Cryptocurrency: Does Archos have the technical and material means to dream in Ledger? :

DomRaider and Archos join forces to create a physical portfolio for cryptocurrencies, the Safe-T. Does the manufacturer of smartphones and other imported accessories have the means and the skills?

One is in small financial form, the other is at the dawn of a new youth: Archos and DomRaider, two companies that form a strange alliance to compete with Ledger.

One is a French manufacturer practicing the import from China entry-level smartphones (including the brand Nubia) who has lived with difficulty in recent years and the arrival of Chinese on the French market, even harder than Wiko. The other turns his juicy, but simple domain name auction business into a blockchain adventure. They join in creating a cryptocurrency wallet reminiscent of Ledger's Nano S.

The incursion in the field of security and cryptocurrency of Archos who, a day earlier, unveiled a scooter, is surprising to say the least. From our meetings with Ledger, we concluded that a credible competition would have difficulty to emerge considering the technological advance acquired by the startup of Bordeaux.

Indeed, with Numerama, Eric Larchevêque, CEO of Ledger, explained: "If you want to make our product, you only have two choices: either you take a conventional microprocessor available commercially, typically that of a coffee maker, or you use a secure microprocessor, so that of a passport or a bank card. "

However, to obtain this latest microprocessor, it is necessary to use companies certified by the major financial institutions: Ledger has, for its part, managed to convince the French-Italian STMicroelectronics. Therefore, we wonder. Who did Archos convince? Thales? Gemalto? Obviously, no one of this ilk. Questioned by us, Gemalto, quoted in the press release of Archos is not able to confirm any partnership.

According to the information we have had access to, in the absence of a response from Archos on this specific point, the brand's Safe-T does not have the aforementioned technology that is referred to in the sector as a secure item. Indeed, the processor used is a conventional SoC Arm Cortex-M3 (STM32), also used in TV remote controls or in some microwaves. In the absence of a secure element, the hardware sold by Archos can not be considered safe or meets the security requirements set by trusted authorities such as the GlobalPlatform consortium.

Contacted, Ledger told Numerama the difference between his technology and that used by Archos. Charles Guillemet, Chief Security Officer of the French Startup explains: "The STM32 [used by Archos] was designed for basic electronics, especially with low-power applications and there is no countermeasure against all known attacks. It is therefore possible to extract sensitive data from an STM32. On the Nano S, it is preferred to such a chip the use of a secure element resistant to sophisticated attacks.


Ledger recalls that its EAL5 + certified smart card is theoretically immune against hidden channel attacks, fault attacks, or physical attacks. A property related to the very nature of the hardware used that is lacking in the Archos Safe-T.

According to our information, the Safe-T could actually be a modified version of Trezor's portfolio, Ledger's main competitor. When asked about this topic, Archos did not answer. It is an open source technology that would have been easy for the French company to take over the code and electrical design.

The latter stands out on two points of the Nano S: an absence of secure element, specified above, and the lack of support for applications, strength of the program of Ledger in terms of security.

This is not necessarily a bad product: the Trezor has already found many buyers and some prefer it to the Nano S. Nevertheless, in absolute terms, they are products with very different characteristics.

The software that should accompany the Safe-T is very similar to the one Trezor produces for its own portfolio. It appears that the French brand marginally alters the open source project for the French market. At Ledger, Charles Guillemet evokes the similarities between the two projects and decides: "I do not think that this Safe-T represents a major innovation on the hardware wallet market".

The third actor of the Safe-T, after Archos and Trezor, is DomRaider. Nevertheless, the interest of the alliance of Archos with DomRaider seems rather obscure: this French company has managed its foray into the world of the blockchain, but does not seem to have particular skills to help the manufacture of the wallet.

She is looking to create a blockchain dedicated to Ethereum based auction. Note that the company, Clermont, was pinned by some observers for the opacity with which it conducted its ICO.

In the Journal du Net, Antoine Yeretzian, co-founder of Blockchain Partner, fired: "We do not say that they are thieves or that they are dishonest people, but that they exploit the vein a little too much". The expert from the young Parisian firm regretted the lack of transparency of the company as to the sums it raised at its ICO.

Even today, DomRaider does not indicate how many millions of homemade tokens sold. These tokens will also be at the heart of Archos' sales strategy as they will be distributed to the first buyers in the portfolio. DomRaider says: "The portfolio will be available from June 2018, priced at € 49.99. DomRaider, for its part, offers € 50 in DRT (DomRaider Token) to the first purchasers of the Safe-T mini limited edition. "

The DRT will be one of four cryptocurrency supported by the portfolio. A still weak compatibility with the figures advanced by both Trezor and Ledger that touch the twenty or so cryptocurrencies.