Most cryptocurrency trading exchanges keep your private keys under their custody on your behalf. Statistically, digital currency exchanges are the worst place to safeguard your crypto coins according to an article from VentureBeat that states “Cryptocurrency thefts, scams, and fraud could hit $4.3 billion in 2019”.
In this article, we will assess the best Bitcoin hardware wallets in our opinion based on important user features such as user friendliness, compatibility, backup and security features and supported cryptocurrencies.
Best Bitcoin Hardware Wallets To Use
We have done the research for you and reviewed the best hardware wallets on the market today. With many companies and manufacturers developing their own hardware wallets, it is important that you purchase the right hardware wallet from a trustworthy company that is safe and reliable.
Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best crypto wallets.
Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S was the first independently certified hardware wallet to be developed to protect cryptocurrencies. It is by far the most popular crypto wallet on the market and has reportedly sold of 1.5 million devices.
The Ledger Nano S model supports over 1000 crypto currencies such as:
- Ripple (XRP)
- Binance chain (BNB)
- Cardano (ADA)
- EOS (EOS)
- Monero (XMR)
- All ERC 20 Token
- BAT (Basic attention token)
The Ledger Nano S features state of the art security through a security chip of the same type as used in passports. It is like having a bank deposit box in your pocket to store your favorite cryptocurrencies.
The device is well designed with a LED display and metal casing that makes it feel more durable in your hand. Like most hardware wallets, the device is connected via USB and features the Ledger Live app to interact with the device.
The software interface can be used to display account balances and make transactions. The software app is intuitive, user friendly and perfect for crypto beginners.
Overall, the Ledger Nano S is perfect choice for first timers and includes all the security features to protect your crypto assets with an attractive price.
The Trezor One was launched in August 2014 and was the first Bitcoin hardware wallet that provided a secure cold storage with the flexibility to transport and spend with convenience like a hot wallet.
The company that founder it, Satoshi Labs are a pioneer in the Bitcoin industry. The device features additional security measures such as PIN codes and passphrases that make this hardware wallet a safe choice to protecting your cryptocurrency coins.
The Trezor supports over 600 cryptocurrencies such as:
- BTC – Bitcoin
- ETH/ETC – Ethereum/Ethereum Classic
- NMC – Namecoin
- LTC – Litecoin
- DOGE – Dogecoin
- ZEC – Zcash
- DASH – Dash
The device comes in a small form factor that makes it easy to carry around in your pocket. The Trezor One's convenience allows you to easily spend Bitcoin on the go. All you need to do is connect your Trezor One to any computer and that's it!
The price of a Trezor One is affordable and quite simply a very good hardware wallet for all types of cryptocurrency investors.
Trezor T is a second generation crypto hardware wallet from Satoshi Labs. Satoshi Labs have been developing cryptocurrency hardware wallets since 2011 and are a reputable and well trusted company. It is one of the most popular cold storage solutions to date and often in comparison to the Ledger wallets.
The Trezor T wallet works with multiple currencies and as a password manager, two-factor authentication device and with other useful features. One of the advantages of the Trezor T is the digital touch screen display that removes the need for small physical buttons.
All operations requiring entry of confidential data are done exclusively on the device screen. You can be sure no one will see your PIN or your Recovery seed.
The Trezor Model T pushes the boundaries of technology and is based on the zero trust principle. That means, any part of a secure system can be compromised at some point.
The Trezor T technology takes this principle into consideration. This means that if any part of your hardware wallet is compromised, your cryptocurrencies will remain completely safe.
Ledger Nano X
The Nano X is the latest flag ship product from Ledger released in 2019 that offers true state-of-the-art security. It has become the most secure Bitcoin hardware wallet and mobile-friendly in the cryptocurrency world. Ledger are one of the biggest and most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallet companies.
The Ledger Nano X breaks new territory by focusing on mobility, specifically its Bluetooth accessibility and built-in battery.
The Ledger Nano X has a sleek and robust design with a larger digital display. The buttons have increased in size making it easier to use compared to the previous model.
It features an increased storage capacity of up to 100 cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano and many other altcoins. The Ledger X makes it easy to transfer various coins from different exchanges to a single device.
A great new feature is the bluetooth connectivity. This allows the Nano X to connect to both Android and Apple (iOS) iphones and other smart devices using the Ledger Live app. The wireless signal are fully encrypted end-to-end to protect against any security threats.
What separates this crypto wallet is how easy it is to first configure. As with other wallets, the setup can be a complicated and tedious process for those non-technical people. However the Nano X has a steeper price point and may not be ideal for first time cryptocurrency investors.
