Press Brand Story: George Clooney would have no chance

The secret bunker for bitcoin assets

Published on 24.06.2022 | Reading time: 6 minutes

Source: Die Welt – original language German | Translated by deepl.com

International security company Prosegur stores cryptocurrencies in super-secret locations without internet access. Partner O₂ Telefónica makes the communication possible and ensures that it is secure.

Looking at money, it quickly becomes clear that times have changed. In the ten biggest bank robberies, around 1.5 billion euros were taken, all told. In crypto hacks, it was around 3.9 billion euros in 2021 alone, according to the analysis company Crystal.

Jochen Werne is not surprised. “Anything of value arouses covetousness.” Werne is Chief Development Officer and Chief Visionary Officer Prosegur Germany. He develops new services for the German subsidiary of the international security group. Prosegur Crypto GmbH offers such a service, Werne is managing director: a custodian for digital assets – without an internet connection.

New money, new risks, new security concepts

Security world market leader Prosegur is famous for its yellow money carriers and became big in the cash business. With the boom of cryptocurrencies, new demands came to the company with headquarters in Madrid. The goal: to be able to offer the world’s most secure storage method for cryptocurrencies. In Germany, Prosegur works together with the business customer division of O2 Telefónica. Together, they are setting themselves up at a new level of security – the highest level, because billions in Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies are at stake.

“Our goal is to help give the new ecosystem the trust it deserves through security components,” says Werne. “Our history is closely intertwined with the security of any asset. Crypto custody is a logical evolution of our business.”

O2 networks vaults and money

O2 Telefónica is taking over the communication for Prosegur Germany, and completely. Karsten Pradel, Director B2B at O2 Telefónica, explains: “It starts with the mobile phone service for 3300 employees. In addition, around 1,000 of Prosegur’s yellow armoured cars and networked safes are equipped with a Global SIM from O2 Telefónica. In this way, the armoured vans and the security boxes are directly and securely connected to Prosegur’s company network. Via GPS, the routes of cash transporters can be documented and secured.”

O2 also provides fast fibre-optic access and secures internal communication against external access with VPN (Virtual Private Network) access. A completely new feature is a software-controlled data network (SD-WAN): this allows the Prosegur data traffic to be controlled intelligently and quickly.

In this way, the environment at the site can be secured against threats – where the internet traffic originates. An intelligent component links all communication paths and always selects the best one. This has three advantages, says Sören Jahnke, Global Solutions Engineer at O2 Telefónica: “A lot of bandwidth at a low price, more redundancy and thus communication security (because copper cable, fibre or mobile are used depending on availability and demand) and a better user experience because the services work better: ‘Everything runs much faster'”.

Where it gets critical is when people and the internet come into play

Prosegur aims to offer the ultimate crypto custody method. Yet transactions in cryptocurrencies are actually secure. Their cash book is the blockchain. That’s where the crypto money is stored. The blockchain is a digital document; digital copies of this document are stored simultaneously on a large number of computers – this makes it forgery-proof. When a transaction is made, the data chain contained in the document is supplemented in all copies by a data block that can never be deleted again.

However, it becomes critical when people and the internet come into play. Anyone who trades in cryptocurrencies needs a wallet. This is a kind of digital wallet. The wallet software in turn creates a digital signature and processes a transaction with the owner’s private key. Only in this way does the owner gain access to his crypto treasures stored in the blockchain and can use them. “You can always trace every step, what happened when and where,” says Jochen Werne.

Danger for assets and for people

This wallet can be made available in an app or on a computer and is usually connected to the internet. This is called a “hot wallet” – it is convenient because transactions can be made quickly, but it is vulnerable to hacker attacks. A “cold wallet” (also called “cold storage”) works without direct internet access – this can be a USB stick, for example. This form of asset storage has two problems. Firstly, a cold wallet can be the target of an extortionist or robber, just like a gold bar or large amounts of cash stored at home. Secondly, cold wallets are only secure as long as they are disconnected from the internet.

