Questionable Choices: the 'Hive' Wallet

Having begun this blog with a three part exhortation against one self declared "walletless" Bitcoin app got wrong about bitcoin, I figured I might as well highlight questionable aspects of another new bitcoin app I've read about today a while ago1 and have been sitting on this post. The wallet in question is the Hive Bitcoin Wallet. It is being developed for the Mac OS X platform and while it doesn't make as many fundamentally wrong design choices as Gliph, it still makes a number of questionable ones.

The first questionable choice they made was probably targeting an Apple operating system. Especially where in announcing the wallet on the forum they also have this nice bit.

Q: Will you support Android or iOS?
A: We are looking into Andorid support, but iOS support is probably off the table due to Apple's general despotism.

So there's that. Apple is too despotic to develop for their mobile platforms, but not so despotic to avoid developing for them completely. I understand that they make a lot of hardware that is shiny and looks beautiful until it smudges or shows the slightest bit of wear after which it will immediately look tacky and dated.2 Apple, since Steve Jobs killed hypercard, has been on a long path towards moving computers from useful tools into consumption devices not unlike a supermarket magazine rack. I'd lean towards thinking there seem to be reasons for people who value computing to starve Apple's ecosystem of interesting code, but who am I to suggest people do anything.3

The other questionable choice is in creating what they call "an integrated application platform" which seems a bit head scratching. The imagine linking your wallet to Bitstamp, SatoshiDice, and a number of other online services. At present their API documentation is a link to their Github, but the choice to design a wallet with the intention of it interacting with services directly is a bit mind boggling, no? Eventually I would hope they would document an API and sandbox the apps on their "platform" but even then merely offering the platform seems like an invitation for the development of malicious apps. It might even be an invitation to include modules in general Mac OS malware that might seek to exploit the Hive wallet's platform.

Having more, diverse software on and running the bitcoin network is generally a net positive. I'm seeing little use case for Hive beyond potentially serving as a shiny play money wallet.4 For Bitcoin though it seems too much like an invitation for newcomers to welcome counterparty risk before they have learned the incredible perils counterparty risk can present in Bitcoin.

  1. The Silk Road Closure and other things happened in the interim.  

  2. This seems to be the reason so many iPhone owners bury their devices is unattractive cases soon after purchase.  

  3. Then there's the matter where Apple products shouldn't be assumed to be any less diddled in hardware or software by surveillance agencies then generic Windows machines.  

  4. In that sense it might have been better developed for Litecoin, Namecoin, or BBQCoin.  

3 thoughts on “Questionable Choices: the 'Hive' Wallet

    • It seems like this Hive thing was the warning shot, but yes. It seems that hipsters under the impression Bitcoin is the new universal coffee shop gift card are incoming.

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