Do you have some bitcoins? Or you plan to invest a good amount of money in bitcoins? Then, it’s time you seriously consider the security of your bitcoins by getting a Bitcoin hardware wallet.
The money sitting in any cryptocurrency is only spendable to the person who holds the private key, which is a long alphanumeric string of characters which an online wallet provider will keep hidden away from you if you are storing your bitcoins with them.
This leaves you with the problem of keeping your private key safe as any internet enabled device such as your PC and smartphones can be hacked. And a hacked device with private keys on it will result in you losing your funds.
A good practice is to only keep few bitcoins that you can afford to lose on other wallets like your cloud-based wallets, while large amount you can’t afford to lose should be stored on a hardware wallet.
What is a Hardware Wallet
A hardware wallet is a physical type of bitcoin wallet that fits into your USB port and allows you to store bitcoins directly on it to keep it safe from any viruses that may be on your computer. Your private keys are stored in the hardware wallet.
Hardware wallets are the best because they protect your bitcoins against virtually all forms of malware attacks from potential hackers. Another reason for using a hardware wallet is that it can be easy to backup using a recovery seed.
How to Backup a Bitcoin Hardware Wallet
When installing a hardware wallet, you will first be asked to write down and save a certain number of words, usually 12, 18 or 24 words. These words are known as your recovery phrase or seed and should be kept safe where only you have access to.
After generating the seed, most wallets will ask you to choose a four-digit PIN. This is the PIN you will use if you want to log into your bitcoin wallet or make any transaction.
If you or someone inputs a wrong PIN severally, the wallet will reset itself and you will need to enter your recovery seed/phrase you saved during backup to gain access to your bitcoins.
#1 – Ledger Hardware Wallet
The Ledger wallet is manufactured by a French company based in Paris and is known for producing a wide range of hardware wallets. Their different types of wallets come with different prices.
The Ledger Blue wallet is one of the most advanced hardware devices in the market. By default, the device has multiple applications for different cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Dash.
The Ledger Blue wallet is a light device completely designed and built in France and it has an enterprise-level security when it comes to cryptography.
This wallet is convenient to carry as it is smaller than an iPhone 6. You can order the Ledger Blue wallet on the company’s website and it takes a delivery time of around two to three business days.
Ledger’s most popular hardware wallet is Nano S, the successor to the Nano. With its small size, the Nano S is easy to carry and has its own OLED screen plus two physical buttons.
The device comes with a secure anti-tampering technology and it is protected by cryptographic attestation so you are sure your device was not tampered with in the process of delivery.
It currently supports multiple cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Komodo, Litecoin, Stratis, Zcash, and Ripple.
The Ledger Nano S wallet interface is easy to use even if you have no technical skill and it has two buttons on the side of the hardware that you use to control the device.
After you have backed up your seed phrase, you will need to download Ledger Nano S Chrome extension on your computer. The wallet uses a different app for Bitcoin and altcoins and another one for Ethereum. The wallet also has a Manager and Authenticator app.
The video above demonstrates how to configure a new Ledger Nano S device.
This Ledger Nanao S comes with another feature of being extensible in the sense that if you are a programmer you can write your own app on it or program it to do whatsoever you wish.Click Here to Learn More about Ledger Wallet
#2 – Trezor Hardware Wallet
The Trezor wallet is manufactured by Satoshi Labs, a Czech Republic based company based in Prague, that runs the famous mining pool – Slush Pools, which is one of the biggest mining pools in the world.
The Trezor wallet comes glued with an anti-tampering seal so you can see if someone has actually tampered with the box. The device allows you to display the payment address on the screen so you will know where the payment is being made.
The device is programmed in a way that will require you enter a nine-digit PIN anytime you connect the wallet to a computer.
Trezor is a single purpose computer that operates only with USB power. It does not have a Wifi chip, Bluetooth or NFC, it only communicates via the USB protocol.
To set up the wallet, you will need to install Trezor Chrome extension on your PC, which will be used to communicate with your Trezor and then it will install the latest secure firmware into your device.
Trezor currently supports Windows, Mac, Linux for desktop, and Andriod for mobile. The screen is a Bright OLED with 128×64 pixels and it comes with a CPU of 120 MHz embedded with ARM processor (Cortex-M3)Click Here to Learn More about TREZOR
#3 – KeepKey Hardware Wallet
If you want to safely store your bitcoins and not want worry about malware and viruses, then you should consider using a hardware wallet like KeepKey.
It has a clean and slick user interface that makes it easy to use and can it be used to store Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Namecoin, Litecoin, and Dash. It works with a Windows, Mac, Linux, and Andriod systems.
Like other hardware wallets, you need to download the KeepKey google chrome app to connect with a computer. KeepKey uses a firmware that is 100% open-source.
KeepKey has partnered with ShapeShift, a major altcoin exchange and that will let you trade your altcoins or bitcoins for other altcoins right on your hardware wallet without needing any other exchange. This is a very outstanding feature should make KeepKey more preferred to other hardware wallets.
But despite a successful integration with ShapeShift, users of the KeepKey wallet in recent times have expressed negative feedbacks on Amazon about the product, ranging from Poor quality control of the product to non-responsive customer support.
Another downside to using this wallet is the inconvenience you get when carrying it in your pocket. The size is almost twice as that of a Trezor wallet.Click Here to Learn More about Keepkey
As cryptocurrency gets more adopted and becomes mainstream, we are going to see more cases of hacking and theft more than the ones we have seen. Do not let the cost of a hardware wallet cost you your valuable crypto currencies.
Be serious about your crypto funds and get a hardware wallet today!