Ledger releases white paper for hardware wallet seed recovery tool


Major hardware cryptocurrency wallet provider Ledger is getting closer to launching its planned solution to allow users to back up and recover a Ledger device seed.

Ledger chief technology officer Charles Guillemet took to Twitter on June 21 to announce that the hardware wallet company has open-sourced the Ledger Recover white paper.

Guillemet said the upcoming service is expected to be launched in Q4 2023, provided by the digital asset security firm Coincover. The main takeaway from the white paper is that the new service is “100% secure,” the CTO assured. “You can learn precisely how it works technically and examine the service yourself,” he noted.

Available on GitHub, the Ledger Recover white paper provides a 34 pages-long document including a technical overview of Ledger’s solution for the backup and restoration of the hardware wallet’s seed.

Ledger Recover’s repository enables three primary operational flows, including backing up the seed, restoring it on a new device and securely deleting the backups. The white paper also includes data on Ledger Recover’s system design and cryptographic protocol.

One of the implementations includes the seed’s split into shares using the existing private key distributing technology known as Shamir backup. “Having less than the required number of shares does not give any information on the seed,” the white paper notes.

The white paper emphasizes that users can run the protocol independently from Ledger, which is supposed to underscore its flexibility and commitment to self-custody.

As previously reported, Ledger’s seed recovery tool has triggered significant criticism from the crypto community. Introduced in May 2023, Ledger Recovery is an optional subscription for users who want to back up their secret recovery phrase, according to the CTO.

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Many industry players like Polygon Labs’ Mudit Gupta pointed out potential vulnerabilities in Ledger Recovery. “The problem here is that the encrypted keys parts are sent to 3 corporations and they can reconstruct your keys,” he noted. Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao also questioned the benefits of the new tool, saying, “So the seed can leave the device now? Sounds like a different direction than ‘your keys never leave the device.’”

According to Ledger’s CTO, the new seed recovery solution “does not change the security” of Ledger devices. Guillemet also called on developers, researchers and crypto enthusiasts to look into the white paper and fully understand the wallet’s security mechanisms.

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