“For us, cold storage is not enough,” says Jochen Werne. “Because having large assets at the disposal of only one person not only endangers the assets, but also the person who has that power of disposal. Here, criminals not only resort to direct threats of violence on this person, but they often also threaten family members.” Prosegur Crypto therefore takes a different approach. The company stores customer data in a hardware security module (HSM). The technology works in much the same way as we would expect in an agent film.

No chance for “Ocean’s Eleven”

“This is a computer in a military-standard shielded case that is kept in one of our high-security facilities and is not connected to the internet,” Werne explains. If, contrary to all expectations, such a device should fall into the wrong hands, it deletes the stored data. Security protocols then stipulate that the data can be reconstructed via a highly complex system equipped with appropriate codes. Prosegur has a whole range of high-security facilities. The locations of the crypto-bunkers are, of course, secret.

“The entire security is fully electronically monitored with various modules and security protocols on several levels. These are smart fences, for example, where possible threats are analysed by artificial intelligence,” says Werne. Even an attack like in the film “Ocean’s Eleven” – George Clooney’s crew simply turns off the power there – would not work.

“WE BELIEVE WE CAN OFFER THE MOST SECURE CUSTODY METHOD FOR CRYPTO ASSETS IN THE WORLD”

JOCHEN WERNE
Chief Development Officer and Chief Visionary Officer Prosegur Germany


And yet Prosegur customers can initiate blockchain transactions online – what follows is a sophisticated process. In the process, the hardware security module connects to a computer network that makes blockchain transactions possible.

The technology comes from GK8, a company specialising in crypto technology; the method used here is so-called multi-party computing (MPC). The transaction is transferred to the user’s blockchain via several security instances, using a patented technology that does not require a direct connection to the internet. This secures the critical moment of the transaction. “Everything else stays in cold storage” – most of the time the crypto assets are in the Prosegur high-security vault, without an internet connection. Jochen Werne: “We believe that we can offer the most secure custody method for crypto assets in the world. Currently, we are preparing to launch this service with the appropriate licensing in the strictly regulated German market as well.”

X-VOLUTION: Technologie und Gesellschaft – Ein Plädoyer für Aufklärung

Sascha Adam befragt im Schlußplädoyer die Teilnehmer des X-Volution Tech-Talks über ihre persönlichen Aussichten zum Thema technologischen Fortschritts und seinen Auswirkungen auf Wirtschaft, Unternehmen und unsere Gesellschaft.

Jochen Werne, Chief Visionary Officer von Prosegur German, Managing Director der Prosegur Crypto GmbH und mehrfach international ausgezeichnet für sein Engagement in International Relations antwortet mit Zuversicht und einer Reflexion für die internationale Politik.

Sascha Adam in his interview with Jochen Werne

In his closing statement, Sascha Adam asks the participants of the X-Volution Tech-Talk about their personal outlook on the topic of technological progress and its impact on the economy, companies and our society. Jochen Werne, Chief Visionary Officer of Prosegur German, Managing Director of Prosegur Crypto GmbH and winner of several international awards for his commitment to international relations, answers with confidence and a reflection for international politics.

Das gesamte Interview finden sie hier:

TIME of MISTRUST

A plea for trust in a time of mistrust. Trust is the foundation on which monetary systems are built. Trust forms the basis of international diplomatic relations and is the foundation for all progress.

But what happens once trust is shaken?

The diplomatic dispute over a multibillion-dollar submarine treaty – which took place three months before the Russian – Ukrainian war, concerns about a new cold war, and the collapse of the Bretton Woods system exactly 50 years ago are the manuscript for this maritime-themed French-American story about money and trust. It is an object lesson for our times, where we are witnessing the emergence of crypto-financial markets and thus stand on the threshold of a new form of money.

