Interstellar: A new universal layer to access Web3

TL; DR

The biggest barriers to blockchain mass adoption are user experience and security. Unfortunately, existing wallet designs cannot effectively address both at the same time.

After completing two back-to-back grants with the Web3 Foundation and engaging in countless market fit discussions with teams in the Polkadot ecosystem, we’re excited to unveil Interstellar.

Introducing a decentralized and common good wallet layer with institutional grade security. Eliminating the need for seed phrases, emails, passwords, hardware wallets, and centralized third-party services. Enabling a one-click onboarding with your everyday smartphone, decentralized authentications, new recovery options, and much more.

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WALLET PROBLEMS

Seed phrases are too complex for newcomers, resulting in an estimated 50% of potential users abandoning the wallet onboarding process. This UX barrier significantly slows down the adoption of Polkadot, including Parachains, Dapps and wallets. Additionally, seed phrases represent a single point of failure for the protection of private keys, as most newcomers do not understand what they are asked to do and the importance of doing it.

Private key protection is crucial for the long-term health of any ecosystem. However, today, the majority of Parachains and Dapps solely depend on hot wallet solutions, which are not designed to effectively manage this critical task. This reliance significantly increases the risk associated with larger investments in the Polkadot ecosystem, making them unattractive and consequently handicapping overall liquidity deployments.

Strong authentications are part of an effective security mechanism. They are especially important to prevent security risks such as blind signing, which often leads to wallets being drained. Today, only hardware wallets are properly equipped with a dedicated screen to counter such attacks.


POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

Cloud backups can significantly enhance the Polkadot onboarding experience as recently shown by Telenova. However, permanently storing private keys with your cloud service provider, even if encrypted, poses a substantial security risk. This is because common cloud authentication methods are not secure enough to safeguard such sensitive information.

Hardware wallets are among the safest ways to manage your assets today. While talented teams are currently working to enable hardware wallet support for the Polkadot ecosystem, these wallets remain a niche market for advanced users, willing to sacrifice UX for better security. Onboarding non-technical newcomers, including enterprises and institutions with hardware wallets and seed phrases, however, can be highly impractical.

MPC solutions like Fireblocks and BitGo on the other hand, have already onboarded large enterprises and institutions through their MPC keystore and authentication services. Similarly, social login systems like Web3Auth and Magic are utilizing MPC providers to replace the traditional seed phrase-based onboarding with an email/password experience. However, these MPC solutions rely entirely on centralized, custodial third-party services, which may restrict access at any time. Moreover, these companies are vulnerable to internal security breaches as well as social login exploits, presenting significant risks to all customers.

Smart contract wallets (i.e. ERC-4337) have a non-custodial, decentralized nature and can achieve a very high level of security, especially when paired with mobile devices and social recovery. Although social recovery may not offer the most user-friendly onboarding experience, the primary challenges associated with smart contract wallets stem from the significant and often prohibitive deployment and transaction costs, even when using Layer 2 solutions.


INTRODUCING INTERSTELLAR

Today, centralized MPC wallets, featuring robust private key protection and powerful authentications, already rival the security provided by hardware wallets. However, these solutions have a fundamental problem: They are not self-custodial.

Interstellar decentralizes both MPC and strong authentications, aiming to achieve an even higher level of security that is completely non-custodial.

Introducing a decentralized and common good wallet layer with institutional grade security. Eliminating the need for seed phrases, emails, passwords, hardware wallets, and centralized third-party services. Enabling a one-click onboarding with your everyday smartphone, decentralized authentications, new recovery options, and much more.

Compared to smart contract-based account abstraction (i.e. ERC-4337), Interstellar utilizes a blockchain-based account abstraction. Built on Substrate, its modular architecture incorporates state-of-the-art security technologies, including Secure Multi-Party Computation (SMPC), Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs), Secure Elements (SE), and a Web3 Foundation-backed Decentralized Strong Authentication (DSA).

This architecture is designed to support the growth of the Polkadot ecosystem without compromising its security. Creating new business opportunities for wallet providers, Dapps, Parachains, and the Polkadot Treasury. Unlocking, a new era for Web3.


FEATURES (powered by the Interstellar Blockchain - secured by Polkadot)

Instant Onboarding with Your Daily Mobile Device
Eliminate the need for seed phrases, emails, passwords, hardware wallets, and centralized third-party services that either slow down blockchain mass adoption or compromise user security. Your everyday smartphone is all you need for your wallet.

Decentralized Strong Authentication
Designed to comply with European payment standards (PSD2-SCA), every wallet will be capable of eliminating blind signing with Interstellar’s Web3 Foundation-backed authentication. This authentication, designed to mimic the screen of a hardware wallet, offers a simple yet secure verification method that can be displayed on your everyday smartphone. Generated by the Interstellar blockchain, it can be utilized to confirm any sensitive operation, such as account recovery and important transactions.

