Cryptocurrency thefts, scams, and fraud were over $1.2 Billion in the First Quarter of 2019. However, it appears Belgium-based NGRAVE has created unprecedented security protocols for protecting crypto assets.
The Business Blockchain HQ features companies that are changing and improving the blockchain and cryptocurrency fields for the world community. We were fortunate recently to interview NGRAVE and learn more about their exciting developments.
Recent Crypto Security Problems
Since the first emergence of cryptocurrency, investors have been warned to never store assets on an exchange. This concept has been largely ignored as more and more attacks are successfully accomplished by hackers. Just last month featured cringe worthy hacking attacks that have given investors anxiety.
On June 6th, the United Kingdom and Slovenia-based crypto exchange GateHub reported the hacking attack loss of nearly $10 million worth of XRP. An unidentified hacker used a sophisticated method to gain access to a database holding users’ access tokens and steal their funds.
On June 26th, Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitrue was acknowledged the fact that it suffered a major attack. A mysterious hacker (or group of hackers) managed to steal over $4.5 million worth of cryptocurrency from the exchange. The hacker stole 9.3 million Ripple (XRP) coins and 2.5 million Cardano (ADA) coins, worth $4.25 million and $225,000, respectively. Collectivelty known as the Bitrue Hack, the exchange noted that users who lost their digital assets would be compensated, while also apologizing for initially misleading their users by saying that the platform was down for maintenance.
The State of Security Solutions
NGAVE’s CEO – Ruben Merre told the Business Blockchain HQ “solutions today are looking at security from the wrong angle”
Merre has a history of identifying problems in the crypto and blockchain fields. As a serial entrepreneur, he has been active in launching international tech projects and several algorithmic trading platforms.
The Innovative NGRAVE Solution
In response, NGRAVE is bringing their “revolutionary” hardware wallets to the cryptocurrency market and are promising to offer “unparalleled end-to-end security”. Merre notes that:
“They [The status quo, exchanges, existing wallets, etc] are only offering a part of the solution to this problem. A hardware wallet is not security. A crypto exchange is not security. NGRAVE believes that security has to be a fully integrated end-to-end solution, covering all the “what-if?”-s. We have a solution for a hardware wallet and we have a solution for cold storage. Let’s say you lose your seed – there needs to be another way of recovery without having a third party having access to the key.”
The company’s mission is about answering any kind of “what if” – e.g. what if I lose my hardware wallet: there needs to be a key backup. BUT: what if “I lose my key backup”, there needs to be a recovery method for that as well; and what if – i’m not around anymore tomorrow, how do my next of kin can get access to my private keys? NGRAVE offers an answer to all of these questions, without 3rd party risk for the user
NGRAVE solutions include: a 100% offline user friendly touch screen hardware wallet that needs no internet connection ever, nor does it require USB; (ii) an everlasting cold storage solution replacing the paper wallet and solving the single-point-of-failure problem of existing metal plate solutions; and (iii) a mobile application (for fetching data from and for doing the last-mile communication with the blockchain, where there is no risk as the sensitive data such as the private keys never leave the hardware device
Learning from Lessons Past
Merre continued: “If you look at most exchanges, they actually give their users public addresses for every coin and they keep private keys for themselves. Basically they are the owner and you are the proxy. You as a user never even really “own” the crypto on their accounts, so hackers can only hack things that are online. All they need to do is steal those private keys.”
NGRAVE’s Offline Solution
NGRAVE has debuted what they describe as the most secure hardware wallet in the world. Their NGRAVE ZERO hardware wallet was built and designed with world leaders who are experts in nano-technology, hardware security, and applied cryptography. Created fully offline, and never shown afterwards…the cryptographic keys face zero exposure to any kind of online or connected device attack (being fully offline, the cryptographic keys face zero exposure to any online attack).
The NGRAVE ecosystem is unique with a multi-layered secure approach. NGRAVE has developed custom firmware to assure both superior security and ease-of-use. They also offer the first recoverable key back-up solution. This comes in the form of a cryptographic puzzle made of everlasting stainless steel plates. If an attacker gets their hands on one of the plates, they still would have zero information about the actual secret key (as one single plate provides no information whatsoever on the actual key. Both plates are required. Lastly, NGRAVE’s mobile app allows a user to directly sync all the generated accounts. Users are able to see their real-time balances or ask to receive a transaction. However the secret keys never face any exposure to any online attack.
The app is also the initiation point for making transactions. The user creates a transaction from one of his (publicly known) accounts on the app, and creates a signature request QR code which can be scanned by the camera of the NGRAVE ZERO. The latter offers double verification of the validity of the signature request code, after which the user can then sign the transaction with the private keys, by unlocking them with a combination of fingerprint and PIN-code. The ZERO then shows a QR signature that the app can take a picture of and send through to the blockchain. The private keys are never shown or online exposed during the entire process
Is Offline the Best Solution?
NGRAVE has made it clear that security most involve an offline approach ( we should made it clear that absolute security today must involve an offline approach.. Merre has noted that:
“The most important thing we have to do is think how can we keep that private key offline (away from any kind of online connection or connected device, as that is the largest weak point in the entire system today) , always. Our solution is completely offline – we never expose the seed and never expose the private key, ever.”
Critics would argue that an offline approach is a drastic remedy. However in light of recent hacking attacks, it may be the most unique and effective approach to defeat online theft.