If there is one company that sums up the ecosystem much more than the exchange platforms, it is Ledger.
"Our customers are individuals who place a premium on the sovereignty they exercise over their data," says its boss Pascal Gauthier. "Being in crypto means using their private keys, keeping them, interacting in DeFi or NFTs. And for each of these operations, Ledger makes it possible to do so in complete security."
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Bolstered by the collapse of FTX in November, the French heavyweight recently announced historic sales. So much so that the threshold of 6 million units sold has been crossed for the Nano, the small devices that ensure the preservation of digital assets.
According to the company, 10 to 15% of people who keep their own private keys are equipped with Ledger hardware.
There are probably more people who use our products than those who use protocols like Aave," says Pascal Gauthier. "Winning this award does not surprise me at all because it represents the attachment and the meaning that people give to our company.
Its success extends far beyond France, making Ledger one of the rare industrial success stories in a sector where the virtual reigns.
The company has been a unicorn since 2021 and its latest fundraising of $380 million is a testament to its growing influence. It is also regularly cited by the French government to highlight the country's influence in new technologies.
The year 2023 will be placed under the sign of the Stax, its new high-end device which is expected to be released in the first half of the year. More elegant, more expensive (279 euros), equipped with a screen to display its NFTs, this product is a new attempt to seduce a wider audience.
"We stopped pre-orders until this summer because we had a lot of them and we have to be able to deliver them," explains Pascal Gauthier. "If we compare it to other launches we have done, the Stax is three to ten times more successful, both in terms of the number of units sold and in terms of turnover," he continues.
The company (which has its own assembly plant in Vierzon) has given itself every chance to succeed with the Stax by offering the services of Tony Fadell, known for having designed the iPod.
The parallel with the American multinational often comes up in the mouth of Pascal Gauthier, who wants to reproduce with the wallet what Apple has succeeded with the phone. Clearly, a tool that can store all digital content that has value: cryptos, NFTs, tokenized assets, etc.
"Our vision is that the entire financial infrastructure will migrate to blockchain technologies," Ledger co-founder Eric Larchevêque told The Big Whale in late January. "Today, our main challenge is to move forward on the user experience while maintaining a maximum level of security. In this ten-year vision, the challenge is not to sell 2 million Nano or Stax, but to sell more than 100 million and equip the whole world."