If you’re familiar with crypto, you may be familiar with the popular Ledger brand of hardware wallets. What is a hardware wallet, you ask? Well, a hardware wallet is way to keep your private keys safe from being stored in less secure environments such as on a computer or exchange. The beauty of using hardware wallets is that none of your secret private keys have to be copy/pasted around your computer when transferring funds which can leave them vulnerable to interception by malware or malicious key logging. Furthermore, hardware wallets are a safe way to backup keys for multiple cryptocurrencies in one convenient and secure place.
Here’s an example of the Ledger Nano wallet showing the on board LED display:
From the Ledger website:
Ledger Nano S is a Bitcoin, Ethereum and Altcoins hardware wallet, based on robust safety features for storing cryptographic assets and securing digital payments. It connects to any computer (USB) and embeds a secure OLED display to double-check and confirm each transaction with a single tap on its side buttons.
Hardware wallets are one of the best ways to keep your keys safe and yet still have easy access to them when needed. If Tezos was to launch with Ledger support it would be a boon for wider acceptance and secure use.
Does Ledger Support Tezos?
According to a twitter response from Ledger about support for Tezos, Ledger indicated it currently has no plans to support Tezos from launch:
Sorry for the bad information, we do not plan to support Tezos. Have a nice day!
— Ledger (@LedgerHQ) May 14, 2018
However, upon researching further into the matter, it’s not because Tezos won’t be ready for hardware wallet support. As Arthur Breitman, founder of the Tezos project, has stated on the matter, “there’s a difference between Ledger supporting Tezos and Tezos supporting Ledger.” In other words, Tezos has Ledger support baked into the codebase and community efforts have demonstrated a working example of Tezos operating on a Ledger device.
According to Breitman, commenting on Tezos’ current ability to function on Ledger, “you can extract keys and sign, but not verify the keys on the display yet.”
Verifying keys on the display won’t come until Ledger officially supports another public key signature system called BIP32-Ed25519, which Tezos relies on for its signature verification speed compared to older key signing standards. Breitman also indicated, in further comment, that Ledger has privately stated they are working on the BIP32-Ed25519 integration which points to future Tezos support in the pipeline.
As far as baking goes, we don’t yet have full clarity on how that process will work with Tezos tokens stored on a hardware wallet. Sufficed to say we will get more details as the launch unfolds and Ledger eventually offers support of the project.
Will Ledger Support Tezos Eventually?
In the meantime, this image has been floating around the Tezos reddit forum which appears to indicate that with a little effort, Tezos can play nice with Ledger and at least prove that the current Tezos codebase can support the most popular hardware wallet platform:
In the current state of things, Tezos does in fact support the Ledger hardware wallet system. However, Ledger itself does not officially support Tezos, yet. There could be a number of reasons for that, not the least of which is until Tezos is fully launched with a finished codebase, Ledger may have decided to allocate development resources toward other chains or standards.
Ledger support will likely come in due time. Before then, look for Tezos community projects that will offer custom instructions and software for using Tezos on the Ledger hardware wallet.