MOSCOW, RUSSIA, MARCH 1, 2018: Ledger Wallet, a cryptocurrency hardware wallet, at DeeCrypto … [+] Retail store selling cryptocurrency mining equipment from brands like Bitmain, GPU, KeepKey, Embedded Downloads LTD, Ledger, etc. Artyom Geodakyan / TASS (Photo by Artyom Geodakyan TASS via Getty Images)

Artyom Geodakyan / TASS

Hardware wallet maker Ledger has closed a $ 380 million Series C financing round, the third largest in crypto and blockchain history. In contrast to smartphone applications, physical hardware wallets are dedicated devices that are used to store digital assets. Ledger has sold more than 3 million hardware wallets in 190 countries to date and has more than 1.5 million monthly users on Ledger Live, a mobile companion to the Ledger hardware wallet that enables users to manage and store their assets.

The round gives Ledger a valuation of $ 1.5 billion, making it the newest crypto unicorn. It was led by 10T Holdings, including Cathay Innovation, Draper Esprit, Draper Associates, Draper Dragon, DCG. Ledger previously raised $ 8.3 million in a Series A round in March 2017 and $ 75 million in a Series B round in January 2018.

The Ledger team plans to use the funds to launch a new service platform that will act as a dashboard through which Ledger users can access hundreds of new decentralized products and applications, from cryptocurrencies to non-fungible tokens (NFT) and decentralized ones Financial Protocols (DeFi). . Ledger has integrated with platforms like Coinify, a crypto payment and exchange platform. Changelly, a crypto exchange; and Compound, a decentralized platform for lending and lending cryptocurrencies.

“At Ledger, we are first and foremost about security, but also about usability. This is a way of saying that anything you do with your cryptocurrency should be done in a secure environment, ”Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier told Forbes. “Ledger offers you this experience in which you can hold your bitcoins or always trade your bitcoins with a certain degree of security.”

Despite these advances, Ledger still faces the challenge of convincing users to forego software applications on mobile devices, which are far more popular, for their dedicated hardware. However, Gauthier believes this will change quickly as Ledger continues to develop its product. Ledger also offers educational materials that argue that hardware wallets, while less convenient, are a necessary security measure, according to Ledger’s team of product test hackers, internally known as “The Dungeon.”

“If you ask the dungeon, there is no such thing as pure software security. If you’re holding your keys, the only security practicable is having secure hardware, ”Gauthier said. “Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little ease of use to be really safe because if you lose those keys, that’s the end game, you lose value.”

Gauthier also says that within the next 9 to 18 months Ledger will be releasing its next generation of products that will be almost as easy to use as software wallets.

However, Ledger needs to rebuild trust in the market after a hack of its marketing database last year leaked customer data that resulted in mass phishing emails. Since then, according to Gauthier, Ledger has updated its policies to ensure its partners delete customer data and minimize the time Ledger stores that information.

“The safety of the product was intact, but the security of the company as a whole can always be worked on and money invested, so we’re investing a lot of money to make Ledger a much safer proposition overall. “Said Gauthier.

When asked about the competition, Gauthier doesn’t think there is any other company in the crypto space that offers exactly the same services as Ledger. However, some are getting closer. This week, Square SQ CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that his company was planning to develop a hardware wallet, a continuation of the sizable bitcoin position Square has built in recent months and its growing bitcoin brokerage business. Of course, Gauthier has no plans to give up Ledger’s position as a leading hardware wallet company.

“It’s super exciting for us because it feels like direct competition, but it also tells us that this market is going to be really big and we’re number 1 right now and when Jack says he’s going into the market, think me: cool, the game is on. “