Update: We’ve now closed applications to join our beta program.

We’re excited to share that we've opened our external beta program for people around the world to become the first customers outside our company to try Bitkey.

This marks an important milestone as we’re inviting the first people outside of our parent company, Block, Inc., to use the product and give us feedback on what they like, don't like, and want us to consider in future. This next step puts us even closer to bringing safe, easy-to-use self-custody to anyone, anywhere.

We’re inviting bitcoin holders around the world to apply to join our beta testing program. Those who are selected will receive a free Bitkey hardware device, mobile app, and recovery tools — the three core parts of the Bitkey product — to use with their own bitcoin. They’ll be the very first customers outside Block to try the product, before it's publicly available.

As part of the beta program, we’ll invite customers with a range of bitcoin experience and knowledge to try Bitkey and give us feedback. This will play a critical part in shaping our product for the short and long-term.

A reminder of what we’re building

We’re building a safe, easy way to own and manage your bitcoin. Bitkey is a self-custody bitcoin wallet with three parts — a mobile app to make transactions easily on your phone, a hardware device to protect your savings securely offline, and a set of recovery tools in case you lose your phone or hardware. So you get the convenience of an app, security of hardware, and peace of mind that if something goes wrong, you can still recover your money in a number of situations.

We’re still building, so the Bitkey beta product won’t include its full feature set

We want to take our customers on the journey as we build out Bitkey so they can help shape the product. We’ve prioritized important features in our beta for customers to try out, like being able to reliably send and receive bitcoin around the world with just their mobile phone, or with their hardware when they want that added layer of protection.

We’ve also built recovery tools that help customers recover their bitcoin in case they get a new phone or lose their hardware (but not if they lose both at the same time yet — this will come later). And we’re excited to have announced yesterday that our partner integrations with Coinbase and Cash App will roll out during beta, so you can easily transfer your bitcoin off of those platforms into self-custody with Bitkey in a seamless integration — as well as send or receive bitcoin from bitcoin addresses around the world.

It’s important to note, however, some of our features due to be released later this year, won’t be live for external beta testing. Features not available in beta include recovery tools that provide for losing both your phone and the hardware at the same time, and buying bitcoin via our integrated partners. You can find the full details of our feature set for the beta product and those we’ll have in place later this year here.

We’ve learned a lot from our internal beta testing

Over the last few months, we’ve been rigorously testing our beta product internally with hundreds of Block employees across 19 countries. We’ve received a lot of great feedback, which has helped us iterate and improve on our onboarding experience, feature prioritization, and how we support customers with different levels of bitcoin and self-custody experience.

Here’s a few of the things we iterated on:

  • Making the onboarding experience more intuitive: in our multi-signature wallet where the customer holds the two keys needed to move their money, the hardware device interacts with the mobile app via NFC connection. While our employees are familiar with NFC using things like Apple Pay and Google Pay, the specific fields between the hardware device and each individual mobile phone make/model took some getting used to for some employees. To make this smoother, we added contextual guidance during onboarding when customers create their keys and pair their devices for the first time.
  • Making it easier to send/receive: we added different on-chain speed and fee options to give customers more choice around how fast their bitcoin transactions are processed by the network. And we made customizing your spending limits easier in the user experience.

With these and other learnings, now we’re ready to put Bitkey in the hands of our first set of external customers around the world.

We’re asking external beta applicants some questions — here’s why

Part of our ethos at Bitkey is a strong commitment to transparency. When potential customers apply to join the external beta, we’ll ask some questions about their experience with bitcoin to ensure we invite a diverse mix of bitcoin holders to join our beta community — both those who are new, and familiar to self-custody.

We've carefully restricted access to applicants' personal data

We’ve put stringent safeguards in place to restrict access to your personal data, including your name and email. Your personal data can only be accessed by an extremely small and specific subset of our team — those who require this information to select our final group of beta customers, and to communicate with you. And you can request your data be deleted by contacting us at bitkey@block.xyz.

We'll be explicit about the data we collect during beta testing, too

The overview of what data we collect, why and how we protect it shared today is focused on the information we collect in the application process. If you are actually selected to join the beta program after you apply, we’ll clearly outline the data that will be collected in order to ship you your hardware device and during the period of the external beta before you officially sign up and we ship you your hardware device, so you can decide if you want to participate or not.

Like our product roadmap, our approach to data privacy and data protection will evolve over time — but one thing will remain constant: we'll always be transparent about what data we’re collecting and what it means for you, how it’s protected, and what kind of choice you have on whether you provide it or not if you decide to use our product.

What’s next?

We’re excited to get our external beta program under way and start learning from our first external customers. In the meantime, we’re continuing to build towards our full feature set for our public availability. If you’d like to follow our progress please subscribe to our newsletter. And if you have comments, feedback, or questions you can reach the team at bitkey@block.xyz, on Twitter, or on nostr.

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