Ledger is the leading global company in the manufacture and sale of hardware wallets, and Ledger Nano S Plus is its best-selling product, as it is the cheapest in its range.
Recent research by ResearchAndMarkets.com devoted to the hardware wallet market in the US states that the need for hardware wallets is expected to increase in future years, due to increased awareness regarding security, and in particular regarding proper secret key storage practices.
Ledger Nano S: the security issue
One thing that many cryptocurrency holders often overlook is that the tokens physically do not stay inside the wallet, but only ever stay on the public blockchain.
What is stored in the wallet are the private keys of the public addresses on which the tokens are deposited, and thanks to which it is possible to move them.
This means that anyone who possesses those private keys can move the tokens to another address, which is why private keys must be stored with extreme care.
Hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano S actually store them internally, so that they are not accessible to anyone but the user of the wallet itself, but they also allow the seed with which these keys can be recreated to be recorded on other media.
In this way in the event of loss of the wallet all private keys can be recovered by placing the seed in another wallet.
Thus it is sufficient to store the seed in complete security to be virtually certain that no one can steal the tokens stored on the public addresses whose private keys are registered only in the hardware wallet.
Only those who should succeed in discovering the seed could steal those tokens, and since the seed is not required to use those tokens and addresses, because the private keys stored in the wallet are sufficient, it is possible, for example, to lock it in a safe and make it untraceable in this way.
On the other hand, the matter changes completely for centralized exchange wallets, such as FTX, whose private keys are not held in any way by the user, but only and exclusively by the exchange itself. If the latter closes, the users completely and permanently lose the ability to move their tokens.
Indeed, precisely with the failure of FTX there has been a significant boom in token withdrawals from exchanges, most likely shifted to self-custody solutions such as hardware wallets.
The US hardware wallet market, Ledger Nano S among the top sellers
This dynamic is likely to continue in the future, because it is not all that uncommon for those who hold their tokens on third-party wallets, such as those on centralized exchanges, to lose access to them.
While it requires more effort and care, the alternative solution is self-custody of private keys and seed, and among the various solutions that allow self-custody the absolute favorite seems to be hardware wallets.
It is in fact considered the most secure self-custody solution, because the private keys are not accessible to anyone, and the seed can be kept safe offline without affecting the use of the device.
Ledger is the world’s leading company in this market, and the Ledger Nano S Plus is its best-selling product, although it is not its flagship product. The fact is that the cost of a Ledger Nano S Plus is significantly lower than the alternatives offered by the company, and the functions it offers are very similar to those of more expensive devices.
It is enough to mention that the Ledger Nano S Plus supports more than 5,000 cryptocurrencies and tokens on different blockchains, allows staking, also supports NFTs, and is connected to an exchange that also allows buying and selling. It is therefore not surprising that it is the best-selling product, although in the Ledger range it is the bottom tier.
Research by ResearchAndMarkets.com claims that the hardware wallet market in the United States will grow at a CAGR of 26.5% over the next few years, thanks to the increasing demand for secure self-custody.
Self-custody of tokens closely resembles the possession and custody of physical coins and bills. The interesting thing is that traditional fiat currencies in digital format do not offer the possibility for their holders to self-custody them. Simply put, with fiat currencies self-custody is only possible with metal coins and paper banknotes.
In contrast, cryptocurrencies were born precisely also to offer their holders the possibility of self-custody of digital tokens, thanks to the exclusive possession of private keys, without which digital tokens cannot be moved.
It is therefore not surprising that an increasing number of people are choosing this as their method of storing cryptocurrencies. It is worth mentioning that the vast majority of people are not used to it, so they tend to start by outsourcing the storage of digital tokens to a third party just as they do for fiat currencies in digital format.
But many people as soon as they realize the risks involved in entrusting the custody of their tokens to a third party end up opting for self-custody.
However, the latter is not without risk, both because hardware and software wallets can themselves be stolen and because the seed may not always be stored securely.
Although self-storage wallets have protections against theft, such as a PIN, unfortunately sometimes even PINs are not properly safeguarded.
ResearchAndMarkets.com’s research also reveals that according to Trezor, i.e., Ledger’s main competitor, the factor that dominates users’ fears when it comes to cryptocurrency attacks is precisely the theft of tokens.
The main objective of a hardware wallet is precisely to safeguard users and tokens from attacks by malware, computer viruses, and other similar threats, so the preconditions for further growth of this market are there.
Ledger and Samsung
It is no coincidence that the smartphone giant Samsung chose precisely Ledger for a partnership that began a couple of years ago, and which recently allowed the two brands to launch a “bundle.”
The @SamsungMobile x Ledger bundle is here!
Pre-order and receive a 100 € Samsung voucher and a #Web3 starter bundle that includes a Ledger Nano X.
— Ledger (@Ledger) January 23, 2023
The experience accumulated over the years by Ledger, thanks in part to the millions of Nano S devices now in operation around the world, means that giants such as Samsung decide to rely on them for issues related precisely to the secure storage of crypto tokens.
It is important to keep in mind that such a growing market also inevitably attracts new competitors, and thus Ledger’s market share may actually decline in the future. What’s more, the Ledger Nano S has already been replaced by the Nano S Plus, and the company has also already launched new premium products.
It is possible that the lower end of this market may also be dominated by some other company in the future, while Ledger may instead focus more and more on higher-value-added, higher-priced products aimed at a more niche but higher-spending market.