A multisig wallet (or multi signature) is a crypto wallet extension that requires multiple wallets to sign transactions. Any of these wallets can send assets, but if others don’t approve the transaction, it doesn’t execute. That’s why multi-signature wallets are one of the best ways to protect your crypto.
“Not your keys, not your coins.” You may have heard this expression if you use Web3 wallets like Metamask. This saying refers to the fact that if you keep your coins on centralized exchanges or you use smart contracts with admin keys, then you aren’t actually in posession of your coins. This runs contrary to the whole point of decentralized finance (DeFi) which is to help users regain control of their assets.
Regardless of which crypto wallet you use, they all have a seed phrase and private key. If you think you don’t have these, you might be using a custodial wallet where other companies have your keys instead (not good). Whoever knows those codes has admin rights over your wallet.
That’s why you should never share your private keys. But that doesn’t mean you can’t share your wallet! Multi wallets are special apps that allow multiple users to manage one wallet account without losing self-custody.
It’s like your personal blockchain. Depending on risk levels, you can assign different security for each action:
A “signature” is the contract you sign from another wallet. It’s similar to granting apps permission to connect to Metamask. Each wallet has a multisig feature, along with its own balance, private key, and seed phrase.
Multisig wallets are convenient ways to send crypto and NFTs:
Let’s say your multisig wallet has five owners, two of which are your wallets. If you started the transaction with the first one, you can now do the following from the second wallet:
If you configure the wallet to only need 2 confirmations, this would execute the transaction. If instead, it needed 4 out of 5 signatures, then you need 2 of the three other owners to follow the same steps. Some platforms have a six-owner limit, some have no limits.
Imagine how useful these can be. Multisig wallets allow friends and teams to manage the same funds and keep accurate records. You can decide to approve or reject actions in one click to make sure others use them properly.
If you don’t want to share access to your wallet, multisig is just another way to protect it. You can use the same device or different ones to create signatures. When you want to send crypto, you log into all devices and confirm the transaction.
Gnosis Safe is one of the most recommended multisig wallets. It’s a beginner-friendly dApp that supports 15 blockchains, including Ethereum and Binance Chain. Thousands of teams use the Gnosis app on mobile, desktop, and browsers.
Gnosis is a developer community focused on improving DeFi security. It offers several apps besides Gnosis Safe, such as the GnosisChain blockchain, Gnosis protocol (GNO), GnosisDAO, and conditional tokens explorer. Martin Koppelmann and Stefan George developed Gnosis in 2015 and after its launch in 2017.
Gnosis Safe is an independent wallet where you can send funds to share with other owners. Others can use these funds to transfer cryptocurrency, send NFTs, and use decentralized applications (dApps). You can also create safes across different blockchains and then use bridge apps to transfer funds between them.
After you create your “safe,” (multisig wallet) it will generate a new public key so you can send crypto from your private wallet. Once the safe has funds, you can also set spending limits and policies. Gnosis Safe doesn’t store any private keys (you would need to breach every Metamask wallet linked).
Besides basic payments, Gnosis Safe can use every network’s exclusive dApps. For example, clicking in 1inch (DEX integrator) will open the 1inch dApp connected to your safe address. Even though there are a dozen apps supported, you can connect to any dApp that supports WalletConnect (like Uniswap).
The simplest way to create a multisig wallet on Ethereum is on Gnosis Safe:
Quick-fire answers to common questions:
While Ledger itself doesn’t support multi signatures, you can use the device to set multisig wallets on other apps. For example, you connect Ledger Nano X when creating a new wallet on Electrum. Gnosis Safe doesn’t integrate with Ledger because it doesn’t allow setting gas prices manually, which can lead to failed transactions.
Metamask has multisig just like any other Web3 app. Multi-signatures are smart contracts, so any decentralized wallet can sign them. That’s also why multisig wallets can connect to DeFi apps just like Metamask.
If an app doesn’t appear on Gnosis Safe, do this:
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Max is a European based crypto specialist, marketer, and all-around writer. He brings an original and practical approach for timeless blockchain knowledge such as: in-depth guides on crypto 101, blockchain analysis, dApp reviews, and DeFi risk management. Max also wrote for news outlets, saas entrepreneurs, crypto exchanges, fintech B2B agencies, Metaverse game studios, trading coaches, and Web3 leaders like Enjin.