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GridPlus Lattice1 Review: Thick With Security Features

by Shaun Paul Lee

There are many brands out there offering various types of hardware wallets.GridPlus is one of the more interesting ones with its Lattice1 offering. In this review, we take a look at what the GridPlus Lattice1 has to offer, and what makes it stand out from the rest.

 

What do you get in the box?

When I first received the Lattice1, I was astonished that the package was so huge for a hardware wallet. The most common hardware wallets in the market resemble thumbdrives in looks and size. However, upon opening it, I understood why such a large packaging was needed; because of how big the wallet itself is. 

Within the packaging, you will be able to find an Ethernet cable, power adapter, three SafeCards, a setup guide, and of course the main highlight: the Lattice1 hardware wallet. 

 

Design & Build Quality

The Lattice1 has a rather unique design and it is shaped rather oddly as well (which is not bad by any means). Its shape reminds me of those IP phones that sit at the desk of TradeFi traders. This is something that’s clearly meant to sit on your desk, but also allows the screen to be easily accessible at any time. 

On the front of the wallet sits a 5-inch TFT touchscreen, which you will use to interact with the interface. However, don’t expect an AMOLED display with a 4K resolution from this screen. The Lattice1 comes with a 5-inch TFT screen, which is more than adequate for the simple act of performing transactions and interacting with your funds. The screen is bright even under direct sunlight and very responsive to touch. However, it can be a bit tough to type on it due to the slight slant. 

Moving to the right hand side of the device, there is a card slot which is used to insert a SafeCard (more on this later). Aside from that, this side of the wallet is bare. The left hand side is bare, and all of the ports are situated at the back of the wallet. This includes an Ethernet port, and also a port for power supply. It should be noted that in order to use this wallet, the wallet needs to be always plugged in whenever in use.

 

Setup

Setup of the Lattice1 wallet is rather different from the typical Ledgers and Trezors where they need to be connected to a desktop or laptop to perform the setup. Instead, the entire setup process of the Lattice1 can be done on its 5-inch screen, and the only things needed are Wi-Fi and a power supply. 

The process of setting the Lattice1 up was simple enough, especially with the clear instructions shown on the screen. The entire process took me less than 5 minutes, even with a couple of hiccups such as encountering a “System not loaded” message.

However, before you continue with the setup, there are a number of things to take note throughout the process:

  • It is possible to connect to the internet via WiFi or the ethernet cable.

  • If you’re using wifi, the Lattice1 only supports the 2.4 GHz channel

  • Be sure to immediately write down the seed phrase and store it somewhere safe during setup. If you didn’t, the seed phrase will be lost forever. 

  • Alternatively, GridPlus also provides 3 SafeCards which you can use to store your seed phrase. If you use a SafeCard, do remember the 6 digit PIN you’ll be required to enter.

 

Security

GridPlus takes security seriously with their Lattice1, and they’ve designed the wallet to make the attack surface as small as possible. This is done by having two separate hardware environments inside the wallet. The two environments are:

  • General Compute Environment (GCE) which is the part that connects to the internet. However, your private keys are never stored in this part of the wallet.

  • Secure Compute Environment (SCE) which is the part enclosed within a temper mesh that completely cuts off the SCE from the outside world. It is responsible for interacting with the GCE and gets transaction messages signed, and generates images on the display. 

Meanwhile, the tamper mesh acts as a tripwire which when tripped, will erase all data on the Lattice1. Thus, physical attacks are completely prevented. It should be noted that this feature is activated when the power runs out. But worry not, as GridPlus estimates that the tamper mesh battery should last 5 years when the device is unplugged, and 20 years when it has been plugged in. 

SafeCard

The SafeCard is an added layer of security for the Lattice1. In the form of a physical card, it allows users to store the locally generated seed phrase. This removes the need to write down the seed phrase when generating the wallet, though the SafeCard can only be accessed by inserting it into a Lattice1. 

How is this more secure compared to writing your seed phrase down a piece of paper? For starters, the SafeCard is protected by a PIN. So if anyone were to get their hands on your SafeCard, they would still need to know your PIN in order to access it. As compared to leaving your written seed phrase in a safe or drawer, once it has been found the wallet can simply be accessed. 

On top of that, each SafeCard comes with a digital certificate provided only by GridPlus. Therefore, if an attacker inserts a cloned / fake SafeCard into the Lattice1 slot, the wallet will not communicate with the card. 

 

Sending Transactions via MetaMask

To perform transactions on Ethereum or EVM chains, users of the Lattice1 will need to do so via MetaMask. Currently, the Lattice1 only supports the MetaMask browser extension, meaning the mobile versions on Android and iOS will not be able to work. 

In order to get started, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Download the MetaMask extension on your browser

Step 2: Once installed, click on Get Started and select “Create a Wallet”. Why not import a wallet? This is because MetaMask requires a default hot wallet.

Step 3: Follow the instructions on screen such as setting up a password, and writing down your seed phrase for the hot wallet. While recommended, it is not necessary to write it down as you will not be using the default hot wallet for transactions or storage of funds. 

Step 4: Select “Connect Hardware Wallet” which will bring up a number of options. Click the Lattice1 logo and continue.

Step 5: Now, the Lattice1 Connector interface will popup and you will need to key in the Device ID and create a password. The Device ID can be found on the Lattice1 under the homescreen. Once filled, hit the connect icon and you’re all set!

 

Pros

  • GridPlus prioritizes security when it comes to the Lattice1. The team has covered a wide range of potential security issues, including any form of physical intrusion.

  • Works well with MetaMask. Other hardware wallets supported by MetaMask have had trouble interacting with the browser wallet since EIP-1559 was introduced. However, this hasn’t been the case for the Lattice1, and it works flawlessly. Thus, the wallet is able to interact with the majority of EVM protocols out there.

  • Large screen makes verifying transactions easy.

  • SafeCard is a more secure way to backup the seed phrase.

Cons

  • Needs to be connected to a power source in order to be used.

  • The slanted design of the screen makes typing on the keyboard awkward.

  • It is large and bulky, making it difficult to carry around. If you’re a crypto nomad, this may not be a practical wallet to bring throughout your travels. The unique design may also draw attention from prying eyes if used in public. However, this is clearly not what it was designed for. 

  • Currently, only Bitcoin and Ethereum (along with EVM chains) can be accessed via the Lattice1. As the multichain ecosystem grows, it may be an issue accessing newer chains. However, GridPlus have stated their intention to support non-EVM compatible chains sometime in Q1 of 2022.

  • Retailing at $397, the Lattice1 is one of the more premium options out there and may not be affordable for many.

 

Final Thoughts

The majority of hardware wallets out there are akin to interactive USB flash drives. While they work well, and rarely are they exploited, the Lattice1 takes it to the next level. What really sets it apart is its large screen as well as its added security benefits. 

However, all this extra hardware also makes it a larger device that isn’t as easily transportable as competitors. Aside from that, the steep price tag can be off-putting for many. But, the Lattice1 is an excellent choice to keep as part of a desk setup at home. I’ve found myself leaving it on my table perpetually plugged in and always ready to perform transactions whenever the need arises. I do find some comfort with the extra security features, and the touchscreen makes interaction a breeze.

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Shaun Paul Lee
Shaun Paul Lee

Shaun is a Research Associate at CoinGecko with a fondness for memes and farming on the blockchain. Follow the author on Twitter @ShaunPaulLee

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