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Review: Trezor Suite

After being in development for roughly 2 years, Trezor Suite was finally launched to the public on July 14th 2021. The application marks yet another significant step in Trezor’s journey towards absolute verifiability and user accessibility refinement. Ultimately, this desktop software (available on Windows, MacOS, and Linux) takes inspiration from power user wallets such as Electrum and Wasabi in order to empower newcomers with the simplest and most feature-packed experience.

Earlier this month, I’ve read the news about the launch of Trezor Suite – and the announcement took me by surprise, as I have been using and paying close attention to the development since the fall of 2020. I had no idea that they would take the wallet out of beta so soon, so I became excited to discover which features have been added to accompany this launch.

The first time when I heard about Trezor Suite’s development cycle was in November 2019, when I reviewed the most popular hardware wallets on the market for Bitcoin Magazine. At the time, I was a bit disappointed that Trezor didn’t have a desktop application just like Ledger’s Live and BitBox02’s BitBoxApp. But now Trezor users finally benefit from an experience which is comparable to the one offered by competitors Ledger Live and BitBoxApp.

During the interview I’ve recorded with Trezor co-founder and CEO Slush, he explained that Suite is a major step towards eliminating phishing attacks and increasing the transparency of the company’s software. Not only that, but there are lots of power user features that can be found on the roadmap: Coin Control (UTXO management), CPFP (Child Pays for Parent, a way of boosting the fee of Bitcoin transactions), a password manager, and even Chaumian CoinJoins.

To better understand the features of Trezor Suite and how it compares to Ledger Live and BitBoxApp, I’ve put together the table below. Criteria include some of the most interesting Bitcoin features which help users boost their financial privacy and sovereignty.

Trezor Suite: What I Like

Now that Trezor Suite is the default onboarding application, SLIP39 (Shamir Secret Sharing, or Shamir Backup) gets a more central role. When you perform your initial setup with a Trezor Model T, you get to choose between a standard BIP39 configuration or a Shamir Backup. And this is very important, as Trezor’s breakthrough empowers individuals to perform a more complex backup (20 words, 1 to 20 shares of which an arbitrary number is required to recover) without paying the transaction fees of multisigs and without leaving a lot of data on the public blockchain (both issues will eventually get fixed by Taproot).

Furthermore, I was impressed with how easy it is to connect your own Bitcoin full node as a backend for Trezor Suite. As initially configured, you connect to Trezor’s proprietary blockchain explorer. And the fact that you use Tor by default is also of great significance, as it becomes impossible for Trezor or an intermediary to associate your real IP address with your Bitcoin transactions.

What I also like is the fact that new users get encouraged to set up a passphrase. For the longest time, the passphrase (or the 13th or 25th word) has been Trezor’s response to the threats of physical seed phrase extraction (we shouldn’t forget about Kraken Security Labs’ hacking of a Trezor that wasn’t secured by a passphrase). Therefore, reminding users to set up the passphrase is the wisest approach. I wish there could be a way to type on the Trezor One, though.

To connect Trezor Suite to your full Bitcoin node (or Electrum server, which is usually your node’s IP address with the 50002 port if you set up this feature on something like RaspiBlitz), you go to Crypto -> Put your mouse pointer on the BTC ticker -> Click on “Advanced Settings”. By default, the app connects to https://btc1.trezor.io and its other mirrors. But if you add the IP address of your own node, you should become fully sovereign and independent of Trezor’s backend. Note: according to the Suite roadmap, the feature to connect to your own Electrum server will get added after August 11th 2021. So an upcoming update should expand Blockbook connectivity to also include Electrum servers and Bitcoin nodes.

When designing the Trezor Suite experience, the developers have definitely taken cues from Wasabi wallet. Because you get a privacy button which hides your coin amounts just like Wasabi’s Lurking Wife Mode. The fact that CoinJoins are on the roadmap for the app also suggests that the Czech company is very much concerned with privacy and fungibility.

