Hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano S, Keepkey or Trezor for storing cryptocurrencies are much needed. They ensure safe storage and access to your digital crypto assets. When you hold an amount of Bitcoin or altcoins that you don’t want to lose, buying a hardware wallet is worth the small investment. In fact, it should be done simultaneously with buying your first cryptocurrency. Whether it is Bitcoin or altcoins like Ethereum, NEO, EOS and XLM.
Before you can even buy any cryptocurrency you need to convert your FIAT (US dollar, EURO or any other currency) to either Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin. Those are some of the most used trading pairs on cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, Kucoin, Bitmex, Litebit and Coinbase Pro. There are many steps to take when joining the discruptive but also (for now) very speculative brave new world of blockchain.
Changelly is one of the larger online exchanges where you can safely buy Bitcoin with your creditcard like VISA fast and secure. Once you have some Bitcoin you can buy other cryptocurrencies with that. For example on one of the exchanges mentioned above. And once you bought crypto on exchanges, you do not want to keep your crypto stored there. On a cryptocurrency exchange you don’t own your private keys. So in case an exchange gets shut down, hacked or compromised, your cryptocurrency is lost.
Say hello to much needed hardware wallets!
This is where hardware wallets come in. On a hardware wallet you have your own public wallet addresses together with your private keys and recovery seeds. For example the Ledger Nano S comes with a 24 words recvovery phrase you need to write down and store somewhere safe as well. So as long as quantum attacks are a concern of the future, your crypto is safe. And even when you lose your hardware wallet. Either due to a fire, theft or malfunctioning; you can still recover your crypto assets safely on a new one. As long as you have the recovery seeds or phrases. A water resistant and fire proof safe is one of the extra safety suggestions I can give you. If you are new to blockchain and crypto this all might be a little bit overwhelming. But rest assured, anyone can do this. And it’s even exciting to know you managed to really own your crypto and store it safely.
Ledger Nano S hardware wallet.
So, what are the options in regards to hardware wallets? There are a few names that have been around for a long while. Those can be trusted and are used by millions of people around the world. Let’s start with the Ledger Nano S. And lets also learn you something else you might not know yet. The crypto you have, for example Bitcoin or Ethereum, are not actually stored on the Ledger Nano S. They are on the blockchain and always remain there. They are not physically on the Ledger Nano S. The hardware wallet simply provides you access to the crypto that is stored on the blockchain. And enables you to transfer it whenever you need to.
That is why you can always regain access to your crypto as long as you have the recovery. When you order the Ledger Nano S it comes with a clear description. Make sure the package is sealed and nobody had access to it before you. Always buy a completely new hardware wallet. Used wallets can be compromised and others might have access to it as well. That is the last thing we want.
Once you opened the package of the Ledger Nano S you can install the software through their official website and configure the wallet. Connect the Ledger Nano S with your computer or laptop with the mico USB they provide. Set up a pincode for your device. And of course, write down the recovery words and never lose them. Write it down on the piece of paper they give you. Do not type it in your phone or anywhere else online. As long as you follow the instructions closely, nothing can go wrong. It takes a few minutes and your crypto is yours forever. The Ledger Nano S is one of the most used hardware wallets in the world. And easy to set-up and use. This hardware wallet can store a great variety of cryptocurrencies. Not only does it store Bitcoin. But for example it also stores Ethereum and any Ethereum ERC20 token out there such as Dragonchain. A lot of tokens are ERC20.
If you want to get extra fancy and love gadgets as much as I do, consider the Ledger Blue as seen above. This slightly more upmarket offering from Ledger, retailing for around $269.99, comes with a 3.5-inch color touchscreen as well as Bluetooth and is based on a secure element.
Trezor hardware wallet.
The regular Trezor wallet basically works the same, but there is a big difference. The Trezor hardware wallet can only store one asset. It can be a Bitcoin hardware wallet. A Dash hardware wallet. Or a Litecoin hardware wallet. But not all at the same time. So a Trezor is probably best if you have a large amount of one specific crypto you want to keep safe. Just like the Ledger Nano S the Trezor hardware wallet is cheap and easy to use. On a Trezor you can also easily control your crypto and transfer it with the software application you install.
TREZOR also offers the Model T, which was launched in 2018 and supports an enormous amount of major cryptos plus any ERC20 token. Featuring a touchscreen, double verification for transactions, PIN protection and PIN lockout, it’s another hardware wallet for crypto that prioritizes security above all else. You can store bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, ERC20 tokens and 10 other currencies on the Model T.
According to the official release, the new firmware for Trezor Model T will support a wider range of different cryptocurrencies. These include Monero, Cardano, Stellar, Ripple, Tezos, Decred, Lisk, Zencash, Groestlcoin, and Zcash Sapling hardfork. This opens up the way for third-party integrations for the supported currencies.
“Nothing now stands in the way of developers of the respective cryptocurrencies or other third-party developers to implement Trezor integrations with their wallets — and some of them already have!”
Keepkey hardware wallet.
KeepKey enables you to generate and store unlimited numbers of private keys. This private key is a sophisticated form of cryptography that allows you to access your cryptocurrency. Bitcoin of course is one that’s compatible with the Keepkey. The KeepKey wallet enables the storage and transaction of many cryptocurrencies. Including Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Dogecoin , bitcoin gold and multiple erc-20 tokens. This is ideal if you’re using multiple cryptocurrencies or looking to build a portfolio of digital assets. KeepKey integrates with the wallet software on your computer by taking over private key generation, private key storage and transaction signing.
KeepKey generates private key using its hardware-based random number generator, combined with randomness provided by your computer. Once your private key is generated, you are given the one-time opportunity to write down a backup of your KeepKey in the form of a twelve-word recovery sentence. Some benefits that Keepkey actively promotes are;
- Exchange between assets directly on device using ShapeShift
- Supported by clients including Electrum and Mycelium
- Virus- and malware-proof
- Works on PC, Mac, Linux, and Android
We mentioned five different hardware wallets.
- Ledger Nano S
- Ledger Blue
- TREZOR Model T
Up to you to decide which wallet best fits your needs.
When buying any hardware wallet there are many aspects you can consider before buying.
- How easy to use are they?
- What is the price and quality?
- Which cryptocurrencies do they support?
- What are the security options?
- Is it easy to backup and restore?
- Can you carry them with you easily?
- What do the reviews say about the product?
- Can you access your funds quickly?
The pros and cons of hardware wallets are obvious.
Hardware wallets are more secure than any mobile, web or desktop wallet. And they give you complete control over your private keys. That alone should give you a lot of peace of mind. And there is the option to recover all your coins when something bad happens to the hardware wallet. The negative side is that you’ll have to buy one. Money you could otherwise have invested in more coins. If you really want to take that risk, there are free options available. Since hardware wallets don’t support all cryptocurrencies you even might end up having no other choice.
Free online crypto wallets for desktop, web, IOS, Android.
For this we can recommend My Ether Wallet, MyCrypto, Metamask or Android/IOS applications you can find in the Play Store. When visiting any of these websites or apps, always make sure you browse the correct URL. Or download the most trusted apps that have proven to be ”safe”. In the end there is no 100% security in crypto, as ironic that may sound. It is up to you to achieve the highest percentage of security. Simply by following the set-up and security instructions very closely.
- Buy from trusted and reliable sellers.
- Never give away your private keys, PIN or recovery seeds and phrases to anyone. But… People might die some day… So in case you want a family member to have access, figure out the best way to do so.
- Don’t even tell others you own a lot of Bitcoin or altcoins. At least pretent you just own a little bit. Talk about how excited you are about the technology, not how excited you are about the gains.
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