In all the ups and downs of the cryptocurrency markets over recent years, security is one area that seems the hardest to get right. The events of 2020 have only underscored that it’s not safe to keep your digital assets on an exchange. The KuCoin hack in late September turned out to be the third-biggest in history. Although KuCoin managed to recover much of what was stolen, many users were left waiting in agony while the exchange worked to restore lost tokens.
Only a few weeks later, on October 16, OKEx suddenly announced it was freezing all withdrawals from the exchange. Reports emerged that OK Group founder, Mingxing “Star” Xu, was being held in Chinese police custody. A month later, and it’s still no clearer what happened.
These events are all too commonplace. “Not your keys, not your crypto,” goes the mantra. For years, the crypto community has been urged to use wallets as a means of ensuring self-custody of funds. However, looking at the numbers, wallets aren’t much safer than exchanges. According to security firm Slowmist, over $13.5 billion has been lost to blockchain hackers over the last twelve years. Of this, nearly $7.2 million, or 53 percent, has disappeared from wallets. Among the listed vulnerabilities are the Trezor and Ledger hardware wallets, which are often assumed to be the final word in securing your crypto assets.
It’s critical that crypto users are given an option that allows them some peace of mind when storing their digital funds. NGRAVE, a Belgian tech startup set to launch the first-of-its-kind cold storage wallet, could be just the answer.
The ZERO Wallet – Cold Storage at its Coldest
NGRAVE’s ZERO wallet aims to put user funds out of the reach of hackers completely by never connecting any network. That means no WiFi, 4G, NFC, Bluetooth, or any other type of connectivity. It has one USB-C port that allows the user to charge it and update the firmware when needed. It runs on an operating system that’s achieved EAL7 level assurance, the highest available level of security protection.
User private keys remain on the ZERO device itself. The only communication is done via QR codes using an app called LIQUID. The app allows users to issue payment requests or view their balances. However, signing transactions can only be done with a QR code generated by ZERO and scanned using the LIQUID app. When a user wants to send a payment, they can interact with the ZERO wallet via a touch screen.
The NGRAVE team is led by the company’s three co-founders – CEO Ruben Merre, CTO Xavier Hendrickx, and COO Edouard Vanham. The team came together with the idea for NGRAVE after Hendrickx was among the unfortunate victims of several high-profile hacks, including Mt.Gox, The DAO hack, and the Parity hack.
In May, the team onboarded Professor Jean-Jacques Quisquater, a world-renowned cryptography researcher and quoted as the second reference on Satoshi Nakamoto’s seminal Bitcoin white paper as an advisor. Later that month, the company exceeded its initial sales target on IndieGogo by four times, raising over €100,000 ($111,500) in just two days. By July, the company had achieved €385,000 ($430,000) in sales.
A Timely Entry to Market?
Even before the recent spate of incidents, crypto users have had a rough deal regarding security. However, the last few months’ events have created an even more powerful imperative for better crypto security. If NGRAVE’s ZERO launch proves to be as successful as it’s promising to be, hopefully, we can all anticipate that the bar will be set higher for protecting our digital assets in the future.
Disclaimer: The writer does not have any relationship with NGRAVE. The Daily Chain encourages you to carry out your own research before you make any form of investment and educate yourself about how to stay safe in the crypto space.