Ledger unveils crypto debit card, partners with FTX, Coinbase, Rarible

Hardware wallet maker Ledger made a slew of announcements at its inaugural — and now bi-annual — conference Ledger Op3n in Paris today.

Key among them was the reveal of its new crypto debit card, released on the basis that, as Ledger VP of payments Iqbal Gandham put it, “we need to start focusing on spending.” According to the presentation, it’s a Visa card that’s issued by Baanx, an affiliate of Contis Financial Services. 

Called the Crypto Life card, it supports a range of cryptocurrencies and can be tracked through Ledger Live, the software companion to Ledger’s range of hardware wallets. Ledger has started a waitlist ahead of its launch.

Gandham said the card will convert to crypto at the point of sale, or card owners can request an interest-free credit line for 30 days, based on the crypto they hold. He added that early next year, a card holder will be able to have their salary sent to their account and have it automatically converted into crypto.

Securely sending NFTs

Ledger wants to make it safer to send NFTs between wallets. 

Charles Hamel, VP of product at Ledger, said onstage that when users make an NFT transaction, they will either blind sign it (meaning they don’t see what data they’re agreeing to share) or they’ll see a large “blob of data,” which is meaningless to most people. This is unlike a normal crypto transaction where users can typically see where they’re sending funds to when they approve the transaction. 

Ledger’s alternative is to break down the transaction and present what’s going on in its mobile app at the point of signing. Hamel showed a demo where the app provided transaction details, including the destination address and the token being sent. 

On top of this, Ledger has integrated Rarible into Ledger Live, so that Ledger owners can access the NFT marketplace to buy and sell NFTs while using the hardware wallet to execute transactions.

Coinbase Wallet adds support for Ledger

Coinbase’s non-custodial wallet, which is called Coinbase Wallet and is distinct from the main exchange’s wallet offering, now provides support for Ledger as its first hardware wallet. 

This will provide an alternative to Ledger Live — a closed environment where only certain applications are available — that will enable users to interact with blockchain applications via their web browser and still use their hardware wallet. 

Via a pre-recorded video, Max Branzburg, VP of product at Coinbase, said that the exchange is building out support for hardware wallets directly within its non-custodial wallet. He said this will begin with the browser version of its wallet, as opposed to its mobile app.

Integrating FTX into Ledger Live

Ledger Live has also expanded its in-house trading options by introducing FTX into the line up. This means that Ledger owners can transfer assets to the exchange through Ledger Live from their hardware wallet and continue to make trades within the application.

There is a slight catch. Trades will be more expensive through this service, since Ledger adds a small fee on trades made this way.

This isn’t the only way to exchange crypto on the platform. In June, the app integrated its first decentralized finance (DeFi) platform ParaSwap, enabling users to swap tokens across multiple decentralized exchanges including Uniswap, Curve, Balancer, and Sushiswap, among others.

Bringing out the Nano S Plus

Ledger’s fifth announcement was an upgrade to its popular Ledger Nano S model, namely the S Plus. One key difference is that it is developer friendly, designed so that developers can test on the actual device itself rather than through an emulator. The other difference is that it has a larger memory capacity. 

“Memory is important because, as we bring all these new use-cases to Ledger Live, you need more space,” said Ledger’s chief experience officer Ian Rogers. 

He added that the company is working on another hardware project, implying that it might come out in 2022 or 2023.

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