French startup Ledger has added more money 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 today’s exchange rate). And the company is adding another €100 million ($108 million) in new funding.
This is an extension round as the valuation of the company isn’t changing — €1.3 billion ($1.41 billion at today’s exchange rate). In the current funding environment, raising at the same valuation is already quite impressive.
Once again, the company has managed to line up a long list of investors. New investors in the company include True Global Ventures, Digital Finance Group and VaynerFund. Some existing investors are also investing in Ledger once 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 offer a high level of security. The company’s current devices are shaped like USB keys and feature a tiny 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. When you want to send some crypto tokens, you have to use another device like a computer or a smartphone. When you enter the public address of the recipient in the Ledger Live app, you have to validate the transaction with the private key. That’s why you need to turn on your Ledger wallet and confirm the transaction.
When you first boot up your Ledger device, the company asks you to write down a 24-word recovery phrase on a piece of paper. You should then store this recovery phrase in a safe place as it allows you (or someone else) to recover your wallet in case you lose your Ledger wallet.
And it’s true that having a secure wallet doesn’t 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 obtain recovery phrases.
To be fair, other wallets have been targeted by similar phishing campaigns. For instance, 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 switching to other recovery methods, such as Argent and ZenGo.
Ledger’s flagship product is the Ledger Nano S Plus. It’s the most recent iteration of the Ledger Nano S. It has a small black-and-white display, two buttons and a USB-C port to plug the device to your computer and turn it on. It costs $79.
Ledger also sells the Ledger Nano X. It looks a lot like the Ledger Nano S Plus, but it has a built-in battery and a Bluetooth chip. This way, users can connect a Ledger Nano X to a smartphone using Bluetooth.
More recently, the company unveiled the Ledger Stax. Designed in partnership with Tony Fadell, this high-end wallet costs $279 and features a large E Ink display similar to a Kindle display. Just like other Ledger wallets, you can use it to sign transactions. But users will also be able to manage NFT collections.
The display wraps around the body of the device, which means that the name of the wallet remains visible even if you stack Ledger wallets — crypto millionaires often have multiple Ledger devices to separate assets across several wallets.
As it’s an E Ink display, the name of the wallet remains visible even when the device is turned off or the battery is empty. The company expects to ship the first Ledger Stax devices to its customers at some point in the next two months.
Ledger has sold 6 million devices since its inception in 2014. And that trend isn’t slowing down as the FTX debacle showed once again that your crypto assets could 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 hardware business that is performing really well, 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 revenue from Ledger Live. The company offers staking opportunities and integration with third-party products. But the company’s main products remain its hardware wallets as Ledger estimates that it secures 20% of cryptocurrencies and 30% of NFTs worldwide.