Hardware Wallet Review: Ledger Nano S
There are two ways that you can store your Bitcoins, in an online wallet or in cold storage, also known as a hardware wallet. Hardware wallets offer users the ability to take their coins off the internet to protect them from potential theft. The Ledger Nano S is part of a special class of hardware wallets like KeepKey or TREZOR that have a digital display on them. A feature that is vital for maximum security when it comes to storing your coins. And with a price tag of around $65, the Ledger Nano S offers a lot of features for such an affordable wallet.
Like the TREZOR wallets, the Ledger Nano S has two physical buttons on the device that owner uses to access their coins. In order for any payments to be confirmed, the user has to press both buttons at the same time. This prevents any would be hacker from accessing the device and confirming payments remotely.
PIN Code Access/Passphrase Support
The S also offers a PIN code for accessing the device. Every time you access your Nano S, it will require that four-digit PIN. After three failed attempts the Ledger Nano S will automatically wipe its hard drive. The S also offers the ability to recover your coins if it is ever compromised by using a 24-word seed that was used to set up the device. It does not however have a customizable passphrase which means if you lose your 24-word seed there won’t be any way to recover your coins.
The screen on the Ledger Nano S is also a helpful security feature. It allows you to use the device on a computer that might be compromised since no secure data is ever displayed on the computer itself. All addresses and wallet keys are only displayed on the S’s screen to prevent screen grabbing by hackers.
Ledger Nano S vs. KeepKey/TREZOR
The Ledger Nano S stacks up extremely well against the other big players in the hardware wallet market. It is by far the most affordable wallet that still offers a screen interface at $65 from Amazon, while TREZOR is around $99 and KeepKey being the most expensive at $129. For people who are thinking about purchasing a top of the line hardware wallet that still won’t break the bank, the Ledger Nano S might be the one for you. The price point is reasonable and with the addition of a screen and the ability to view and use your wallet without needing a software interface on your computer, it accomplishes what the more expensive KeepKey does at a fraction of the cost.
With Bitcoin becoming more popular every day and with price jumps of hundreds of dollars an hour, for those who started out with a small investment might want to consider purchasing a hardware wallet to keep your coins safe in your own possession. The popularity of Coinbase has been going through the roof and many newcomers to cryptocurrency don’t realize that coins kept in exchange wallets are perhaps the most vulnerable since exchanges are the main targets for hackers. Not to mention the fact that when you have coins in Coinbase, you don’t technically have possession of them, they are 100% controlled by Coinbase.
If you are serious about cryptocurrency and you want a secure way to HODL your coins without having an exchange control their fate or expose them to risk of theft, purchasing a hardware wallet should be the first thing on every new investor’s to-do list. Whether you are dealing with hundreds of whole bitcoins or just a fraction of one, the Ledger Nano S would be a good starting point for a first hardware wallet that can fulfill your cold storage needs.
Images via: 99bitcoins