The KeepKey wallet was released in 2015 and later bought out by Shapeshift. The device is beautifully designed yet robust construction features a large screen. The device is quite a bit larger than the Ledger Nano X and also the Trezor T.
It is an easy to use device and comes at an affordable price. Crypto users looking for a combination of value and security when managing their cryptocurrency wallets should consider the KeepKey.
The Keep Key wallet offers similar security features to the Ledger and Trezor wallets but does not support as many cryptocurrencies.
It is an ideal wallet if you own multiple cryptocurrencies or looking to build a portfolio of digital assets. Keep Key does may not have a large reputation in comparison to Ledger and Trezor. However, it's a simple and easy to design device that is affordable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Bitcoin / Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet?
A cryptocurrency hardware wallet is a purpose built device specifically designed to store the private key used to access your cryptocurrencies. The wallet can be connected online to allow the transfer of Bitcoin and altcoins from crypto exchanges and trading platforms.
It can then be removed to offline to safely protect the cryptocurrency data. The typical size of a hardware wallets is the size of a USB stick so it can even be used to store a Bitcoin purchase using cash in hand with trusted peers or family who are willing to sell. The best way to think of it is like having a bank account in your wallet.
What Does a Hardware Wallet Do?
Hardware wallet is purposed design to store all of the transaction data associated with the wallet on the device. The most critical piece of information is your private keys. If you're wonder what is a private key is, basically it is a unique 'password' that entitles you to your claim of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and must never be told to anyone.
It is unsafe to store your private keys on your computer as it will be vulnerable to hackers who can gain access to this data will little effort and will be able to steal your cryptocurrency. To solve this problem of securing your private keys, hardware wallets were developed. The hardware wallet provides an 'air gap' and complete isolation between your private keys and anyone else.
Who Needs a Bitcoin Hardware Wallet?
Unless you are a crypto 'day trader', your cryptocurrency should not reside on any exchange. Exchanges and margin trading platforms will hold your Bitcoin private keys under their custody on your behalf while you trade the market.
This can be risky as as your Bitcoin private key is the only way to claim your Bitcoins as these websites can be vulnerable to hacking. Click here to read about the Mt. Gox hack in 2014.
The vast majority of beginners will likely not be traders and fall under the buying and holding strategy known as 'HODL'. Therefore, you should research into finding a suitable hardware wallet to store your Bitcoin off the exchanges.
There are some exceptions to this rule. There are platforms such as BlockFi that allow users to earn compounded interest on their crypto assets. To be eligible, you need to deposit your crypto to financial provider. In this case, you should do your own due diligence.
Can I Recover My Hardware Wallet If It Gets Stolen?
This is a commonly asked question. The answer?
As long as you hold onto the private keys, your cryptocurrency coins will be safe. If you lose your hardware wallet or it is stolen, your private keys can be recovered and transferred to a new hardware wallet to access your crypto coins that resides on their respective blockchain.
If your hardware wallet is stolen, lost or damaged; so long as you create a secret backup code, you can always retrieve your coins.
Are There Other Types of Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallets?
Yes, there are different types of wallets that offer different functionality, have varying level of security and price range. Let's go through them.
Desktop Cryptocurrency Wallets
As you can guess, desktop wallets such as Exodus are downloadable client in the form of a desktop application. The interface provides a connection to your cryptocurrency directly. Desktop wallets are vulnerable to hackers that will use malware, key loggers and social engineering (e.g. phishing) to easily gain access and compromise the wallet.
Paper Cryptocurrency Wallets
Probably the lowest form of security, this paper wallet consist of storing the public and private keys on a piece of paper (or similar) then keeping it in a secure location such as the family safe.
This method of storing your Bitcoin is extremely vulnerable to damage, getting lost, torn, faded or accidentally thrown out.
Mobile Cryptocurrency Wallets
Similar to desktop wallets, using a mobile wallet such as Mycelium and Trust Wallet comes with their own risks as the private keys are stored on the device. While they have an ease of use and convenience factor, smart phones can be easily lost, stolen or compromised. Most smart phone users do not think about phone security in the same way they would for a PC.
Accessible through the internet, online wallets such as Blockchain store your crypto transactions online which are hosting on servers outside of your control. While they may use encryption, they are vulnerable to hacking.
All of the alternative (and cheaper) methods of securing Bitcoin have inherent risks and vulnerabilities. Any investment should be kept secure and the best way to keep your Bitcoin safe is using a hardware wallet.
Investing in cryptocurrencies can be tricky for first timers. Knowing where to store your crypto can be confusing. However, it is important to know that YOU are responsible for the security of your digital assets. Not the bank, crypto exchange or margin platform.
If in doubt, it is important that you purchase the best hardware wallet with bank like security features. We believe the top Bitcoin hardware wallets are:
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