TimeCapsule: Using Time-Lock Puzzles To Secure Digital Assets

TimeCapsule: Using Time-Lock Puzzles To Secure Digital Assets

May 10, 2024 | Categories: Tech

TimeCapsule is a proof-of-concept to facilitate secure storage and timed release of passphrases for accessing digital assets while providing a time-buffer in case of inappropriate access.

"The CEO is incapacitated, what about the password to ..."

Now there is a solution, TimeCapsule, available here!

Corporations are experimenting with putting digital assets on their balance sheet. This raises unique challenges that aren't unique to corporations, but to everyone in the modern era. How do you securely transfer custody of digital assets or information in the event of some kind of major disruption?

An answer emerges, time-lock encryption. This technology dates back to at least the 1990's with the paper by Rivest, Shamir and Wagner - Timelock puzzles and timed release Crypto".

Practically speaking though, very few have considered the possibilities with companies and individuals attempting to securely self-custody digital assets. As part of the process of education, Karma-X releases TimeCapsule. TimeCapsule is a proof-of-concept tool designed to facilitate secure storage and timed release of passwords, passphrases (such as BIP39 Bitcoin Passphrases), and other sensitive information necessary for accessing digital assets while providing a time-buffer in case of unexpected intrusion or access.

Empowering Continuity and Security

TimeCapsule leverages cryptographic time-lock puzzles to allow for controlled delay in accessing critical information. This delay can be strategically set by organizations or individuals based on their specific continuity plans and security requirements. The utility of TimeCapsule extends beyond merely storing digital assets such as Bitcoin; it also encompasses secure access to encrypted drives and other sensitive corporate data.

Versatile and Strategic Application

TimeCapsule is a versatile tool designed for:

  • Corporate Continuity Planning: In the face of unforeseen disruptions—be it the sudden loss of key personnel or other crisis scenarios—companies can use TimeCapsule to ensure operational continuity. By pre-storing critical access information in a secure and timed manner, organizations safeguard their ability to reconstitute access to essential digital resources.
  • Contingency Planning: TimeCapsule allows for the secure, timed release of information necessary for restoring access to critical systems and assets. This planning is crucial for mitigating risks associated with data access and management, ensuring that businesses can maintain operations without interruption, even during unexpected events.
  • Personal and Estate Planning: For individuals, especially those who manage significant digital assets like cryptocurrencies, TimeCapsule serves as an invaluable tool for estate planning. By securing passphrase information needed to access personal digital wallets or other assets, users can ensure that their digital inheritance is transferred smoothly and securely to their heirs.

How It Works

TimeCapsule operates by encrypting the necessary passphrases or data and locking this information within a cryptographic puzzle that dictates a fixed delay before the information can be accessed. Here's how organizations can implement TimeCapsule:

  1. Initialization: Load TimeCapsule software onto a USB thumb drive.
  2. Configuration: Program the time-lock puzzle with a specific timeframe (e.g., 90-180 days) based on the organizational needs.
  3. Secure Storage: Place the USB drive in a secure, tamper-proof safe or other secure storage solution to prevent unauthorized access.
  4. Timed Access: Upon reaching the set timeframe, the puzzle will allow access to the encrypted data, enabling organizational leaders or designated individuals to regain critical access to digital assets and information.

Implementation Considerations

  • Security: Ensure that both the physical and digital security measures are robust. Physical security prevents unauthorized physical access, while the cryptographic nature of TimeCapsule guards against digital tampering.
  • Timing: Choose the unlocking delay based on realistic assessments of operational needs and potential scenarios that might require access to the secured information.
  • Compliance and Governance: Incorporate TimeCapsule into your organization's broader data governance and compliance frameworks to ensure that its use aligns with legal and regulatory requirements.

Use Cases For Time-Lock Puzzles

  • Secure timed release of information: Time-lock puzzles can be used to securely release information, such as confidential documents, after a predetermined time has passed. This ensures that the information remains confidential until the intended release date.
  • Fair contract signing: In situations where multiple parties need to sign a contract, time-lock puzzles can be employed to ensure fairness. Each party can lock their signature using a time-lock puzzle, and all signatures are released simultaneously after a specified time, preventing any party from gaining an unfair advantage by accessing the signatures earlier.
  • Timed auctions: Time-lock puzzles can be utilized in auction scenarios to prevent premature disclosure of bids. Each bidder can submit their bid encrypted with a time-lock puzzle, and all bids are revealed simultaneously at the end of the auction, ensuring fairness and preventing any bidder from adjusting their bid based on others' submissions.
  • Delayed digital payments: Time-lock puzzles can be applied to create a secure system for delayed digital payments. The payment can be locked using a time-lock puzzle, and the recipient can access the funds only after the specified time has elapsed, providing a trustless mechanism for future payments.
  • Time-released cryptographic keys: In scenarios where cryptographic keys (including Bitcoin seeds and passphrases) need to be released at a specific time, such as in the case of a dead man's switch, time-lock puzzles can be employed. The key is encrypted using a time-lock puzzle, and it becomes accessible only after the predetermined time has passed, ensuring secure and timely release of the key.
  • Secure voting systems: Time-lock puzzles can be incorporated into secure voting systems to prevent early disclosure of votes. Each vote can be encrypted using a time-lock puzzle, and all votes are revealed and tallied simultaneously after the voting period ends, maintaining the integrity of the voting process.


TimeCapsule by Karma-X Inc. offers a sophisticated, secure, and strategic approach to managing access to digital assets and sensitive information. By integrating time-lock puzzles into the security architecture, TimeCapsule not only enhances corporate and personal security but also empowers continuity and contingency planning. This makes it an indispensable tool for organizations looking to safeguard their operations and for individuals aiming to secure their digital legacy.

Find it here: TimeCapsule by Karma-X

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