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How do exchanges and whales with TONS of btc handle their wallets?

My query is concerning the mechanic of it…

I do know multisignature exists, however…. are there 5 or 7 safes at coinbase HQ with trezors inside and 5 or 7 workers and every go and signal transactions when instructed or one thing like that?

7 thoughts on “How do exchanges and whales with TONS of btc handle their wallets?”

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  2. For most individuals who use multisig they use a 2 of 3 multisig(most people are better off just using a passphrase instead of multisig) . For organizations with a board of directors they might use something like a 5 of 7 multisig or more depending upon the individuals in an organization. For exchanges they typically use things like SSS (shamir’s secret sharing) which in many ways is not as good as multisig


    but regardless they use SSS because it allows them to standardize their security regardless of the tokens/scams they are securing which may lack multisig or have different forms of multisig

    they take SSS shards and place them in different secured locations and use a lot of physical security. Properly used cold storage means they have 95-98% of assets are in cold storage that they occasionally access when needed . This of course is hypothetical .. as many exchanges are insolvent / fractional and should not be trusted.

  3. Mixture of multisig, MPC(sort of like MuSig) and HSMs.

    Beyond that, if done properly, only certain privileged processes can “order” a transaction to be constructed, so illicit attempts shouldn’t even reach the point of attempting to be signed.

  4. An exchange would not need hardware wallets, nor safes, to manage multisig

    Exchanges don’t reveal their custody mechanisms. A reasonable guess would be a 5-of-15 multisig. Signing would be done using off-line computers. The keyholders do not need to meet. They do need to be carefully selected for honesty, and well-trained. Management needs to actively ensure that all keyholders have access to their keys. Keyholders need to report to management any attempt to form a theft conspiracy

    Lost keys need to be immediately replaced. Resigning, dead, and incapacitated keyholders need to be immediately replaced. Any time the set of keyholders or keys changes, all the UTXOs with the old key set have to be spent, to replace them with the fresh key set

    Management is responsible for carefully selecting keyholders, training keyholders, immediately removing dishonest keyholders, ensuring keyholders immediately report key loss, replacing lost keys immediately, replacing ex-keyholders immediately, and spending UTXOs into new key sets every time the keys or keyholders change

    Some corporations (Microstrategy) outsource custody to a custody service like Coinbase Vault, to avoid having to learn the technical details of multisig. But they’re also outsourcing the management processes. This is foolish, trusting that Coinbase management is better at caring for Microstrategy’s 130,000 BTC than Microstrategy would be


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