But with this growth and development comes a dark side — one in which malicious individuals can steal hard-earned funds from behind computer screens. For crypto wallet security provider Ledger, which has been on a mission to improve safety for crypto investors since 2014, the hazards that come with the growth of cryptocurrency are always at top of mind.
In an interview with Distributed, company President Pascal Gauthier explained that the threat of crypto theft only continues to grow as the space does, threatening the potential for true mainstream adoption.
“Our research found that approximately $856 million worth of crypto was stolen from exchanges in 2018, making it difficult for mass adoption and institutional money to flow in,” he said.
“We’re also seeing more and more connected devices being hacked.”
Gauthier added that Ledger launched five years ago with a mission to boost security and customer safety in what was a brand new market, but its aspirations have become a little more complex since then.
“Our goal is to protect digital assets for both individuals and companies, but it goes beyond just crypto,” he explained. “As the market has grown, we’ve built a fast-paced, global company dedicated to developing security and infrastructure solutions for cryptocurrencies, as well as blockchain and internet of things ([oT] security applications for individuals and companies. Ledger’s mission continues to be to provide the most innovative protection for crypto and other critical digital assets in a convenient and uncompromising manner.”
In 2016, Ledger introduced its users to the Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System (BOLOS), which allows for the building of source-code portable native applications around a secure core. Thus, any wallet or product that implements BOLOS can garner protection against application attacks through isolating its private keys.
Ledger first began implementing these security tactics onto its “Blue” wallet, though this isn’t the only prototype the company offers. The most popular unit is the Ledger Nano S wallet, with approximately 1.5 million units sold worldwide.
“The Nano S has an extremely simplistic interface and it’s controlled with just two buttons,” said Gauthier, who credits the wallet’s popularity to its ease of use. The Nano S also boasts much higher storage capacity, supporting over 1,100 separate digital currencies to the Blue wallet’s 30.
Ledger’s latest product — the Nano X — was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The item is a Bluetooth-enabled hardware wallet compatible with the Ledger Live mobile app, and it too can support roughly 1,100 cryptocurrencies and store up to 100 separate applications at a time.
While Ledger’s other wallets utilize an ST31 security system, the Nano X is considerably safer and more advanced through its use of the modernized ST33 version, which works to encrypt SIM data and increase a product’s memory. It also features a single chip connected directly to the wallet’s screen and buttons, significantly reducing the chances of being compromised.
For 2019, Gauthier said that the company is looking to shift its focus toward more institutional offerings such as IoT and the Ledger Vault, a multi-authorization wallet management platform that allows custodians and asset managers to keep funds completely secure.
“As more mainstream financial institutions continue to embrace crypto, it is imperative that they have a security solution that can keep large amounts of assets safe,” Gauthier said. “The Vault is our answer. Throughout the year, we’re looking forward to onboarding more and more clients to this platform. In addition to Ledger’s enterprise-level solutions, our IoT offering will also be a top priority in 2019 as our technology can protect all connected critical digital assets from energy grids to medical devices.”