Editor’s Note 12 PM GMT 04/12/2019: The original headline for this story included “Trezor” instead of “Ledger”. This was an error done by CCN.com’s editorial team. We have changed the headline to include “Ledger”. We apologize for the misunderstanding. (ii) SatoshiLabs was hiring new people throughout 2018, and we are continuing to fill open positions now in 2019.
The bear market has been hardest on crypto accessory providers. Ledger and Trezor produce hardware wallets. The added security of a hardware wallet may be a hard sell to people who already feel they’ve invested in a losing asset, and nowhere is this more evident than in Ledger’s declining sales and recent news that it’s considering layoffs up to 10% of its 200-strong workforce.
According to Presse Citron, a French outlet, Ledger is currently considering laying off 20 people in its support division but hasn’t pulled the trigger yet.
Ledger has been versatile through the downturn in sales, which topped out at 1 million units throughout the 2017 bull run. The company launched an asset management product called Ledger Vault, which has helped garner continued revenues.
Ledger recently made the news when one of their executives miffed competitor Trezor at a crypto conference, to which Trezor responded vociferously.
For its part, Ledger doesn’t seem eager to fire people. Bithumb and Bitmain have both gone through rounds of layoffs in response to bear conditions, but Ledger appears more cautious. The past week’s bull activity may give them pause: if we are to enter a strong market again, the company would only end up having to rehire support staff if sales picked up again.
According to an investor speaking to Presse Citron, Ledger earned as much as 10 million euro per month during its best times. Ledger hardware wallets sell in a price range of $60 to $270. The company’s website reports that over 1.4 million Ledger Nano S units have sold, making it one of the most (if not the most) popular hardware wallets in the world.
There are no reliable figures on how many actual crypto users there are in the world. It’s difficult to judge by the number of active wallets or accounts, as the same people can control many of these. It’s also difficult to judge by metrics provided by exchanges. We do know that Coinbase has over 10 million registered users in the countries it operates in. If we added up the users of all exchanges, the figure would be distorted, as many users have accounts with multiple exchanges. Reasonable estimates are probably somewhere just below 100 million people worldwide, the vast majority of whom have small amounts of crypto.
Hardware wallets are likely viewed by many as a “nice to have.” To others, they may be seen as an unnecessary added hassle when trying to use one’s crypto. Then there is the recent emergence of secure mobile environments in the form of Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and the Sirin Labs FINNEY phone. Phones offering the same level of security via “built-in hardware wallets” are likely to have a long-term effect on the desirability of hardware wallets.
Nevertheless, the future doesn’t seem to be too dark for Ledger. According to Presse Citron, they raised a lot of money during the good times in expectation of the bad market. Again, they’ve launched additional products like Vault, which they say are doing well. Continued integration with exchanges and similar promotional efforts may spur sales further, and new users will always be attracted to the idea of a dedicated crypto device.