Ledger key recovery service paused amid backlash, will open-source code

Hardware wallet company Ledger is postponing the launch of Ledger Recover following an intense week of criticism from the crypto community.

In a May 23 Twitter Spaces joined by over 13,000 users, Ledger chairman and CEO Pascal Gauthier said it has been a “humbling experience” and a hard lesson in communication:

“This experience has been very humbling. We miscommunicated on the launch of this product; it was not our intention to take people by surprise. So because of that, we understand the community’s direction and apologize for the miscommunication.”

Gauthier revealed that in response to concerns, the firm would be accelerating its plans to open-source more of its codebase. It will start with core components of its operating system and Ledger Recover, which he stated: “won’t be released until this work is complete.”

Charles Guillemet, the chief technology officer of Ledger, said that over the coming days, a white paper on the Recover Protocol would become open source along with technical blog posts to “explain the principles of Recover” and more detailed explanations of how the process works. 

“It’s going to be very easy and clear for every single cryptography and security expert to have a look at the protocol to get more guarantees and understand how it works.”

Guillemet noted this would also allow developers to build their own backup provider for the seed phrase shards rather than using the one offered by Ledger.

“This has always been something important for Ledger, but this recent event showed how important it is for the community and this is why we decided to prioritize this open-sourcing process,” he added.

Ledger recently told Cointelegraph that it would “continue to open source more and more of our code until we reach a similar level as the Raspberry Pi.”

Related: Crypto community reacts to Ledger wallet’s secret recovery phrase service

Ledger found itself in a PR nightmare after revealing plans on May 16 to introduce a key recovery tool called Ledger Recover. The firmware update would allow users that lost their private seed phrase to get it back via an optional feature.

The firm faced backlash from some members of the crypto community who believed that this would add a “backdoor” for a user’s private keys to be removed from the device.

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