Hardware Wallets Compared
Hardware wallets are devices with which bitcoins and other crypto currencies can be safely managed. In contrast to desktop or mobile wallets, the security-relevant part (private key) is stored directly in the hardware and therefore can not be extracted or misused. The best hardware firewalls are Trezor, Ledger Nano S and Keepkey.
Hardware Wallets: What are the advantages?
If you save your coins in an online wallet, there is never a 100% certainty. An example of this is the Bitcoin Exchange Bitfinex. Despite very high security precautions, the crypto exchange was already hacked once. The advantage over mobile wallets or desktop and online wallets is that it is virtually impossible to hack them.
For hardware wallets, cryptocurrency theft is only possible if the hacker (s) own the hardware wallet. How so? For one thing, hardware wallets (at least the good ones) have buttons that you have to press to send bitcoins or other crypto currencies. Only through an app, it is not possible.
Most hardware wallets also have a display. This has the advantage that you could theoretically use the wallet even on an infected computer.
Trezor Hardware Wallets
Trezor is the first hardware wallet we would like to introduce to you. The hardware wallets from Trezor cost 119 euros plus shipping costs. They come in a packaging that has two seals. If the seals are damaged upon receipt, you should return the wallet immediately. The risk of manipulation is otherwise too high. Setting up the wallet is supported by the manufacturer. For example, Trezor hardware wallets are always accompanied by instructions that guide you step-by-step through the process. As with any wallet setup, you should make a note of the seed at the beginning. The seed should be stored safely, ideally not digitally, but in paper format.
The hardware wallets from Trezor come without firmware. This has the advantage that you always get the latest version of the firmware when setting up. The operation of the Trezor can either be done via a Chrome extension or via the in-house software Trezor Bridge (for Windows, Linux or Mac). The sending and receiving of cryptocurrencies takes place in Trezor as it is known from other hardware wallets. You enter the address and the amount (although you can choose “everything” for the amount and then you send your coins.) If you want to send several addresses at the same time, there is the possibility of a CSV upload.
Conclusion: The Trezor meets all the demands made of hardware wallets. That the wallet comes without firmware, we noticed in the test positive. We also like the fact that Trezor Bridge does not rely on Chrome.
Hardware Wallets by Ledger
The Ledger Nano S is one of the three top hardware wallets in the market. It is recommended to order the Ledger Nano S on the manufacturer’s website. Buying from third-party providers carries the risk of being able to fall for cheaters. In no case you should buy a hardware wallet used on ebay. Even though it may be cheaper, the danger is just too big for the hardware wallet to be compromised.
The Ledger Nano S costs 69.60 euros and the shipping costs amount to 13 to 37 euros. It comes in a white-gray packaging that reminds a little of Apple. After unpacking, you can start setting up your hardware wallet. The Nano S comes with a Getting Started card that explains how to set up your wallet. Call the WEbsite ( start.ledgerwallet.com ). There you choose the suitable hardware wallet and then click on Configure my device .
Then connect it via a USB cable (included) with his computer. Alternatively, you can connect the Ledger Nano S also with a power outlet or a power bank. The hardware wallet has two buttons. If you press these at the same time, this is equivalent to pressing the Enter key on a computer. In addition, you can navigate with the buttons up and down. When setting up, the Ledger Nano S asks you a few questions. All you have to do is answer them and that’s how it goes through the setup step by step.
IMPORTANT: You will get a recovery seed at the beginning. This consists of 24 words and is needed if you lose your wallet and want to set it up again. You should keep the recovery seed very well. You should also consider whether you want to save the recovery seed on your computer or even online. In the case of a successful hacker attack, the recovery seed will be gone and most likely your coins will be gone too.
After setting up the hardware wallet, you can install a number of apps according to the crypto currencies that you want to store on it. For this you need the Chrome extension Ledger Manager . There are also quite a few other Ledger Chrome extensions. They help you to receive and send your coins. Installing the apps is self-explanatory, so we will not go into that here.
Ledger Nano S: Operation
In order to be able to carry out transactions with the Ledger Nano S, validation must always be performed via the display and the buttons. This increases security. A manipulation of transactions via infected computers is thus excluded. As mentioned earlier, Ledger offers several Chrome extensions to better serve their hardware wallets. Although we were able to cope with it in the test, we also discovered that the operation is not always easy
In the test, we had no problems sending or receiving coins. The operation is like you know it from other hardware wallets and presents the user with no problems
Conclusion: The Ledger Nanos S is a high-quality and very secure hardware wallet for its price. The handling is basically very pleasant. However, when using the Chrome extensions we need to subtract one point. For people who are not technically savvy, Chrome extensions can be challenging.
Hardware Wallets by Keepkey
Keep Key manufactures hardware wallets since 2015. The setup is comparable to that of Trezor or the Ledger Nano S so relatively easy. It has a few interesting features. But it is not cheap, but still cheaper than, for example, the hardware wallets from Trezor. You can use the Keep Key wallet on any computer, even if it is infected. This is also due to the fact that it is equipped with a display (tip: when buying rather spend a little more and do not waive features such as a display, it simply increases security).
In addition to the mandatory seed, Keep Key provides security in the form of a combination of PIN and random numbering. So both the digital theft of your coins are as well secured as it is possible. If you lose the wallet, you can restore it using the seed (also possible with Trezor and Ledger). Sending and receiving coins works the KeepKey similar to the other presented hardware wallets. There’s also the option to work with Chrome extensions here.
Conclusion: The Keep Key is like Trezor and Ledger one of the better hardware wallets on the market. It does not differ fundamentally from the Hardware Wallets Trezor, but its design is slightly different.
Featured Image By: Jason Baker