Ledger Nano S Review
Cryptocurrency investing requires a high amount of due diligence. It is your responsibility to keep your digital tokens secure at all times. Cryptocurrency wallets are the method of storage for digital assets, but there are numerous options to choose from. A hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S offers many advantages over a wallet that is maintained on your computer or at an exchange. Here is a look at one of the most popular hardware wallets on the market today.
Hardware Wallet for Cryptocurrency
Before we take an in-depth look at the Ledger Nano S, it will be beneficial to briefly explain the concept of a hardware wallet. While these devices are popular, many investors remain unfamiliar with them and the benefits they can provide. To begin, one must understand that the nature of digital tokens makes them particularly vulnerable to security breaches and attacks. There are individuals who spend their time trying to take advantage of others who have failed to properly secure their tokens. This is a reality that every cryptocurrency investor must face. Phishing scams, malware, and hacking attempts are all too common.
Getting started with cryptocurrencies can be overwhelming. There is a lot of technology to process. One of the things that makes cryptocurrency so attractive is that it puts your finances under your direct control. In the case of the Ledger Nano S, it puts it right in the palm of your hand. There are no banks that stand as a middleman between you and your funds. Of course, the downside of this is that you also become responsible for your own security measures. With great power comes great responsibility, as the saying goes.
A hardware wallet is a physical device that can offer you the greatest level of protection for your digital tokens. With other wallet options, a private key is maintained on a user’s computer. This private key is necessary for accessing a wallet and using the funds it contains. As with any data that is stored on your computer, these private keys are susceptible to hacking attacks. If someone gains access to your private keys, your wallet has become compromised. It would then be very easy for someone to steal the Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other cryptocurrency that you have stored in your wallet.
A hardware wallet keeps the private keys stored on a physical device that you control at all times. The keys are never placed on your computer. The only one that can ever access them is you, unless you give someone else access to the physical device. If your computer falls victim to an attack or data theft, your hardware wallet will remain secure.
Setting up a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S is reasonably simple. It requires you to establish something known as a Recovery Seed. This is simply a string of words that you will need in the event your Ledger Nano S is lost or stolen. You will create the Recovery Seed and then place it in a safe location where it can be retrieved if necessary to recover the wallet.
Many people prefer to order two hardware wallets at the same time. They will use one and keep the other as a replacement. This way, if something happens to your original unit, all you need to do is use the Recovery Seed to activate the replacement. Otherwise, you will have to wait for a new Ledger device to arrive. While you wait you will have no access to your cryptocurrency.
You may also want to check out our review of the Trezor hardware wallet for cryptocurrency. It is arguably the most popular device behind the Ledger Nano S. You can also use our reviews to perform a comparison of the two models to determine which one will best suit your needs.
Unboxing Your Ledger Nano S Hardware Wallet
You have decided that a hardware wallet is best for you and ordered one. Now, the day has come when your wallet arrives. Here is what you can expect when unboxing your new Ledger.
The Ledger will arrive sealed in cellophane for your protection. There is a built-in program which prevents tampering of the device. This program can detect if the Ledger has been altered or changed since it left the factory. It is a useful feature given that some scammers have attempted to sell altered units on eBay and other platforms. These altered units have already established a Recovery Seed, and this gives data thieves the access to your wallet. It is recommended that you only purchase a Ledger from trusted sources.
The Ledger Nano S package will include following items:
1 Ledger Nano S hardware wallet
1 USB Cable
1 Key chain
If any of the aforementioned items are not included with the Ledger you receive, there is a possibility that you have been sold am altered unit. The Ledger will sit on top of the other items in its own layer. Once you remove this layer, the other items can be found underneath. The instruction and recovery cards are kept in their own documentation envelope. Of all the extra items, the documentation envelope is most important.
Setup for Your Ledger Hardware Wallet
To begin, you will need to remove the Ledger from its packaging and connect it to your PC with the included USB cable. Once tethered to your computer, the Ledger will power on. It will then prompt you to access https://www.ledgerwallet.com/start/ledger-nano-s. This is the URL which will guide you through the remainder of the setup process.
You will be asked to create PIN for your Ledger. On the side of the device are two buttons. You can use the left or right buttons to move up or down the numerical scale, and pressing both buttons at the same time will lock in your selection. The PIN must be at least four digits. It is advisable to use a combination of numbers that you can easily commit to memory. Otherwise, you should write down the PIN and keep it in a safe location in the event that you forget the code. Every action you perform on the Ledger requires the use of your PIN. The device cannot be used if you lose this code.
After the PIN has been created, the Ledger is going to provide you with your Recovery Seed. This group of 24 words will be given to you in the proper order. Write down this Recovery Seed in the exact order it has been given. You will be prompted to enter four randomly chosen words from the 24-word seed to verify that you have recorded it correctly. Once this verification is complete, the Ledger is functional. A message will display on the screen which reads: Your Device is Now Ready.
Adding Apps to Your Ledger Nano S
The Ledger works best with the Chrome web browser. This is because Chrome includes multiple apps which integrate with the device. Once you install these apps, you will be able to work with different cryptocurrencies. A good starting point is to install Ledger Manager. This app will guide you through installing other apps which relate to the different types of digital tokens that you wish to keep on your hardware wallet. It is possible to use up to five apps at one time with the Ledger. The Ledger Manager will give you a list of apps for various cryptocurrencies. Just choose the ones you want and click the green download button.
