First of all, on the technical side, a single bad-faith Guardian simply cannot access anything at all due to the nature of Shamir’s cryptography that bears the rare distinction of being “information-theoretic secure” cryptography – meaning, one bad faith Guardian, hypothetically having even an infinite number of quantum computers, cannot retrieve a single byte of the owner’s information. The owner’s assets come back to existence, if and only if, the threshold number of Guardians approve a specific action – such as the bequest of Digital Inheritance.
There are many safeguards built into the system, plus the law of the land. First of all, a designated Guardian should be picked carefully and can be replaced at any point. Secondly, the owner is notified when inheritance is activated by a beneficiary, so they have time to veto the request if it comes inappropriately. Thirdly, the other Guardians are asked to confirm the transfer of assets, which creates an additional hurdle – and without such approval from each device under Guardian control, it cannot be cryptographically re-assembled. Lastly, the law of the land still applies, and should any person in the circle of trust conduct fraud to obtain the assets, they are liable for criminal prosecution.
Obviously, laws vary from state to state and country to country, yet compliance with these laws is easy thanks to a well-established legal industry. Where this system breaks down is that if one follows the traditional process of establishing will and inheritance that includes digital assets, it exposes these assets to a massive risk from all personnel working at these legal offices. In other words, the security of crypto assets secured via legacy law offices will be only as secure as the security level of the weakest employee with access to that office. Unlike other types of assets, there will be no recourse if a random contractor (or even an intern) in a law office copies the content of a hard drive (with all the client’s crypto-asset records), which can be nefariously used for self-benefit months and years later. Legacy systems of transferring digital assets are disastrously insecure.
While users can still leverage existing legal infrastructure to establish their will and inheritance paperwork, the Vault12 app provides a complete solution around how such inherited assets can be received by the beneficiary without exposing them to the massive amount of risk just by doing so. In general, securing crypto in one of our Vaults is an excellent place to store legal documents such as wills and trusts created by the Vault owner, that the beneficiary can receive along the way to start legal proceedings of claiming that inheritance.
We encourage everyone to consult with trust and estate lawyers to craft the best scenarios for the successful passage of assets. An in-depth process is described here: https://medium.com/@vault12/how-it-works-vault2-digital-inheritance-327e271d46e2