1Password expands into crypto, offering protection to crypto wallet users

"Crypto innovations are reshaping the world, but for many it seems too confusing or risky to join."

The unicorn password protection company 1Password is expanding into the cryptocurrency realm to do what it does best: security. The company plans to make crypto wallets more secure for users.

1Password is partnering with Phantom, a crypto wallet startup, and Solana, a blockchain firm. 1Password plans to integrate its API with Phantom in order to secure cryptocurrencies, digital assets, NFTs, tokens, and collectibles built on the Solana blockchain. The firms are not disclosing any of the financial arrangements around the partnership.

“Crypto innovations are reshaping the world, but for many it seems too confusing or risky to join this transformation.”

“Crypto innovations are reshaping the world, but for many it seems too confusing or risky to join this transformation,” said Jeff Shiner, CEO of 1Password. “Our partnership with Phantom is another example of 1Password making technology more human-centric. Together, we are simplifying management for existing investors as well as lowering the barrier to entry for those eager to safely buy and trade digital assets through a platform they know and trust.”

Matt O’Leary, VP of technology partnerships for 1Password, told BetaKit the startup wants to make crypto management and security easier. “We’re working with Phantom and Solana because they are also committed to making their user experiences safe and secure, and lowering the barrier to entry for those who want to invest in crypto,” he said.

1Password offers a password manager that can be integrated into web browsers, allowing for easier log in to websites, entering credit card information, and filling registration forms. The manager also generates strong passwords, all of which is stored inside the manager platform under one master password.

1Password maintains that lost and stolen cryptocurrency can cost investors millions of dollars, and unlike a credit or bank card, losing access to a digital wallet can cost users everything they’ve put into it. The process to recover a wallet requires a passphrase that is only seen at the time of first setup, according to the company.

Managing a crypto wallet comes with its own set of complications. Cautionary tales abound of individuals going to great lengths–including hiring hackers–to recover access to their cryptocurrency, 1Password claimed.

“Keeping secrets safe is a critical part of cryptocurrency, but storing complicated recovery phrases can be difficult and labor intensive,” O’Leary said. “Unfortunately, many new investors still don’t understand the importance of storing their recovery phrase and wallet details — without those, they can lose access to their investments.”

RELATED: 1Password claims $744 million CAD round is largest in Canadian history

O’Leary noted that crypto wallet logins are much more complex than the average login, made up of long chains of characters and word strings that must be remembered and entered without error. “Our partnership addresses this issue, providing an easy, secure way for new investors to protect their crypto gains without the risk of losing everything due to a lost key,” he added.

Cryptocurrency theft increased in 2021 with roughly $3.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency stolen, a 516 percent increase compared to 2020, according to the 2022 Crypto Crime Report from the crypto data research firm, Chainalysis.

Nor is Canada free of crypto thievery. The Hamilton Police Service announced in November, 2021 that it had arrested a Hamilton youth for allegedly stealing $46 million CAD worth of cryptocurrency in a so-called SIM swap attack. The latter is a method of hijacking accounts by manipulating cellular network employees to duplicate phone numbers so threat actors can intercept two-factor authorization requests.

Canadian crypto company Coinsquare was targeted in a personal data breach by hackers in 2019. The hackers obtained the personal information of more than 5,000 Coinsquare users, and intended to use the data for SIM swapping attacks.

“Keeping secrets safe is a critical part of cryptocurrency, but storing complicated recovery phrases can be difficult and labor intensive.”

“1Password shares our commitment to help bring Web3 mainstream by making the user experience safe and easy-to-use,” said Brandon Millman, CEO of Phantom. “As the fastest-growing crypto wallet, it’s essential for us to keep the assets of our millions of users secure. Together with 1Password, we will provide an industry-leading approach to key management, so our users can focus on using their crypto wallet, instead of protecting it.”

Phantom claims to have 2.1 million users. The Phantom wallet, currently available for modern browsers and iOS devices, lets users manage digital assets and access Solana-based apps like decentralized exchanges, NFT marketplaces, and games.

Solana describes itself as a decentralized blockchain built to enable scalable, user-friendly apps for the world.

“This integration between 1Password and Phantom is one example of how people can more easily and quickly protect their digital assets, which should help expand in the long run blockchain usage to billions of people,” said Anatoly Yakovenko, co-founder of Solana.

1Password’s expansion into crypto follows its $744.3 million CAD Series C round of financing in January. The company claims the funding round raises its valuation to $6.8 billion.

Over the last 24 months, 1Password claims it has increased its B2B business by more than 70 percent year-over-year, growing the customer base to more than 100,000 companies. New customers include Datadog, Intercom, PGA, Snowflake, and Wealthsimple.

The startup said it has expanded its team by over 300 percent, to 570 employees, and launched a number of new products, including 1Password 8 for Windows.

Its January raise follows one in July 2021 when the startup landed $125 million CAD. Previous to that, 1Password closed its first institutional funding round in 2019 at a total of $265 million CAD.

Photo courtesy of 1Password.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in Wired.com, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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