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Ledger Stax: The Next Generation of Crypto Security

Read 5 min
— Ledger Stax is the cutting-edge new Ledger hardware device, designed by Godfather of the iPod, Tony Fadell.

— Ledger Stax goes beyond securing your crypto assets: it redefines the Web3 user experience.

— In this article, we take a deep dive into the innovative new features of Ledger Stax and explain how each one raises the bar for Web3 users.

As technology evolves, new products emerge constantly – but not all gadgets are equal. Most fit neatly within the state of the art, but a select few redefine the limits of their whole space.

The iPhone is a great example. Can you remember the last time your phone was just “a phone”? The likely answer is “no” because iPhone single-handedly changes people’s expectations of their mobile device. It did that by offering something we all wanted: combining multiple functionalities (phone, internet connection, and music), with a user experience so intuitive that it made its predecessors obsolete.

In short, the iPhone redefined telecommunications hardware; simultaneously onboarding more than one billion new users to smartphone technology.

Sixteen years later, as Web3 reaches critical mass, Ledger found itself at the same juncture, asking itself, “How could we improve the Web3 user experience and bring our industry-grade crypto security to the widest possible audience?”

The answer was Ledger Stax – the cutting-edge new Ledger device leading the charge to Web3 mass adoption. Helping Ledger achieve this goal is the Godfather of the iPod, Tony Fadell, who also designed the Ledger Stax. 

But what is Ledger Stax, what is it for and why is it different from the crypto wallets that came before it?

Ledger Stax: Unwavering Security, Next-Gen Hardware

Value lies at the heart of Web3. And as the space matures and expands, crypto wallets have become much more than just security devices: they are an interface with the burgeoning digital ecosystem. 

To enable people to access these new options, it’s time for security hardware to go beyond protecting your private keys, and deliver a better all-round user experience tailored to Web3. So how does it plan to do this?

Ledger Stax Integrates Crypto Security and Lifestyle

Stax aims to be the first step to integrating crypto security with your lifestyle.

To achieve this, Ledger approached one of the world’s leading designers, iPhone co-creator, Tony Fadell. Together, Ledger and Fadell aimed to create a device that was easy to use and secure, while offering an uncompromising user experience. With these elements working in tandem, the Stax offers a new generation of crypto wallets without compromising on security. And that’s how you drive digital asset’s mass adoption.

“It’s Got To Be Iconic”

Fadell has a clear vision of what this entails, saying “It’s got to be iconic”. To explain, he noticed that every device, no matter how big or small, has a screen, but that screen is black when not in use. So, he wanted to create something that gives the user a feel for the wallet’s contents.

But before accepting this challenge of reinventing the Ledger wallet, Tony asked himself some important questions:

“Does the Ledger wallet really matter? Will people want to use it? Will it change the way I live my life?”

He accepted the project because he answered “yes” to all three. So let’s explore why.

Key Reasons Tony Fadell Designed The Ledger Stax

Why Do Ledger Wallets Matter?

Ledger hardware wallets are the most successful digital asset security hardware wallet of all time. With more than 6 million sold, Ledger has become the baseline for proper crypto security. Tony Fadell knew that the Ledger Ecosystem already offered top-notch security and great design he could work on top of.

Will People Want To Use It?

As digital assets became increasingly entwined with our identities, there was a need for a device that delivered on those changing expectations. The challenge was to build on Ledger’s security platform while bringing the Web3 experience to life for new and existing users.

Will It Change the Way I Live My Life?

While the answer to that is still yet to be seen, the Ledger Stax offers a completely new way of interacting with crypto, plus it has a security system that is second to none. But before we dive into Stax specifics, let’s look at some security essentials that aren’t changing.

Ledger’s Trusted Security Components

Ledger prides itself on security by design; If your design is not secure, neither is your device. Thus, Ledger’s security components aren’t changing. Stax will benefit from all of the security of previous Ledger devices such as:

Secure Element Chip

The Secure Element is a key component of every Ledger device, and that includes Ledger Stax.

For any hardware wallet, the chip is where your most critical data, such as your secret recovery phrase, is generated and stored. So naturally, there should be no compromise on the quality of that component. 

