty of sharing information for public benefit. A staunch advocate for freedom of access and development in software among this generation of creators was Richard Stallman. His writings voiced the idea that it was not enough to protect the practical aims of open information sharing – philosophical aims conducive to a virtuous society also had to be respected in software. 

To reflect the importance of individual freedoms, Stallman wrote the GNU General Public License (GPL) series of copyleft licenses that protect the rights of software users, rather than owners.

In addition to all the practical benefits of open source development, the terms “Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)” and “Free and Open Source Hardware (FOSH)” imply that a product upholds basic individual freedoms and civic duty. Here, “free” refers to freedom, rather than whether or not the product is free to use. 

In his writings on “nonfree” software, Stallman describes how privatization and black-boxing of code erodes our spirit of self-reliance and consequently runs contrary to the principles upon which democracies like the United States are founded. Without the ability to analyze, modify, or redistribute the software we use, we are ultimately passengers in the digital world, unable to take agency for ourselves or on behalf of our fellow citizens and neighbors.

Without the ability to analyze, modify, or redistribute the software we use, we are ultimately passengers in the digital world, unable to take agency for ourselves or on behalf of our fellow citizens and neighbors.

Bitcoin was not built to resemble the walled garden digital economy, but instead to provide a path for restoring our sense of self-sufficiency and sovereignty. In today’s world of sweeping centralization, over-organization, and lack of transparency, it is more important than ever to protect the ideals that Bitcoin stands for. The only way to work towards a future for Bitcoin in which freedom and autonomy are preserved is to support projects that are free and open source under FOSS and FOSH licenses.

Not Compromising on Open Source

In the same way that we trust the Bitcoin protocol because it is free and open source software, we can more confidently trust products that are free and open source. FOSS and FOSH licenses can help the Bitcoin community identify and give recognition to projects that uphold the full standards of transparency as well as reflect the spirit of free software and hardware.

As new waves of users enter the Bitcoin market, bringing us ever closer to mass adoption, there will also be unprecedented interest from malicious actors. In order to avoid thefts or loss of funds, a majority of new Bitcoiners may continue to consign key ownership to large exchanges or engage with Bitcoin through trusted third parties. 

The custodial decisions made by new Bitcoiners will have a tremendous effect on the future of financial sovereignty in Bitcoin – and whether centralized institutions and players that have no concern for the foundational principles of Bitcoin may come to dominate the space. It is our hope that the strength of free and open source projects in the industry will incentivize and inspire new users to opt to take control of their sovereignty.

Transparency is Better than Obscurity

The way forward for the Bitcoin community—if it wants to stay true to its ideals—is the same model of open source development adopted by the original Bitcoin protocol and software. Bitcoin is a paradigm that clearly thrives on communal development, cooperation, and progressively building on shared work. 

As Richard Stallman writes, “In any intellectual field, one can reach greater heights by standing on the shoulders of others. But that is no longer generally allowed in the software field—you can only stand on the shoulders of the other people in your own company.” A notable advantage of a decentralized system is in coalescing the work created by a diverse community of developers and entrepreneurs and enabling anyone to expand or improve upon that work.

A world in which we are not able to build on the intellectual progress of others is a world that would be less innovative and less secure. The hardware wallet industry is a quintessential example of how building on top of each other, rather than building from scratch, enables rapid innovation. We at Foundation are deeply appreciative of the open source projects – like MicroPython, Coldcard, and Trezor – that helped us bring Passport to market.  

A world in which we are not able to build on the intellectual progress of others is a world that would be less innovative and less secure.

It is much more efficient to build in concert with developers across an active community than to draw only from the development resources of one’s own company. When a product’s open source code attracts a larger and more diverse group of contributors to verify that it functions as intended and is not susceptible to critical flaws, consumers can have more confidence that it can be trusted. The cross-referencing of the opinions of experts is a much more credible source of information to depend on than the reputation of a centralized institution.

Recent notable hacks of proprietary hardware and software illustrate how detrimental black box development can be to the security of users. Just last year, Apple’s T2 co-processor, which handles encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities, was cracked by a team of researchers who found it was vulnerable to the same “checkm8” exploit that had been used to jailbreak Apple’s A10 processor. The fact that this vulnerability originated from T2 being based on the A10 is a telling example of how developers limited to the resources of their company are less likely to understand and recognize flaws in their product. Researchers found that attackers can gain access to the T2 chip of MacBooks produced from 2018 to 2020 if they have physical possession of the device or are able to swap out one of the owner’s cables for a modified lookalike specifically engineered for the attack. The failure of these generations of MacBooks is not a good look for Apple, a company that has long projected an image of itself as more secure due to its walled garden approach.

