Posted on

Ledger Attracts Tech Giant Investors After Selling More Than 1 Mln Wallets in 2017

Ledger, one of the leading security-focused hardware wallet suppliers, has sold more than one million hardware crypto wallets in 2017, earning a profit of $29 million, the firm said in an interview with Forbes July 9.

Having raised $75 million this January in a Series B funding round led by European venture capital firm Draper Esprit, the Paris-based company is planning to raise more funds this year.

Ledger’s president Pascal Gauthier revealed that while the January round was focused on venture capitalists, “who could advise on Ledger’s consumer Nano S business,” the new round intends to attract “industrial partners who will also sign commercial contracts with the crypto startup.”

Sources told Forbes that the forthcoming round has already attracted the interest of tech giants like Samsung, Google’s venture arm GV, and Siemens, with talk of Ledger’s valuation reaching as high as $1 billion.

Gauthier noted that the newly launched multi-user product Ledger Vault, which is designed for hedge funds and retail investors, has already caused a stir, with “literally clients queueing outside our office to buy it.”

Apart from introducing Ledger Vault, the company has recently teamed up with Japanese global investment bank Nomura Bank to develop a crypto custody solution for institutional investors. The new joint venture “Komainu” aims to deliver a digital asset infrastructure and operational framework for institutional investors.

In late 2017, Ledger’s hardware wallet Ledger Nano S made the top ten on Amazon’s best-seller list in the computer and accessories department, beating major competitors such as Trezor and KeepKey.

Posted on

Ledger Interested In Supporting Tron [TRX]

Ledger, one of the leading hardware wallets on the market, has announced its interest in implementing support for Tron [TRX].

This was done in response to a tweet sent by a user who wanted to know if in the future the popular wallet could be used to store Tronix.

The French company mentioned that although they do not have current support for Tron [TRX], they welcome developers to work with them on future support.

The work required to achieve this implementation is especially complicated since Tron now operates its own mainnet. Previously TRX were simply tokens running on the Ethereum network.

Inmediatly after the tweet, Tron users quickly rushed to retweet and mention Justin Sun to make sure he was aware of Ledger’s intentions.

Right now Tron is receiving significant support from exchanges and tech companies around the world after migrating to its own mainnet. According to coinmarketcap, more than 100 different trading markets are available for this popular cryptocurrency.

Among the most recent and important supports to the Tron [TRX] mainnet are Binance, Bitfinex, Cryptopia, Bithumb, OkEx, Upbit, Huobi, Bittrex, Coinnest, Bancor, Yobit, among others.

Additionally, The use of a hardware wallet would be extremely positive for users and would be a new point in favor of the popular crypto.

Ledger’s invitation is especially important because if the Tron community were to provide adequate support, it would be possible to plan for its adoption, giving more serious consideration to the technical work involved.

At the moment, Ledger’s Trello board does not have Tron as one of its projects. The five most voted cryptos with planned support are XMR (870 votes), XSN (354 votes), ADA (375 votes), IOTA (160 votes) and DECRED (149 votes).

Without a doubt, a crypto as popular as Tron [TRX] could easily get a voting record within the project.

A predetermined answer by Ledger or legitimate interest in other altcoins?

Seems like these kinds of responses inviting developers to work with the Ledger team are not uncommon.

Looking at the Ledger TL, very similar responses to support requests for other cryptocurrencies appear very quickly.

However, In the face of other requests, they refrained from inviting developers to participate, simply mentioning that they have no support planned:

Posted on

Sex Workers Are Using Crypto to Save for Retirement

MelissaSweet1, a camgirl in Arizona, started accepting cryptocurrency as payment for her erotic webcam performances three years ago. But usually, she would promptly convert it into fiat.

Until last year that is, when she started squirreling away the digital coins in a hardware wallet. Rather than simply an expedient way to get paid, crypto became a part of her retirement plan.

Like MelissaSweet1, several other sex workers recently interviewed by CoinDesk described similar shifts in their crypto usage. While others in the blockchain industry debate whether bitcoin is primarily a transactional currency or a global store of value, sex workers are already using the technology for both.

The trend speaks to both the surge in cryptocurrency prices, which has made it more rewarding to hold on to coins rather than cash out, and an intensification of the very problem that led the sex industry to turn to blockchain technology in the first place.

Namely, it’s even harder than it was just six months ago for people in this line of work to get any kind of mainstream financial services in the U.S. – not just the payment processing that’s long been elusive for them.

“More banks are viewing any sex work as high risk, and an increasing number of banks are refusing to accept direct deposits from adult industry companies,” said MelissaSweet1, who like other sex workers did not want to give her real name.