Additionally, I very much appreciate the fact that bech32 Bitcoin addresses are now being used by default. Now users will pay smaller fees and benefit from easier address verification due to the lack of upper case letters (everything is lower case, so you don’t run into situations where you’re not sure if the character is a 0 [zero] or a capital O).

I also like the fact that Trezor Suite integrates both the Trezor Wiki and a news section which highlights some of the most recent blog posts made by the company’s content creators. It certainly helps newbies find a friendly interface to learn about how Bitcoin works. Furthermore, the external links are .onion addresses by default: which means that you access the pages with the greatest amount of privacy, via Tor browser (which you should definitely install).

The easy access to helpful resources is also excellent. Click the lightbulb in the bottom-right corner and you have everything you need to know about how Suite works, how you can protect your privacy, how you should secure your coins, and more. Even if you don’t know anything after the initial setup, you get a useful crash course that I wholeheartedly recommend to all users.

Trezor Suite: What I Don’t Like

During my review, I’ve encountered a few issues. In one case, I removed the Trezor One cable to avoid typing the PIN and I was able to reconnect by bypassing the PIN requirement altogether. Naturally, I would have had to type the PIN if I wanted to make a significant change or send a transaction. But through this experience (documented around the 11-minute mark in my video), I’ve learned that the device PIN doesn’t also protect the Trezor Suite UI. For this case, there will eventually be a separate password.

Also, I don’t like the fact that the standard backup (BIP 39) doesn’t offer the option to generate 24 words. By default, you only get 12 words – which is enough in a situation where your second choice is a Shamir backup. If you want a 24-word configuration, you will have to turn to a more advanced wallet like Electrum. In comparison, Ledger and BitBox02 offer 24-word backups in their apps.

Additionally, the backup verification process only makes you check 3 random words out of 12. Sure, this can be useful to spot mistakes and it’s definitely a faster approach. But to help users better understand the importance of backup and verification, I tend to think that all words should get verified. Once again, Ledger does it with 24 words and less of a friendly interface (the two buttons can be a nightmare which make the process unnecessarily long).

Though Trezor Suite was taken out of beta, there are still improvements to be made. So I’m going to add an extra section which features my opinions or recommendations (which don’t include the ones I already wrote here).

Trezor Suite: Potential Improvements

Trezor is one of the devices which enabled and popularized the multisig setups. And it’s unfortunate that this feature gets no love from official software releases, while users turn to more advanced wallets like Electrum, Specter or Sparrow to unlock all the advanced features.

On one hand, I can understand that Trezor Suite is for beginners. On the other hand, I wish there was an all-in-one official software which unlocked the entire potential of the hardware wallets – including longer seed phrases, 33-word Shamir backups (or Super Shamir), multisigs, and the ability to easily bump your transaction fee (CPFP is on the Suite roadmap).

I also wish there was some sort of interface which enabled the Trezor One to have a keyboard for typing passphrases. Trezor is known for pioneering the famous scrambled on-screen keyboard which you press with your mouse. Why not do the same for writing your passphrase, instead of asking One users to type on their potentially-compromised keyboards?

Though I’ve previously praised Trezor’s inclusion of full node connectivity, I wish they could take cues from Wasabi and make the software connect automatically to a full node that’s running in the background (as in Bitcoin Core running on the same computer) or on the same local network (if you have a node in your house, it should connect to it). Otherwise, downloading block filters to make the experience trustless could also help remove the reliance on Trezor’s backends.

Also, I’m baffled by the fact that Trezor Model T has been out for almost 4 years and the micro SD card slot doesn’t really do much. There’s a lot of untapped potential there, and the ability to label devices using an SD card (which is on the roadmap) just doesn’t do justice to what the device is capable of. In comparison, the BitBox02 can store an encrypted backup on the SD card and even undergo a speedy early setup which removes the BIP 39 writing (though this latter situation is a bit reckless and depends too much on the reliability of the card).

