All components require trust in the supplier, but some components are more trustable than others. Foundation strives to use components that are easy to verify and inspect both during and after production. We also purchase components from American distributors and reputable suppliers.
For example, most touchscreens (and screens in general) contain embedded processors running unknown firmware. This means that (1) it is difficult to verify whether the screen has been tampered with and (2) the screen is running code that is impossible to audit. These screens are typically produced in China.
Passport instead uses a more trustable screen, made by Sharp (a reputable Japanese company), that has noembedded processor and instead uses circuitry etched directly into the glass. This makes it easy for us to inspect screens at production and gives users more confidence that Passport is secure.
We bring this philosophy to our product design – our use of the Sharp display, a physical keypad, and AAA batteries combined with our American supply chain are examples of design decisions that emphasize the importance of using more trustable components.
Passport uses the same general security architecture as Coldcard, with a processor by STMicroelectronics and a 608a secure element by Microchip. Like Coldcard, the Bitcoin private keys are encrypted on the processor and stored on the secure element to minimize trust in a single chip. All circuit designs and firmware are open source and auditable.
Passport is completely airgapped, with only a camera and microSD slot for communications. There are no USB ports and no wireless communications of any kind. This is important because it closes off numerous attack vectors and ensures that Passport can never communicate directly with an Internet-connected device.
Passport is powered by AAA batteries.
Foundation Devices is based in the USA, and we believe it is important to have close control over our supply chains. By assembling Passport in the USA, we can ensure that (1) we are on the factory floor and closely overseeing production, (2) our manufacturers are held to higher regulatory and transparency standards, and (3) we can purchase components from reputable American suppliers.
Bitcoin represents sovereignty, privacy, and freedom. We believe it is important to build our products in jurisdictions which represent these same values. This is why Foundation will never manufacture products in China.