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Ledger Extension: Cross-Chain Browser Extension for Web3

Read 6 min
Ledger devices on a podium
— Ledger Extension is a browser extension that allows you to connect to NFT marketplaces and Web3 apps directly with your Ledger Device

— Ledger Extension’s Web3 checks and transaction summaries keep you safe from scams and suspicious smart contracts.

— Ledger Extension offers industry-leading security features to bring you the safest Web3 experience.

When you’re browsing the internet, chances are you’re not thinking too much about what you’re doing. Web2 is a seamless experience, with virtually no barriers to entry beyond having an internet connection and a computer. That’s why you’re here now, reading our page. One simple click is all you need.

But Web3 is different – it’s powered by value. That means connecting your crypto wallet (via a browser extension) in order to explore different platforms, and understanding that process enough to stay safe as you do it. So despite the incredible new options it gives, Web3 also presents some unique frictions, making it hard to unlock its potential for yourself. The need to use multiple browser extensions is one of those frictions.

Web3 Browser Extensions: Explained

Web 3’s decentralized applications may well exist online, but regular Web2 browsers are unable to support them. Simply put, Web2 and Web3 speak two different languages, and this means your crypto wallet can’t engage with the world of dApps through a regular web browser, no matter how much crypto you have.

We need a “translator”, and this is where Web3 browser extensions come in. In a digital world that is still Web2-centric, these extensions act as a medium, allowing your wallet to “speak with” the unique structure of decentralized applications online.

Sounds simple, right? Well, not exactly. 

Web3 uses more than one blockchain as its foundation – there are several. For example, one minute you might be enjoying the world of DeFi on Ethereum; the next, you might need to connect to another chain entirely. Different blockchains speak different languages and this means you’ll need multiple different browser extensions to interact fully with all of the options.

Challenges For Web3 Browser Extensions

The need for Web3 browser extensions poses a couple of different challenges for users, depending on how you’re using them.

Connecting with a Hardware Wallet is Tricky

An offline key is the only key, right? We couldn’t agree more!

But it can pose a challenge for Web3: connecting your hardware device to different browser extensions can be a cumbersome process – and one you’ll find yourself doing often as you explore different blockchain ecosystems. It’s not exactly a slick process…and we’d forgive you for finding it downright complicated at times.

So although your keys may be safely tucked away, your Web3 experience is anything but seamless – and that’s enough to hold anyone back.

Lack of Transparency

Would you sign a contract you couldn’t really see?

Web3 browser extensions might enable you to transact with dApps, but they also introduce some security risks: man-in-the-middle attacks, for example, let hackers tamper with the display of the extension, meaning you can never truly be sure of what you’re signing – or exactly what you’re giving access to.

For example, you might think you’re confirming a transaction to buy an NFT, when in reality you’re agreeing to give a nefarious third party access to your collection. There is simply no way of knowing for sure.

This, unfortunately, is a norm of Web3, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK.

So in short, transparency issues and the not-so-seamless nature of browser extensions make them a barrier to exploring Web3, limiting your security and the evolution of the space as a whole.

Ledger Extension: Effortless Connectivity. Uncompromising security.

Ledger Extension is a multi-chain browser extension that gives you seamless and secure access to Web3, direct from your hardware wallet. If that sounds a bit jargon-y, don’t worry – we’re breaking down exactly what it means for you here.

Frictionless Web3 Exploration

Ledger Extension can interact with dApps on Ethereum and Polygon blockchains. It can also automatically recognize the network you’re interacting with and connect it with the correct crypto wallet.

Let’s say you’re interacting with a Polygon based DeFi platform; Ledger Extension will automatically connect with the application using the correct account. Then if you want to go check out your favourite Ethereum DeFi platforms after that: no problem. Ledger Extension is compatible with both, and can switch seamlessly between your crypto wallets for a friction-free Web3 browsing experience.

It also allows you to switch between your separate devices – and the accounts within them – with ease! This means you can keep a cold wallet vault, a burner account and more, using the extension to flick between them.

Better still, you can use multiple Ledger devices with the Extension. Switching between your separate devices - and the accounts within them - is easy! This means you can keep a cold wallet vault, a burner account and more, using the extension to flick between them.

Greater Transparency 

Ledger Extension has two other key features: a web3 check and a wallet preview.

To explain, a Web3 Check is a security layer offered by Ledger Extension. It detects and flags suspicious apps the moment you connect with them by looking at essential details of the dApp’s underlying smart contract. This unique feature gives you increased control over how you’re interacting by flagging areas of concern from the outset.

The wallet preview helps you understand what you’re signing. One of the key vulnerabilities crypto users face is that every transaction is immutable – if you make a mistake, your crypto’s gone. No wonder people are cautious about Web3. But essentially, the wallet preview features lets you play out transactions before you hit confirm. This lets you understand exactly what you’re agreeing to and how it will impact your wallet.

Where other browser extensions are tricky to use and leave users unable to really see what they’re giving permission for, Ledger’s browser extension makes Web3 secure and transparent.

Ledger Extension: Continuing On As Part of the Ledger Ecosystem

Rather than continue updating Ledger Extension as a standalone app, we’re integrating many of its features, such as Web3 checks, into other parts of the Ledger ecosystem. This will streamline your experience and make it easier to securely manage your assets. You can still use Ledger Extension if you have it already downloaded. However, it’s no longer available to download and we have no further plans to update the app.

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