Why was it developed?

Literally, COSD could not secure the pledge for our Cardano stake pool without the Frankenwallet.

I began documenting this standard in the first 4 epochs of the Cardano Shelley era, while creating the stake pool amidst very real fears about placing my entire life savings into a bare Cardano address without being able to know if the system I was working on was compromised.

We'd been "locked down" in a country without commonly available spare computers, so I came up with the idea of generating the stake pool keys on a persistent instance of Ubuntu Linux on a USB connected drive.  I realised a modified Linux installation procedure would allow any stake pool operator (SPO) or demanding user to create a "cold environment" without needing the hardware of a second machine.

In that same period there was a sadly famous case of an SPO who was brave & noble enough to admit losing a million ada via an injection of crypto key harvesting malware via a Docker script.  So I also chose to avoid shared images and scripts which users would be expected to use — often without being able to identify hackers with similar looking tools.  Therefore the evolving Frankenwallet instructions, by contrast, are procedural or educational — outlining a flexible method for everyone to build their own image — rather than downloading a USB-compatible Ubuntu image which would eventually be subverted somehow.

Even if a user's computer is known to be infected with malicious software, and even if the hardware has to be shared with others (like an inner-city library with public computers, or a shared computer in a African village schoolhouse), a safe booting environment for Cardano & other cryptocurrencies can be created with only the cost of a (hopefully fast) USB memory stick and a time commitment to follow these instructions.

Generally the Frankenwallet is offered here as a security sandbox… whether you are using it for simple transaction signing, configuring Cardano operations, or just an an extra partition to isolate your crypto wallet (or any software) from a system with a lower security standard.

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