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Interview at Matěj Žák, CEO at Trezor: a deep journey inside the new Trezor Safe family

We at The Cryptonomist had the good luck to be invited by Trezor to the Bitcoin Amsterdam.

The event took place on October 12th and 13th, and we also participated as Media Partner.

During the conference, we interviewed Trezor CEO, Matěj Žák, who gave us more details about the new products family and some insights for the company’s future.

Therefore, dear readers, get comfortable because we can’t wait to tell you everything!


Good afternoon Matěj and thank you for receiving us. Let’s start introducing the new Trezor Safe family! 

Sure! Let’s start with the Trezor Safe 3, which is our entry-level hardware wallet. We basically continued rebuilding on the previous model, which is the Trezor Model One, the first hardware wallet in the world. 

We try to keep the same sort of minimalistic, form factor, and small set of design, with the vision to keep it really simple. 

The device has two buttons and a beautiful back, which comes in four different premium colors: Cosmic Black, Galactic Rose, Stellar Silver, and Solar Gold.    

Furthermore, it features a bright OLED display and is USB-C compatible. 

The new Trezor Safe 3 compared to the Model One is more user-friendly, because we added some software updates, like the firmware updates, which make it much easier to use. 

Then, thanks to the OLED screen, it is more clear to interact with. Of course, Model One has a screen as well, but we made the firmware to be even better. 

And, last but not least, it is more beautiful!

So, for just $10 more you can grab all those things.

We are actually really satisfied!

Inside the new device, there is also a Secure Element, which is a specific chip that basically helps to protect the device against physical attacks

It means that if somebody steals the device with very sophisticated equipment, and they try to get the secret out of the chip, the Secure Element would make it more difficult for them to do so. 

Keep in mind that this Secure Element is only available in the new Trezor Safe 3.        

By the way, we still recommend, as I said during the announcement made on the main stage at Bitcoin Amsterdam, to also use the passphrase.

What is perhaps interesting about this Secure Element here, is that we chose a vendor where we haven’t had to sign any NDA. And what that means is quite important. 

The fact that we didn’t sign any NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) means that if we or any security expert find any issues with the Secure Element, we can openly talk about that and fix it. 

Hence, we can deploy and fix the vulnerability, which is not usually the case. 

Instead, if you choose a supplier where you have to sign a NDA, they will forbid you from disclosing any discovered vulnerabilities. They can fix it, but, most important, you can not talk about it. These are the kinds of things that can endanger users, mainly in the crypto world. 

That’s why we want to remain open. 

We want to openly discuss with our community about the fact that certain issues may exist!

According to your experience, what makes the new Trezor Safe 3 unique in the market?

We tried to make it as accessible as possible and really affordable, mainly for entry-level users. 

Indeed, the retail price is set at $79.

It is fairly affordable, highly secure, and easy-to-use. 

That’s the whole idea behind the product design.

Trezor Safe 3 supports Shamir Backup, FIDO2 Standard, and U2F, which can currently be associated with Google, GitHub, and Dropbox. 

Users will be able to keep using the coinjoin feature to enhance their transactional privacy. Trezor coinjoin is easy to execute thanks to our companion app Trezor Suite.

Will the new product come out with a new version of the Trezor Suite app? 

Those are kind of separate things. Well, the main answer is yes, but basically, Trezor Suite is updated monthly.

Thus, every month we release a new version for all the hardware wallets that we have ever sold. 

And of course, the software of the Suite app is open-source as well.

During the announcement at Bitcoin Amsterdam, you also talked about the importance of open-source, defining the new Trezor Safe 3 as “STUBBORNLY OPEN-SOURCE”. Will the new product continue this tradition, and how do you see open-source contributing to its success?

How open-source contributes to success is exactly what I talked about in the presentation.

It depends on these two factors: it helps to improve security, because more people are looking “into your kitchen”. Even competitors, right? So, there will be competitors trying to hack this and it is good for the overall security. Because we provide an open-source environment, you can really check how it is done and if it is done well.

The second reason is quite like sharing. Thanks to these innovations and the way we do things, others can learn from us and they could even improve their products.

Just like Bitcoin, right? At the beginning, of course, it was not as useful as now because now it scales, it’s more secure and more visible. I think that’s one of the greatest examples we can make today. 

The new device adds another layer of security brought to the next level with the introduction of a special product. Could you tell us more about the new Trezor Keep Metal? 

Since private keys are so important, we need to back them up securely: the device gives you a recovery seed in the form of an ordered list of words, and you need to keep this recovery seed safe and that’s why we tried to find something very easy-to-use and durable as well.

Trezor Keep Metal is made of aerospace-grade stainless steel and it protects the recovery seed backup against fire, water, acids, and impacts.

With our team, we actually tried to burn it, but nothing happened!

It will be available in three different versions: 12-word Recovery Seed, 24-word Recovery Seed, and 20-word Shamir Backup.

Your choice really depends on your needs. The retail price is still very affordable and it starts from $99.

This new product definitely improves the way we store our passphrase and increases security against certain attacks.

The new Trezor Safe 3 has also a Bitcoin-only limited edition: may you tell us more details about it and the incredible initiative behind the product?

