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NGRAVE ZERO

🔍 Last analysed 8th October 2022 . No source for current release found

Without public source of the reviewed release available, this product cannot be verified!

As part of our Methodology, we ask:

Is the source code publicly available?

If the answer is "no", we mark it as "No source for current release found".

A wallet that claims to not give the provider the means to steal the users’ funds might actually be lying. In the spirit of “Don’t trust - verify!” you don’t want to take the provider at his word, but trust that people hunting for fame and bug bounties could actually find flaws and back-doors in the wallet so the provider doesn’t dare to put these in.

Back-doors and flaws are frequently found in closed source products but some remain hidden for years. And even in open source security software there might be catastrophic flaws undiscovered for years.

An evil wallet provider would certainly prefer not to publish the code, as hiding it makes audits orders of magnitude harder.

For your security, you thus want the code to be available for review.

If the wallet provider doesn’t share up to date code, our analysis stops there as the wallet could steal your funds at any time, and there is no protection except the provider’s word.

“Up to date” strictly means that any instance of the product being updated without the source code being updated counts as closed source. This puts the burden on the provider to always first release the source code before releasing the product’s update. This paragraph is a clarification to our rules following a little poll.

We are not concerned about the license as long as it allows us to perform our analysis. For a security audit, it is not necessary that the provider allows others to use their code for a competing wallet. You should still prefer actual open source licenses as a competing wallet won’t use the code without giving it careful scrutiny.

The product cannot be independently verified. If the provider puts your funds at risk on purpose or by accident, you will probably not know about the issue before people start losing money. If the provider is more criminally inclined he might have collected all the backups of all the wallets, ready to be emptied at the press of a button. The product might have a formidable track record but out of distress or change in management turns out to be evil from some point on, with nobody outside ever knowing before it is too late.

Help spread awareness for build reproducibility

Please help us spread the word discussing transparency with NGRAVE ZERO  via their Twitter!

Do your own research!

Try out searching for "lost bitcoins", "stole my money" or "scammers" together with the wallet's name, even if you think the wallet is generally trustworthy. For all the bigger wallets you will find accusations. Make sure you understand why they were made and if you are comfortable with the provider's reaction.

If you find something we should include, you can create an issue or edit this analysis yourself and create a merge request for your changes.

The Analysis 

This hardware wallet offers features including a 4-inch touch screen, camera, fingerprint sensor, and runs a custom OS which NGRAVE claims is EAL7 certified.

NGRAVE ZERO comes with a companion app called LIQUID. To sync with the hardware wallet, ZERO generates a QR code to be scanned by the app.

Creating wallets

There are tutorials on how to use this product in NGRAVE’s YouTube channel.

Users can choose between a mnemonic wallet and an NGRAVE wallet. A mnemonic wallet provides the user with a 24-word seed phrase. On the other hand, an NGRAVE wallet provides the user with a key of 64 characters that are split into 8 groups of 8 characters. NGRAVE’s other product, GRAPHENE, was specifically designed to hold these keys.

Signing transactions

Video tutorial here.

ZERO has a companion app called LIQUID. This is where users are allowed to make transactions. After the transaction is initialized, the user is provided with a QR code and asked to scan it using the ZERO device. The user then sees the details of the transaction such as the amount, the fee, and the recipient’s bitcoin address. To verify the transaction, ZERO requires the user’s pin and/or fingerprint. Afterwards, ZERO provides the user with a QR code for the now-signed transaction. Finally, the user must use LIQUID to scan the new QR-code and the transaction is verified.

Unfortunately, LIQUID has received critical ratings on the Play Store as users report problems scanning QR codes.

Tylor Steinberger
★☆☆☆☆ February 5, 2022
I backed this on indiegogo, and I’ve been so excited to receive it and finally get setup now that I have some money I can put onto my hardware wallet, and the app literally can’t scan its own QR code to synchronize. I want this to succeed, but that’s a pretty poor experience. Please fix and I’ll give a better review!

NGRAVE replies:

March 24, 2022
Hi Tylor, Some (mostly newer) phone models have issues with the QR-codes. We have some improvements ready in the upcoming firmware update that should solve this. If you keep having issues, you can aways reach out to support@ngrave.io.

Source Code

Although we found its official repository on Github, the NGRAVE ZERO’s source code is unfortunately not up for review. The README states that “This repo will contain the ZERO’s firmware” which may mean NGRAVE is planning to make its source public in the future, but as of this review the repository is empty and has not been updated since 2021.

(ml, dg)