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Ledger can be a $100bn tech company, says CEO

Paris-based crypto wallet maker Ledger is now worth $1.5bn. It wants to be worth $100bn.

By Ryan Weeks

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Credit: A photo of one of Ledger's Bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet. Photo credit: Ledger.

Last week, Paris-based crypto wallet maker Ledger landed a $380m Series C fundraise, valuing the startup at more than $1.5bn.

But Pascal Gauthier, chairman and CEO of Ledger, sounds almost disgruntled about hitting only single-digit unicorn status.

“The reality is that our real target is a $100bn valuation, and the reason why we think it’s going to be a $100bn valuation is because the market’s going to…be really huge,” he said in an interview with Sifted.

Such valuations are eye-catching no matter what market they’re touted in, but the target is particularly punchy for Europe.

Klarna’s valuation topped $45bn in its most recent raise, but it remains very much an outlier. Coinbase, by contrast, debuted on the Nasdaq at a valuation of $85bn in April.

Europe’s time is now

Gauthier has some strong views about why it has been difficult to build finance businesses that big on this side of the pond so far — and why it might be possible now for him to build one worth $100bn.

“Europe has pushed entrepreneurs to build companies that have low regulation touch points, because regulation in Europe is not favourable for building gigantic trading companies.”

“I mean if you try to do it in France — every company that has tried to do it in France failed. In Germany, regulation is a nightmare. In the UK, not so great. It’s not by chance that Coinbase is the [premier] trading company in the world and it’s in the US,” he told Sifted.

Gauthier, however, thinks Europe now has a chance to build similarly big businesses in what he described as “non-regulated and more techy” niches — a category he seems to feel includes Ledger, which is best known for making hardware wallets for storing crypto holders private keys.

He also highlighted the success of Blockchain.com, the London-based crypto business which achieved a $5.2bn valuation earlier this year, and also began life as a wallet provider — albeit focused on ‘soft’ online wallets instead of hardware.

“This is how I see the world,” said Gauthier. “The word of advice for Europe would be: let trading go and let people trade more, because this is a game where you have a lot of value. And if we could solve that issue, I think Europe could build as many $100bn companies as the US.”

Contenders to become Europe’s Coinbase, such as they exist, may be found in the likes of Austria’s Bitpanda and Luxembourg’s Bitstamp — whose revenues depend primarily on transaction volumes — but they remain a long way off hitting the $100bn mark.

Ryan Weeks covers fintech at Sifted. He tweets from @RyanJamesWeeks and coauthors our new fintech-focused newsletter. Sign up here. 

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