Ledger has developed its own Chrome apps for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. The manner in which these work are simple. Once you have downloaded the app for Bitcoin or other tokens, you will run the app and be asked to enter your PIN. This will them allow you to create a new Bitcoin address. There are two choices at the present time. Legacy or Segwit can be selected, but you will probably find that Segwit offers a more affordable fee structure for sending Bitcoin.
Each app is elegantly designed and offers an user-friendly interface. There are instructions provided for sending and receiving Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, and other coins. You can also create multiple wallet addresses, and you can customize the settings of your display.
MyEtherWallet and the Ledger
Without question, Ethereum is becoming one of the most popular digital currencies. This is because a large number of new coins are based and built on the Ethereum blockchain. You will surely want to add an Ethereum app to your Ledger, but the one provided by the Nano S is probably not the way to go.
If you launch the Ethereum app developed for the Ledger, a message will appear that addresses stability issues with Ethereum Nodes. Ledger recommends that users choose MyEtherWallet. This wallet integrates with the Ledger, and it can store Ether as well as all Ethereum ERC-20 tokens. You will find this very useful as you begin to build your portfolio of cryptocurrencies. It is very easy to begin using this wallet. You only need to visit the MyEtherWallet website, establish a wallet, and connect the wallet to your Ledger. There is an option for doing this on the MyEtherWallet website.
The process of linking your ledger is straightforward and takes only a few minutes. Simply follow the prompts that you are given and you will have the ability to send or receive many digital tokens.
Here are just a few of the cryptocurrencies that are supported by the Ledger Nano S:
At the time we published our review, there were 25 cryptocurrencies that which were supported by the Ledger. This list is always changing, so you will want to check the official Ledger site for any updates. Ledger has done a good job of adding coins they believe have the potential to remain on the scene for a long time. (Updated on the supported coins, over 1,000 coins currently supported by the nano ledger!)
Our Opinion of the Ledger Nano S
The Ledger is a device that we have personal experience with, and we admit a fondness for the device. It has an easy setup process, is simple to use, and we haven’t experienced any technical issues. With this being said, the technologically challenged might find the Ledger hard to navigate. But, the very fact that someone would purchase one to begin with assumes some level of experience with technology and cryptocurrencies. At least we hope so.
When compared to the Trezor, we have to admit that the chassis and overall construction of the device feels a little bit inferior. It would be nice to see how long each of these devices would hold up to side-by-side testing. We’re guessing that the Trezor might be able to take a greater amount of wear and tear than the Ledger. But, to be fair, the Ledger does have a case which slides on and off to protect the screen from scratches and cracks.
The Ledger supports a large number of digital coins, with more being added all the time. The nice thing is the device’s integration with MyEtherWallet. This actually expands the compatibility of the device to include hundreds of tokens that are developed with Ethereum’s Smart Contracts. Also, combining MyEtherWallet with the Ledger provides even more security for your digital assets.
The Ledger is a little more affordable than the Trezor, too. On the official website the device runs around €95, but it may be possible to find the device cheaper at places like Amazon from time to time. It would be advised to avoid eBay because there have been scams on that platform.
Simple to use
Many cryptocurrencies supported
Maximum security for storing digital tokens
Housing could be more durable
Ledger Blue : Bigger Brother
Those who like the Ledger Nano hardware wallet but crave a little bit more might want to try the Ledger Blue. If you want to get your hands on one of these cryptocurrency wallets, you better act fast. The company announced in July 2018 that it would be releasing just 10,000 more of these units. Once these hardware wallets have been sold, the Ledger Blue is going out of production.
About Ledger Blue
The Ledger Blue is a hardware wallet that features a nice 3.5” touchscreen. Anyone that has used a smartphone will immediately be familiar with its feel and operation. The device is very easy to navigate.
This hardware wallet has both Bluetooth and USB connectivity. It can run several different companion apps, and it currently supports multiple cryptocurrencies. Private keys can be stored for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, and a host of other digital tokens. The device is also compatible with smartphones and PCs.
Your Ledger Blue will arrive in a small box that contains the following items:
One Ledger Blue hardware wallet
One USB cable
Ledger Blue Security
This device has numerous enhanced security features that are designed to protect the user from data theft. Among these is two-factor authentication. The device is also backed up with a 24-word recovery phrase. This is a phrase that you should write down and keep in a secure spot. You will need this phrase if you get locked out of the device. Losing the phrase will essentially render your device worthless.
Offline storage of digital assets is the hallmark of this hardware wallet. Offline storage offers the maximum protection against those who would try to steal your tokens. Ledger Blue also uses something known as WYSIWYS, or What You See is What You Sign. This feature is particularly useful in guarding against malware and viruses, and it also helps to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.
Ledger Blue Pros
>Maximum security for your digital tokens
Compatible with smartphones, PCs, laptops, and some tablets
Multiple cryptocurrencies supported
Ledger Blue Cons
Several times more expensive than the Ledger Nano S