Also last year, Intel’s Software Guard eXtensions (SGX), a security system marketed as a highly isolated enclave for safeguarding private keys, fell victim to yet another security vulnerability. The latest crack involved two separate side channel attacks capable of stealing sensitive information, and came just after Intel sought to mitigate previous vulnerabilities by modifying app-layer code. The fact that large hardware manufacturers like Apple and Intel can struggle to provide consumers with secure black box private key storage solutions is further indication that open, auditable code can be a stronger security model.

The fact that large hardware manufacturers like Apple and Intel can struggle to provide consumers with secure black box private key storage solutions is further indication that open, auditable code can be a stronger security model.

Implications for Hardware

Hardware is a delivery mechanism for software, and free and open source hardware is absolutely fundamental to creating a decentralized digital economy in which users can find trustable products – and in which rapid innovation can occur. This is why we believe meeting the criteria for free and open source software and hardware is not only beneficial for security and product improvement, but necessary for the future of Bitcoin. 

To understand the specifics of the CERN OHL v2 hardware licenses and GPLv3 firmware licenses that classify Passport as FOSH, look out for our next article!

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Order Passport Batch 2 today, limited to 2400 units!

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Announcing Our Pre-Seed Raise

Foundation Devices is thrilled to announce that we’ve raised a pre-seed round of $2.5M led by Bolt.

Joining us are new investors Third Prime, Massachusetts Avenue Capital, Unpopular Ventures, Deep Ventures – as well as existing investors Warburg Serres, Fulgur Ventures, Inflection, and notable angels.

Bolt, a prominent early-stage venture fund, invests at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds. They were first round investors in groundbreaking hardware companies like Desktop Metal, Tonal, Nautilus Bio, and Fi.

Tyler Mincey, a partner at Bolt, is joining our board. Tyler has a highly relevant background in product management, design, and hardware/software engineering in companies large and small. At Apple, Tyler was a member of the original iPhone core team, later managed the iPod new product roadmap, and shipped over 150M units worldwide. We are thrilled to work closely with Tyler on developing new products and honing our design & manufacturing capabilities. 

Foundation is building the open hardware foundation for Bitcoin and a decentralized Internet. We believe that a new Internet, powered by open source software, must run on open hardware. Today’s devices are opaque, proprietary, and restrictive. Our goal is to build a new category of sovereign computing to serve as an open platform for development of a decentralized Internet. 

For Bitcoin and a decentralized Internet to succeed, users must store their own keys and run their own infrastructure. This is where we come in. Foundation believes software solutions alone are insufficient – consumers need integrated hardware and software to make it as easy to store your own keys as it is to open an account on an exchange. 

Last month we began shipping our first product, Passport, a next-gen Bitcoin hardware wallet. Passport is designed to be beautiful, intuitive, ultra-secure, and completely open source. Over the next several months we will improve Passport with firmware updates and design enhancements, as well as introduce companion software to further enhance the user experience.

To date, we’ve built all of Foundation with just four cofounders. We are now excited to be expanding the team in the following areas. If interested, view our Jobs Page and email us at jobs@foundationdevices.com.

  • Software Engineering (web, mobile, embedded, Bitcoin)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • FPGA & ASIC Engineering
  • Graphic & Industrial Design
  • Operations
  • Customer Support
  • Social Media & Community

Join us in our mission to make Bitcoin and decentralized tech accessible to each and every individual in order to build a new era of sovereignty, ownership, and privacy – and empower humankind.

– Team Foundation

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Leading an Open Hardware Renaissance

In April we set off to build a new type of hardware company. Instead of building closed source, proprietary hardware, we’d open source all of our work – from the firmware to the circuit designs. We’d fight back against today’s norm of security via opaqueness and instead embrace security via transparency.

Instead of releasing open source hardware catering only to developers and hardcore security enthusiasts, we’d design beautiful devices with bold, unique industrial designs and intuitive user interfaces. We’d aim to build the best products, period, and bring them to the largest number of people.

