The cryptocurrency exchange Binance is making a move in the hardware wallet industry, with its venture capital arm investing in the cold wallet platform Ngrave.
Binance Labs has made a strategic investment in the Belgian hardware wallet firm Ngrave and will lead its upcoming Series A round, the firm officially announced on Nov. 21.
Founded in Belgium in 2018, Ngrave specializes in self-custody, providing a security suite comprising three major elements, including connectionless hardware wallet Zero, key backup tool Graphene and the Liquid mobile app.
Yi He, co-founder of Binance and head of Binance Labs, pinpointed 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.
It appears to be unclear whether Binance has previously invested in hardware wallet companies like Ledger or Trezor. In early November, Binance partnered with Ledger hardware wallet maker to allow Binance users to put crypto through Ledger directly with their bank cards.
Binance did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
As previously reported, the ongoing cryptocurrency winter has accelerated the growth of the hardware wallet industry, while many centralized crypto exchanges were scrambling to maintain operations. Unlike exchanges, hardware wallets allow users to better control their funds by securing a private key. According to data from several studies released in July, the crypto hardware wallet industry could be growing 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 would 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 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 connecting 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.
— Pascal Gauthier @Ledger (@_pgauthier) November 13, 2022
A spokesperson for Trust Wallet told Cointelegraph that the platform is planning to release the integration with Ledger Connect soon as the feature is on its top priority agenda. The representative also stressed that Trust Wallet users have “full recoverability” of accessing their funds on a chain as long as they remember their secret phrase, or a private key.