One of the most notable names in the crypto ecosystem, French cybersecurity startup Ledger, has had a whirlwind of the past few weeks. After reports revealed that the company was considering laying off over a dozen employees, it has just been divulged that the company will be seeing an executive shakeup and a hefty cheque from a colossal name in technology simultaneously.
Samsung Bags New CEO, $2.9 Million Cheque
In a company blog post released on Wednesday morning, Eric Larchevêque of Ledger made his last remarks as the chief executive of the company, who has sold over one million hardware wallets to consumers looking to keep their Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital assets under lock and key.
In a heartfelt goodbye, Larchevêque explained that running “different business units” and managing over “180 collaborators at five sites” has strained his efforts to give the company a solid strategy and vision. Thus, he concluded that it would be logical for him to step down as CEO, and to instead take the mantle of Executive Chairman, where he hopes to push strategies, while overseeing “regulator and government outreach, partnerships, customers, broader business relationships and technology thought leadership.”
Replacing Larchevêque as the head of Ledger’s C-suite will be Pascal Gauthier, who originally joined the startup as a President and a seed investor. Larchevêque describes his colleague as someone who “helped to build an organization fit to face the many challenges we have encountered.” And Gauthier seems to be ready to continue to uphold his reputation. He wrote that he will “focus all of my attention and energy on growing an amazing tech company on both the retail and enterprise side.”
The new appointment of Gauthier coincidently fell on the same day that Capital, a French media outlet, revealed that Ledger has secured a 2.6 million euros ($2.9 million) investment from Samsung. The details of this deal were not exposed, but Larchevêque did confirm that Samsung had backed his company. $2.9 million may not sound like much, even for an industry as nascent as cryptocurrency, but the fact that the financier was Samsung itself could be seen as bullish for the broader industry.
All this comes after French publication Presse Citron claimed that Ledger was looking to cut 20 employees from its total of 200. While our original report on the matter claimed that the layoff had yet to occur, Larchevêque’s statement mentioned “180 collaborators,” meaning that the purge of the over one dozen staffers did occur.
What’s Next For Ledger?
Now that Ledger has adopted a new CEO, secured a new business partner in one of the world’s largest corporations, and begun to prune its budget, what’s next? According to Gauthier himself Head of Asia-Pacific Benjamin Soong, who spoke with Blockonomi in a recent interview, a shift to target institutional players is in Ledger’s sights.
The duo tells us that while Ledger does have its hardware wallet, equity business, and business-to-business branches, a new focus for them is Ledger Vault, an institutional custody solution. Gauthier explains that this attempt to appease an institutional audience has much to do with the fact that cryptocurrency custody (or lack thereof) is what is holding back Wall Street from making a foray. He notes that sans proper solutions like Vault, the Bitcoin investment space is just a gold rusk without banks or safe makers, before concluding:
“As the technological infrastructure is coming into place, big money could come in. But it would be crazy to put big money in the system right now. Once Vault and similar products are up and running though, providing clients with security, asset support, and otherwise, money can flow in.”