Only 8 months after launching Foundation Devices, we have finished prototyping Passport and are beginning mass production. In several weeks we will be shipping our first devices to customers across the world.

We are excited to announce that we’ve released Passport’s circuit designs as fully open source under CERN OHL S v2, and Passport’s alpha firmware under GPLv3 (and other compatible licenses). These viral, copyleft licenses ensure that others can use our work for any purpose – as long as they open source their work as well.

Open source is core to our mission and values at Foundation Devices, and we encourage other hardware companies to join the open hardware movement.

The Importance of Open Hardware

Security via openness and transparency. In a Bitcoin powered world, with immutable transactions and no recourse for thefts or loss, it is more important than ever that hardware and software are open. Security experts can easily review designs and report vulnerabilities, and advanced users can verify that the hardware and software have not been modified or tampered with.

Open hardware is likely to have fewer vulnerabilities than closed hardware. Read more in our previous post.

Building on each other’s work to innovate faster and progress society. In the hardware world today, progress is slow and siloed because each new hardware company either starts from scratch or buys proprietary IP from a small handful of companies (like Qualcomm or ARM). We think this is one of the main reasons why progress in the physical world is slower than in the digital world. In software, by contrast, developers can find tens of thousands of high quality open source libraries on Github and quickly integrate them into their projects.

Imagine if a young software startup was forced to pay Google for some proprietary IP to make a useful product and was required to sign an NDA – this is what the hardware world is like today.

Passport’s Open Source Foundation

Passport is built upon and inspired by numerous open source elements. For our hardware, we researched the architecture of popular devices like Coldcard, Bitbox02, and Trezor – all of whom post their electrical schematics on Github. We also implemented an open source true random number generator from the Betrusted project (called an Avalanche Noise Source).

For our firmware, we relied on the open source MicroPython project and used Coldcard’s open source firmware as a template. We started a new MicroPython project, did low-level bringup work for our hardware components (such as the camera), created a new user interface, and ported + modified pieces of Coldcard’s code.

We also implemented Trezor’s open source crypto library, ported Blockchain Commons’ open source UR Library to Python, and integrated two open source QR libraries.

It would not have been possible to design Passport in less than a year without building on great open source work.

Other Hardware Wallets

Currently only Passport and Trezor meet the definition of Open Source Hardware. Foundation Devices believes it is our responsibility to encourage other hardware producers to fully open source their work.

  • We applaud Trezor for their full embrace of open source hardware, but we suggest they license their hardware designs under CERN OHL v2.
  • We implore Ledger to change their approach and open source their hardware designs and proprietary firmware.
  • We suggest that Bitbox02 and Coldcard release their circuit design files, rather than just their schematics, so that the hardware can be fully open source.

Our beliefs about the importance of open source were inspired by both Coldcard and Trezor. When Coldcard launched in 2018, they used Trezor’s open source crypto library – and welcomed others to use their open source, GPLv3 code!

https://twitter.com/nvk/status/1023978745848246273

We are grateful for Coldcard’s open source firmware, of which we’ve used numerous components to more quickly bring Passport to market. However, we are disappointed that they’ve recently chosen to relicense their firmware as non-open source. The Commons Clause license condition is not open source and is and incompatible with GPL. The Free Software Foundation urges rejection of software under this license condition, and the license condition is widely criticized and on the decline.

In Summary

Passport’s circuit designs are now released as fully open source under CERN OHL S v2, and Passport’s alpha firmware is now released under GPLv3 (and other compatible licenses).

We believe open hardware improves cooperation and security and accelerates industry progress. We’re excited to bring open hardware products to the world and hope to see others do the same!

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Hardcore Hardware Security Requires a Step Back In Time

Foundation strives to build ultra-secure hardware with an open source security model. This is especially important for hardware wallets, which are used to store sizable amounts of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Today’s devices are largely designed for a pre-Bitcoin world. They are proprietary, opaque, and closed source. They are not designed to protect Bitcoin’s immutable transactions.

Take an iPhone, for example. An iPhone’s software is closed source – it runs firmware and an operating system made by Apple. There is no public code on Github. Security researchers or savvy individuals cannot audit any of the code running on the device. 

Likewise, an iPhone’s hardware is closed source – its circuit board designs, list of components (commonly called the “BOM” or bill of materials), and details of component functionality are proprietary and confidential. Sure, it’s possible to conduct a tear-down and attempt to determine how an iPhone works, how the circuitry is designed, and what components it uses. But the information gleaned from such an effort is limited at best.

