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Ledger Postpones Launch of Controversial Key-Recovery Feature in Response to Crypto Community Feedback

Following backlash from crypto enthusiasts, Ledger has committed to making the code for their Ledger Recover feature open-source prior to its official launch.

Hardware wallet provider Ledger has decided to postpone the roll-out of its much-debated key recovery feature in response to strong objections from the crypto community. In a message to its customers, Ledger's CEO, Pascal Gauthier, assured that the company will not introduce the new feature until the corresponding code is made public. Moreover, a Twitter Spaces discussion concerning this matter has been arranged for Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. EST.

Previously, Ledger had unveiled its upcoming service, "Ledger Recover," a tool designed to enable users to securely store encrypted duplicates of their seed phrases with a trio of custodians. This would allow Ledger customers to retrieve their private keys in case they misplace or forget their seed phrases. This optional service will necessitate know-your-customer (KYC) verification.

Following the announcement, Ledger faced immediate backlash from various corners of the cryptocurrency community. The critics disapproved of the notion of sharing seed phrases with parties other than the wallet owners. Numerous critics expressed their disappointment on Twitter, Reddit, and other forums, accusing Ledger of betrayal. This is in light of Ledger's past assurances that private keys associated with Ledger wallets would always remain exclusively on the device.

The critics also pointed out potential risks including the possibility of custodians being hacked, data breaches at KYC providers, and law enforcement agencies seizing control of Ledger users' data. They also raised concerns that the code for the Recover feature was not open-source, thereby preventing an independent review of the proposed custody mechanism's safety.

Unlike several competitors, Ledger does not disclose all of its code but instead relies on a select group of security researchers to assess their product.

Learn more: Is Ledger's New Bitcoin Key Recovery Feature Safe? Experts Are Skeptical

In his letter, Gauthier admitted that the company had received a valuable lesson. He informed that some sections of the Ledger code have already been open-sourced and more are to be made available soon.

“We've decided to speed up our open-source roadmap! We aim to include as much of the Ledger operating system as possible, starting with the essential components of the OS, and Ledger Recover, which we won't roll out until this process is completed,” he stated.

Furthermore, Gauthier stressed the importance of providing key recovery services for attracting new crypto users who might find self-custody challenging.

He stated, "The majority of present crypto users either do not possess their private keys or are putting their private keys at risk by using less secure self-custody methods, and cumbersome methods of storing and safeguarding their seed phrase."

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