Vegas, Baby: Ledger Launches Bluetooth Hardware Wallet at CES

The new wallet will be accessible to users who don't have access to laptop or desktop computers.

Crypto hardware company Ledger has officially broken into the mobile market with a new, Bluetooth-enabled device that was announced on January 6, at the latest Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The new version of the Ledger Nano X is quite similar to the Nano S, the hardware wallet that came before it. The Nano S offered internal support for multiple cryptocurrency wallets and types of coins. However, the Bluetooth feature on the new version allows mobile phones to connect and communicate with mobile devices via the new Ledger Live app.

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Bluetooth Support Opens Up a World of Possible New Customers

The fact that the Nano X will be accessible through mobile devices opens up the possibility of an entirely new customer base for Ledger. Previously, only customers with regular access to a laptop or desktop computers were able to use the Ledger Nano S.

Now, customers who rely on mobile phones for all of their computing needs will be able to use the Nano X. This is especially important for residents of developing countries, some of whom rely on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in times of national financial crisis.

Ledger CEO Eric Larchevêque told CoinDesk the new device would also have a larger screen and a lot more memory, making it a more attractive platform for third-party app developers. “We want to make sure that these applications can only sign transactions for their own private key,” he said, adding that the Nano X can store apps for up to 100 cryptocurrencies, compared to just 6 in the past.

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The Ledger Nano S was largely regarded as the industry favorite for its ease-of-use, security, and affordability. According to Ledger’s website, a Nano S currently sells for $69.99, down from around $90 a year ago. The price of the Nano X has not yet been announced, but Larchevêque said that the price of the Nano S would be lowered even further once the Nano X hits shelves.

Larchevêque also commented on the fact that Ledger chose to unveil the new device at CES, which is not typically regarded as a cryptocurrency industry event. “When you have more than a million customers you are really in consumer electronics,” he said. Indeed, in spite of the bear market that has plagued the crypto industry for months, the cryptocurrency industry has reached into more corners of the world (and into the lives of more users) than ever before.

Crypto Has Tried to Enter the Mobile World Before, With Mixed Results

Hardware wallets are physical, electronic devices that hold cryptocurrencies. Each one of them allows its user to store cryptocurrencies offline in an encrypted manner. These kinds of cryptocurrency wallets are generally regarded as the most secure way to hold cryptocurrency, as the fact that they remain offline prevents hackers from gaining access to them. Each of the devices typically requires a PIN or some other kind of unique identification feature to unlock.

Previously, companies like Sirin Labs and HTC have attempted to merge the cryptosphere with the mobile industry by creating smartphones that double as smart wallets themselves. Sirin’s Finney has not yet been made available for public purchase, despite rumors that it would be available before the end of 2018.

HTC’s blockchain smartphone was launched in October, with the caveat that wannabe-owners had to buy the device in cryptocurrency. The device has received mixed reviews: “HTC has made a blockchain phone that cryptocurrency fans will hate,” read the title of an early-November Wired article. Perhaps Ledger’s entrance into the mobile world will be more successful, given the company’s past successes; however, the technology is so new that it’s impossible to say if the Nano X’s security and ease-of-use will measure up to the past.

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