Does Apple encrypt your iMessages? Does it safely upload your data to iCloud? Are apps sufficiently isolated to protect you from viruses and exploits? With closed source hardware like an iPhone running a closed source operating system, it is impossible to answer these questions. Instead, we are forced to trust Apple completely with our digital lives.

In a pre-Bitcoin world, this did not matter. The worst-case scenario was that an attacker stole your personal data, bought a few items with your credit card, and Venmo’d away a few thousand dollars. You then reset your passwords, called your credit card company, submitted a support ticket with Venmo – and resumed life as usual.

In a Bitcoin world, if your money is stolen then it is gone. There is no recourse. 

Today’s devices are built on a closed-source security model that is not transferable to a Bitcoin world. At Foundation Devices, we are dedicated to building ultra-secure hardware with an open source security model.

Unlike most hardware companies today, Foundation Devices:

  1. Minimizes the use of black-box silicon – chips whose functions are unknown and are often bundled with common components like screens and touch panels.
  2. Purchases chips and components only from reputable suppliers and distributors.
  3. Reduces attack surfaces as much as possible.
  4. Assembles our devices under close supervision in the USA.
  5. Releases our hardware and software as open source.

In order to build secure hardware for a Bitcoin world, we sometimes need to take a step back in time. Many common components today are not designed for hardcore security, transparency, auditability, and openness. When designing Passport, our Bitcoin hardware wallet, we made the conscious decision to avoid the following:

  • High resolution displays which contain black-box silicon that could collect data or display false information.
  • Capacitive touch panels which contain black-box silicon that could record user inputs or hijack the device.
  • Lithium ion batteries which contain black-box silicon that could help attackers exploit power-related vulnerabilities.
  • Bluetooth which increases attack surface and has consistent vulnerabilities.
  • USB which increases attack surface, such as this Ledger vulnerability.

This means that Passport uses a physical keypad, monochrome display, AAA batteries, and QR codes for communication. It somewhat resembles a Nokia phone! But it provides an excellent user experience, great design, and – most important – strong, open source security. 

Most touch panels contain black-box silicon. See the chip on the data cable.

If you are looking to purchase a hardware wallet, be wary of devices that use touch screens and contain Bluetooth. Be especially wary of closed source hardware. Ask the manufacturer – who makes the touch screen and where is it produced? Is the hardware and firmware open source? Does the wallet include Bluetooth or other forms of wireless communications?

Foundation Devices believes it is important that hardware wallet makers, above all, prioritize security. Here’s how we think about security for Passport:

  1. If it can be visually inspected, it’s the best. This is why we use a Memory Display over a high resolution OLED or TFT display, and why we use a physical keypad over a touch panel.
  2. Minimize the use of black-box silicon and purchase all chips from reputable suppliers. Our suppliers include ST Microelectronics, Microchip, Omnivision, Analog Devices, and ON Semiconductor. Passport does not contain components from sketchy Chinese OEMs.
  3. Crucial components should be made ourselves. Rather than relying on a proprietary true random number generator (TRNG), we implemented an open source TRNG called an Avalanche Noise Source that uses commodity components (thanks bunnie!).

Over time, as Bitcoin grows and we sell more devices, we will design open source touch screens, more secure wireless communication protocols, and open and auditable chips. We look forward to making this a reality as we build Foundation Devices!

Interested in learning more about hardware security? We recommend this talk by bunnie, renowned hardware hacker and creator of the Betrusted project.

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Foundation Devices Launches Preorders for Passport and Raises angel Round

In late July, we introduced Passport – a new Bitcoin hardware wallet that is more elegant, ultra-secure, and open source. Today, Foundation Devices is excited to announce that:

  1. Passport is now available to preorder, with a Founder’s Edition limited to 1000 units.
  2. Foundation Devices has raised an angel funding round from notable investors.
About Passport

Foundation Devices is building the open source hardware foundation for Bitcoin and the sovereign Internet, starting with a hardware wallet called Passport. We intend Passport to appeal to a broad audience of Bitcoiners – whether you are an expert user accustomed to hardware wallets or a new user currently storing your coins on an exchange.

Passport provides a radically simplified, zen-like user experience. Foundation Devices is working hard to eliminate the hardware wallet learning curve with a streamlined setup process, intuitive interface, and familiar navigation.