TIME OF MISTRUST

by Jochen Werne

After the traditional long summer vacation, France awakens in September from its brief self-created slumber, as it does every year. Life begins to take its usual course, even if some are still reminiscing, perhaps enjoying the first harbingers of post-Covid worry-free life. Not so Philippe Étienne. For him, on the other side of the Atlantic, in Washington, which is actually picturesque at this time of year, autumn begins with a diplomatic thunderstorm. A storm that must have been new even for the 65-year-old gray-haired eloquent ambassador of France. 6160 kilometers away, at the Élysée Palace, Président de la République Emmanuel Macron decides to call his top diplomat in the United States, along with his Australian counterpart Jean-Pierre Thebault, to Paris for consultations. The unprecedented act in Franco-American history is justified by Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian with the “exceptional gravity” of an Australian-British-American announcement, and impressively underlined with the words “lie,” “duplicity,” “disrespect” and “serious crisis.”

At the heart of this crisis is the surprise announcement by the aforementioned countries to enter into a strategic trilateral security alliance (AUKUS) with immediate effect. An alliance that also provides for the procurement of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia, effectively putting to rest a 56-billion-euro French-Australian submarine order already initiated in 2016. The conclusion of the agreement comes at a time when U.S. President Joe Biden has asserted to the UN General Assembly, “We do not seek – I repeat, we do not seek – a new cold war or a world divided into rigid blocs.” However, experts, such as renowned historian Niall Ferguson, have been talking about this so-called “new cold war” between the U.S. and China since 2019, and it is not about nuclear arms races, but rather about technology supremacy in cyber security, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Even though nuclear-powered submarines are at the center of the diplomatic dispute, one is quick to note in the AUKUS agreement that cooperation in the aforementioned fields is one of the most important components of the treaty. An objective that is perhaps also congruent with French interests. But the dispute between the old friends is less about the “what” than about the diplomatic “how” – that is, about the breach of trust that is triggered when close allies are simply presented with a fait accompli. Facts that also affect them financially and personally.

Because money and trust are closely interwoven. The trust of a bank that the creditor will repay its debts. A citizen’s trust that the currency in which he or she is paid their salaries is stable. A state’s trust in a currency system that the agreements made there will be honored by all. Georg Simmel, in his “Philosophy of Money,” sums it up this way: “Money is perhaps the most concentrated and pointed form and expression of trust in the social-state order.”

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of another French-American trust-busting melodrama with a maritime backdrop. Benn Steil, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, describes the moving events of August 6, 1971, in his book, The Battle of Bretton Woods, as follows: “…a congressional subcommittee issued a report entitled ‘Action Now to Strengthen the U.S. Dollar` that concluded, paradoxically, that the dollar needed to be weakened. Dollar dumping accelerated and France sent a warship to pick up French gold from the vaults of the New York Fed.”

At first glance, this dramatic gesture by then French President Georges Pompidou in the final act of the collapse of the Bretton Woods system seems as strange as the withdrawal of ambassadors today. The basis, however, is similar and lay then as now in an equally shaken trust between the great nations that were nevertheless so closely intertwined. Without going deeper into the new monetary order created after World War II, with the U.S. dollar as the anchor currency, it is important to understand the reason for the French revolt evident in the “White Plan.” The plan provided that the U.S. guaranteed the Bretton Woods participating countries the right to buy and sell gold indefinitely at the fixed rate of $35 per ounce. The dilemma of this arrangement became apparent early on. For by the end of the 1950s, dollar holdings at foreign central banks already exceeded U.S. gold reserves. When French President Charles de Gaulle asked the U.S. to exchange French dollar reserves for gold in 1966, the FED’s gold reserves were only enough for about half that amount. The ever more deeply anchored loss of confidence forced the American president Richard Nixon on August 15, 1971 to cancel the nominal gold peg and the so-called “Nixon shock” ended the system as it was.

And where something ends something new can or will inevitably begin.

