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Comate, imec & KU Leuven partner up with NGRAVE to bring end-to-end security for asset owners against crypto hacks and security breache

4 May 2020

The success of blockchain is overshadowed by major crypto thefts, scams and fraud. NGRAVE in Belgium turns the tide with its breakthrough electronic crypto wallet ZERO. The wallet with integrated camera and fingerprint scanner was co-developed by Comate Engineering & Design.

KU Leuven

Blockchain faces severe security issues

Early 2019, media reported that hackers stole 40 million dollars' worth of bitcoin from Binance, a world leading cryptocurrency purchase and exchange platform. This incident illustrates that even the largest and presumably safest are not untouchable. This is a wakeup call for the growing blockchain user base, which will soon reach 100 million users worldwide.

Ruben Merre, CEO of NGRAVE: "Crypto's Box of Pandora is clearly the online connection. Practically every crypto hack to this date involves stealing the private key of asset owners." Existing solutions on the market tend to fail in keeping private keys unseen or untraceable. This is because these private keys are generated directly online or exposed to an online connection sooner or later. Malware, phishing and algorithms too easily intercept the private keys of asset owners, allowing these to be stolen without any possibility to reclaim.

Create and manage private keys offline

NGRAVE Co-founder and CTO Xavier Hendrickx has been the victim of several cryptocurrency thefts. Ruben Merre: "The frustration felt when tracing the stolen money and not being able to recover the funds is exactly what brought the three of us together. We approached blockchain security from an end-to-end perspective, from initial purchase to passing on crypto assets to heirs and every step in between. Our focus on security and ease of use resulted in the brand new NGRAVE ZERO crypto wallet."

"The ZERO hardware device is able to generate private keys and public keys of a blockchain wallet 100% offline, completely 'air-gapped', and is therefore immune to online remote attacks. In addition, the ZERO introduces the 'NGRAVE Perfect Key', a highly sophisticated key that allows for an extremely secure backup and a novel recovery method in case of losing both the hardware device and the backup."

Co-developing the ZERO cryptocurrency hardware wallet

Ruben Merre: "For the development of the ZERO, we collaborated with Comate in Leuven, Belgium. Comate is a company with a track record in developing high-end technical products."

"We were honored with the opportunity to jointly develop the NGRAVE ZERO hardware wallet," says Wouter Foulon, Managing director from Comate. "In the earliest stages, specialists of NGRAVE and Comate discussed and challenged requirements and specifications to clearly define concrete design objectives in line with the allocated budget."

Sleek and secure crypto wallet casing

Foulon: "The sleek casing design nicely fits the touch screen in front and the integrated camera and fingerprint scanner on the back. The device has been designed to be multi-layered tamper proof against physical attacks. It is a strategic choice to produce the casing in Zamak alloy. The die cast casing makes for a strong and lightweight device that is shock resistant. Internal waterproof tapes and sealings further add to the extreme protective precautions."

"The iterative engineering process with various wallet prototypes enabled Comate to fine tune the design and start series production soon," explains Merre. "Comate has proved to successfully combine creativity with technical excellence. Its design and engineering specialists took a lot of initiative in exploring material characteristics and technology applications to push product performance and ease of use. They contributed significantly to the engineering of the high-end NGRAVE ZERO crypto wallet, which guarantees robust operation and introduces a new benchmark in security."


NGRAVE’s end-to-end solution is always secure

Besides the ZERO hardware wallet, the integrated end-to-end solution of NGRAVE includes the GRAPHENE key backup and the LIQUID mobile app. The NGRAVE GRAPHENE is an everlasting encrypted key backup solution made of two high-quality stainless steel plates, which are resistant to fire, flood and other severe environmental conditions.

The upper plate serves as a coded overlay for the lower plate in which holes are embossed with the GRAPHENE embossing pen. The two-piece cryptographic puzzle is unique in its design to exclude the possibility to obtain or guess the private key from the public key.

To flexibly purchase or trade assets on the blockchain, NGRAVE introduces its LIQUID mobile app. Solely through one-way QR codes, the LIQUID mobile app can obtain an overview of all the public accounts created on the wallet and fetch the related real-time data directly from the blockchain. The mobile app can also receive transactions, and initiate transactions which the wallet can sign in an air-gapped way.

Entering the growing market of crypto wallets

With its three-fold solution suite, NGRAVE - along with its partners Comate, imec, KU Leuven and Prove & Run - developed the most secure solution on the market. "Our secure and intuitive end-to-end solution safeguards the private keys of asset owners against theft and loss, and hence, the total worth of their crypto portfolios. Moreover, the NGRAVE ZERO’s secure firmware has earned the EAL7 security certification, the highest certification in the world," concludes Merre. The future for NGRAVE looks bright with a recent report indicating that the hardware wallet market will grow from 200 million to 9 billion dollars by 2025.

In 2019, Google, PwC and Trends have nominated NGRAVE for the Digital Pioneer 2019 award. Later last year, NGRAVE participated in the BeNeLux Catalyst Accelerator Program of BelCham, the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce, to kickstart its international growth in the United States. Currently, NGRAVE is preparing its Indiegogo pre-order campaign which will launch on May 26, 2020, followed by a formal launch later in the year.

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