CoinDesk's Most Influential 2023 nominated 50 people who shaped the digital assets space this year, which includes Pascal Gauthier, CEO and chairman of crypto wallet maker Ledger.
Point Desk's most influential list recognizes 50 people who defined the year in crypto. Our first guest did just that in his position at the helm of one of the largest and most trusted hardware developers in the industry. Ledger joining us now is Ledger Ceo Pascal Gautier. Welcome to the show. Pascal. Thank you for having me. Of course. Thanks for being here. Now, we're gonna talk about Ledger all of its developments over the past year in just a moment, but we got to get your reaction to the markets. What do you make of Bitcoin slipping to $42,000 from last week's yearly high? I appreciate you guys asking me this question every time. Um My answer is always the same. Uh Ledger is a security company. We, we don't look at the price, we focus on security and ease of use. That's our mission for the market and that's regardless of the price, price action up and down doesn't mean anything for us. Security is all that matters for Ledger Pascal. We're gonna continue asking you the question so we, we appreciate your, your cantor and you could keep coming back. Uh All right, let's talk about Ledger. Um Ledger Recover. It was one of the big stories this year. There was a little bit of a controversy around the product earlier this year, but it did launch um in October, talk to us about the decisions that you made uh from that controversy that led you to launching in October. Did you make any changes with Pr marketing? What are the kinds of conversations you were having internally? Sure. That's, that's a great question. Uh Look when there is a controversy like this, you as a CEO and as a company, you have to decipher, you know, the good from the bad feedback. Um And there was a lot of good feedback that we've taken in consideration. Uh And typically, this is why we delayed the launch from sort of uh April May that it was supposed to be at the beginning until uh when we actually launched like a few weeks ago. Uh And the, the main feedback that we've taken in consideration is to make, you know, ledger much more open source and typically let to make Ledger recover uh open source. Like, you know, people were asking for open source in terms of not, not so much in terms of security because open source doesn't give you more security, more but more in terms of transparency. Uh There were questions around the security of ledger recover around what ledger recovery could do and to, to, to bring it to the market open source with a way to, to, to answer these fair questions. And um and then, you know, there was some, some feedback that was not so good. Uh It's just thought uh and, and the problem that we have in this market right now, uh And, and we need to find a solution around that is to, to limit uh the, the, the, you know, the f like the fear that people are trying to, to promote around crypto because that's just bad for, for mass adoption. Uh The more we uh we spread uh fear on the, on the social networks based on, on nothing. Uh the uh uh you know, it, it's not a good thing for the evolution of, of crypto. And so for us, it was a decision to ignore what was just a pure fear and, you know, sort of educate the market on what security is and, and this is our role, we are the top security company in the space. And so we have to do more education for sure and also to, to respond positively to the, to the fair and constructive feedback. And so this, this has been a process internally and, you know, we, we, you know, it was sure that we're going to launch a product, but also, you know, uh when it's good and constructive feedback, you have to take it into consideration. So, uh uh stepping back, how has this actually, how many units have you sold of this, of Ledger Recover. Yeah. Yeah. So we're in the process of launching the product and, you know, typically Ledger. No, no, it, it is launched. But, you know, when you, when you launch a service, you know, it's a step by step process. Like, you know, you have to, you have to plug it. It's been out for a while. I mean, you have sales numbers. So, WW what do they look like? I mean, how, how and, and what's been your cost? Uh your uh your margins here, your cost of acquisitions uh for this. Yeah, I appreciate all your questions, but it's typically we, we don't dwell into these details like, you know, we're a private company and so therefore we only communicate and one number is a number of devices that we've sold since Deception of Ledger, that's 6.5 million. The rest is uh private concerns. What I can tell you is the service is, you know, the recover itself, the recover, recover itself, separate product, right? It's its own thing. What, how, how has that been doing? Uh numbers wise if you have 6.5 million, what percent, what percent of that is recovered? Yeah, we never discussed like details of like the different business units that we have. So the only answer I can give you on this is between the, the, the, the pr nightmare that we went through uh and the actual launch of the of the product, it's night and day. Ok. So the, the product is actually doing pretty good. Uh We will in time communicate to, you know, how well it's doing, we're in the process of launching the product. And so there are several steps right now, there is, uh you know, the product is at maturity, but in terms of marketing, CRM, et cetera, we, we're launching everything. Uh and uh and the reception is pretty good, what we are looking at. So to, to, to answer like a bit, your question a bit more directly. What we're looking at is the attached rates of uh of ledger recover for, for new users. So when you buy a device and you attach uh led recovery, it's a percentage and we're looking at this what we had in mind, uh We actually exceeding in terms of at that rate where we had in mind. And you know, remember one thing, the reason why we launched Ledger recovery is what's that? I would, I would, I, I'm not going to give you a percentage if I don't, I'm not doing my job, of course. And I give you the answer. This is this is more relevant than, than the price action, of course, for sure. No, I agree. But so the percentage is good and we will communicate. So we'll do another show and I'll give you all the numbers. But right now we are, we are building this, the attached rate is very good. But what it shows is that this product was not sort of designed for the original Gangsters of Crypto. And we knew