In such an environment, sex workers – a broad category that includes not only escorts but lawful workers such as erotic dancers, porn stars and even film production professionals – see saving money the old-fashioned way as increasingly risky because their accounts can be closed and funds frozen without warning. Some are afraid that centralized crypto services will start to do the same.

So, in addition to hodling the crypto they receive from clients, they’re also moving their digital money offline from third-party services to cold storage methods under their control.

Adult performer and token enthusiast Brenna Sparks alluded to the new state of affairs in a tweet last month. Recounting a conversation with a makeup artist on set, Sparks wrote:

“She happens to invest [in crypto] as well. ‘I’m trying to retire.’ I shook my head in agreement. ‘Same.'”

Self-sovereign savings

But since retiring on crypto means securing it for years or even decades to come, these freelancers often evangelize in closed groups about the importance of cold storage. This is the practice of keeping the private key to a wallet – which is like a long, indecipherable and hard-to-remember password – offline, either on a piece of paper or a hardware device.

“I’ve seen an increase,” camgirl and adult film actress Ginger Banks, who has been in the industry for eight years, told CoinDesk about her peers discussing how to manage private keys. “Just recently myself, people have been encouraging me to get my stuff off of Coinbase.”

As long as users control their private keys, their crypto cannot be confiscated, a risk that even legal sex workers face when they keep money in the bank.

“The reason that security is taken so seriously by the adult industry is because they are so used having their accounts discontinued or frozen without warning by traditional centralized institutions,” Nathan Smale, chief operating officer at the crypto startup Intimate, told CoinDesk.

“You are dealing with women and men who have always had to take responsibility for their own safety and protection, rarely being able to rely on others to actually help them,” Smale said. “Is it any wonder that they would take control of their own funds and manage them?”

Even those who continue to use regulated, third-party services are hedging their bets. For instance, Leah, a 20-year-old sex worker who specializes in a form of BDSM, told CoinDesk she worries the government will create stricter regulations for cryptocurrency transactions, which would result in the kind of discrimination and account closures sex workers have long encountered from legacy financial providers.

So Leah uses a hardware wallet in addition to exchange accounts on sites like Coinbase. The flipside of cold storage, as seasoned crypto users know, is that key management can be stressful and involved. If lose your key, or forget the PIN or the recovery passphrase for a hardware wallet, you’ll never be able to access your money.

“Cryptocurrency is something still pretty new, it’s decentralized so you have to hold yourself more responsible,” MelissaSweet1 said.

More to come

Despite the headaches involved, the trend among sex workers of using crypto to save for retirement looks likely to grow, as an unintended consequence of recently enacted and pending legislation.

First, there was the SESTA/FOSTA legislation package that passed in the U.S. in March, which conflated consensual sex work with sex trafficking, and weakened legal protections for internet service providers (including online financial platforms) used by sex workers.

While traditional banks and payment networks like Visa have been inhospitable to sex workers for at least a decade, these new laws gave them one more reason to fear for their reputations if they come anywhere near the industry. Now there is another bill working its way through Congress, which could criminalize providing banking services for “traffickers.”

“These laws do pose a real threat to me,” MelissaSweet1 said.

But that’s not to say these crypto users want to break the law. Indeed, while naysayers may be quick to point out that saving for retirement without a licensed service provider could lend itself to tax evasion, blogs and social networks for sex workers are full of freelancers sharing tips on how to file taxes – including taxes on bitcoin payments.

“There is a way to report income even when you’re doing something that might be, in some states or locations, outside the law,” Mike Stabile, communications director at the Free Speech Coalition, a nonprofit adult industry trade organization, told CoinDesk. “Those people who are working in sex work do pay taxes. They do have deductions.”

To that point, MelissaSweet1 said she has been checking all her legal compliance boxes while working in the adult entertainment industry for the past five years and plans to continue doing so because she is proud of her work.

Besides, she said:

“To my knowledge, there are no retirement services that specifically cater to sex workers.”

Looking ahead, some sex workers are thinking about other potential wealth-building applications for blockchain technology. For example, Ginger Banks said she hopes to someday establish her own studio using smart contracts to send royalties (which are rare in the adult entertainment industry) directly to individual cryptocurrency wallets for long-term income throughout retirement.

“It feels like I am a part of history if I hold these coins for the future,” Banks said.

Image via MelissaSweet1

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Posted on

Ledger Wallet Desktop Edition Scheduled to July 9th

In an update posted on its official blog, Ledger has announced the release date of the Ledger Wallet Desktop Edition. The final date is scheduled for July 9th

This decision would make of Ledger a leading company not only in the manufacture of hardware wallets but also in the market of software-based wallets, an essential step in the expansion of its business vision.

