L’Agefi: On the occasion of the 8th edition of BpiFrance Inno Generation, the Minister of Digital Jean-Noël Barrot illustrated the “digital makeoverfrom France highlighting the importance of Ledger for the city of Vierzon. Ledger becoming more and more international, what does this city represent today for you?
Pascal Gautier: That’s about a hundred jobs. For the moment, Vierzon is our logistics center but also our assembly center. But tomorrow, it will be less and less, in particular because we are going to increase the production rates of our products abroad; in Vietnam, Taiwan or Poland.
Today we send all our digital wallets from Vierzon. 20% of FedEx packages going to the United States from France are Ledger digital wallets. Vierzon is a dry port, the 7th in France. We also have developers there.
How do you explain the recent giant hacks that have hit the crypto ecosystem in recent months?
Computer security requires a lot of research and development, and must constantly be updated. For example, the hack that Binance fell victim to was very high level. Even the Dungeon, the nickname given to Ledger’s security testing lab, was impressed. Today, states are doing it, like North Korea, and in these cases, it is much more difficult to find the money, sometimes even impossible.
Then there is obviously negligence. Some developers have no idea what computer security is. It’s also a matter of ecosystem maturity and insurance. Today, too little is assured in the crypto ecosystem.
Is this detrimental in terms of reputation for the democratization of the crypto ecosystem?
Wherever there is money, there are thieves. Just look at the addition of what is stolen from the interbank group every year. Perfect security does not exist. But tomorrow, to benefit from the best, you will need a Ledger: we have this ambition. Today, we are the best in the world at providing security in the crypto ecosystem. Our model imposes itself even more with the news related to platforms that explode in flight like Celsius Network on which the user loses possession of his funds. And in the future, a lot of business will develop around this, especially with the identity that can be tokenized.
Is tokenized identity your next market?
Yes, the combination of money and identity is the future of the physical wallet, the hardware wallet in crypto jargon. Today, our physical wallets are impractical and insecure. To fill this, it will be necessary to dematerialize them into an elegant product. We master the entire value chain, both technological and marketing, to do so. There’s no reason Americans can do big business and we can’t. Our ambition goes far beyond crypto. We want to provide a solution that will be a sort of everyday companion for users.
Beyond individuals, do you aim to become the reference in security for institutions?
At the moment, most big companies don’t have many use cases with crypto yet, but it’s only a matter of time. To compare with the development of the Internet, we are in the mid-1990s for crypto, which remains today an activity of “geek“. Apple’s iPhone changed the user experience of mobile internet because it managed to simplify everything. The crypto will work properly when it passes the same milestone.
Is France equipped to face the war of talents with the development of this industry?
Yes, we have some of the best developers, financiers, engineers. We have a good card to play, in particular because this is the first time that there has been an Internet revolution and that the biggest companies are not American. Binance, BitMex or even FTX are not American, even if Samuel Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX is, and were created in jurisdictions that would have been completely improbable for web companies before. This means that talent can be recruited from anywhere on the planet. The world is no longer necessarily dependent on Silicon Valley on this point. There is for example Sorare [jeu de carte à jouer, ndlr] or Kaiko [spécialisée dans la data crypto] which are beginning to be important players at the global level.
Are you a profitable business today?
There is no absolute profitability or non-profitability. It’s really a question of the maturity of a company, of the investments that are made. Ledger generates very good margins. Moreover, it is impossible in this industry to make rounds of financing like ours if we had not been profitable from the start. Most successful companies like FTX or Coinbase were profitable very quickly because investors at the time did not yet know how to identify the use cases of crypto and did not necessarily accept spending at a loss for so long. many years.