that like, you know, we never launch this product, thinking the original Gangster of Crypto actually need this. The product is needed actually for new users. And for the wave that is going to come in terms of, you know, bull market in the next 200 millions of users that want to be in self custody, but don't want to deal uh with their 24 words. So the attached rate being very good is actually a good sign for, for, for what's coming and I promise you we'll do another show and I'll give you all the numbers, but we can do that in six months. Gangs of crypto, yeah, when you say original Gangsters of crypto, I'm thinking Saman and freed and, and dow and things like that. But that's said I'm talking about the legitimate oh geez, like, you know, people that have been crypto for a long time, they know how to handle the 24 words. So they don't need the service and that's OK. And we always said he was OK. Was it worth, was it worth the hassle? I mean, this, this as you, as you mentioned, it was a, it was apr nightmare. Uh And, and the reason I'm asking about units sold and, and added on et cetera is if, if it's, if it was a kind of like a small business. It's kind of a, an extra add on. Nice to have sort of thing, but it created m more of a backlash that it have you at what point do you go? You know what it wasn't worth it? Do you think it, do you think that launching it recover ultimately is worth the hassle that, that you, that you suffered? Well, 100%. Yes. And for two reasons why, once, number one, it's not because you have apr crisis that, you know, pr crisis doesn't actually mean that your company is at risk. Pr crisis is apr crisis, you have to deal with it. I can tell you that whatever happened with the recovery launch have no impact on Ledger whatsoever. Very minimum at the time that it happened and zero impact today, you know, whatever happens on Twitter happens on Twitter that day and two weeks after everybody has forgotten about this. So, you know, uh I would say that the impact on Ledger of whatever f there was at the time is, is very minimum. And I think, you know, when we make a decision and you know, Ledger is a company that wants to lead when we make a decision. You know, we think about the decision before we make it and then we, we go for it. And so for us, it's no, it was never a question to go to market with something. And then second guess ourselves after, uh, we hit the market with it, uh, adapt it and, you know, the story that I tell you and, you know, making sure it was more open source. Of course, that's ok and delay the launch is perfectly acceptable. But we certainly, we don't second guess ourselves. Lastly, I would say that in the market right now, there are many new players that are coming in and they're coming in with like some form of Ledger recover. You know, if you do self custody, you have to understand that to keep the 24 words on a piece of paper on the metal plate, that's not future proof. And so how, however you're gonna, you're gonna try to solve the problem like you need to come up with something, we came up with Ledger recover. You know, the future will tell us whether it was a good idea or not, but it's certainly not a problem for our business today. The business is doing really well and since the the market's recovery a little bit, you know, the business of Ledger is doing extremely well. Uh And uh, we'll have the chat again in six months and I'll tell you how recover has been successful. But I can already tell you that I think the conversation we're going to have in six months is very positive for Ledger Pascal. I know you don't want to talk about sales sales data. We, we'll be back in six months to talk about Ledger recover. But I got to ask you, Ledger reported one of the highest single days of sales after the implosion of FTX. Did you see an uptake in sales after Binance pleaded guilty to the charges from the DOJ? Interestingly enough. No, uh a little bit but not to, you know, the magnitude of FTX. I think, you know, to, to looking back on, on what happened with FTX, I think the, the, the the sales that we saw uh sort of when FTX happened and post FTX were not just FTX users, they were like a bunch of exchanges users that understood the concept of not your keys, not your coins. Um And I think the wave of Binance users uh understanding this was already, you know, uh at that moment. Uh And so when the doj and the Binance thing happened, we saw a little uptake but, but nothing like what we saw for STX. All right. And lastly, as you've described, recover is really for that next wave of crypto users, but something most crypto companies are struggling with is how to attract that next wave of crypto users and keep them engaged. How is ledger thinking about that? Uh moving into 2024? Man, that's a great question. Um The, the way that we're thinking about it, you know, it's, it's always a bit of the same recipe. I think education is number one. we are, you know, in, in terms of marketing, we're focusing a lot on education. Uh And then we're focusing a lot of, a lot on branding, uh you know, to, to, to make sure that users recognize our brand. Uh And I think this is the two pillars of uh how do you attract new users? Um Up until now, you know, when users, users come to crypto first, they go to, to an exchange, they buy crypto and then they, they wonder about self custody and then they come to Ledger, what we're going to try to do in 24. And what we've been working on since 21 and the fundraising is to, you know, change Ledger into just like a buy and hold kind of, you know, product and technology to now you can do everything with Ledger, you can, you know, buy a Bitcoin, swap them, et cetera, et cetera and you know, take them and most of the services that we added into Ledger are getting increasingly popular. Uh we with, with, with our users and I think uh what we'll try to uh present to users in 24 is the fact that you can actually start your journey with Ledger. Uh And so still based on sort of education and uh and brand awareness, but with the message that now you can start your journey with Ledger. All right, Pascal, we are going to have to wrap it there. Thank you very much for joining us. Congratulations. On being one of the most influential folks in the space. And if we don't chat to you before next year, happy holidays, guys. Thank you for pushing me so hard. I really enjoyed it. Have great holidays. Thank you. Thank you. That was Ledger Ceo Pascal Gauthier. Check out coin desk.com/most influential 2023 for our full list.