Multisig (short for multi-signature) is a digital signature scheme in which multiple parties sign the same transaction or message. In other words, instead of just one private key, multiple private keys are required to authorize a transaction.
Multisig is commonly used for security purposes in bitcoin transactions involving multiple parties, such as a business requiring several executives to sign off on a large transaction. It can also be used to prevent a single point of failure, such as if one of the private keys is lost or compromised.
A 2-of-3 multisig scheme, for example, would require the authorization of any two of three designated parties to sign off on a transaction. This means that even if one of the private keys is compromised, the transaction cannot be authorized unless the additional signatures are provided.
A real-life use case of multisig involves a group of people pooling their bitcoin funds together for a joint investment or project. By using multisig, they can require multiple signatures to authorize transactions from their shared wallet, ensuring that no single person has sole control over the funds. This can provide increased security and accountability, as well as greater trust among the members of the group.
How Multsig Works
To use multisig, users must first set up a multisig address by combining keys of multiple parties using a mathematical function. They also specify how many signatures are required to authorize a transaction. When a transaction is initiated, all designated parties must sign off on it using their private keys. Once the required number of signatures have been obtained, the transaction can be broadcast to the Bitcoin network for processing.
Benefits of Multisig
Multisig provides several benefits in bitcoin transactions: enhanced security by requiring more than one private key to authorize a transaction, reduced risk of fraud by requiring multiple parties to sign off on a transaction, increased accountability as multiple parties are responsible for a transaction, and more flexibility in arrangements, such as a company requiring multiple executives to sign off on a transaction or a family requiring multiple members to approve a transaction.
By requiring more than one private key to authorize a transaction, multisig adds an extra layer of security. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to steal bitcoins or for individuals to lose bitcoins as a result of a single point of failure, such as the loss of a private key.
Reduced Risk of Fraud
Multisig helps reduce the risk of fraud in bitcoin transactions by requiring multiple parties to sign off on a transaction. This makes it harder for any single party to carry out fraudulent activities, as they would need to collude with others to do so.
Multisig ensures that multiple parties are responsible for a transaction, which increases accountability. This can help to prevent errors or misconducts by any single party because they are less likely to act against the group’s interests.
Multisig allows for more flexible arrangements in bitcoin transactions. For example, a company can require multiple executives to sign off on a transaction, while a family may use multisig to require multiple family members to approve a transaction.
Bitcoin Wallets Supporting Multsig
There are many bitcoin wallets that support multisig. Here are a few examples:
- Electrum is an open-source, non-custodial bitcoin wallet. It can be used on a desktop, mobile device, or via the command line interface.
- BlueWallet is a bitcoin-only, open source, self-custodial wallet. The wallet is available for desktop and mobile (Android and iOS).
- Passport is a Bitcoin-only open source hardware wallet.
- Sparrow is a modern desktop bitcoin wallet, which is suitable for advanced users.
- Trezor is a hardware wallet which store your bitcoin keys offline in physical USB-like devices.
Read our reviews of multisig wallets
In summary, multisig is a security feature that requires more than one private key to authorize a bitcoin transaction. It increases security, control, flexibility, and accountability. Multisig is supported by various bitcoin wallets and platforms. When choosing a multisig solution, it’s important to consider your specific needs and requirements, and to do your own research to find the best option for you.