What’s the difference between Ballet wallets (non-electronic bearer assets) and wallets like OpenDime and Tangem (electronic bearer assets)?

Electronic and non-electronic bearer-asset cryptocurrency wallets have the following fundamental attributes in common: they are not password-protected; they do not have backup copies; and whoever has physical possession of the wallet has full control of the cryptocurrency stored on it. One of the great things about bearer-asset wallets is that they can be used for off-chain transactions, which offers privacy and savings on transaction fees. Ballet’s non-electronic design provides several advantages over its electronic alternatives:

  • Ballet wallets do not require computer setup. You can just scan the cryptocurrency address on the physical wallet to deposit coins. Electronic bearer-asset wallets require you to connect the device to a computer in order to see the deposit address.
  • Ballet wallets do not need to be physically connected to a computer in order to send a transaction; you can access the encrypted private key and passphrase visually. A physical connection is a potential attack vector.
  • Ballet wallets do not need to be physically connected to a computer in order to check the balance of coins stored on it; you can just scan the cryptocurrency address QR code on the wallet.
  • Ballet wallets never require firmware updates.
  • Ballet wallets will never have issues with a battery or electronic components.
  • Ballet wallets are more durable than any device with electronic components.
  • Ballet wallets use BIP38 two-factor private keys, which guarantees long-term forward compatibility.
  • Ballet wallets have multicurrency support.

Advocates of electronic bearer-asset wallets will point to the fact that they generate private keys locally on the device and say that that provides a higher level of security than Ballet wallets because users don’t need to trust the manufacturer. It is said that you should always “generate your own private keys.” In theory that makes sense, but in reality users don’t generate their own private keys, the electronic device that was manufactured by someone else generates the private keys. You have to trust that the device is not defective or tampered with. You do have to trust the manufacturer. In the real world there’s no such thing as true trustlessness.

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