Ledger demand booms as it announces new crypto hardware wallet

Ledger demand booms as it announces new crypto hardware wallet
The Ledger Stax, with a computer screen behind it.

The forthcoming Ledger Stax. Photo: Ledger

Ledger had its two highest demand days ever immediately following the FTX bankruptcy (the Sunday and Monday), and then November became its best month of sales.

Why it matters: It’s a good time to be a crypto hardware wallet maker. One clear lesson for digital-asset owners after FTX crashed is this: third-party crypto storage is risky. And now Ledger is pouncing with a brand new hardware wallet for do-it-yourselfers.

Driving the news: With demand remaining high for its existing Ledger Nano line, France-based Ledger today announced a new entry in its hardware wallet portfolio at its Ledger Op3n event in Paris today.

  • Ledger Stax, expected to be available in Q1 2023, will feature an e-ink display, making it more interactive than previous wallets.

How it works: Hardware wallets are a secure way to store crypto assets that don’t touch the internet unless needed, which helps keep them extremely safe from cybercriminals.

  • Blockchain assets are controlled with a numeric code, a private key. As long as no one can access this private key, assets stay safe.
  • Hardware wallets also allow users to write messages that can make transactions, without ever exposing the private key to malicious actors.

What they’re saying: The new Stax model was envisioned to be “a ‘user-delightful’ tool, to bring digital asset security to the rest of us, not just the geeks,” Tony Fadell, who designed the new device in collaboration with Layer, said in a statement.

  • Fadell was the vice-president of Apple’s iPod division and founder of Nest, the home hardware company later acquired by Google.

Features: The new device will be able to continuously display its assets using e-ink technology, only sipping power to shift the display.

  • It has a mobile app so users can check their assets any time, using Bluetooth to connect the wallet to the phone. It connects to computers with USB-C.
  • It can manage more than 500 crypto assets as well as NFTs.

State of play: Demand for existing Ledgers hasn’t stopped. Since getting stocked at Best Buy in September, they’ve frequently been unavailable since the recent downturn hit, according to the company.

In the weeds: E-ink is basically small particles that can be made to flip between different colors. Unlike a traditional backlit computer screen, once they flip, it takes no power to stay as they are, so it really is just like ink.

  • The classic Amazon Kindle and its competitor, the Kobo, are two of the most widely deployed applications of e-ink for consumers.