A Preview of the Interface Ledger is Developing

The company -known for its famous Ledger Nano S- has gained fame within the community for the high quality of its products. According to official data, the Ledger Nano S boosted the company’s production to more than 1 million units sold.

Until now Ledger relied on google chrome plugins and similar solutions for its configuration and use. But just after they announced the development of a Ledger Wallet Desktop Edition in February 2018, it was easy to note the positive sentiment it generated among the crypto fans.

As a result, Ledger Wallet Desktop Edition was announced with a lot of features that make it – again – a formidable competitor compared to other options like Trezor:

  • Native desktop application (Windows, macOS, Linux)
  • Multi-currencies (28 cryptos including Bitcoin, Altcoins, Ethereum, Ripple…)
  • Multi devices (Ledger Nano S, Ledger Blue)
  • Read-only consultation of accounts without device (protected by optional password)
  • Dashboard view of all assets
  • Counter values: choice of currency & exchanges
  • Send, receive, account balances & history
  • On device verification of the receive address
  • Faster account synchronization engine
  • Easy onboarding for new users

Also, Ledger Wallet Desktop Edition’s support for such a wide range of operating systems, facilitates not only adoption but also ease of use for a growing user base.

Ledger Wallet Desktop Edition: The Beginning of a New Era

The French company behind the development of Ledger will not settle for the launch of a Desktop Edition. According to their blog it seems like they also have plans to increase very soon the features and products they offer so far.

According to the post in which they announced the Desktop Edition, these would be the promises of new developments for the near future.:

  • Mobile application version (Android & iOS)
  • Ledger Nano/HW.1 support
  • Install/uninstall apps on Ledger Nano S automatically to smoothly manage a non limited number of cryptos on one device
  • Ethereum ERC20 tokens & contract management
  • Third party apps integration (buy/sell cryptocurrencies, exchanges, swaps…)
  • Transaction tags & notes
  • Spotlight search
  • Generate more than one new address
  • 100+ cryptocurrencies support

The Ledger Wallet Desktop Edition will hit markets this July 9th 2018. The mobile version is planned for the end of Q4 2018; also, the Ledger team will announce all the other developments when they reach their final version; however, Ledger’s priority is to support ERC20 tokens.

Posted on

Japanese Finance Giant SBI Invests In Regulated ICO Platform Templum

Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings has invested in fintech company Templum, which focuses on offering regulated securities token offerings, according to a press release published yesterday, April 25.

SBI Holding’s investment concluded a $10 mln fundraising round, which Templum reportedly will use to bring in institutional and accredited investors. SBI Holding did not disclose the exact amount they invested.

Templum’s website describes the company as providing “regulatory compliant solutions for Tokenized Asset Offerings (Initial Coin Offerings as securities) and subsequent secondary trading.”

The Japanese finance company is currently leading a 61-bank consortium working on a domestic payments mobile app using Ripple’s technology.

SBI had previously announced a plan last fall to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange with Huobi, but the plans were postponed in early March in order to first improve security.

Also in March, SBI Holdings expanded further into the crypto sphere by buying 40 percent of Taiwanese cryptocurrency hardware wallet company CoolBitX.

Posted on

NANO (XRB) Regains Confidence, Prepares For Ledger Hardware Wallets

The worst appeared to have happened to the cryptocurrency community this year. Now, digital coins are gaining ground and trying to outrun each other. This is also the case of NANO (XRB), the cryptocoin is now trying to regain its strength, confidence, and get attention like it did in the past.

One very major incident that nearly took NANO’s feet off the ground was the $150 million massive BitGrail hack of April 8, and recently the new class lawsuit action spearheaded by Silver Miller, a blockchain investor law firm situated in America, in the name of the affected users. The hack was defended by NANO, and the team levied the fault wholly on BitGrail. During this turbulence period, the price of NANO fell to $4.15, but now, NANO is trying to get back on track with latest development coming in day by day.

NANO (XRB) Releases New Version

NANO, in a bid to make more development, has announced the release of its new version dubbed Version 12.1.

Version 12.1 Released: https://t.co/SGrfZE6oar— Nano (@nanocurrency) April 21, 2018

NANO Hardward Wallet.

In the same line, XRB may soon be added to Ledger Hardware Wallet since the team has submitted the asset for review. This was related by some crypto platform.

Aware Of Milestone 12.