Bot Resistant (1 Smartphone = 1 Wallet)
Interstellar’s account abstraction uses a proxy private key, securely stored within your mobile device’s secure element. Paired with Interstellar’s authentication mechanism, this design effectively counters the potential for creating thousands of new fake wallets.

Decentralized Institutional Grade Security
Interstellar’s purpose-built security architecture guarantees a level of security that is both decentralized and of institutional grade, surpassing centralized MPC solutions and arguably even hardware wallets. This advanced security system is capable of addressing any cybersecurity threats while simultaneously eliminating single points of failure.

New Recovery Options
Thanks to Substrate’s ccount abstraction capabilities, Interstellar introduces simple, secure, and flexible recovery options in case your mobile access is lost.

  1. Cloud Recovery (One-Click): Generated by the Interstellar blockchain, a novel backup file can be saved to your mobile device’s cloud service. Importantly, this file DOES NOT contain any private keys or seed phrases, making it resistant to hacks.
  2. NFC Recovery: Many people already use NFC tags with items such as smartwatches, transportation/payment cards, headphones, wireless speakers, car keys and household devices. In the future, we envision even more items like clothes and jewelry to become equipped with NFC tags. Interstellar enables the anonymous, decentralized registration of these items within seconds, introducing a completely new recovery solution.
  3. Social Recovery: Any Interstellar-powered wallet can also become a social guardian, allowing for a recovery that includes trusted friends or family members.

The rationale for offering multiple recovery solutions is to provide a flexible security model. While some users may require only one recovery method, others might need several. That’s why Interstellar-powered wallets enable users to securely add, remove, and combine recovery options at any time, creating a custom multisignature recovery setup. This flexibility is crucial for achieving a healthy balance between user experience and security, which should always be customizable to meet individual needs.

Multichain
Gain native access to multiple blockchains through Interstellar, including Polkadot and its Parachains, as well as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and potentially any other blockchain in the future.

Pay Transaction Fees in DOT
As a common good Parachain, transaction fees for Interstellar will be payable in DOT. Given that Interstellar will facilitate transactions not only on Polkadot and its Parachains but also on other blockchains, this arrangement allows DOT to be used for initiating transactions across various blockchain networks.

Easy Integration
Any wallet provider, Dapp or blockchain will be able to integrate Interstellar as a white label solution through a simple SDK.


USE CASES

Upgrading Polkadot Wallets
Should wallets such as SubWallet, Talisman, and Nova Wallet decide to integrate the Interstellar SDK, they could enhance their offerings with an instant onboarding and significantly stronger security for their users. This upgrade would include improved transaction confirmations, new recovery options and more.

Gaming Wallets
Companies such as Mythical Games, Unique Network, and Ajuna could integrate Interstellar’s SDK to onboard millions of new gamers who are not familiar with Web3 concepts. This integration could eliminate the need for expensive, and probably custodial, in-house solutions.

Improving DID Security
Platforms such as Kilt could benefit from Interstellar’s decentralized strong authentication to enhance the security of DIDs and prevent malicious interventions, all while preserving user privacy. This enhancement could also positively impact platforms like Polimec and Deloitte, which necessitate robust compliance mechanisms.

Upgrading Bridges’ UX and Security
The multichain capability and robust security of Interstellar-powered wallets make them ideal for integration with bridges such as Snowfork, Chainflip, Hyperbridge, Interlay, and others. This integration could significantly enhance the overall UX and security across various blockchains.

Enterprise Onboarding
Enterprises and institutions aiming to offer Polkadot-powered services to their customers are unlikely to opt for complex seed phrases or new hardware wallets, especially given the unfamiliarity of their employees or management with Web3. Interstellar was designed to provide institutional grade security that meets compliance requirements such as DSP2, GDPR, and more, offering a more effective solution than centralized MPC alternatives for onboarding new enterprises.

URL/QR Code Onboarding and DOT Airdrops
Interstellar-powered wallets can create custom URLs or QR codes containing bot-resistant airdrops, such as DOT, to facilitate the onboarding of non-technical friends or family members. This approach not only simplifies the introduction to the Polkadot ecosystem but also serves as an effective tool for broader, bot-resistant marketing campaigns. Moreover, should Polkadot or any Parachain decide to launch an OpenGov-powered marketing campaign aimed at attracting new users through an airdrop, Interstellar-powered wallets could offer a fair and bot-resistant distribution method. This would enable the instant onboarding of millions of new, real users to the Polkadot ecosystem, ensuring a wide-reaching and efficient user acquisition strategy.