Today we live in a world where the stability of our currency is based on our confidence in government fiscal policy, the economic strength of our country, and the good work of an independent central bank. However, we also live in a time when new currency systems are already looming on the dense horizon. The basis for this was laid in 2008, not surprisingly, by one of the most serious crises of confidence in the international banking system that modern times have seen. And the new systems are being implemented with the help of cutting-edge distributed ledger blockchain technology. The new, with its decentralized nature, is challenging the old. While many of the new currencies in the crypto world, such as bitcoin, are subject to large fluctuations, stablecoins promise a link and fixed exchangeability to an existing value, such as the US dollar or even gold. However, the old Bretton Woods challenge of being able to keep this promise at all times remains in the new world. Millions of dollars in penalties imposed by the New York Attorney General’s Office on the largest U.S. dollar stablecoin, Tether, for not being fully verifiable do little to help trust, especially when less than 3 percent of the market capitalization is actually deposited in U.S. dollar cash. As always with new ones, trust has to be built up. This can be done privately, perhaps with a stablecoin backed 100% by central bank money, or by the state, with well thought-out central bank digital currencies, such as the digital euro planned by the European Central Bank.

We live in a world of perpetual rapid change and trust is, as Osterloh describes it, “the will to be vulnerable.” Without trust, there are no alliances, no togetherness, no progress.

Philippe Étienne was back in autumnal Washington after just a few days and has since been working again on what diplomats are best trained for – building trust.

Sources

Billon-Gallan, A., Kundnani, H. (2021): The UK must cooperate with France in the Indo-Pacific. A Chatham House expert comment. https://www.chathamhouse.org/2021/09/uk-must-cooperate-france-indo-pacific (Retrieved 24.9.2021)

Brien, J. (2021): “Stablecoin without stability”: Tether and Bitfinex pay $18.5 million fine. URL: https://t3n.de/news/stablecoin-tether-bitfinex-strafe-1358197/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=news (Retrieved: 9/30/2021).

Corbet, S. (2021): France recalls ambassadors to U.S., Australia over submarine deal. URL: https://www.pressherald.com/2021/09/17/france-recalls-ambassadors-to-u-s-australia-over-submarine-deal/ (Retrieved 9/25/2021).

Ferguson N. (2019): The New Cold War? It’s With China. And It Has Already Begun. URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/02/opinion/china-cold-war.html (Retrieved: 9/30/2021).

Graetz, M., Briffault, O. (2016): A “Barbarous Relic”: The French, Gold , and the Demise of Bretton Woods. URL: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3545&context=faculty_scholarship p. 17 (Retrieved 9/25/2021).

Osterloh, M., Weibel, A. (2006): Investing trust. Processes of trust development in organizations, Gabler: Wiesbaden.

Steil, B. (2020): The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the new world, p. 377.

Stolze, D. (1966): Does de Gaulle defeat the dollar? In ZEIT No. 36/1966. URL: (https://www.zeit.de/1966/36/besiegt-de-gaulle-den-dollar/komplettansicht (Retrieved: 9/26/2021)

The Guardian Editorial (2021): The Guardian view on Biden’s UN speech: cooperation not competition URL: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/22/the-guardian-view-on-bidens-un-speech-cooperation-not-competition(Retrieved: 9/29/2021)

Unal, B., Brown, K., Lewis, P., Jie, Y. (2021): Is the AUKUS alliance meaningful or merely a provocation – A Chatham House expert comment. URL: https://www.chathamhouse.org/2021/09/aukus-alliance-meaningful-or-merely-provocation (Retrieved: 9/24/2021).

Time Online (2021): France sees relationship in NATO strained. URL: https://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2021-09/u-boot-deal-frankreich-australien-usa-streit-nato-jean-yves-le-drian?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fmeine.zeit.de%2F (Retrieved: 9/25/2021)

Jury Stevie Awards

Jury Chair 2022

It was an honor and a great pleasure for me to chair the jury of the German Stevie Awards 2022 together with my esteemed board colleague and COO of Prosegur Germany Hasan Celebi.

Together with all jury members for the categories “Management, HumanResources, Customer Service, Support and Covid-19-Handling” we are very pleased to judge the outstanding achievements of the applicants for this year’s award.

