On the final day of the year 2020 Bitcoin sits at the astonishing price of $29,000 per BTC, having increased nearly 50% in the month of December alone. What we are currently seeing is similar to the previous bull market cycles in Bitcoin’s history, but this time the hype is spilling over into the mainstream public consciousness to a much greater extent than before. Major corporations and financial institutions have begun pouring money into Bitcoin, and this trend is just beginning. Governments are recklessly printing and borrowing incomprehensible amounts of fiat money, creating universal demand for a practical way to preserve purchasing power. Bitcoin’s future has never been more bright, and we feel the same about Ballet.
Our slogan defines our mission: Making Crypto Easy. Despite the unprecedented challenges of 2020, we made significant progress as a company toward our goal. We gained access to sell in many new markets, were granted a U.S. patent, and developed partnerships across the industry. The first and most important responsibility of every company in the crypto industry is to ensure the security of their users’ assets, so we are pleased to say that there have been zero reports of Ballet users losing funds from electronic hacking, supply chain attacks, physical product defects, app bugs, insider theft, or anything else. Nor has there been any leak of sensitive customer information. As of December 2020, users have entrusted Ballet products to secure over 70 million dollars worth of crypto assets, and that amount will surely increase as our clean security track record extends through 2021 and beyond.
Ballet’s flagship product is the REAL Series non-electronic cryptocurrency wallet, which was designed to be an easy, safe, reliable cryptocurrency storage solution for the mainstream market. It was launched in 2019 and it continues to be the primary focus of our engineering and marketing efforts. The REAL Series is defined by elegant design, precision manufacturing, and robust construction for long-term durability that far exceeds electronic hardware wallets. Electronic components deteriorate much faster than the physical materials Ballet products are made of. The offline physical wallet works in tandem with the Ballet app to provide a truly unique user experience that is not only convenient and secure, but enjoyable. A significant number of people even include the word “love” in their testimonials about Ballet.
The Ballet wallet companion app (called Ballet Crypto) is a key element of the Ballet user experience and security model that sets it apart from other cryptocurrency storage products. Ballet Crypto serves as the interface between the offline physical Ballet wallet and the public blockchain, with the ultimate goal of becoming a one-stop shop for all of mainstream crypto users’ essential needs. The app never stores Ballet private keys on your computer/phone; the private key exists only on the physical wallet itself.
In 2020 we added the ability for users to exchange cryptocurrencies and buy crypto with fiat. These services are seamlessly integrated into Ballet Crypto via reputable third-party providers. Ballet facilitates transactions by connecting users with the third-party provider, but we never have custody of funds. Once a purchase is completed, the coins or tokens are automatically deposited to the offline physical Ballet wallet of choice, allowing people to bypass exchanges entirely. This is another example that demonstrates our focus on removing friction from the user experience of cryptocurrency. It has never been easier to buy crypto than it is today, but it’s still not as easy as it should be.
The basic functions of sending, receiving, importing, and monitoring crypto assets on the blockchain (watch-only mode), as well as verifying a wallet’s authenticity, were developed in 2019 and further improved throughout 2020. This year we also added the ability to automatically import coins and tokens from mnemonic seed phrases, which makes the process of transitioning from your electronic hardware wallet to Ballet easy.
But whatever kind of wallet you use – hardware, software, or Ballet – you must be aware that if your computer has been compromised, any cryptocurrency wallet you subsequently connect to that device is vulnerable to a wide range of attacks. As Bitcoin security expert Robert Spigler explains: “If you can’t trust your computer, you ultimately cannot know when a broadcast fails, when a transaction sends, or if bitcoin you have received are real or not.”
We launched two new physical products in 2020 – the PRO Series and the Bitcoin BLOCK. Each implement the same two-factor key generation process and non-electronic design as the REAL Series, but they have much different use cases and target users.
The PRO Series cryptocurrency wallet is a cold storage solution designed for experienced (but not necessarily expert) crypto users that can serve as an alternative to electronic hardware wallets. The key difference between the REAL Series and PRO Series is that PRO customers create a custom passphrase on their own computer, send an encrypted version of the passphrase (called a BIP38 intermediate code) to Ballet, then we generate an encrypted private key that can only be decrypted by the passphrase generated by the customer. The cryptographic magic of open-source BIP38 allows us to create the encrypted private key from the intermediate code without us ever knowing what the passphrase that decrypts it is. Our implementation of the open-source BIP38 standard in our two-factor key generation process cryptographically guarantees that no one except you has ever seen your passphrase.
The PRO Series includes three identical physical wallets with the same encrypted private keys so that you can have backups in different geographical locations. If you want to make backups for a hardware or software wallet, you are required to manually write down words by hand on paper, which is fragile and certainly not suitable for long-term storage. Many users laminate their seed phrases or engrave them on metal, but the Ballet PRO Series saves you the hassle entirely. Your resilient backup solution is ready to go right out of the box.
Ballet’s Bitcoin BLOCK is an extremely rare and valuable physical collectible loaded with real bitcoin. But not just any ordinary bitcoin. The Ballet Bitcoin BLOCK contains the entire block reward from a newly-mined Bitcoin block, where the coins are mined directly from the coinbase transaction to the BTC address of the physical product. Newly-mined coins have no transaction history, and the only other way to acquire them is to mine them yourself. Normal people don’t care about any of this, and few could afford it anyway, but there is a passionate niche of physical cryptocurrency collectors who this product appeals to.
We wish you a very happy and prosperous new year.