Ledger’s Recover Service: Securing Crypto Self-Custody or Compromising Privacy?

Intricate steampunk crypto wallet scene, glowing cityscape at dusk, expressive brushstrokes, mysterious mood, encrypted shards floating above wallet, ID card and passport, semitransparent lock symbol, contrasting shadows, questioning facial expressions, calming ambient light.

Ledger, a reputable crypto hardware wallet provider, has recently introduced “Recover”, a product aimed at making self-custody more manageable without compromising security. According to Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier, the new service could encourage millions to join the crypto space, as “access to secure self-custody should be much easier.”

The Ledger Recover allows users to associate their crypto wallets with a passport or ID card at the cost of $9.99 per month. This feature is designed to help users regain access to their secret recovery phrase in case it is lost or forgotten. Available for owners of Ledger Nano X wallets, the security offering operates by encrypting, duplicating, and splitting a pre-BIP39 version of users’ private keys into three fragments. Each fragment is secured by separate entities, namely Coincover, Ledger, and an independent backup service provider. Access is only granted when two of the three parties send the fragments back to the user’s Ledger device, where they are reassembled to build the private key.

While well-meaning in its intent, the Recover product, however, has been met with a significant backlash from the crypto community due to concerns over security and privacy. Critics argue that users must connect their identity to Ledger to use the service, which adds another pain point for potential data leaks, hacks, and government censorship or surveillance. Consequently, the company decided to delay Recover’s release after the negative reaction on social media.

Addressing this issue, Gauthier admitted to “unintentional communication mistake,” which prevented consumers from accurately understanding the nuances of the Recover service. To assuage these concerns, Charles Guillemet, chief technology officer of Ledger, announced plans to speed up their open-sourcing roadmap to increase verifiability of their products.

Notably, most of Ledger’s products are already open-source, with the help of other developers, they have created over 150 open-source apps. Additionally, the whitepaper of the Ledger Recover protocol will be made open source, inviting cryptography and security experts to review it while allowing developers to build their own shard backup providers. Finally, Guillemet confirmed that the firmware implementing the Ledger Recover functionality would be open-sourced before the feature is released to the public.

Source: Cryptonews

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