Earlier today, Prague-based crypto security startup Tropic square, a subsidiary of SatoshiLabs, announced that it received a 4 million euro (about $4.776 million) investment to propel its work on the first-ever open-source security chip. The funding came from Swiss investment company Auzera.
“The chip, code named TASSIC (Transparent Authenticated Secure Storage Integrated Circuit), is expected to be introduced by the end of 2022, and it is already clear that it will be used in one of the most popular crypto hardware wallets Trezor, also made by SatoshiLabs,” according to a Tropic Square press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine.
SatoshiLab’s users community had been requesting a secure element chip inherently designed to prevent unauthorized access and protect sensitive data. The closed-source security chips that are often used in hardware wallets can be viewed as vulnerabilities in the custody of bitcoin, as the community cannot audit a critical piece of security that is protecting their funds. But the use of an open-source security chip could very well have applications outside of bitcoin as well.
"The initial motivation for the whole project was the need for a microprocessor solution for Trezor. However, thanks to the closed source settings of the chip manufacturers, we couldn’t find an ideal solution,” Marek Palatinus, CEO of SatoshiLabs, per the release. “We believe that this revolutionary chip can succeed outside the realm of cryptocurrencies.”
According to the release, manufacturers of security chips force their clients to sign non-disclosure agreement contracts. Hence, if the manufacturers’ users discover a problem, it becomes legally impossible for them to take this to the media in order to warn others of the risk with such a product.
Such legal complications, along with a long list of known security concerns, are among the reasons that Tropic Square has decided to pursue TASSIC.