Abstract network
Vault12 Blog

Understanding Shamir’s Secret Sharing (SSS)

This article discusses a well known approach: Shamir's Secret Sharing (SSS).

In cryptography, secret sharing schemes are schemes that split shares of a given secret among a set of trusted participants. This secret could be a very important piece of information that may be needed in the future but needs to be kept private and secure. These shares are completely useless on their own, however, when put together reconstruct the secret and make it apparent. As a thought experiment; think of secret sharing schemes as a puzzle where the puzzle pieces are split among ten players but are completely blank. The image that the puzzle creates is only visible once all the pieces are put together. This article discusses a well known approach: Shamir's Secret Sharing (SSS).

The kind of data that is best suited for a secret sharing algorithm is information that must be kept absolutely private, but must also be stored securely and never lost. Typically, you'd use secret sharing for access keys to accounts with highly sensitive information in them. The goal is to spread the key out from one geographic location into multiple — so that in order to compromise a system, you'd need to compromise devices in distinct locations first. There are multiple kinds of secret sharing algorithms: the one we'll be discussing is Shamir's Secret Sharing (SSS).

Part 1: The Cryptography behind Vault12 with Terence Spies

Terence Spies, well known in security and cryptography circles. Part 1 explains the cryptography used in the Vault12 system. This first part explains how the fundamentals…

Adi Shamir's scheme is a securely encrypted secret sharing scheme that requires some or all participants are needed to reconstruct a secret. Shamir's Secret Sharing allows for a hierarchical schema where some participants may be more trustworthy than another. For example; when running Shamir's scheme for a private key and sharing it among friends and family, one could grant family members greater authority in the scheme and friends lesser authority in the scheme.

Part 2: The Cryptography behind Vault12 with Terence Spies

Terence Spies, well known in security and cryptography circles. Part 1 explains the cryptography used in the Vault12 system. This first part explains how the fundamentals…

Considering the nature of how Shamir's scheme is built, a threshold parameter can be specified during the creation of the scheme. Instead of requiring that every single share is present to reconstruct a key like a puzzle, Shamir's scheme requires a threshold number of shares. The value of this threshold is at the discretion of the secret sharer. The secret sharer could choose to require every single share for reconstruction of the key or three-quarters of all shares held by participants.

Shamir's Secret Sharing has the following properties:

  • Dynamic: The scheme allows for a secret owner to amend the rules of a given secret securely. This means a person sharing a secret among a set of participants could use their status as the secret owner to create more splits of a key and distribute those to more participants if he or she so chose. Or, the secret owner could remove some participants remotely from the scheme — all while leaving the other participants in the secret sharing scheme completely unaffected.
  • Secure: Shamir's scheme is cryptanalytically unbreakable in its encryption model in that no holder of a share can uncover the shared secret without first gaining access to the threshold number of secret shares. The secret will be kept absolutely secure and confidential from participants in the scheme. Only the secret sharer will see the original data from the deconstruction and reconstruction of the data.

With such properties, Shamir's Secret Sharing could have a wide array of use cases for the preservation of sensitive data. Two examples that we'll discuss are the secure and private preservation of private keys or passwords and images of sensitive balance restoration keys.

In our implementation of Shamir's Secret Sharing we introduce a mobile application that lets users assign friends and family as guardians of their secret. We see private keys to cryptocurrency balances and seed phrases for the recovery of wallets as some of the best-suited secrets to utilize Shamir's Secret Sharing for.

Shamir's Secret Sharing is an intriguing cryptography scheme that is a useful tool for decentralizing custody of sensitive data. However, it is not suited for the maintenance of just any secretive data. Since the scheme entails assigning participants to store shares of a secret, these participants need to be trusted. While the encryption scheme renders it impossible for participants to derive anything from the share they receive, multiple participants could collude together to meet the threshold requirement of shares and uncover that secret. Therefore, it is important that people you share a secret with using an implementation of Shamir's Secret Sharing are trustworthy.

Using an application built on Shamir's Secret Sharing doesn't beg the question of whether or not it's a greater layer of security for the storage of a secret — but rather, whether or not a specific situation is suitable for decentralized and trusted custody of a secret.

In future articles, we will describe how Shamir's Secret Sharing is implemented inside the Vault12 platform.

Vault12 Blog

Understanding Shamir’s Secret Sharing (SSS)

This article discusses a well known approach: Shamir's Secret Sharing (SSS).