Follow the news at https://stevieawards.com/gsa

Comment: Crypto regulation

The crypto market has become and will remain an undeniable part of our financial system and Germany has become the frontrunner in regulating the market

Jochen Werne

The German Act Implementing the Amending Directive on the Fourth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (Federal Law Gazette I of 19 December 2019, p. 2602 (Gesetz zur Umsetzung der Änderungsrichtlinie zur Vierten EU-Geldwäscherichtlinie) has included crypto custody business in the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz – KWG) as a new financial service. Since the Act came into force on 1 January 2020, undertakings wishing to provide this service are required to apply for an authorisation from BaFin.

One of the prerequisites receiving the authorisation is the proof the the managing directors of an institution must be qualified and reliable and devote sufficient time to the performance of their duties (section 25c (1) of the KWG). This also applies for the conduct of crypto custody business within the meaning of section 1 (1a) sentence 2 no. 6 of the KWG. A managing director’s lack of qualifications will constitute a ground for denial of authorisation (section 33 (1) no. 4 of the KWG).

Aside from the fact that lifelong learning is a MUST for leaders in our rapidly changing technology-driven environment, the crypto regulation Germany has opted for underscores an important point: “The crypto market has become and will remain an undeniable part of our financial system.”

It was a pleasure participating with other executives of innovation driving companies and banks at the 1st Crypto Custody Certificate Course offered by WM Seminare.

The well balanced equilibrium between theory and practise makes the course valuable. Especially the expert speakers as Dr. Carola Rathke ( Eversheds Sutherland ), Veronika (Vicky) Ferstl (TEN31 Bank AG ), Dr. Sven Hildebrandt ( DLC Distributed Ledger Consulting GmbH ), Martin Kreitmair ( Tangany GmbH ), Dr. Tim A. Kreutzmann, LL.M. (SUN) ( BVI Bundesverband Investment und Asset Management e.V. , Jacek Trzmiel ( Coinfirm ) & Christopher Zapf ( Tangany GmbH )

https://www.bafin.de/EN/Aufsicht/BankenFinanzdienstleister/Markteintritt/Kryptoverwahrgeschaeft/kryptoverwahrgeschaeft_node_en.html

Hot off the press: POINT OF NO RETURN: TURNING DATA INTO VALUE

INAUGURAL EDITION
of the
JOURNAL OF AI, ROBOTICS and WORKPLACE AUTOMATION

It was indeed a great pleasure contributing in co-authorship Dr. Johannes Winter & Jochen Werne to the Henry Stewart Publications and we are pleased to present the article:

POINT OF NO RETURN:
TURNING DATA INTO VALUE

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the point of no return as the stage at which it is no longer possible to stop what you are doing, and when its effects cannot now be avoided or prevented. Exponential advances in technology have led to a global race for dominance in politically, militarily and economically strategic technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital platforms. A reversal of this status quo is hardly conceivable. Based on this assumption, this paper looks to the future, adding the lessons of recent years — the years when the point of no return was passed. In addition, the paper uses practical examples from different industries to show how digital transformation can be successfully undergone and provides six key questions that every company should ask itself in the digital age.

The article includes key learnings and/or best practise examples from e.g.
acatech – Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften
Plattform Lernende Systeme – Germany’s AI Platform
Prosegur
Tesla
Waymo
Google
Amazon
relayr
Ada Health
Fiege Logistik
Westphalia DataLab
Satya Nadella
Microsoft
TikTok
Facebook

THE NEW REALITY OF MONEY

A historical-social innovation briefing for a world where military high-security standards meet digital crypto-assets

by Jochen Werne

Chief Development & Chief Visionary Officer PROSEGUR Germany

SAVE THE DATE

Strategy Summit B2B Sales & Key Account Management
5. – 6. October 2021

The aim of this contribution to the debate is to combine historical insights into the meaning of money with the latest technological developments in the digital age, to compare visions with realities and to develop options for action for shaping the digital transformation of money.