The long lasting solutions that NANO is trying to proffer is to analysts a necessary one. NANO, after many observers, including the BitGrail team, advised that the digital coin undergo hardfork, decided to check into its codes and see if there is anything to change. Shortly afterward, NANO team now released a major update called ‘Milestone 12’, purposely to reinvent in the mind of crypto enthusiasts that the coin is coming back.

The updates, precedes NANO 12.1, which is a patch of NANO 12, and it is packed with enormous number of improvements. With the new updates, NANO has the potential to be secured from hackers, and appear cleaner than it was in the past. The cryptocoin is now on the green line. Now NANO trades at $7.39, has a market cap of $984,306,445USD, a sign it is on for a bull run. Soon, NANO will reach $10, but only time will tell.

Posted on

Teenager Who Hacked Ledger Hardware Wallet Says Devices Still Vulnerable, Devs Deny

Cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger continues to refute claims its devices can be hacked after a teenager compromised them, Ars Technica reports today, March 21.

After British 15-year-old Saleem Rashid created code to ‘backdoor’ Ledger’s wallets in November 2017, the company released posts describing the events as “NOT critical” and said possible attacks “cannot extract the private keys or the seed.”

Rashid then refuted the claims on social media and a post on his personal blog entitled “Breaking the Ledger Security Model” March 20, stating he could still “autonomously extract the root private key once the user unlocks the device” and use to it instigate manipulation of destination addresses for transactions.

The argument puts pressure on both Ledger and its millions of users, who had until now broadly accepted the company’s claims its wallets were 100% secure.

Hardware wallets are often recommended by the Bitcoin industry’s best-known names, including educator Andreas Antonopoulos, who like many others attempts to dissuade cryptocurrency investors from online storage of funds.

Ledger attempted to patch a total of three security vulnerabilities in its hardware this month, including that identified by Rashid. In a post March 20 describing the progress in security upgrades, Ledger told users they would be fully protected after updating their wallets:

“The update process verifies the integrity of your device and a successful 1.4.1 update is the guarantee that your device has not been the target of any of the patched attack. There is no need to take any other action, your seed / private keys are safe.”

Posted on

Japan’s Finance Giant SBI Buys 40% Of Taiwanese Crypto Hardware Wallet Company

Japanese financial services group SBI Holdings has bought 40% of Taiwanese cryptocurrency hardware wallet company CoolBitX, according to a press release published March 2.

In the latest venture in SBI’s increasing involvement with both the cryptocurrency and Blockchain industries, the finance giant made an undisclosed investment which transferred almost half of CoolBitX to its ownership.

CoolBitX currently manufacturers CoolWallet as its primary offering — a hardware wallet akin to a credit card which communicates to devices via Bluetooth.

SBI is currently spearheading a mass trial of Ripple’s technology in a separate major venture involving around 60 banks, the majority of which are based in Japan.

One participant in the trial, South Korea’s Woori Bank, has announced it intends to commercialize Ripple-based remittances by the end of this year.

The company meanwhile has delayed the launch of its own cryptocurrency exchange, it announced Feb. 27, citing the need to increase security.

That consideration will also form a focus for CoolBitX going forward, SBI noting its practices with others in its “virtual currency ecosystem.”

“…We have been looking for security sophistication by capturing advanced technologies of external companies in addition to thorough risk management within the company, making the protection of customer assets the top priority,” the press release states, continuing:

“In the future, while considering CoolBitX’s technology utilization, we aim to further enhance security.”

Posted on

Cryptomania? Hardware Wallet Makes No.8 On Amazon Bestseller List

Cryptocurrency hardware wallet Ledger Nano S has made the top ten bestselling items in Amazon’s computers and accessories department. The wallet, costs just under $80 on Amazon.com, currently stands at number 8 in the retail giant’s listings.

Ledger beats major rivals such as Trezor and KeepKey, which came in at 133 and 231 in the rankings respectively.

Amazon Best Sallers

The findings caught the attention of the cryptocurrency community Wednesday after being posted to Reddit by user u/hunk_quark, who suggested they were a good indicator of digital currency’s push towards mainstream adoption.

Hardware wallets have received considerable publicity over the last year as exchange hacks and other security compromises become widely known by increasing numbers of users. Aside from offering superior protection against theft compared to other wallets, hardware options offer digital currency holders a simpler way to access the several forks that Bitcoin has undergone, or will face, by November.

Web wallet providers retain the right not to support forks or do so at their leisure as witnessed with Bitcoin Cash, with users of Blockchain.info wallets still waiting for easy access to their new coins.

Competitor Trezor has also experienced strong sales, if not through Amazon, as evidenced by their running out of stock several times this year, with units being resold unofficially at considerably inflated prices.