The lack of an official mobile app is also an issue which some scammers seem to perpetually exploit (Trezor still doesn’t have an official mobile app on any operating system, so never download any piece of software which claims to run with your hardware wallet). An Android app is on the roadmap, but in comparison BitBox02 already has it and Ledger also supports iOS.

Nonetheless, this first official public release of Suite is impressive and a major leap forward for all Trezor users who were accustomed with the old web page. Not only that the interface is better and offers more information, but the app comes with powerful features that will only get improved and extended in time.

Trezor Suite: Conclusion + Video

I’ve spent almost two hours with Trezor Suite, trying every menu, option and button. It’s certainly an interesting compromise between user friendliness and advanced features, with useful educational resources added for convenience. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and cheered for every power user feature which was implemented in a way that doesn’t make you think too much about the complexity of the actions taking place in the background (Tor, full node connectivity, Shamir, bech32 addresses by default, device verification to combat supply chain attacks).

Yet there were some very specific issues which reminded me that this is still a young piece of software which needs more testing and refinements. In terms of functionality, I already prefer Trezor Suite over Ledger Live. But when it comes to simplicity and intuitiveness, I still prefer the BitBox02 – which has had these features for almost 2 years and took the time to refine them.

Trezor takes a triumphant leap into the arena of desktop software wallets, and manages to live up to the expectations of most bitcoiners. On the other hand, there’s still a lot to get added and there are fine tunings to be made. Trezor Suite crashed the party a little too late and doesn’t disappoint – it only leaves me wanting that the waiting was justified by the addition of something truly game-changing.

On the other hand, the development roadmap looks really promising. I look forward to the upcoming days of increased CoinJoin popularity, when Trezor users make their coins more fungible. I can’t wait to see the simplified version of CPFP, which allows anyone to bump a transaction fee without breaking a sweat. And I can’t wait to see what a Trezor-made password manager looks like.

But right now, Trezor Suit finds itself in an interesting position: it’s a lot more feature-packed and intuitive than the old web interface, it’s provably more secure than the antiquated browser extensions, but it’s still not on par with ShiftCrypto’s BitBoxApp in terms of simplicity and features (BitBoxApp has had bech32 addresses, UTXO management, full node connectivity and Tor routing since October 2019). It’s still better than Ledger Live thanks to the Tor connectivity, but it needs to do a lot of catching up in terms of popularity (and I hope that this review of mine will help).

Without further ado, I’ll let you watch my hour-long review of Trezor Suite. Throughout this recording, I try all the options and click every button by using both a Trezor One and a Trezor Model T. It’s also a first experience with the app after a few months, so my reactions are genuine and I’m learning as I go.

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Wasabi wallet has been among my favorite desktop wallets since early 2019. I was amazed when I discovered how seamlessly it could integrate elements from Electrum and Bitcoin Core, and it’s been a thrill to see the product grow and become more refined. Like Trezor Suite, Wasabi routes your connection via Tor to boost your privacy. Also, the wallet automatically connects to your local full node or else downloads block filters to specifically avoid the trust involved in SPV setups.

You can also use your hardware wallets with Wasabi. But the truly unique feature is the ability to make your bitcoins more fungible via Chaumian CoinJoins. It’s a neat little trick which makes all coins involved in the mixing rounds equally tainted, therefore reducing the relevance and accuracy of blockchain analysis and boosting the plausible deniability of resulting transactions. If you don’t want the electronics vendor to see how much you got paid in bitcoin, then CoinJoins are your best friend.

Wasabi also offers easy UTXO management (also referred to as “Coin Control”), prevents you from reusing addresses, and enables a privacy-friendly Lurking Wife Mode which hides all of your BTC amounts and key transaction data. Download Wasabi wallet for free by clicking this link: it’s available on Windows, MacOS and Linux.

Read the Wasabi wallet terms of service to be sure that you understand the limits of the software and to which extent the company is liable for the ways in which you use the product.

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