Ledger has gone mobile.
The crypto wallet company revealed its new, Bluetooth-enabled Nano X device Sunday at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
The added Bluetooth means that the Nano X can readily be used with mobile devices, which has been a pain point for many users of the company’s current wallet, the Ledger S. Much of the world primarily uses mobile computing, never or very seldom touching laptops or desktop computers.
“The fact that we have a mobile application and it works with the Nano X is really the big evolution of the hardware for this lineup,” Ledger CEO Eric Larchevêque told CoinDesk during a demonstration of the device.
By connecting the Nano X via Bluetooth, it’s possible to have the security of Ledger but with mobile’s form factor, Larchevêque said. (Ledger devices store keys but an external application on a computing device is needed to write and send transactions.)
When we spoke to Larchevêque, he wasn’t ready to commit to a price for the Nano X but he did say that when it goes live, the price of the Nano S will drop (it currently sells for $69.99). According to the Ledger website, more than 1.3 million Nano S devices have been sold. (Update: Company reps tell CoinDesk the Nano X will retail for $119 in the U.S. and 119 euros in Europe.)
There’s more to the new device, too. It has a slightly bigger screen, for example. (With such a tiny screen, every extra pixel helps with usability.) The screen is important because Ledger’s approach to security requires that a lot of actions are made on the hardware device itself.
“It’s a more advanced device,” Larchevêque said of the Nano X.
The Ledger Live mobile app will be available on Google Play and iTunes on Jan. 28, according to Ledger.
To that end, it also has a lot more memory.
Memory might not seem that important for a hardware wallet. After all, it’s just storing public private key pairs for each cryptocurrency a user holds, right?
Wrong. It turns out that as new tokens make the whole crypto ecosystem more complex, it becomes necessary for different software to interact with different protocols. To maintain Ledger’s high security standards, the company made the decision that each protocol has to have its own app for sending and receiving coins.
“We have lots of third-party developers who are developing applications,” Larchevêque told CoinDesk. “We want to make sure that these applications can only sign transactions for their own private key.”
This has an additional benefit, Larchevêque said. It means that a user with one app open can’t accidentally sign a transaction to the wrong protocol.
The Ledger Nano X can store the apps for up to 100 crypto assets, a six-fold increase over the Nano S.
Ledger is making a statement by revealing its new device at CES.
“It’s true that CES is not a crypto show,” Larchevêque said, acknowledging that his company has left the blockchain bubble with this appearance, but he points out that Ledger has gotten into the hands of too many users at this point to still be viewed as a niche device.
CES seems to have welcomed the French company into the broader world of consumer electronics. According to a press release from Ledger, CES awarded the Nano X with its 2019 “Innovation Award in Cyber Security and Personal Privacy.”
“When you have more than a million customers you are really in consumer electronics.”
Correction: The release date for the Ledger Live mobile app is Jan. 28, not Jan. 16, as was listed in an earlier press release from Ledger. The article has been updated with the correct release date.