Hardware wallets and what they do

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What are hardware wallets? –A hardware wallet is a type of cryptocurrency wallet that stores the user’s private keys in a secure physical device. Hardware wallets are a very popular option due to the security and privacy features that they possess. They are also referred to as cold wallets because they isolate your private key even if they connect to the internet.

Why should you use a hardware wallet? –Hardware wallets are known to be the most secure way to store your crypto. There are several advantages to using a hardware wallet:

  • Private keys are never exposed on your computer.
  • The hardware is immune to computer viruses.
  • Your hardware requires you to confirm a transaction on your device (not the app on your computer) before any coins can be spent.
  • Most hardware wallets are encrypted with pin numbers, like your debit card, which adds another security layer.
  • The hardware company’s software is usually open source which allows users to validate the entire operation of the device.
  • Hardware wallets can host multiple cryptocurrencies.

In this article, we’re going to be looking at the good, the bad and the ugly of 4 popular hardware wallets.

KeepKey – KeepKey is a hardware wallet that is not as well-known as its famous cousins’, Ledger and Trezor, but has received positive reviews from many of its users. Having launched in 2015, the device is still gaining traction within the community. There are similarities amongst KeepKey users in terms of the pros and cons of this device, these are:

Pros:

  • Aesthetically appealing with a digital screen and metal body
  • The device includes an in-wallet exchange
  • The device is recognized as being very secure and can be used on computers that have been infected by malware.
  • The device in itself is private, but privacy depends on the wallet it is used in conjunction with.

Cons:

  • This device is quite pricey, marketed at $129 a piece.
  • The number of coins supported on KeepKey are limited in comparison to its competitors
  • The device is quite bulky to carry around
  • There have been ongoing complaints and negative reviews concerning the lack of support via their support line.

Trezor One – The Trezor One wallet was the first crypto hardware wallet on the market having been released in August 2014. The Trezor One device has become trusted amongst users with its easy to use interface and multi-coin support.  The Trezor one also has the best price point, retailing at around $80 a piece.

Pros:

  • Easy to use interface
  • Multiple coins and tokens supported
  • Reasonable price point
  • Small and easy to carry around
  • Very secure and protected against virtual and physical theft.
  • The device can be recovered using another Trezor device or with other wallets.
  • The device is private and does not require any usernames or passwords. Once again, overall privacy is determined by the wallet the device is being used with.
  • Known for excellent customer support

Cons:

  • The device resets frequently when upgrading which can be intimidating for crypto newbies who are not familiar with using their backup phrase to restore their wallets.

Trezor T – The functionality of the Trezor T is very similar to the Trezor One. The Trezor T comes with a large full-colour touchscreen.  When restoring or setting up your hardware wallet you usually have to enter your seed phrase, and without a touchscreen you have to use your PC to type this in. PC’s that have malware or have been hacked pose a threat, but with the Trezor T, all interaction is done on the hardware wallet.

Pros:

  • Full-colour touchscreen device
  • 3 primary recovery features; pin entry, passphrase entry and device recovery
  • Secured with 2FA (two-factor authentication) and Password manager
  • Premium support
  • Support for more than 500 coins and tokens
  • The Model-T’s firmware was written from scratch to further optimise security
  • Known for excellent customer support.

Cons:

  • The price point is pretty steep on one of these, retailing at about $170 per device

Ledger Nano S – The Ledger Nano S is a highly reputable hardware wallet that has come to match its main opponent, Trezor. The Ledger Nano S is also sure not to break the bank, retailing at $99 per device. The ledger brand is associated with cryptocurrency security as Ledger is a leader in security and infrastructure solutions in crypto since 2014.

Pros:

  • Small, durable and easy to travel with (it also comes with a lanyard to secure it around your neck)
  • Secure and immune to malware attacks from infected PC’s
  • Easy to use, with an initial device setup time of approximately 3 minutes
  • Accompanying Ledger Live software has a very intuitive, easy to navigate interface
  • As with all hardware devices, the Ledger device itself is private but ultimate privacy depends on the wallet it is used with.
  • Support of more than 70 coins and tokens
  • Known for excellent customer support

Cons:

  • The price point ($99) is a tad steeper than the Trezor one for example

A hardware wallet is a good investment if you’re serious about protecting your crypto. Find the one that is right for your needs and your pocket. Happy transacting (or Hodling)!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *