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Welcome back to Chain Reaction.
Earlier this week, Ledger launched a subscription service that lets users recover their private keys (AKA what helps them access their hard wallets) if they lose them.
The $9-per-month subscription service requires users who opt-in to the service to provide their identification per KYC guidelines. The tool would then encrypt their private keys into three pieces and send them to three different companies: Ledger, Coincover and EscrowTech. The three companies would then use that KYC information to verify wallet holders when they want to use the recovery tool.
That sounds nice and helpful, right?
Well, not to everyone.
Crypto twitter is downright incensed by this. Cold wallets are also supposed to be offline and fully self-custodied, compared to hot wallets, which are connected to the internet. And a lot of people don’t want anyone, including the company that sold them their cold crypto wallet, to know their private keys.
Why? Well, a lot of people believe this service lets Ledger access customers’ private keys, which the company previously said it would never do.
A Ledger spokesperson refuted that, saying, “Customers can create an encrypted backup of their private keys which is then sharded and encrypted further […] The private key can only be decrypted and reconstituted on a Ledger’s secure element chip, just as it is initially encrypted and fragmented there. Ledger cannot and does not access users’ private keys.”
Moreover, people are not happy that the service requires users who may otherwise want to be anonymous to share their identities through a KYC process.
Not to mention some customers are wary of trusting the company (or any crypto company) with their information. And they have reason to: Ledger leaked customers’ contact information in 2020.