Investing in cryptocurrency is all about making money to improve your personal finances, not losing it. Unfortunately, the technical nature of the technology means that many people are not aware of how crypto actually works.
The result is that tens of billions worth of Bitcoin has been lost at this time… That’s not counting altcoins.
While many people have gotten used to thinking about crypto in the same way as money, this is not the case. A crypto exchange or wallet doesn’t work in the same way a bank does. This means that no one can recover your crypto if you lose the key to it.
Software wallets are a convenient and easy way to store your crypto as long as you take the necessary measures. However, everyone can make a mistake every now and then… For this reason, many crypto investors opt for an extra layer of security: having a physical device.
If you are considering buying a hardware wallet, chances are you already have an idea of what they are. If you don’t, we will provide an explanation here but you might want to make sure you understand the different aspects of cryptocurrency before investing in it.
We have written The Ultimate Crypto Learning Resource to make it easier than ever!
What Is A Hardware Wallet?
While most people believe a crypto wallet stores their crypto, they store the private keys to the address containing the cryptocurrency. While this might sound like a technicality, it is an important thing to consider. In fact, many crypto investors choose to combine different types of wallets for added flexibility.
When it comes to crypto wallets, there are two types: hardware and software. Hardware wallets, also known as “Cold Wallets”, differ from software (hot) wallets by not connecting to the internet and being physical devices. While this makes them less convenient to use by themselves, this lack of connectivity makes them more secure than their counterparts.
The way hardware wallets work is by having the transaction signed inside the hardware wallet and having the output transferred to an app. This means the private keys never leave the physical device.
Hardware VS Software Wallets: Which Ones Are Best?
Any device or application that connects to the internet is at risk of being accessed by malicious actors, which decreases their security. As hardware wallets don’t connect to the internet and the keys are stored in a microcontroller, they can’t be stolen by viruses.
As you might remember, we mentioned that billions of dollars worth of crypto are locked due to lost passwords… Well, a hardware wallet provides the added benefit of having a physical device, a password, and a recovery phrase. In comparison, software wallets only have the last two.
Cold wallets are easily portable, which means that you can easily take them on the run and connect them to a device when needed. As they are designed to be immune to hacking, even when physically connected or via Bluetooth, their funds can’t be accessed by hackers.
Hardware wallets also make use of apps to allow you to monitor your crypto easily. However, as you need the physical device to interact with your crypto, they are less flexible. Another aspect to consider is that hardware wallets can be expensive depending on the model you choose… and will never be free, which many software wallets are.
However, while less convenient and more expensive than software wallets, most experts agree that they are the way to go. Using cold storage for your crypto will ensure its security in the long term, preventing you from joining the ranks of people who lost access to it or got hacked.
Many users wonder how a physical device can be safer than a software wallet. Won’t your crypto get lost if someone steals or forces you to give it away? Well, hardware wallets require a pin to operate with them.
As more than one address can be associated with a hardware wallet, many users opt to create 2 pins for different addresses. If someone were to force them to give their crypto away… They can just use the PIN for the decoy address.
When it comes to hardware wallets, one of the most popular brands is Ledger. This brings us to this Ledger wallet review. .. Is Ledger the king of crypto hardware wallets? Is its popularity well deserved? Keep reading this ledger wallet review to find out if Ledger is the right brand for you.
What Is Ledger?
Ledger is a company founded in 2014 by experts in cryptocurrency and cybersecurity. These experts launched the company to create secure solutions for blockchain applications. The resulting solutions were a proprietary Operating System (BOLOS) and their unique hardware wallets.
Now after 7 years of existence, Ledger has over 300 employees in Paris, Vierzon, New York, Zurich, and Singapore. It also has clients in more than 200 countries, 3 million ledger wallets sold, and 100 retailers globally.
The company has grown to establish itself as one of the most trusted hardware wallets manufacturers in the world. With multi-currency support, unique apps and OS, and great features, Ledger wallets have most of the features any crypto investor will ever need in a wallet.
How Do Ledger Wallets Work?
Ledger crypto wallets store the private keys for your crypto addresses in a tamper-resistant chip known as a secure element chip. With a proprietary operating system, the company ensures no external software can access the internal information for the private keys.
When you turn on your ledger wallet for the first time, the device will generate a passphrase. This passphrase will be the element used to recover your crypto if you lose your ledger wallet. As such, this passphrase should be stored safely as anyone who has it will gain access to the crypto by using the passphrase in a new hardware or software wallet.
A PIN code will also be required, which you can choose and will be used to use the wallet. If someone tries to use the wallet and fails to input the token a certain number of times, all data will be self-destroyed.
You will then install your desired applications on the device, which will provide you access to specific cryptocurrencies. For example, if you are planning to store Cardano (ADA) you will need to install the Cardano application and follow the instructions.