We wanted to do something for bitcoiners and we were kind of looking for a way how we can celebrate Trezor’s 10th anniversary.

That’s where the idea of the 2013 pieces limited edition came out: it is indeed the year when we started with our company.

We thought it would be a great idea to do a Bitcoin-only version. 

We also have a Bitcoin firmware that you can still use on our other devices. But the idea here was to do it also on the hardware level. So, that’s why you have the beautiful bitcoin-orange back with the new Trezor Safe 3 Bitcoin-only wallet. 

We also thought of doing something special for the occasion: €21 from every order goes to what we call Trezor Academy, which is our educational initiative. 

Trezor Academy aims to spread Bitcoin knowledge in places where it is needed the most – the unprivileged countries in the Global South, where fiat currency fails to serve the basic purposes of money. Trezor Academy teaches the basics of Bitcoin and how to work with it in a secure manner.

Let’s talk about something the whole sector is struggling for: mass adoption. Growth in Web3 active users plays a crucial role in this industry. How does the new product aim to provide a seamless and friendly user experience for both beginners and expert users? 

The security level is basically the same for everybody, right? So, the idea is that the device should be secure, no matter whether you are an expert or a newcomer.

What makes it really easy-to-use is the good job on the firmware we’ve done.

Once you get to know, it is quite easy to understand all the information that is in there. The device is connected to the Trezor Suite app and the interface is easy to navigate and very intuitive to use!

On the other hand, we worked hard to make every product extremely catchy, trying to get closer to the Apple-like user experience. 

The idea is that, especially if you are coming from the exchanges, where you would want to buy more BTC or sell and swap some cryptocurrencies, you can still do it in Trezor Suite, but with a high-standard security level.

NFTs also represent a big piece of cake in the Web3 world.

At the moment, Trezor models don’t support natively NFTs and we are not planning to visually support them in Trezor Suite, but there are a lot of third-party apps, like MetaMask, that you can securely use with Trezor.

Thus, you have both the security level given by the hardware wallet and the whole Web3 experience. In that way, you can still interact with NFTs within the digital art or GameFi sector, being truly interconnected with Web3. 

The whole crypto sector is experiencing some pressures caused by unclear regulation, mainly in the US. Do you feel any kind of worrying or threats about the actual regulatory landscape? 

Honestly, it is not truly relevant for us what is happening in the US. 

The reason is that our devices store the private keys, and that’s it. And those private keys can be from whatever cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin. 

Thus, we are not heavily affected by the different laws in any way, because we are “just” the hardware that keeps certain data secure, right? 

So, from that sense, we are not worried or anything, and we will see where it goes. 

I think it is more something related to the market sentiment, or that could prove to be difficult, where these things may do bad marketing for crypto and for bitcoin.

Newcomers might not feel the differences between them, and then there’s some bad press about “crypto being bad”.

For these kinds of reasons, beginners may find some difficulties entering the market in that sense.

What are the long-term goals and vision for Trezor, and how do the new products fit into that broader strategy? 

Firstly, of course, we are on the mission to make crypto security easy for everyone. That’s the main target from a general point of view. 

Today, we are releasing these products and they will be part of a new family.  

So, the idea is to keep going in this direction! 

I love thinking that we are just getting started.

At this time it has already been a few hours since pre-orders began. Do you already have any interesting numbers or feedback for us?

Feedback is very positive.

I can feel like our booth is pretty booming and there are a lot of people coming.

I mean, it is absolutely great. Honestly, we are very happy about this. 

We don’t usually share detailed data, but what I can only say is that within the first two hours, we sold hundreds of devices, especially the Bitcoin-only version.

We are extremely proud of it and I think it is going to be sold-out probably in the next few days, I assume.

This is just incredible. Those were Matěj’s words, and only a few days later Trezor announced that the Bitcoin-only version was sold out in 24 hours. 

And as far as some bigger announcements…

Insights & Future Plans

Right now, the Secure Element is not open source at the hardware level, which is actually a standard in the industry (an EAL6+ chip in our case). But we use this Secure Element chip in a manner that allows us to remain transparent, and all the code interacting with private keys is fully open.

By the way, we are working together with another SatoshiLabs’ company on a transparent Secure Element.

The thing is, it is a very difficult and long project to create your own chip. It will probably take one or two more years to be ready for production. 

When it will be ready, we will implement it into all our hardware wallets. 

We are actually very proud of what we are working on.

Furthermore, as part of our broader strategy, we will keep adding more and more devices into our rings. For example, we will have Trezor Safe X” and other versions of Trezor Keep in the future.

Thus, dear readers, you heard it right! More hardware wallets are coming in the next year. So, stay tuned!

Eliano Martellucci
Eliano Martellucci
Eliano has a bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Administration and is about to complete his master's studies in Finance at the University of Trento (UNITN). He got hooked on the crypto and blockchain world during the summer of 2017 and has not left it since then. He currently works as editor & SEO specialist at Cryptonomist, writes articles and invests, both in Blue Chip and early stage assets. Furthermore, he is working on his latest thesis project entitled: "A Study on crypto market Sentiment Analysis through Machine Learning algorithms in python."