In an increasingly digitized world, it is becoming increasingly clear that digital assets in the metaverse need to be protected just like physical assets. A hardware wallet best known for securing crypto, Ledger is now shifting its focus to protecting digital assets like NFTs and the metaverse as a whole.
To learn more about Ledger’s role in the Metaverse, NFTevening caught up with Sébastien Badault, Ledger’s VP for Metaverse & Web3, at the Ledger Villa during NFC Lisbon.
Quotations have been shortened and edited for clarity.
Sébastien Badault: The Vice President of Metaverse & Web3 at Ledger
In addition to being a Metaverse enthusiast, Sébastien is a seasoned professional with years of experience at the intersection of technology, security and virtual worlds. Before joining Ledger, Sébastien worked with reputable companies such as Alibaba, Google France and Amazon France. At Alibaba, he was instrumental in building the company’s luxury pavilion – China’s largest online luxury platform. However, his interest in virtual worlds began long before that.
“My first job out of college was at a startup in 1995,” says Sébastien. “I was in e-commerce at Amazon, but that was about 98, that was really before Amazon took off. And then, you know, it went to Google and then Alibaba and Ledger.”
His interest in virtual worlds was intensified by his discovery of crypto and blockchain. “I bought crypto a long time ago. I can’t remember when I bought a bit but I was familiar with the space. But I was more interested in it,” he continues.
Introduction of new technologies by brands
Sébastien compares the crypto and NFT boom of 2021 to when he started working with luxury brands on web2 marketing strategies. “Having YouTube in 160 countries from one day to the next; You could do a homepage takeover and splatter your brand across every screen,” he recalls. “These discussions went on for a while because I think they were pretty cautious about anything internet-related back then.”
He notes how this mentality has changed. Now, fifteen years later, he’s speaking to the same brands about crypto and the metaverse, and they’re dying to jump on the bandwagon. “I find it very interesting, maybe because they feel like they’ve been slow to adopt some things in web2,” says Sébastien. “So they want to make sure they don’t miss this time. And besides, they learned a lot. I talk to people who really impress me with their knowledge or standards.”
Sébastien notes that luxury brands are still very concerned about counterfeiting; as well as finding new ways to connect with customers. They therefore see web3 as a solution to a problem that has long affected the luxury goods industry. “That [referring to NFTs] is a great way to show ancestry and ownership. So I think it speaks to them, too,” he notes.
By linking their products to NFTs, luxury goods companies are finding new ways to address an age-old problem with an innovative, forward-thinking solution. However, it all comes down to finding the right partners to implement a Web3 strategy that protects your wealth.
Why protecting digital assets is critical
As Sébastien puts it: “If you lose 1000 euros that you have in your pocket, I will be super angry and frustrated. But if someone comes into your house and steals a painting that used to belong to your grandmother, that’s also worth 1,000, but you have an emotional bond, you’re going to get hurt emotionally too.”
This analogy fits well when it comes to having your NFTs or other digital assets stolen. “If you lose an NFT that has an emotional bond or a connection to a community, your boarding school, you no longer have access to the frontier community. That is emotional attachment.”
Hardware wallets like Ledger create a foolproof environment that protects these assets. This is only possible because the Ledger team recognizes that people have emotional or community ties to their digital assets. It is therefore important to raise awareness that these assets should be protected to the maximum.
“All these different things will bring a whole new set of people into the space… people who love art, people who love games, etc.,” says Sébastien. Because NFTs are entry points to Web3 for these people, it is now more important than ever to educate them about the importance of security and asset protection.
Ledger and the Metaverse
As Ledger’s VP of Metaverse & Web3, Sébastien knows a thing or two about the Metaverse. “The interoperability piece is really crucial, I think. We will own more and more digital assets and property like digital clothing, digital art and then even digital identity.”
Sébastien also mentions how he believes the metaverse will be closer to augmented reality than fully virtual reality… at least in the short term. However, this does not mean that we should abandon hardware wallets.
“I also don’t agree with the idea that the metaverse will be us with 3D glasses, and just like in virtual worlds on it. I think we might be in the metaverse now; because I could show you something through a virtual screen that I would touch with my hands,” says Sébastien. “If we have augmented reality I should be able to put on some sort of skin or whatever I own that I would take from my ledger.”
Undoubtedly, with great power comes great responsibility. The world is becoming more digitized and decentralized. As a result, each of us will have the power to control our digital money and wealth. That means safety becomes even more important. As a decentralized hardware wallet, Ledger is therefore positioning itself as a physical solution for the development of the metaverse in the years to come.