Discover More

Featured Articles

Blake Commagere

Blake is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and advisor to several companies in the SF Bay Area. He has started seven companies and sold five of them. He regularly gives talks on subjects including Growth Hacking, Fundraising, and Psychology Management.

He created the social gaming category by building some of the biggest apps ever (over 50 Million players) on Facebook, including the iconic games Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves. Blake also wrote and designed the first version of Causes on Facebook, which has over 120 Million users and has raised over $100 million for various charities. Blake graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Rice University.

Vault12 Crypto Security

Social Recovery Vault for Digital Asset Security + Digital Inheritance for protecting the future of money.

Max Skibinsky

Max Skibinsky is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup mentor. Most recently, Max was an investment partner with Andreessen Horowitz, where he focused on enterprise security and bitcoin and deals with Tanium, TradeBlock, and Digital Ocean. In addition to co-founding Vault12, Max leads the R&D team. Before that Max was the founder and CEO of Hive7, a social entertainment company that became part of The Walt Disney Company. In 2003, Max joined the newly formed Voltage Security, an encryption startup incubated at Stanford University, where he architected and designed an Identity-Based Encryption messaging system that was showcased at DEMO '04. Voltage was acquired by Hewlett Packard in 2015. Max has also advised and invested in many startups graduating from Y Combinator including Eligible, Transcriptic, and ZenPayroll. Max graduated with a masters' degree in theoretical and mathematical physics from Moscow State University.

Inheritance and backup for Cryptocurrency

Vault12 Guard Explainer
Get the Vault12 Guard app onto your phone
QR code Vault12 Crypto/NFT InheritanceDownload Vault12 on App StoreDownload Vault12 on Google Play
Vault12 app mockup
Scroll down

Vault12 Product Demo

Get The Vault12 App Onto Your Phone

Download Vault12 on App StoreDownload Vault12 on Google Play
Inheritance: Get ready today.

Inheritance: Get ready today.

Vault12 Digital Inheritance is the first solution to offer a simple, direct, and secure way to ensure cryptocurrency, NFTs, and other Web3 digital assets can be inherited by future generations.

Digital Inheritance enables investors to designate an individual or a mobile device as a guardian that will inherit their entire portfolio of digital assets (seed phrases,private keys, digital art and other secrets) inside a secure digital Vault once the time comes, eliminating undue risk and the need to continually update an inventory or issue updated instructions which result in privacy leakage.

Secure Decentralized Backups.

Secure Decentralized Backups.

Designed to be used alongside traditional hardware, software, and online wallets, Vault12 Guard helps cryptocurrency owners, professional crypto traders, and high-net-worth investors safeguard their digital assets without storing anything in the cloud or in fact, any one single location. This increases protection and decreases the risks of loss.

Note:The Vault12 Guard app is not a crypto wallet and does not hold cryptocurrency. Using a non-custodial approach, it is a Vault that safeguards your wallet seed phrase, private keys, associated files for NFTs, and digital art.

The Vault12 Guard app enables secure decentralized backups, and provides legacy inheritance for all your web3 digital assets, including NFTs, wallet seed phrases, secrets like keys, PIN codes, DAO project keys, and digital art.

Collectors, ensure your Art is protected for the future.

Collectors, ensure your Art is protected for the future.

Whether your digital art is suitable for a phone, or represents much higher resolution multimedia, make sure that you have backed up a copy in case the resource link is disrupted in the future. Digital art can easily be added to the Vault either via the mobile app or via the desktop utility. Once you have stored your artwork in your Vault, it will also benefit from inheritance once you activate that in your app.

Creators, do you have creative security?

Creators, do you have creative security?

As a creator, you can use Vault12 Guard to safeguard not just your NFT and crypto wallets but also your original digital artwork. Project creators will always have to deal with multiple wallets - inventory, treasury, as well as future royalty wallets.

Vault12 Guard safeguards your project assets, increasing protection and decreasing the risks of loss whilst ensuring that everything is ready to be passed onto future generations when the need arises. This is creative security.


Step-by-step guides for setting up your digital Vault and adding assets, inheriting and restoring Vaults. Vault12 Guard helps you inherit and back up all assets stored in your Vault, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, crypto, private keys, seed phrases, wallets, NFTs, and digital art.

Teacher explaining how to to use Vault12 Guard
Decorative Background

Get started now.

Vault12 Guard is now available from the iOS and Android App Stores.
Download Vault12 on App StoreDownload Vault12 on Google Play
Start protecting your digital assets: Free 30-day trial available today.