Now you’re able to receive crypto into your wallet, which doesn’t need to be connected to a device to do so. However, sending your crypto to another address is a different story. To send crypto, you will need to download the Ledger Live App for your desktop or mobile.
Once you have installed it, you will need to run the app and connect your wallet to the device to be able to send crypto.
The app effectively operates as a cryptocurrency wallet that requires your Ledger wallet to work. Just think of your Ledger wallet as a key you need to insert to authorize transactions. Is as easy as that!
Which Ledger Wallet Model Is Right For You?
While Ledger has been around for several years, the company has focused on improving the software and firmware associated with its wallets. This is a testament to the technology and design of their wallets, as the physical aspects have survived the pass of time.
Ledger has two wallet models at this time, each with its own pros and cons: The Ledger Nano S and the Ledger Nano X.
The Ledger Nano X is more expensive than the Ledger Nano S but also provides advanced features. Which model you choose will depend entirely on your needs, budget, and experience with crypto. Let’s take a look at both models.
When it comes to buying ledger wallets, you should make sure that you only purchase it from their website or another reputable retailer. This is because you don’t want to accidentally purchase a tampered with device that could steal your keys. We will provide links to each device that leads to ledgers official website for your safety.
Ledger Nano S
With more than 2 million Ledger Nano S, this is the most popular model designed by the company. The predecessor to the Ledger Nano X, this wallet is perfect for beginners due to its simplicity and accessibility. Don’t get us wrong, this device is still as secure and powerful as crypto wallets get!
The Ledger Nano S supports up to 6 apps, which will allow you to interact with some of the more than 1.1k supported cryptocurrencies. Unless you have a portfolio with assets from multiple blockchain networks, these 6 apps are likely to be enough for most beginners.
This model is completely compatible with the latest Ledger Live app, both the desktop and mobile versions. However, if you are an iOS user, you will find yourself limited to using the desktop version of the app as only the Android app is supported.
In terms of security, the Ledger Nano S has a Certified secure element (CC EAL5+), ANSSI certification, PIN Code support, and a 24-word recovery phrase. These features ensure your crypto stays safe and under your control, allowing you to recover it if the device gets stolen or lost.
The Ledger Nano S requires a USB-B cable in order to be connected to your computer and used. This is due to it not having Bluetooth nor battery to let it act as a standalone device. However, its 56.95mm × 17.4mm × 9.1mm size is enough for it to have a 128 × 32 pixels screen you will be able to interact with when connected.
With a weight of only 16.2g, this device is extremely portable. This portability is increased when you consider it is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux computers, as well as with any Android 7+ smartphone.
The accessible price of this wallet (about $59 at this time), size, capabilities, high security, and ease of use, make it a great option for beginners looking for their first hardware wallet.
To learn more about the Ledger Nano S and purchase it, click here to go to their official website.
Ledger Nano X
If you are a veteran trader or just need more accessibility to your crypto and a wider range of coins, the Ledger Nano X is for you. This model takes the word capacity to a whole new level with space for more than 100 apps. If you are investing in projects on several chains, you have nothing to worry about when using the Ledger Nano X.
This model also provides you with Ledger Live support but unlike its predecessor, it also supports iOS in addition to the Android and desktop versions… Which is great news for the 56.7% of smartphone owners who use iOS.
The Ledger Nano X has the same security features as the Nano Ledger S. This is not a problem, as there is no need to fix what ain’t broken. Both models are extremely safe for today’s standards.
As the Ledger Nano X is intended to be mobile-friendly, it has Bluetooth capabilities that are compatible with the Ledger Live Mobile app. This allows you to operate and interact with your crypto from anywhere you are. That’s right, no need to plug it. However, as this model has an 8-hour battery, you will need to use the USB-C cable that comes with it to charge it.
The screen of this model has a higher resolution with 128 x 64 pixels, which in addition to the Bluetooth capabilities and battery results in it being bigger and heavier. This is no reason to worry, though, as its size is only 72mm × 18.6mm × 11.75mm with a weight of 34g. This makes the Ledger Nano X still portable and easy to carry with you.
To learn more about the Ledger Nano X and purchase it, click here to go to their official website.
Ledger has definitely earned its reputation as one of the best hardware wallet manufacturers. Its two models are not only powerful and secure but their simplicity also makes them perfect for crypto investors of all levels.
While other manufacturers provide features like touchscreen and color screens, these features are not in high demand. Providing devices that serve their purpose, have an accessible price, and offer the latest technology, seems to be the focus of Ledger.
Personally, we believe that focusing on the firmware and software is a great idea. The technology behind the hardware of these wallets is still top-notch, so improving the user experience seems like the best way to go.
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