With numerous high-quality multisig software wallets entering the market, it is more important than ever that we have a hardware wallet that is easy to use and welcoming to new users. Passport is our attempt to build the “iPod” of hardware wallets.

Preorder Details

Passport is priced at $299 and includes 2x industrial grade microSD cards, 2x AAA batteries, and free shipping within the USA. Founder’s Edition is limited to 1000 units and includes an exclusive back cover design, special packaging, and a surprise gift.

Our official estimated shipment date for Passport is March 31, 2021 – but we are aiming to deliver Passport in time for the December holidays. Foundation Devices has already placed orders for long-lead time components and will finish ordering all components in the next several days. Due to COVID’s continuous impacts on global supply chains, we have chosen to be more conservative.

Please note that this is not crowdfunding – Foundation Devices already has the funds required to pay for the full production of Founder’s Edition devices. If you change your mind before Passport ships, cancel your order at any time and receive a full refund. If you stack too many sats and overdraw your bank account, we will do our best to refund you same-day! (Yes, this actually happened.)

To ensure your privacy, Foundation Devices self-hosts our website and checkout flow using WordPress and WooCommerce. Payments by credit card occur via Stripe and payments by Bitcoin occur via our self-hosted BTCPay server. We are especially proud of our beautiful BTCPay checkout design; thank you @artdesignbySF for your great work.

Open Source

Passport will be the only hardware wallet on the market – and one of the only consumer hardware devices in existence – that meets the definition of Open Source Hardware according to the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA).

Passport’s hardware designs will be open under CERN-OHL-S v2 and firmware under GPLv3. While other hardware wallets have open source firmware, none include hardware designs that are legally considered open source. They (1) omit design files, (2) use inappropriate licenses like GPL or Creative Commons, (3) restrict commercial use, and/or (4) lack detailed component documentation, specifically in the Bill of Materials (“BOM”).

We are a corporate sponsor of OSHWA and will be submitting Passport for official certification. All future hardware that Foundation Devices makes will be open sourced under the appropriate licenses and certified by OSHWA.

We will be publicly posting our hardware and firmware to Github later this Fall, after completing validation of our next round of prototypes.

Assembled in the USA

Foundation Devices believes in the importance of local manufacturing and more robust global supply chains. Most of today’s devices are assembled in China, a communist regime that heavily censors the Internet, surveils its citizens, and seeks to undermine citizens’ privacy and sovereignty. This creates numerous geopolitical and security issues, especially with the rise of Bitcoin. Our devices will soon be safeguarding trillions of dollars of value – it is imperative that we trust our hardware manufacturers.

We therefore chose to assemble Passport locally, in the USA, and purchase all of our components from American companies and distributors. While many components still originate from Asia, the critical parts – such as the screen, processor, secure element, and camera – all originate from highly reputable suppliers. And circuit board assembly, device assembly, provisioning, and testing all take place in the USA. The Foundation Devices team will be on-the-ground at the factory during production.

To our knowledge, Passport is the only hardware wallet assembled in the USA. For advanced users, it may be prudent to add Passport to your multisig setup in order to defend against potential supply chain vulnerabilities.

Progress

We’ve been hard at work over the last five months designing Passport, prototyping, and preparing for production. Here’s an overview of our progress to-date:

Enclosure

We completed the design of the enclosure and are currently prototyping via 3D printing. We have placed orders for long-lead time enclosure components, including the keypad assembly and copper-plated zinc alloy casted part.

Circuit Boards

We completed design of the circuit boards and have completed two prototype revisions. We will be ordering our third revision of prototype boards in the next several days. Novel features include:

  • Camera for scanning QR codes.
  • AAA battery power.
  • Avalanche noise source, an open source true random number generator that uses standard components (no black-box silicon).
  • Sharp Memory LCD, which has circuitry etched directly into glass for easy visual inspection, and unlike most displays includes no black-box silicon.

Firmware

We forked Coldcard’s open source firmware (licensed as GPLv3) and have made numerous changes. We anticipate finishing v1 firmware by end of November. We intend to contribute relevant improvements back to Coldcard. Changes include:

  • A new UI with simple navigation via a navpad and dedicated select buttons.
  • Changes to all copy and radical simplification of menu structure.
  • Ability to scan QR codes and transmit PSBTs via QR codes.
  • Code reorganization to comply with Micropython best practices.
  • Implemented new device drivers for Passport components including camera, screen and keypad.
  • New keypad controller to allow for more advanced input, such as long-presses.
  • Ultra-fast keypad responsiveness.

