Bobby Lee, the co-founder of Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges BTCC, seems to have had an epiphany, albeit one that almost everyone in the crypto space already knows; hardware wallets aren’t entirely safe, and there needs to be an upgrade.
Seeing an opportunity to capitalize on this weakness, the exchange founder has returned to the crypto space with what he believes will be a lasting solution. Earlier this month, Lee posted on social media that he has been able to crack the security challenge with crypto wallets, and he seems ready to bring his solution to market.
His wallet solution, which he has dubbed Ballet, is a miniature device which provides cold storage services for Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and 11 other crypto assets. Lee introduced the Ballet at the Invest: Asia conference earlier today, and he added that interested users can now sign up for a public beta program.
Speaking in an interview with Yahoo! Finance about the innovation, Lee touted Ballet as a means through which “normal people, regular people,” will be able to access cryptocurrency. He added that he developed the product after noticing that many people have long sought a means to store their crypto assets without feeling insecure or jittery about possible thefts.
In his view, Bitcoin wallets and other crypto storage infrastructure have been unable to provide a sufficient level of protection, and it is high time this changed. The first wallet, known as REAL, doesn’t have any electronic parts. Essentially, this means that the wallet will be unhackable. The wallet stores electronic keys, which crypto owners will now be able to use to unlock their online wallets. It looks a tad like a credit card, so it at least has the portability benefit going for it.
Lee, who also formerly worked at Walmart, said to Yahoo! Finance, “It’s like cash. Once you load it with Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, this device has everything it needs to access the funds. It can be used as a gift to give someone, or you can store it in a safe deposit box and hide it somewhere at home. This is completely offline; there’s no hacking risk.”
The wallet company has already raised about $5 million in seed funding, most of which came from Lee and his acquaintances. However, the company is also backed by Ribbit Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that was instrumental in helping Coinbase get off the ground.
Ballet is headquartered in Las Vegas, and the company will start shipping REAL wallets to beta testers within the next few weeks, after which it will conduct a wider rollout in October. Each wallet will go for $35, but the company has set a promotional retail price of $29.
However, it is also worth noting that the device will be facing some stern competition as well. Brands such as Ledger and Trezor have a significant amount of control over the crypto wallet industry, and Ballet will need to back its tough talk up if it hopes to corner this market. For now, they will need to see how well the wallets fare in the public beta.