BeInCrypto recently caught up with Ledger President Pascal Gauthier at Paris Blockchain Week to discuss the Ledger Nano X, cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain ecosystem in France. Here’s what he had to say!
Editor’s Note: Pascal Gauthier has been appointed CEO of Ledger, as of the time of this publication.
Pour la version originale de cette interview en français, cliquez ici.
Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
I am the President of Ledger. I started my career in online advertising, including accompanying Pierre Chapaz in the Kelkoo adventure, which was then sold to Yahoo. I also worked for Criteo, which I helped deploy worldwide as a COO until it entered Nasdaq.
I have been in the crypto world since 2014. That year I launched Kaiko, a business specialized in the market data — à la Bloomberg, but crypto side.
Mid-2017, starting from the observation of a lack of information and especially a lack of security in the crypto industry, I joined Ledger, which best answers (from my point-of-view) these challenges for the end users.
You have postponed the launch of your new product the Ledger Nano X — initially scheduled for early April. What happened?
We had a problem on the production side, on which we communicated transparently with our customers. The delivery will finally take place at the end of May.
The wait will be rewarded since the Nano X brings a lot of improvements compared to the previous model, the Nano S — including, above all else, Bluetooth connectivity and improved “smart card” technology, which makes it possible to run more apps at the same time.
The Ledger Nano S has been a huge success. How many copies have been sold in total, and do you think you can replicate this success with the new Nano X?
Sales of the Ledger Nano S is a feat, with 1.5 million units sold. The device even pranced in Amazon US’ top hardware.
It’s hard to say if the Nano X will meet the same success, as it benefited from an extremely favorable context — with the bull run and the craze aroused at that time. If the current market persists, it is likely that sales of Nano X will not equal those of the Nano S.
That said, in case of new bull run, users that are currently dormant will come back to us. We can already see it on a smaller scale — when the price of Bitcoin rises, we see peaks in the use of our products.
Many specialized crypto companies have suffered from the bear market in 2018. Ledger announced that it had let go 10 percent of its workforce at the beginning of the year. Is the rest of 2019 looking more serene? Do you intend to diversify to better mitigate the crisis?
The cryptocurrency sector suffered and Ledger was no exception.
We have diversified with a B2B offering, Ledger Vault, which offers institutional investors the ability to secure their cryptocurrency portfolios — but, on the B2C side, our focus is the hardware wallet and the continuous improvement of our range.
How do you select the cryptocurrencies that you support on your devices? What is the next one?
Ledger’s proposal is to offer its users a real digital safe. Also, our products have an exhaustive vocation in terms of compatible assets. The idea is to support all communities.
How do we select them? There are two cases. Either our own developers take charge of the new support or we propose to the cryptocurrency developer community in question to take charge of it.
As for the next cryptocurrency supported, I have no announcement to make in this area — but our approach is transparent and the developments can be viewed online.
You are one of the few key players in the blockchain sector in France. Do you think that the eco-system is favorable in France for the emergence of future leaders in this industry? Does the current government really do everything possible to make France a Blockchain Nation?
The support of french government, on the executive side, is still insufficient. You know, I am on the board of three French companies in the sector so I have a good history and excellent visibility on the support of public authorities for blockchain companies.
The state’s arm in the financing of young companies is the BPI, the State Investment Bank. It alone can inject public capital into tricolor companies with high potential and, thus, create future technological champions. However, when it comes to injecting venture capital, the selection by the BPI is done undiscerningly and, in any case, not in favor of startups in blockchain!
BPI could put 100 million euros on the table to help Ledger grow and be more aggressive in such a strategic market. This is exactly what the Chinese and Russian authorities are doing, and it works. In France, the government makes beautiful speeches but the acts do not follow. Cédric O, the new secretary of state for digital, claims that France wants to position itself as a pioneer on the blockchain. I’m still waiting for him to give me a phone call! I have already called him out, especially on Twitter, without a response from him. No minister, past or present, has sought to get in touch with us.
There are public representatives who are interested in Ledger, we have been invited by MPs to parliamentary committees, we are in contact with the AMF, etc. On the other hand, there is still nothing convincing on the ministry side that is likely to create “French Giants of Blockchain.” So I ask the question: what does the government propose to help Ledger?!
What do you think about the state of blockchain technology in France? Will the Ledger Nano X outsell the Nano S? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!