The Secure Element is a computer chip that provides institutional-grade security for your digital assets. The smart card technology it’s based on is more than 40 years old. However, the Secure Element chip available today is much more advanced and much more secure. The Secure Element chip’s strength comes from its specialization in cryptography. The reason the Secure Element keeps your keys so secure is that it separates the encrypted information from any application the device touches.

Actually, this is the same Secure Element chip used in passports, credit and debit cards, and payment systems. That means your Ledger Stax is secured with the same chip that protects your most precious assets. Banks and governments use this technology, and it’s that same level of security Ledger devices offer.

And of course, you’ll find that same Secure Element chip inside every Ledger Stax device.

Custom Operating System BOLOS

Crypto wallets have a very specific objective, and for that, they require a bespoke operating system. That’s why Ledger developed its custom operating system BOLOS, another key feature of every Ledger Stax.

BOLOS means that every application in your device exists in isolation from the other apps: there is no single point of failure in your crypto security infrastructure and the impact of any potential attack is mitigated. BOLOS also ensures that every transaction must be physically confirmed on your wallet, meaning no one can transact with your wallet remotely or without your knowledge.

Secure Touchscreen

Like all Ledger devices, the Ledger Stax benefits from a secure screen, more specifically your Ledger Stax device is fitted with a Secure Touchscreen, the first of its kind.

To explain, the screen of your Ledger Stax is controlled directly by the Secure Element chip. This is as opposed to most hardware wallets, which use a Microcontroller Unit (MCU) chip to control their screens. The problem with using an MCU is that they are easily hackable: bad actors can easily replace their firmware and take full control of your hardware wallet’s screen, making it unfit for its purpose.

The screen of your Ledger Stax is controlled directly by the Secure Element chip, the same ultra-secure chip that protects your private keys. This removes the possibility of malware, as the Secure Element can always verify the operating system, BOLOS, is legitimate. With these components working together, you can be sure the screen of your Ledger Stax hasn’t been tampered with. In other words, malware doesn’t stand a chance against your Ledger Stax.

What Does The Ledger Stax Offer?

Now we’ve checked out the inner workings of Ledger, and why they’re so important, it’s time to tackle the question on everyone’s mind: how is the design of Ledger Stax changing the Web3 playing field?

Larger Screen, Faster Verification

Ledger Stax re-imagines the crypto wallet, starting with the very dimensions of the device itself. 

One of Ledger’s most valuable offerings is the ability to verify the details of each transaction on your secure screen to know exactly what you’re signing. USB-sized devices pose some practical challenges in this regard. A small display can make it tricky to see and verify your transaction details, and the small buttons may not suit all hands.

Ledger Stax changes that. 

The device is larger than the Ledger Nano – around the size of a credit card – and has a secure E ink Touchscreen, the first of its kind.

This brings two big improvements: the larger display makes it easier to see and verify your transaction details; and the touchscreen functionality transforms the whole device into a control interface, enabling seamless navigation and transactions.

Wrap-Around Display, Customizable Device

NFTs brought the crypto space to life, adding an inherently “personal” element to the world of digital assets. But although NFTs are commonly secured by a hardware wallet, there has been no way of visualizing your tokens on the device. 

This too becomes a thing of the past, with Ledger Stax. The large curved display screen, powered by E Ink®, is also the first of its kind. This screen can display any NFT or chosen image on its face, as well as its name on the spine, even in standby mode.

With more and more people using multiple devices for their different Web3 activities, your security hardware can now offer both a personalized experience and a practical way of identifying each individual device.

Stackable Hardware

And finally, if you’re wondering how we chose the name Ledger Stax, the answer is simple: the devices are stackable. Each Ledger Stax is embedded with magnets, enabling your different devices to be satisfyingly “snapped” together. 

Goodbye to generic USB sticks, hello to fully customized devices, and totally unique bundles

Ledger Stax Paves The Way For The Next Chapter of Crypto

Ledger Stax is bringing the possibilities of Web3 to the widest audience ever, by doing something simple: building a dynamic, practical, and personal Web3 interface, atop the impenetrable security foundation already offered by Ledger – and trusted by millions.

As the undisputed security baseline for anyone who owns crypto, Ledger’s role is evolving. Beyond securing your crypto assets, it’s Ledger’s responsibility to redefine our hardware in tandem with new developments, raising the bar for the space – and its users. 

With Ledger Stax, we take the first step on that journey.

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