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Crypto Developer Raises $4 Mln From Samsung, Others to Launch Wallet Without Private Keys

Apr 19, 2019 1:53 PM +00:00
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ZenGo uses new forms of transaction signing to simplify the crypto experience for non-technical new crypto users

Israeli cryptocurrency developer KZen has raised $4 million from backers including South Korean electronics giant Samsung, industry news outlet The Block reported on April 17.

The company’s product, smartphone wallet app ZenGo — currently in beta phase testing — aims to simplify custodial wallet usage for entry-level cryptocurrency users.

Using a combination of split key storage and biometric security features, the company hopes users will be able to benefit from a simple wallet user interface while not relying on a third party or themselves to hold their private keys and other sensitive information.

A smartphone and cloud storage form the two sharers of information needed to sign a transaction, part of a setup called threshold signatures.

“ZenGo uses open source threshold cryptography to replace the private key and all the troubles related to securely managing non-custodial wallets,” CEO and cofounder, Ouriel Ohayon, wrote in a blog post on April 15. He added:

“Our solution eliminates the typical friction points of onboarding and backup and does so without the existence of a single point of failure.”

Other sponsors of the investment round included Elron and Benson Oak Ventures.

The product builds on a trend that fellow custody startup Casa began with its mobile app Keymaster. Casa, however, only supports bitcoin (BTC), whereas ZenGo does not limit users to specific tokens.

Regarding the security of the cloud server aspect needed for transactions to work, Ohayon told The Block that extra backup procedures would appear following launch.

The private beta is currently available on iOS, with an Android equivalent to follow.

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