At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Coinstelrgram Agency CEO Anna Tutova interviewed Pascal Gauthier, founder, and CEO of Ledger Wallet project. Ledger is a unique digital security ecosystem that provides protection and is built on verifiable trust across people, hardware and software.
“Pascal started his career at Kelkoo, a price comparison service acquired by Yahoo for EUR 475 million in 2004. He then joined the advertising company Criteo in 2008 where he worked for five years as COO, being instrumental in the pivot to advertising, which led to the company’s global expansion towards a EUR 2.17 billion market capitalization. Before being CEO at Ledger, Pascal worked as Venture Partner in Mosaic Ventures, a London based venture capital firm focusing on Series A stage companies. Pascal is also non-executive chairman of Kaiko, a financial data website on Bitcoin” — Ledger.com
It`s really great to meet you because I use Ledger-wallet myself and now we are meeting you in person. So can you tell us, how did you get first into the blockchain industry, and how did the idea of Ledger Wallet come?
So, first of all, thank you for using our product, I hope you’re a happy customer. I did not personally come up with the idea of the Ledger Wallet. Actually, Ledger was founded by 8 people and some of them are specialists of chip-and-pin technology in the SIM card that you have in your bank card or that you have in your telecommunication, and they applied the same technology to protecting crypto secrets. I joined the crypto community at the end of 2014, maybe because I thought this was the next big disruption in technology, and I just wanted to be part of the game. I didn’t know what to do in the beginning, but I met amazing people. I was the first investor at Ledger and I was non-executive to start, then I joined the team, and they trusted me the role of CEO six months ago. And so that’s what I’m doing now at Ledger.
How do you compete with other wallets, what are the distinctions of Ledger Wallet?
Yeah, so first of all the name of the company is “Ledger” and what we do is we have a consumer value proposition with the Nano S or Nano X that’s the hardware wallet that we’ve been known for, we sold 1.7 million units in more than a hundred sixty-five countries so it’s been a big hit in the market. But the same core technology of Ledger applies in different domains and so we have an enterprise value proposition for Ledger Wallets, we have an industrial value proposition called “Ledger origin” and the principle is always the same: when you have critical digital assets than have the same endpoint weakness which means the private key protection. And we are in the business of protecting the private key, making Bitcoin and cryptocurrency easy to use and bringing governance to this industry. And so, therefore, we don’t have direct competitors in a spectrum of what we do, Ledger is a quite unique technology in the world. But if we speak more specifically about hardware wallets we have very cool competitors, that are doing also great products and we differ because we believe that we have the best security because we use a secure element inside everything that we do and a secure element has been designed specifically for security. So I think right now Ledger is best in class when it comes to security.
Do you continue to enhance the security of your wallets, and what are you currently working on?
Sure. I mean security is a “cat and mouse problem”. You have the bandits and you have good guys. So we are the good guys and you know the bandits are trying to be creative every day to steal from the good guys. And so our job is to make sure that we raise the bar continuously. We’re different ways of doing this but one of the cool ways that we do is we have inside Ledger something for the dungeon which is our white hats lab and we have an attack lab in Germany. And so continuously we hack our products, we hack competitor’s product, we hack our partners` product and we hacked it for the good of the industry because we just want everyone to trust to be better in terms of security. We believe that security is at the core of what the industry needs to grow and so we need to get better, but everyone needs to get better. So we try to help every other company to just improve the game and we do it even with our competitors so that they always know, if you find something, they can catch it and get better as well.
What was the biggest challenge for Ledger?
The biggest challenge always the same: it is executed in the volatile markets. The markets are moving up and down and so you have good sales one day, bad sales the other day. For CEO execution is everything. You might have a good product, but if you don’t have great execution, you don’t build a great company. So, great execution is key and great execution in the market that moves so much is extremely difficult. But I got to tell you one thing I kind of enjoy that. I think that you know it’s like when you’re on the ship if you’re captain, of course, it’s nice when there are a Sun and light breeze, but I like the storm and I’d like to be captain during the storm.
Have the sales of your wallets decreased now in comparison to May when the bitcoin price was again high?
We follow the crypto index, which is a combination of different things, not just the price. And you know our sales trend sort of following the index so when the index is really high we sell more, when the index is really low, we sell less, but overall we’re not complaining. And I think, you know, the Ledger has a good business and what is reassuring for me looking five-ten years from now is that we have happy customers. You are a happy customer so that makes me happy and this is the job that we need to do.
What are you doing here in Davos? I see you participate in different events, have you established any partnerships here?
Yes, I think Davos is a bit more than business, it is a sort of sustainability for the future, so we’re here to watch, learn. There is a huge crypto scene in Davos this year. And one of the main topics of the World Economic Forum is actually crypto and government coins, so this is was very important for us: to be here and of course, because the crypto scene is here, it is fantastic: we see friends, we see partners, we see clients and it’s very vibrant and back-to-back save ten minutes for you guys in the interview but really is the ten minutes that I had today. So I’m happy we’re doing this, thank you so much.