Bobby Lee Returns With Ballet, a Crypto Hardware Wallet for the Masses

More than a year after he sold one of China's longest-running bitcoin exchanges, Bobby Lee, co-founder and former CEO of BTCC, is back.

AccessTimeIconSep 12, 2019 at 2:55 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:26 a.m. UTC

More than a year after he sold one of China's longest-running bitcoin exchanges, Bobby Lee, co-founder and former CEO of BTCC, is back.

Announced Thursday at CoinDesk's Invest: Asia event in Singapore, Lee's new venture, Ballet, is rolling out a hardware wallet supporting multiple cryptocurrencies.

To differentiate its product and spur adoption outside crypto circles, Ballet will generate public addresses and private keys for users in advance.

Lee believes this design will make it easier for people who have no exposure to crypto to get hands-on experience with the asset without having to go through the set-up process most hardware wallets require.

“We wanted to create a wallet that is simple and elegant. And that is what we’ve done,” Lee said on stage Thursday.

Handheld

The wallet, also dubbed Ballet, is a piece of metal the size of a credit card that prints a QR code associated with the cryptocurrency wallet address set up by Lee's firm.

On each wallet, beneath the QR code, there is a string of printed encryption code. At the bottom of the card, there's another string of encryption code that's coated, which a user must scratch off in order to see.

Only the combination of the two through Ballet's iOS and Android app, also launched Thursday, will allow the user to see the private key, which will be the same key to access all cryptos on different blockchains that Ballet supports.

“I’ve been working on this hard since January of this year," Lee said during his presentation. "We’ve gone through six iterations of this hardware wallet design.”

Currently, the firm's product supports native cryptocurrencies on the bitcoin, litecoin, XRP, and ethereum networks as well as tokens that have been issued on specific blockchains such as all ERC-20 tokens.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Low price

To further the goal of fostering mass adoption, Lee said the pre-order price of Ballet will be $29, less than what existing hardware wallets with more advanced cold storage security measures cost. The company now eyes October for shipment after taking in pre-orders.

In a fireside chat at Thursday's event, Lee said the project started in late December and has raised an undisclosed amount of capital in a seed round backed by Ribbit Capital, a venture capital firm that has invested in crypto exchange Coinbase. Lee said Ballet has 20 staffers worldwide with a global headquarters in Las Vegas.

The company does the pre-setup for each wallet being sold to generate blockchain addresses and the associated private keys, but Lee said the firm deletes the data after production.

"We generated the keys for you in two locations thousands of miles apart," he said. "[After that] we manufacture ourselves out of the process."

Lee is mostly known in the crypto industry for running BTCC, one of the earliest crypto exchanges in China. He joined BTCC in 2013 as a co-founder and CEO, two years after the exchange was launched by Yang Linke, and helped the firm secure a $5 million Series A funding round backed by VC giant Lightspeed.

In January 2018, BTCC was sold to an unnamed blockchain investment fund based in Hong Kong, just months after China's central bank issued a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) as well as fiat-to-crypto trading.

Bobby Lee image via Zack Seward for CoinDesk

CoinDesk - Unknown

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, 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. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
NFT Platforms Should Be Caught by EU Money-Laundering Overhaul, Lawmakers Say

Unhosted wallets and decentralized finance were left largely unscathed by two landmark crypto laws agreed to last week, but left-wing lawmakers may seek another go as they discuss dirty-money rules.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Bitcoin se recupera y supera los $19K; Nomura advierte de una recesión en EE. UU. y Reino Unido

Nomura escribió acerca de una recesión en la eurozona, el Reino Unido y Asia Pacífico, lo que podría influir en los precios de las criptomonedas.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
Argentinos se refugian en stablecoins durante el fin de semana tras dimisión del ministro de Economía

Los principales exchanges del país informaron que los usuarios compraron hasta tres veces más criptomonedas estables que durante un fin de semana normal, en medio una crisis económica en ciernes.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Polkadot Builder Parity Technologies Adds 3 Execs to Leadership Team

The new executives joining Parity are Eran Barak (COO), Peter Ruchatz (CMO) and Fahmi Syed (CFO)

CoinDesk - Unknown