After a week of vicious backlash from the crypto community, hardware wallet company Ledger has delayed the release of its private key recovery service.
“We’ve heard your feedback on Ledger Recover,” the company said from its main Twitter account yesterday, announcing plans to host a town hall over Twitter Spaces at 12:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday, May 23.
On Tuesday morning, Ledger Chief Technology Officer Charles Guillemet said on Twitter that the company has “decided to accelerate our open-sourcing roadmap to bring more verifiability to everything we do.” A graphic he shared showed that a white paper on the Recover Protocol would be made available “in the coming days.”
Ledger’s mission is, and will always be, to provide our users with the right tools to own their digital value securely.
We have decided to accelerate our open-sourcing roadmap to bring more verifiability to everything we do.
A thread 🧵 pic.twitter.com/Dv0jBCM4Ys
— Charles Guillemet (@P3b7_) May 23, 2023
Ledger debuted Ledger Recover last week. The company described as “an optional subscription for users who want a backup of their Secret Recovery Phrase,” adding that it would not be automatically enabled by any firmware updates on the company’s devices.
The idea was to make it so that owners of Ledger wallets could recover their private key if it were otherwise lost. But the company immediately came under fire from users.
Broadly speaking, crypto wallets require a public-private key pair to authorize transactions. The public key is what shows up in blockchain data. But it alone can’t be used to access funds without the private key that it’s connected to. That private key needs to be kept secure to stop people from making unauthorized transactions.
Up until recently, users of Ledger hardware wallets were under the impression that it was impossible for the private keys stored on their devices to leave them. One of the key complaints made last week about Ledger’s new service was that if any Ledger wallet could potentially have the feature enabled, it amounts to an attack vector.
The community has been in uproar over what the feature would mean for the security of their Ledger hardware wallets even if it weren’t enabled. The company has made attempts to assure its users that their private keys and crypto funds remain safe, but critics say Ledger’s communication efforts remain lacking.
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