The key aspect of safekeeping your crypto assets is managing your private keys of the cryptocurrencies. The private keys act as the doorway to your cryptocurrency funds. In case if your private key to a crypto asset like Bitcoin is lost or stolen, you subsequently lose your crypto asset. Cryptocurrency wallets help you to store and manage your crypto assets.
Over the years, various crypto wallet options have become available in the market, which allows you to store and manage your private keys. This includes hardware wallet, software wallet, mobile wallet, paper wallet, and desktop wallet. Each of them varies in aspects of functionality and security. Currently, hardware wallets are the best available method to store your cryptocurrencies in a secure environment.
In this article, we explain what hardware wallets are, their key features, and you will decide which are the best hardware wallets available for storing your cryptocurrencies.
What are hardware wallets?
Hardware wallets are the most secure way of storing your private keys and accessing your crypto assets. It is a physical device similar in appearance to that of a USB device. Unlike mobile wallets, cryptocurrencies are stored in cold storage in hardware wallets. In other words, digital assets are stored in an offline manner making them resilient towards online hacks and malware.
To access your crypto assets or tokens, you can connect the hardware wallet to a computer or your smartphone through the USB drive. Additionally, advanced protocols like PIN passwords enable optimum security for your hardware wallets. Hence, even if the wallet is stolen or lost, your crypto tokens cannot be immediately accessed. Some wallets also contain a separate digital screen so as to verify and approve transactions.
There are two components to a hardware wallet. The first being the desktop or mobile client that performs all the functions as a hot wallet. However, you cannot send transactions unless it is connected to the second component: your physical device. The physical wallet gives you permission to sign off and approve your transaction. Since the physical device contains access to your private keys, you cannot send a transaction without the hardware wallet.
While hardware wallets can be a bit pricey, they definitely provide more security than any other crypto wallets available. Let’s discuss the best hardware wallets available as well as the benefits of each individual option.
Hardware wallets review
Ledger Nano is one of the most prominent hardware wallets to store and manage your crypto tokens. Launched in 2014, the wallet provides you access to prominent digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum as well as a variety of altcoins. Ledger Nano S was the first model released by the company with the latest model being Ledger Nano X.
The wallet’s physical appearance reminds of a USB device. One of the key features in Ledger Nano’s physical appearance is that it features a built-in OLED display so that you can confirm a particular transaction before signing off. The Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X can be connected to your computer or laptop devices via a USB drive.
According to its official website, the latest model of Ledger wallet supports more than 1500 cryptocurrencies. It offers security measures like 4-digit PIN code that you have to enter each time you want to access your Ledger crypto wallet. Moreover, it also allows recovery and backup of your crypto tokens through the seed phase in case you lose your Ledger wallet. As per its official website, it also enables a certified secure chip designed to provide resilience against sophisticated attacks.
Furthermore, Ledger Nano integrates with popular software wallets so as to offer a smooth experience for transacting cryptocurrencies. Its latest version Ledger Nano X also offers compatibility with Android and iOS devices. Moreover, Ledger Nano enables you to manage a variety of cryptocurrencies including 26 coins and more than 1500 tokens through the Ledger Live application. That is why setting up and rebooting your wallet could be a lengthy procedure
Pros of Ledger Nano
- A built-in display for verifying transactions
- Manages and supports multiple crypto tokens
- Integrated chip and custom operating system for advanced security
- Bluetooth connectivity for mobile devices of android and iOS to manage your cryptocurrencies on smartphones.
- The wallet provides you constant software updates.
Trezor One, developed by SatoshiLabs, was one of the first hardware wallets available in the market. The Trezor One wallet, an open-source firmware, features an OLED display and a USB port along with two buttons in its design structure. The wallet offers security with PIN passwords and recovery with seed words so as to safeguard one’s cryptocurrency assets.
The wallet can be accessed through a wired connection with a computer or laptop. However, unlike its competitor Ledger Nano, it cannot be accessed through Bluetooth connectivity thereby limiting its accessibility. Moreover, Trezor wallet limits its connection with other devices and can only be accessed through a wired USB port.
One of the key features of this firmware is that it enables an exchange functionality allowing users to purchase cryptocurrencies using fiat. While it works on the operating system of Windows and Mac, users need to buy a separate cable for using it on Android devices. Furthermore, another downside is that the Trezor Bridge isn’t compatible with iOS.
The Trezor One wallet supports over 1000 crypto assets, however, users have complained of some prominent cryptocurrencies not included in this list. One of the main aspects of this wallet is its security. It also enables a recovery seed phrase in the event that the hardware wallet is misplaced or lost. While the wallet provides optimum security levels, it limits the easiness of functionality available in wallets like Ledger Nano.
Pros of Trezor One
- Advanced security protocols
- Supports a wide range of crypto assets
- Availability of OLED display
- Allows conversion to fiat currency
Ellipal is a mobile-oriented hardware wallet that requires the device and Ellipal app to operate. Its design features a large color touch screen, a USB port, and a battery on its back. Additionally, it also features a camera on its back in order to scan QR codes and a power switch on its right side.
You will be required to set a 12-word recover seed phrase on the Ellipal hardware device. You can download the Ellipal app on your smartphone and connect it to the physical wallet through the QR code displayed on the wallet’s screen. In order to perform a transaction, you will require the app that uses the internet connection as well as the Ellipal wallet device.
This hardware device also supports additional features like cryptocurrencies reviews and market news. Moreover, its built-in feature allows you to swap one cryptocurrency into another directly from the wallet’s firmware.
In comparison to Ledger Nano, it supports fewer crypto-assets, however it includes all prominent crypto tokens. This includes Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and others. It is also compatible with Android and iOS devices. The Ellipal cryptocurrency wallet also integrates security features into its firmware. The wallet cannot be accessed through the internet and hence private keys to coins are stored in cold storage. As it mimics the features of a smartphone, it provides better functionality and additional features in comparison to cryptocurrency wallets like Trezor. It is more expensive, too.
Pros of Ellipal
- A wide touchscreen enabling users to perform advanced features
- Accessibility is directly through a smartphone
- In-built functionality of QR code
- Direct swaps of crypto tokens directly from the hardware device
Cryptocurrency wallets: which is the best hardware wallet device?
While the market of hardware wallets primarily featured devices like Ledger, Trezor and Ellipal, the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies has a number of different cryptocurrency wallets in the market today. Moreover, the industry is coming up with new features, better accessibility, and retaining industry-grade security in the wallet’s firmware.
Additionally, hardware wallets are a bit pricey in comparison to other options such as software wallets. However, at the same time, they offer the best security to your crypto tokens in comparison to other cryptocurrency wallets. Hardware wallets not only store your cryptocurrency funds in a secure environment, but a user also has an option to recover their funds using a passphrase in the case if the device is lost or misplaced.
The different hardware wallets discussed above have their own benefits and drawbacks. A user needs to research and understand which features they are seeking for to store their cryptocurrency funds. For instance, while Ellipal provides users with advanced features and a wider touchscreen, Ledger Nano enables users to use a wide range of crypto assets easily.
To select the most viable hardware wallet, research on all the different features offered by each individual wallet and prioritize as per your requirements. If you wonder how to cash out your crypto funds stored in your wallet, find out here!