Reducing Marketing Costs
Simplifying the onboarding process can significantly reduce customer acquisition costs for Polkadot, its Parachains, Dapps, and wallets. By eliminating the need for setting up complex Web3 wallets, the ecosystem can benefit from cheaper and more efficient marketing campaigns.

Expanding to Non-Polkadot Wallets
Interstellar is set to export its technology beyond the Polkadot ecosystem, with a particular B2B focus on wallet providers. This expansion will enable previously non-Polkadot wallets to offer native Polkadot access to their customers, thereby facilitating cross-chain user acquisitions for the Polkadot ecosystem.


CORE TEAM

With over three decades of combined expertise in cybersecurity, blockchain, user security, and multi-party computation, our founding team has a proven track record. We have leveraged our backgrounds in international fintech, cybersecurity, and competitive Esports to effectively manage teams of up to sixty people, launch new ventures, and market security technology products.

Our previous accomplishments include large ventures with strategic investors such as Cisco, Nokia, Softbank, and Reuters, developing payment technologies for telecom and mobile operators, receiving the notable Banking Cybersecurity Innovation Award in partnership with Societe Generale, a leading European bank, and more. Additionally, we achieved a successful partnership with Thales, an internationally recognized cybersecurity expert, to develop a smartcard cryptocurrency signer.

More recently, we secured two consecutive grants from the Web3 Foundation, which served as the foundation for our breakthrough in decentralized strong authentication protocol development. Moreover, we signed a joint agreement with an MPC pioneer, unlocking Information-Theoretic Security (ITS) at plaintext speeds in the near future. As we prepare to launch our Testnet, we will transition from stealth mode to becoming a well-known actor in the wallet security sector.

In summary, our deep tech security expertise and commitment to user experience set us apart to effectively build and market an evolving next generation Web3 wallet system.


TECHNOLOGY (Simplyfied)

The exploit of Atomic Wallet is merely the tip of the iceberg in the complex landscape of advanced cybersecurity threats. Interstellar’s Decentralized Strong Authentication and blockchain-based MPC keystore are engineered to tackle these escalating threats efficiently while remaining user-friendly.

  • Interstellar Blockchain (Substrate based Layer 1): Interstellar’s settlement layer and future Parachain, responsible for account management

  • Account Abstraction: An Interstellar account consists of both a proxy keypair and blockchain keypairs (e.g. Polkadot, Bitcoin, Ethereum), with their respective private keys stored separately

  • Mobile Device (Secure Enclaves<>Biometrics): Responsible for securely generating and storing your proxy private key inside its Secure Enclave (SE). While isolated and never exposed, it can still sign transactions in combination with your mobile biometrics

  • Secure Multi-Party Computation (SMPC): Responsible for securely generating and splitting your blockchain private keys into multiple shares, distributed and stored among different Interstellar nodes. While isolated and never exposed, they can still sign transactions in combination with your proxy private key (mobile device)

  • Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs): Based on Integritee’s TEE technology, Interstellar nodes are protected by an additional security layer, combining SMPC with TEE

  • Visual Cryptography (Garbled Circuits): Interstellar nodes can generate Decentralized Strong Authentications (unpredictable dynamic one-time codes) whenever a user needs to validate a sensitive operation. These one-time codes can only be decrypted by a real human, which also needs to be in possession of the associated proxy private key/mobile device. Examples include transactions of medium or high amounts, account recovery, changes in security settings, and claims for airdrops or marketing offers

10 Likes

Improving wallet/keystore UX without compromising autonomy is desperately needed. Interstellar makes a very interesting proposition here which solves private-key storage security, hot-wallet convenience and social recovery. Their combination of MPC with TEE gets the best of both technologies.

We at Integritee would proudly contribute to this.

3 Likes

This is definitely one of the missing piece to unlock a reasonable UX for non technical users. Wen can I use it?

2 Likes

One of the most important missing pieces in the ecosystem, potentially accelerating Polkadot’s adoption. The Interstellar team’s approach will boost security and add a layer of user-friendly functionality, which is what is significantly missing in the space.

We at Pendulum highly support this project.

3 Likes

Thanks for your support! We’re planning to launch the Testnet later this year, but early access might be available sooner.

2 Likes

This project has huge potential as wallet UX is certainly one of the major pain points hindering mainstream adoption, solve that and the whole Web3 space takes a huge step forward. Excited to see what you guys cook up!

3 Likes

This is important work, I would love to see this be picked up fast!

At Afloat this has also been a concern, we very much support the success of this project.

2 Likes

MPC? It’s always good and will be the future of the wallets. A demo showcase of you have will be really good for us as well.

3 Likes