Ledger, a security-focused firm that sells crypto hardware wallets, has partnered with the designer behind the iPod, Tony Fadell, in hopes of creating an easier, more accessible way for users to secure their crypto assets.
Crypto hardware wallets have gained traction in recent weeks, thanks to users wanting to self-custody their digital assets after industry-changing events like crypto exchange FTX exploding and halting customers from withdrawing their assets. Ledger’s chief experience officer, Ian Rogers, said the company had its biggest sales day ever, which ended its biggest sales week ever, in mid-November after FTX collapsed, which signals the demand for hardware crypto wallets is rising.
The eight-year-old company has sold more than 5 million devices to consumers across 200 countries and secures about 20% of the global crypto assets being held to date, it said. The newest product, Ledger Stax, joins existing hardware products like Nano S Plus and Nano X.
“It’s fun and easy to use, which is important,” Fadell said to TechCrunch. “It wasn’t just about the hardware design, but we looked at all the customer journey from opening the website to this and reimagined all this to step up the experience not just for people who understand crypto but to invite more people into the fold.”
Earlier this year, Ledger partnered with $1.5 billion venture capital firm Cathay Innovation to launch a $110 million fund dedicated to securing crypto assets. Last year, it raised $380 million in a funding round led by 10T Holdings, valuing Ledger at $1.5 billion at the time.
“The Ledger Nano is more like the iPod shuffle and we were missing that sexier, better device,” Rogers said to TechCrunch. “The screen gives a much easier onramp and usability. I can set this thing up from box to set up in a minute, which is not as easy to do with [the Ledger Nano.]”
The new credit card-sized crypto wallet can manage NFT collections as well as over 500 coins and digital assets.
“What we’re doing with digital assets is much more complex now,” Rogers said. “People are signing smart contracts, managing digital products and not just sending digital currencies anymore. You need ease of use with screen real estate so you can be more communicative.”
It has an E Ink display similar to a Kindle that can showcase holders’ NFTs even when the device is off. The battery can last for weeks or even months on one battery charge, Ledger stated.
“I was envisioning what the future of digital assets would look like and I came up with this idea of what the next generational [wallet] would look like,” Fadell said. “I was using all these competitor devices, but when they’re all turned off, they’re blank slates like your phone. You don’t know what’s on them. There’s a lot of people who are using multiple devices for NFTs, crypto, etc., but want it in one place.”
The name Stax also relates to the products’ integrated magnets, which makes it stackable for those who own more than one.
“I’m really jazzed that we can expand the audience but we also put emotion into the device,” Fadell said. Stax has sound, wireless charging and communicative functionalities, he added. “All of these little touches make it feel like a true consumer-friendly device.”
The product will be available for $279 in the first quarter of 2023 on the company’s website or at retail stores like Best Buy in the U.S. The first 10,000 products sold will come with a free NFT that can be redeemed, Rogers said.
Here are the nitty-gritty details:
- Dimensions: 85 mm × 54 mm × 6 mm (credit card length and width)
- Security: Ledger EAL 5+ certified secure element
- Screen type: E Ink (up to 16 grays), customizable always-on lock screen, capacitive touch
- Screen resolution: 672 × 400 pixels
- Weight: 45 g
- Connectivity: USB C, Bluetooth 5.2
- Magnet array for easy stacking
- Qi wireless charging