Image Credits: Ledger
French startup Ledger has added more cash to its Series C funding round. The company designs and manufactures so-called hardware wallets to secure crypto assets. In 2021, the company raised €356 million ($385 million at the current exchange rate). And the company is adding another €100 million ($108 million) in new funding.
This is an extension round as the company’s valuation remains unchanged – €1.3 billion ($1.41 billion at the current exchange rate). In the current funding environment, raising at the same valuation is already quite impressive.
Once again, the company has managed to get a long list of investors lined up. New investors in the company include True Global Ventures, Digital Finance Group and VaynerFund. Some existing investors are also investing in Ledger again, such as 10T, Cité Gestion Private Bank, Cap Horn, Morgan Creek, Cathay Innovation, Korelya Capital and Molten Ventures.
Ledger’s main products are hardware crypto wallets that provide a high level of security. The company’s current devices are shaped like USB keys and feature a small screen to confirm transactions on the device.
Hardware wallets are secure by design because the private key of the crypto wallet never leaves the device — it is stored in a certified secure chip. If you want to send some crypto tokens, you have to use another device, such as a computer or a smartphone. When you enter the recipient’s public address in the Ledger Live app, you must validate the transaction with the private key. Therefore, you need to turn on your Ledger wallet and confirm the transaction.
When you first power up your Ledger device, the company asks you to write a 24-word recovery phrase on a piece of paper. Then keep this recovery phrase in a safe place so that you (or someone else) can recover your wallet in case you lose your Ledger wallet.
And it is true that having a secure wallet does not prevent scams. In July 2020, Ledger discovered a data breach of personal information stored in an e-commerce and marketing database. It led to phishing campaigns with scammers trying to get their hands on recovery phrases.
To be fair, other wallets have been targeted by similar phishing campaigns. For example, MetaMask users should never share their wallet seed phrase for the same reason. Some companies are moving away from this single point of failure by moving to other recovery methods, such as Argent and ZenGo.
Ledger’s showpiece is the Ledger Nano S Plus. It’s the most recent iteration of the Ledger Nano S. It has a small black and white screen, two buttons, and a USB-C port to connect the device to your computer and power it on. It costs $79.
Ledger also sells the Ledger Nano X. It is very similar to the Ledger Nano S Plus, but has a built-in battery and a Bluetooth chip. For example, users can connect a Ledger Nano X to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
More recently, the company unveiled the Ledger Stax. Designed in collaboration with Tony Fadell, this high-quality wallet costs $279 and features a large E Ink display that resembles a Kindle display. Like other Ledger wallets, you can use it to sign transactions. But users can also manage NFT collections.
The display wraps around the body of the device, meaning the wallet name remains visible even if you stack Ledger wallets – crypto millionaires often have multiple Ledger devices to segregate assets across different wallets.
Because it is an E Ink display, the name of the wallet remains visible, even when the device is off or the battery is empty. The company expects to ship the first Ledger Stax devices to its customers sometime in the next two months.
Ledger has sold 6 million devices since its launch in 2014. And that trend isn’t slowing down, as the FTX debacle showed once again that your crypto assets can disappear overnight if you leave them on a crypto exchange. The company sold 1 million devices between June 2022 and February 2023.
In addition to this high-performing hardware business, the company offers enterprise solutions to secure crypto assets with governance and treasury management features. The enterprise platform also offers some DeFi and NFT management features.
Ledger also generates income from Ledger Live. The company offers stakeout capabilities and integration with third-party products. But the company’s main products remain its hardware wallets, as Ledger estimates it secures 20% of cryptocurrencies and 30% of NFTs worldwide.