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What are Ledger Applications and Why do I Need Them?

Lire 4 min
Beginner
Ledger devices on a podium
KEY TAKEAWAYS:
— Applications on your Ledger device calculate the Private Keys for your crypto assets.

— They are also used for verifying transactions and receiving addresses.

— Ledger apps cannot interact with one another for optimal security.

— If you uninstall and reinstall an app, you won’t lose your crypto – it will give you access to the same addresses.

Ledger hardware wallets use applications to manage your cryptocurrencies. These can be installed onto your device through Ledger Live’s Manager. But why do we use apps for the Ledger Nano X and Ledger Nano S? What is their purpose? Let’s take a closer look.

Applications on Ledger devices play a vital role in managing your crypto assets – for each cryptocurrency, there’s a dedicated app. These apps can be installed onto your hardware wallet by connecting it to Ledger Live.

So what do these apps do? To summarize it shortly, the app on your hardware wallet calculates private keys based on your 24-word recovery phrase and are used to verify receiving addresses and transactions. While we want to give you some more insight into this process, we also want to explain a bit more as to why we use an application-based system.

The creation of your private keys

Your 24-word recovery phrase is a backup of all your crypto assets – which must be stored securely. Each individual cryptocurrency address is managed by a Private Key. While the 24 words can grant access to all your crypto accounts, each Private Key only does so for one specific crypto asset address.

Designed for optimal security, your apps do not have access to the recovery phrase. Instead, it sends a request to calculate the Private Keys from your 24 words, based on a specific parameter called a derivation path. The derivation path is unique for each crypto asset. After having satisfied necessary security checks, the app will receive a reply with the Private Keys. All of this takes place in the Secure Element chip of course, to make sure that these sensitive operations remain secure.

Great! You now have the Private Keys of your desired cryptocurrency on your hardware wallet! The application can then derive your Public Keys from it. These are also better known as your addresses. This is where anyone can send cryptocurrencies to you.

We’ve made the following diagram to summarize this process:

Ledger Private Keys Derivation

So why do I still need my applications after this?

Your Private Keys are still very important afterwards – they are needed for verifying your receiving address and transactions. Without using your private keys, you cannot perform either of these actions. Let’s take a look at how this works:

  1. You’re trying to make a Bitcoin transaction, for which you need your Bitcoin Private Key to sign (i.e. give the approval for) the transaction. After determining how much Bitcoin you want to send to a certain address, your wallet application will send a signature request to your Ledger hardware wallet.
  2. Your Ledger device will then show you what exact request was made by the wallet application on its screen so that you can verify if it indeed matches the transaction you’ve set up. This mitigates a so-called man-in-the-middle attack.
  3. After having verified and approved the transaction, the application on your Ledger device will create the correct signature by using the Private Keys and send this back to the wallet application.
  4. After this, the wallet application will broadcast the transaction to the blockchain – your transaction is completed!

Mais les applications peuvent-elles interagir entre elles ?

Non, elles ne le peuvent pas. Ledger a décidé d’utiliser des applications individuelles pour chaque cryptomonnaie. Il s’agit d’une mesure de sécurité et un moyen de permettre des développements par des tierces parties (nous y reviendrons plus tard).

En termes de sécurité, le but est d’éviter que, si un problème survient avec une application de cryptomonnaie, il affecte un autre crypto-actif. Ce principe est mis en œuvre par le système d’exploitation personnalisé que nous avons conçu et développé chez Ledger, appelé BOLOS.

Non seulement Ledger est le seul fournisseur de wallet physique à avoir créé son propre système d’exploitation, mais nous sommes également l’un des rares à utiliser un système applicatif. D’autres wallets physiques utilisent ce que l’on appelle un micrologiciel monolithique. Avec ce type de logiciel, si un problème survient dans le code d’une cryptomonnaie, il peut affecter toutes les autres.

Développement par des tierces parties

Puisque les applications sont séparées les unes des autres et ne peuvent pas interagir entre elles, nous pouvons permettre à des personnes extérieures à Ledger de développer également leurs propres applications. Nous avons été en mesure de publier plus de 40 applications créées par des membres de la communauté des cryptomonnaies et des développeurs. Nous leur sommes extrêmement reconnaissants !

Bien entendu, nous les vérifions toujours pour vérifier qu’elles répondent aux normes les plus strictes en matière d’expérience utilisateur et de sécurité. You can read more about the process of submitting an application to us here.

Est-ce que je perds mes cryptos lorsque je désinstalle une application ?

Ne vous inquiétez pas, vous aurez toujours accès à vos cryptos ! Comme nous l’avons mentionné au début de cet article, votre appareil Ledger calcule vos clés privées à partir de votre phrase de récupération de 24 mots, grâce à un paramètre spécifique appelé chemin de dérivation.

Cela signifie que tant que votre phrase de récupération ne change pas, le calcul aboutira toujours au même résultat. Ainsi, lorsque vous réinstallez l’application, vous avez accès aux mêmes adresses qu’auparavant.

Ne cessez jamais d’apprendre ! Si vous avez soif d’apprendre de nouvelles choses sur les cryptos et la blockchain, regardez notre vidéo School of Block Comment garder vos cryptos en sécurité.


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