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As cryptocurrency has become part of the balance sheet for individual investors as well as institutions, it’s become evident that crypto will become an ever-more centralized part of people’s everyday lives — even if they aren’t yet crypto investors. This is because blockchain technology isn’t just recalibrating financial portfolios, it’s rapidly shifting the culture at large.
For example, the rise in non fungible tokens (NFTs) have shifted the art world and are also making inroads into sports: Some football clubs in Europe have adopted the “fan token,” a crypto-based token that allows investment in the club and the ability to vote on small decisions regarding the club and its future. As crypto enters mainstream, there need to be accessible entry points into blockchain technology.
Hardware solutions become critical
One of the paradoxes of crypto is that it’s simultaneously ultra-secure and ultra-vulnerable. Built on the blockchain, it is impossible for transactions to be tampered with or destroyed on the crypto ledger. But the decentralized nature of the blockchain means that no one is “in charge” of the ledger. Owned by everyone and no one, there is no customer service to call if a transaction goes awry. Instead, every crypto owner has a key — a 256-bit number that may be represented via an algorithmically random string of characters. This private key is unique to you and paired with a public key for transactions that appear on the ledger. If you lose or forget your unique key, there is no customer support. Your assets are gone forever.
While tech-savvy early investors of crypto created ad hoc solutions for managing their assets and storing their keys, there are still horror stories of crypto investors who cannot access millions of dollars worth of crypto because they have lost access to their key.
As crypto becomes more mainstream with more everyday use, secure key storage solutions have become an emerging need. Crypto-technology companies such as Ledger have created a solution: a hardware wallet that can hold your crypto assets offline and protected in a USB-size device. This allows more security than having your key stored on your phone, laptop or the cloud.
A wallet should be protected like cash. How you store it depends on your needs. Some people who regularly transact may use it every day; others may keep it in a safe or other secure location and only use it when they’re actively buying or exchanging crypto.
All-in-one crypto solutions
As more people use crypto in their everyday lives, it’s become more urgent to have an all-in-one solution that can reach users at every stage in their crypto journey. In 2014, when Ledger was founded, its hardware wallet was ideal for crypto investors who were still exploring the emerging asset class.
Fast forward to now. Crypto is everywhere, and the need for solutions that can meet the needs of new and curious investors, as well as sophisticated traders, has become critical. That’s why Ledger has created the LedgerLive platform. This platform allows users to safely buy and exchange crypto, grow their assets and learn more about crypto and blockchain.
With the crowding crypto space, it’s more important for consumers to feel comfortable aligning with a company that will grow as opportunities grow. Ledger has a forward-thinking approach to bring emerging capabilities within the crypto space to everyday asset holders. For example, while crypto may have initially been anchored in “mining” — the computational process in which people verify transactions by solving computational problems to be rewarded with more crypto — now users can participate in a process called “staking.”
Staking crypto is a way to passively grow your assets. This process rewards crypto owners for participating in the blockchain network. The LedgerLive app guides crypto owners through the staking process and provides a platform in which to stake with the currency they own.
A way to participate in the blockchain
As blockchain develops and entrenches across industries, it will become more important than ever for multiple entry points into the space. As consumer-facing solutions saturate the market, it’s critical that companies not only create products and services for now, but have the perspective to anticipate needs in the future. Ledger allows users to connect with trusted third-party hot wallets that can handle transactions and holdings, such as NFTs. In cases like this, your key will always remain within Ledger, while you can use third-party wallets to exchange within the blockchain space — without sacrificing your security.
While blockchain innovations evolve, one thing is for sure: In the crypto world, change is a constant. As blockchain creates new frontiers in a digital world, hardware solutions can anchor people’s unique experiences as they navigate this ever-evolving space.
Founded in 2014, Ledger is the all-in-one digital asset management solution serving retail and institutional clients in 200 countries. By combining a hardware wallet, which provides security, with the Ledger Live app, which provides access to crypto-currency services, Ledger offers consumers the easiest way to start their crypto journey while maintaining full control over their digital assets. Their newest YouTube video series, “Down The Rabbit Hole,” explores how crypto changes the world, the economy and the culture around the globe.
Exchange, lend, and other crypto transaction services are provided by third-party partners. Ledger provides no advice or recommendations on use of these third-party services.
This article was paid for by Ledger and created by Yahoo Creative Studios. The TechCrunch editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.