The global hardware wallet market, estimated at $245 million in 2021, could reach well over $1.7 billion by 2030.
It is not easy being a crypto investor. They’ve seen the value of their assets plummet this year, and now many are feasting on the security of their cryptocurrency after a series of heists that drove about $2 billion away by hackers.
Enter the spirit of technology’s past.
Hardware wallets — old-school physical devices akin to USB drives that store crypto holdings offline — may seem like a throwback to a more innocent digital age, but they’re proving to be a popular answer to a cutting-edge conundrum.
According to market research firm Straits Research, the global hardware wallet market, valued at $245 million in 2021, is expected to grow to more than $1.7 billion by 2030.
It’s fueled by a steady stream of cyber heists that, according to researcher Chainalysis, saw thieves steal $1.9 billion worth of crypto in the first seven months of the year, up 60% from a year earlier. Much of this has been stolen directly from blockchains or ‘hot’ online wallets.
It’s not just hacks that make investors tense. Others lost access to their crypto when major lenders such as Celsius Network and Voyager Digital collapsed in July.
“We’ve definitely seen an increased interest in hardware wallets, and self-preservation in general, after several issues,” said Adam Lowe, chief product and innovation officer at US-based CompoSecure, one of the many hardware wallet makers seeking take advantage of a rush for safety.
“The day of or the day after those events, we would see very significant (sales) increases.”
However, there is no such thing as a free crypto lunch: while hot wallets are convenient and allow for fast trading, hardware wallets are generally unappealing to novice investors, who often buy cryptocurrencies on major exchanges and choose to keep their assets. on those platforms, where they can easily log in with a username and password.
BLOWING HOT AND COLD
While hot wallets are usually free and provide quick access to crypto, they can be vulnerable to hacks. In August, nearly 8,000 crypto wallets on the Solana blockchain were hit by hackers who made off with more than $5 million worth of crypto.
“Users are strongly encouraged to use hardware wallets,” Solana said at the time.
France’s Ledger, another hardware wallet manufacturer, said it saw a spike in sales after the Solana wallet raid.
“We’re seeing a significant increase in user interest in some of these stresses in the markets,” said Alex Zinder, global head of Ledger Enterprise.
Most hardware wallets connect to a mobile app, where the owners of the digital keys needed to access their crypto keys can manage their funds. Some use “Secure Enclave” technology, a security feature used to store sensitive data.
Josef Tětek, a bitcoin analyst at Czech-based hardware wallet company Trezor, says he expects better phone interaction with cold storage wallets in the future to serve investors in places like South America and Africa, where users are more common. cell phones then have personal computers.
Still, companies in this ballooning market can be advised to make hay while the sun is shining.
A long-term question is whether phone makers want to get in on the action, said Stan Miroshnik, co-founder and partner at 10T Holdings, which led Ledger’s $380 million Series C financing round last year.
“One question, I think, for the industry and where it’s going and in part what will drive consumer adoption is what if every iPhone has a built-in Secure Enclave hardware wallet?”