Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is making a move in the hardware wallet industry. The firm announced on Nov. 21 that its venture capital arm, Binance Labs, made a strategic investment in Belgian hardware wallet firm Ngrave and will lead its upcoming Series A round.
Founded in 2018, Ngrave specializes in self-custody and provides a security suite comprising three major elements: connectionless hardware wallet Zero, key backup tool Graphene and the Liquid mobile app.
Yi He, co-founder of Binance and head of Binance Labs, pointed out that security remains one of the biggest challenges for crypto adoption. “Self-custodial wallets are one of the most secure methods for storing digital assets,” He said, adding that Binance is looking to continue backing startups that enhance user security.
“Binance Labs is excited to capitalize on the emerging hardware wallet sector and partner with Ngrave to bring sophisticated wallet products to both retail and institutional users,” Binance Labs investment director Tyler Z added.
Ngrave is not the first hardware wallet provider in Binance Labs’ portfolio. It previously invested in hardware wallet maker SafePal through its incubation program back in 2018. Binance has also been integrating SafePal’s solution into its platform, adding the SafePal Mini App into the Binance app in October.
In early November, Binance also partnered with hardware wallet maker Ledger to allow Binance users to purchase crypto directly through the Ledger app with their bank cards.
As previously reported, the ongoing crypto winter has accelerated the growth of the hardware wallet industry, while many centralized crypto exchanges have been scrambling to maintain operations. Unlike exchanges, hardware wallets allow users to better control their funds by securing their own private keys. According to data from several studies released in July, the crypto hardware wallet industry could grow at a faster pace than exchanges in the near future.
On Nov. 14, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao even admitted that centralized exchanges may no longer be necessary as investors shift to self-custodial solutions. “If we can have a way to allow people to hold their own assets in their own custody securely and easily, that 99% of the general population can do it, centralized exchanges will not exist or probably don’t need to exist, which is great,” Zhao said.
The latest news comes shortly after Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier argued that Binance-owned software wallet Trust Wallet must offer the Ledger Connect option in order to provide better security to its users. “Otherwise it’s just unsafe,” the CEO declared in a tweet on Nov. 13. The connection option essentially allows Trust Wallet users to store their keys on a Ledger device instead of storing them on a mobile phone or a computer.
A spokesperson for Trust Wallet told Cointelegraph that the platform is planning to release its integration with Ledger Connect soon, as the feature is a top priority item. The representative also stressed that Trust Wallet users have “full recoverability” for accessing their funds on a chain as long as they remember their secret phrase or private key.