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Introducing the New Polkadot Ledger App

July 3, 2024 in Decentralization, Ecosystem
Avatarby Polkadot

In a monumental step forward, the Polkadot ecosystem is set to transform user experience and transaction security with the launch of the new Polkadot Ledger app. Proposed, supported, and funded by the Polkadot community, the new Polkadot Ledger app will enable users to interact with Polkadot and all its parachains within one single app, further advancing the entire ecosystem towards secure, seamless interoperability.

Launched on July 1, 2024, the new Polkadot app is now available on Ledger Live for all Ledger devices. At launch, Polkadot, Kusama, and all system chains are fully compatible, with parachains to follow in due course. To stay updated on which parachains become compatible, check out this dashboard created by Parity Technologies.

Community Redefines Security

At the core of Polkadot’s resilient network is its decentralized community empowered to propose, fund, and develop critical solutions. Nearly a year ago, Referendum #62, called “Metadata for offline signers," led by Alzymologist Oy and Zondax, emerged after many in the community voiced the need for a secure, universal Ledger app for Polkadot and its parachains.

Achieving a groundbreaking 93% approval vote by the Polkadot community, Referendum #62 included a comprehensive set of solutions for offline signing—a method for securing transactions by signing them offline to prevent online exposure—that would support Polkadot system chains and all Polkadot SDK-based parachains, without being affected by runtime upgrades. 

Since then, an ecosystem-wide engineering initiative combining expertise from Zondax, Polkadot Fellow and Parity Engineer Bastian Köcher, multiple Parity Technologies teams, Nova Wallet, Talisman, Subwallet, and PAPI, along with close collaboration with Ledger, has culminated in the creation of the new Polkadot Ledger app.

Upgrades Driving the App

Offline signing has long been a cornerstone of secure blockchain transactions. However, it poses challenges, particularly in handling large, complex metadata and ensuring its authenticity. To overcome these technical hurdles associated with offline signing in the Polkadot ecosystem, the Polkadot Fellowship proposed RFC 78, "Merkleized Metadata," providing the framework to handle metadata efficiently and without compromising security or performance.

The following key improvements paved the way for making the new Polkadot Ledger app possible:

  1. Metadata integration into transaction signatures: Metadata used to decode a transaction at the time of signing becomes part of the transaction itself, ensuring a transparent and secure offline-signing interface.
  2. A Merkle tree structure to reduce metadata size: To make offline signing feasible for small devices, such as Ledger devices, a Merkle tree structure breaks down the metadata into manageable chunks. The Merkle tree approach also enables secure, verifiable transactions.
  3. Dynamic metadata parsing for universal compatibility: Users can interact securely and efficiently with all chains on the Polkadot network, regardless of their hardware’s capabilities.
  4. Extended signature: Reduces overhead and improves security by not needing to include the Merkle tree root in each transaction.

Why It Matters

The new Polkadot Ledger app marks a major milestone in technical advancement and accessibility by enabling metadata integration and verification. Users can now securely manage their digital assets across the entire Polkadot ecosystem, including system chains and parachains, all within a single unified app.

Santi Balaguer from Parity Technologies, who’s been instrumental in the app's development, stated on X, “Polkadot today takes another big step into secure, seamless interoperability for users. This new Polkadot Ledger app helps make Polkadot a cohesive ecosystem while adding a security layer for users.”

Get started with the new Polkadot Ledger app

  1. Download the app: For new users, the app is available for download in the My Ledger tab within Ledger Live
  2. Migration app: Existing users will need to migrate their accounts and assets to the new Polkadot app by using the Migration App in Ledger Live
  3. Supported wallets: Talisman, SubWallet, and Nova Wallet have been updated to support the new Polkadot app
  4. Transaction signing: The new app will automatically handle the new metadata protocol, ensuring secure and verifiable interactions

Experience the New Standard — The Polkadot Way

The new Polkadot Ledger app marks a significant leap in user experience and security. By tackling the critical challenges in offline signing and metadata management, this app sets the standard for usability and security across the Polkadot blockchain landscape. Funded by the Polkadot treasury, this development showcases the true power of decentralized collaboration. The journey has only begun. As the Polkadot ecosystem expands, the advancements realized will shape the trajectory of what’s to come. Experience streamlined accessibility like never before. Try the new Polkadot Ledger app today.

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