Late last year I wrote a review of the Ballet REAL Series which is described as “The World’s First non-electronic multicurrency wallet” aimed at the novice market. The REAL series makes some interesting tradeoffs between security and convenience that has garnered a fair amount of controversy on Crypto Twitter. Personally, I think the tradeoffs are reasonable for certain usecases and storage amounts. For instance, a novice user may be more at risk of messing-up private key generation and secure seed storage on their own. Ballet REAL Series, in contrast, might actually be the safer solution, even after factoring for its trusted nature.
The all-new Ballet PRO series aims to address some of these criticisms by putting more control in the hands of the user. The way it works: the user is in charge of generating the BIP38 passphrase on their end, along with encrypting it offline (the intermediate code), ensuring that this secret information is not shared with anyone. The encrypted private key can only be decrypted by the passphrase created by the user thanks to the BIP38 scheme. More technical details can be found here.
The PRO series also comes in triplicate so that the user will have multiple off-site copies for redundancy. All 3 are protected by the same BIP38 passphrase. I found the process of creating my passphase along with the encrypted intermediate code to be quite intuitive using this handy tool provided by Ballet. Very nice UI/UX including some helpful instructions to create the passphrase on an offline computer.
In terms of the card itself, like all Ballet products, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Raised lettering embossed on a weighty, deep blue metal with wonderful accented edges. Adding a card to the Ballet app is as simple as scanning the public address QR code which adorns the front of each card. It’s a nice touch that the digital representation of the card within the app, resembles the physical card. Quite handy when you have multiple Ballet products.
I went through the process of funding the card with a nominal amount of Bitcoin (around $5) and watched within the app as the card got topped-up. In order to move the funds afterwards, I had to peel back the public address QR sticker to reveal the private key QR code hidden behind it. Once scanned, the app prompted me to enter my secret passphrase to complete the transaction. The whole process worked quite seamlessly.
One point of criticism, though, is that when entering the passphrase, iOS forces the first letter of each word to upper-case when typing into a field and my multi-word passphrase is all in lower-case. So I had to go back and correct the auto-upper-cased letters manually for the passphrase to work which can be a bit tedious. I imagine this an easy fix, however, and hope to see it in a future update to the app. It’s also nice that there is a desktop companion app that I can run on my Mac.
Overall, I think Ballet PRO Series addresses the concerns of those who prioritize complete trustlessness above all else, and it’s good that there is now multiple products in the Ballet lineup that address the needs of a variety of users from novice all the way to pro. Thanks to Ballet for supplying me with the review units!
Find out more about Ballet Wallet and order your own at BalletCrypto.com.
You can follow me: I’m @mikeinspace on Twitter. If you’d like me to review your product, please get in touch!