We ported Blockchain Commons’ UR Standard (for data transmission via multi QR codes) to Python. This can be seen on our Github.

We created a font converter to generate python code from BDF fonts. This can be seen on our Github.

Funding

Foundation Devices recently raised an angel round to fund development and production of Passport. Thank you to our investors for enabling us to build a hardware company that believes in open source, sovereignty, and privacy.

Individuals

  • Balaji Srinivasan
  • Brett Gibson of Initialized Capital
  • James McAvity of Cormint
  • Louis Liu of Mimesis Capital
  • Stephen Cole
  • Thomas Pacchia of HODL Capital
  • Tomer Federman of Federman Capital
  • and more
Next Steps

Learn more about Passport and preorder your Founder’s Edition below, limited to 1000 units!

Read through the FAQs and contact us at hello@foundationdevices.com with any questions.

purchase PASSPORT

Order Passport Batch 2 today, limited to 2400 units!

$249.00Add to cart

Introducing Passport: an Elegant and Secure Bitcoin hardware wallet

Bitcoin passing $11k signals a new bull market, with incredibly exciting times ahead for Bitcoiners as we prepare to welcome a new flood of users into the ecosystem. But we must ask ourselves – how will new Bitcoiners store their coins? Will they use Coinbase, who already holds almost 1 million Bitcoin? Or will they embrace sovereignty, privacy, and ownership by self-custodying their own Bitcoin? 

Foundation Devices believes that today’s hardware wallets make the wrong security and design tradeoffs. They’ve worked for us early Bitcoiners so far because we are willing to deal with difficult interfaces, metal seed backups, safety deposit boxes, Shamir’s Secret Sharing, and so much more. But they won’t work for the new wave of incoming Bitcoiners as we reach mass-adoption by the end of this decade.

Bitcoin needs a hardware foundation that is beautifully designed, easy to use, and open source. Most of today’s hardware, including Ledger wallets, are closed source. As Bitcoin’s market cap grows to the trillions, so do the incentives for attackers to compromise closed-source hardware. We must rebuild today’s hardware stack to be open source, auditable, and verifiable – from the chips to the circuit boards to the firmware and beyond.

Foundation is taking our first step on this journey by introducing an elegant, secure, and open source hardware wallet named Passport. We are thrilled to officially announce Passport today, and are accepting reservations for our first edition batch of 1000 units. 

So what makes Passport special? Passport is designed to be elegant; something every Bitcoiner would be proud to carry. We use high quality materials like soft-touch plastic and copper-plated zinc alloy. At 4 inches long x 1.5 inches wide x 0.8 inches thin, Passport is comfortable to hold and use.

Passport’s interface is intuitive and familiar, with a simple navigation pad and physical alphanumeric keypad. There’s no need to learn how to navigate the menus and enter PIN numbers and passphrases – you already know how to use Passport. 

To sign transactions, simply insert a microSD card or scan a QR code. Wallets like Bluewallet already support multi-QR transmission, and Passport is compatible with any software wallet that supports PSBTs over microSD or QR. 

Passport is open source and uses the same high-level security architecture and firmware base as Coldcard, with a Microchip secure element and STM processor. The circuit board designs and firmware will be published on Github in the coming weeks, with hardware licensed under CERN’s Open Hardware License V2 and firmware under GPL3. No unknown code will run on the device.

Completely airgapped, Passport is powered by two AAA batteries and includes no USB port, Bluetooth, or wireless communications of any kind. Passport has numerous security features, such as security lights and an avalanche noise source for entropy. And Passport uses more trustable components, like a screen with circuitry etched directly into glass, which allows for easy inspection at production.

Foundation Devices, headquartered in Boston, is focused on building open hardware for Bitcoin and the sovereign Internet. We will proudly assemble Passport in the USA.

We cannot wait to tell you more about Passport in the coming weeks! Passport will launch for preorders in August and will ship by late December. We have already received over 500 email reservations for our first edition batch. 

Learn more about Passport and reserve yours below!

And feel free to check out the FAQs and contact us at hello@foundationdevices.com with any questions.

purchase PASSPORT

Order Passport Batch 2 today, limited to 2400 units!

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