The market for cryptocurrency has seen better times as Bitcoin struggles to stay above $4,000 and crypto hedge funds shut up shop. But one corner of the market seems to be weathering the downturn just fine: Ledger, which makes crypto hardware wallets, says sales are just fine.
“I’m happy to report Black Friday ’18 was almost on par with Black Friday ’17,” Pascal Gauthier, President of hardware maker Ledger, told Jen Wieczner when he dropped by our Balancing the Ledger studio this week.
While Black Friday sales may not reflect the health of the wallet market, let alone that of the larger crypto industry, Gauthier’s anecdote does come as a rare bit of encouraging news.
Gauthier attributes the ongoing interest in hardware wallets (which he describes in the video above) to big institutions entering the crypto market. Unlike the run-and-gun attitudes that prevailed during last year’s crypto mania, Gauthier says these companies treat security as a paramount priority, and added that new crypto projects are laser-focused on security as well.
In a crypto environment where hacks and heists are still common, people see hardware wallets as especially secure because they are a way to store funds on a physical device rather than online. (They do, however, give rise to risks of kidnapping—read about this caper involving a dumb crypto crook and a Ruby Tuesdays).
Gauthier added that Ledger’s customers also include law enforcement agencies, which are increasingly confiscating crypto funds from criminals. Hardware wallets like Ledger’s flagship Nano S provide a way for these agencies to hold the funds.
While Ledger’s customer base consists of individual crypto holders, the company also sells directly to businesses through Ledger Vault, its new B2B unit. Gauthier also said the company is exploring ways to offer its distinct security features in other areas, including the emerging Internet-of-Things economy.
Asked to describe the mood during the current bear market, Gauthier acknowledged people are discouraged but also took a long view.
“The mood always follows the price,” he said. “People sometimes forget these all new technologies are very new. You shouldn’t ask too much from new technologies.”