French Cryptocurrency Company Ledger valued at over $1 Billion

Ledger, a company launched in 2014 by experts in security and cryptocurrencies just became the 16th French startup to be worth more than $1 billion after raising a further $380 million in its latest funding round.

France’s Top Crypto Wallet Provider becomes the 16th Unicorn

Ledger, a company launched in 2014 by experts in security and cryptocurrencies just became the 16th French startup to be worth more than $1 billion after raising a further $380 million in its latest funding round. Alongside the big names in venture capital like Cathay Innovation, Draper Esprit and Felix Capital was Bernard Arnault. Currently the richest man in the world, he invested several million dollars into Ledger, giving a further boost to the company. Cryptocurrency has boomed in recent years, with Bitcoin even being adopted as legal currency in El Salvador. With this additional funding Ledger is planning to position itself as the industry leader in cryptocurrency hardware wallets.

Cold Storage Offline Solutions for Hot Online Currencies

Cryptocurrency wallets store a user’s public and private keys and allow them to interface with the blockchains of various cryptocurrencies to send or receive money, and monitor their balance. Trading cryptocurrencies works by using a combination of public and private keys. When a person sends a cryptocurrency token like Bitcoin the private key on the receiver’s wallet must match the public address of the currency. If it does, the balance increases. No physical storage or ownership takes place, the transaction is simply a record on the blockchain.

‘Wallets’ are so named as they provide a metaphorical ‘storage’ for these tokens. They can be software programs that are accessible from a PC, phone or other device or a physical medium like Ledger provides. The company’s two products – the Ledger Nano X and Nano S – are known as ‘hardware wallets,’ the safest form of cryptocurrency wallet. While the Blockchain technology itself is extremely secure, a service provider that lets you access your private key from anywhere is a comparatively easy target for cyber-attacks. Hardware wallets offer an additional level of security in that private keys are kept on an offline hardware device like a USB. To access your wallet, the USB must be plugged into an internet-enabled device and a security pin entered. Without physical access to the hardware and the knowledge of the security pin, your currency cannot be accessed.

A Rocky Ride through Data Breaches and Fake Products

Hardware wallets are in high demand because of the security they offer. In theory if a user lost their wallet, or the hardware failed, then all cryptocurrency stored on it would become completely inaccessible. To balance usability and security, Ledger provides a recovery option through the use of a 24-word security phrase. However, this has led to the company coming under attack.

In July 2020 customer information was compromised, and in December of the same year it was revealed that 272,000 names and addresses of people who ordered Ledger devices were leaked. While none of this was able to compromise any of the cryptocurrencies or affect customer balances, creative scammers began sending out fake Ledger hardware that included malicious software in hopes of gaining Ledger customer’s 24-word recovery codes, which they can then use to import the customer’s wallet into a genuine Ledger product and access the cryptocurrency within.

Only the beginning for Ledger

Despite the fact that passing $1 billion in value is a huge achievement for any company, Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Ledger is not celebrating. He has stated in interviews that the market will be huge and that the company is aiming for a value of over $100 billion. Ledger will face strong competition to reach that valuation. Austrian crypto-trading platform Bitpanda was recently valued at $1.2 billion and software-wallet provider was valued at $5.2 billion. Meanwhile, other startups in the industry are already well on their way to Ledger’s target number. Coinbase, the first NASDAQ-listed cryptocurrency company entered the market valued at $85 billion. Whether Ledger reaches the lofty target set by the CEO is yet to be seen, but Gauthier is certainly right about the size of the market.

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