The 10 most successful bank robberies in human history, in which the equivalent of US$1.62 billion was taken at sometimes massive expense, seem like the work of amateurs compared to the US$3.78 billion taken by cybercriminals in 2020 alone. In a world where tech companies are spearheading campaigns to create a new cryptocurrency and bitcoin is surpassing the US$50,000 mark because a visionary electric car maker wants to recognise the cryptocurrency as a means of payment, some fundamental questions arise: How must money be defined in a digital world to reliably fulfil the characteristics of a universally recognised store of value and medium of exchange? And what changes will result if so-called stablecoins challenge the banks’ classic deposit business and their traditional business models?

Security briefing: When cryptos meet high-security facilities. State-of-the-art wealth custody trends.

SAVE THE DATE: 29 September 2021 – 11.30 a.m. Berlin Time

It‘s a great pleasure giving a keynote at the VÖB-Service GmbH #VSK2021 Conference and to discuss with financial industry experts fundamental questions about the FUTURE OF MONEY

The ten most successful bank robberies in human history, in which the equivalent of US$1.62 billion was captured at great expense, seem almost like the work of amateurs compared to the US$3.78 billion captured by cybercriminals in 2020 alone.
In a world where tech companies are spearheading campaigns to create a new #cryptocurrency, where bitcoin is surpassing the US$50,000 mark because a visionary electric car maker wants to recognise cryptocurrency as a means of payment, Jochen Werne, Member of the Executive Board Prosegur Germany, asks some fundamental questions. “How must money be defined in a digital world in order to fulfil the characteristics of a generally recognised and reliable store of value and medium of exchange?” Or also: “What changes are coming to the financial industry when #Stablecoins spread and challenge the classic deposit business of banks?”


In our stream Digitalisation at #VSK2021, Jochen Werne presents possible answers to these and other questions.


Be there and register today for the #Kreditwirtschaft congress on Wednesday, 29 September! 👉 https://lnkd.in/gMe2g59

MONEY IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Reflections by Jochen Werne, Chief Development & Chief Visionary Officer Prosegur Germany (published in Prosegur Express 02/2021)

In all debates on analogue and digital means of payment, “trust” is always at the centre of the discussion: trust in the state-social order, which stands as a guarantor for stability and security of the fiat money issued. In this respect, some would almost like to marvel at how Bitcoin & Co. have managed to gain such trust in such a short time that a market capitalisation in the billions has been achieved. One of the points is certainly the technological confidence in the non-manipulability of the blockchain.
But is the blockchain really not manipulable, or is it rather a question of time before an attack will succeed? And what conclusions are central banks around the world drawing from this as they look at creating central bank digital currencies? Currencies designed to bridge the gap between the stability of analogue central bank money and the demands of our digital age.

Perhaps the solution for a trustworthy and generally accepted today and now lies in a hybrid model: in a cryptocurrency, in form of a stablecoin, that is 100 per cent backed by physical central bank money. This means that every digital token has a unique physical counterpart (euro). Due to the tradability of the tokens, the flexibility of book money is paired with the guarantee of physical central bank money. Last but not least, a regulated trustee function guarantees that the existing and securely stored central bank money is always paired with its digital twin. Thus. the best of both worlds is firmly united.

Prosegur awarded with the Gold Stevie for Sustainable Product Innovation

It is with great pride that we hold the Gold Stevie Award 2021 in our hands. The award is representative of so many at Prosegur who work every day to make the company once again a pioneer in the industry when it comes to e-mobility and sustainability.

The organizers of the Stevie® Awards 2021 have announced their winners: In the category for special achievements in the field of product innovation, Prosegur Germany has been awarded as GOLD STEVIE® WINNER. With the world’s first fully electric armored MAN eTGE cash-in-transit vehicle, the international jury of experts was convinced. This makes Prosegur Germany one of the winners – alongside other award-winning companies such as Deutsche Post DHL Group, Deutsche Telekom Services Europe SE or Vodafone GmbH.

Read more HERE