The next generation of Ledger, a smartchip-based Bitcoin hardware wallet similar to Trezor, will be compatible with the authentication features of Fido Alliance – namely external dongles and fingerprint readers.
Ledger says they will employ Fido Alliance‘s Second Factor (U2F) and Passwordless (UAF) authentication types.
Of U2F authentication, a Ledger spokesperson tells Medium:
“[It] uses Elliptic Curve Cryptography (on Bitcoin neighbor curve secp256r1) to replace the typical OATH-TOTP validation by a cryptographic challenge performed by a hardware token [dongle]. It is designed to prevent against phishing […] and protects user privacy by mandating a different key generation per website account.”
The UAF authentication, on the other hand, is where biometric (read: fingerprint readers) come into play. The Ledger spokesperson further explains:
“UAF recognizes the user (with a PIN, biometrics or other methods) and uses Public Key Cryptography (and natively supports the Bitcoin curve secp256k1) to authenticate with the remote service.”
These two types of authentications are following a wider push toward more secure and even passwordless logins to Web services in general. The public-key cryptography employed by Bitcoin has created an environment in which private keys –