Looking to invest in Bitcoin but worried about securing your bitcoins. This guide helps you find the Best Hardware wallets for bitcoins.This is part of our series on securing bitcoins. So if you are looking for guidance on the best way to secure your bitcoins keep reading.
We will be dividing this post into 4 Broad parts
- Introduction About Wallets and why do you need wallets
- Introduction to Hardware wallets.
- Best Bitcoin Hardware wallets for 2018
- Can hardware wallets be used for Altcoins
So feel free to jump section if you are interested in a particular section.
- 1 What is A Bitcoin Wallet
- 2 Why you need a Bitcoin Wallet
- 3 Types of Bitcoin Wallets
- 4 What is a Bitcoin Hardware wallet
- 5 Best Bitcoin Hardware wallets for 2018
- 5.1 Ledger Nano S
- 5.2 What Comes in the Bag along with Ledger Nano S
- 5.3 Key Security Features of Ledger Nano S Wallet
- 5.4 Trezor Hardware Wallet
- 5.5 Is Trezor Hardware wallet safe
- 5.6 Keep Key Hardware Wallet
- 6 Conclusion
What is A Bitcoin Wallet
Bitcoin wallet or simply wallet is not just a place to store bitcoins but also your interface to bitcoin ecosystem. The Bitcoin wallet is a place where you receive, store and spend bitcoins from. A Bitcoin wallet is analogous to your bank account in the traditional banking system. We require a bank account to interact with our bank similarly we require a wallet to interact with bitcoin ecosystem.
Bitcoin wallet essentially stores the private keys which you require to spend or use your bitcoins. Bitcoin wallet can be a website ( web-based wallets), an App on your phone ( android or App based wallets) or hardware devices called hardware wallets or paper-based wallets.In this post, we discuss Bitcoin hardware wallets.
Why you need a Bitcoin Wallet
I touched upon the reasons above little bit to summarize key reasons you need bitcoin wallet are as follow
- To store and spend bitcoins
- To secure your bitcoin against theft, hacking etc
- To store and easily retrieve bitcoin private keys
Types of Bitcoin Wallets
- Hardware wallets
- Hot Wallets
- Web wallets
- Android Wallets
- iPhone wallets
- Desktop wallets
What is a Bitcoin Hardware wallet
A bitcoin hardware wallet an electronic offline device built to store and secure your bitcoins. Hardware wallet as the name suggests is a physical device. As hardware wallets store your coins offline they are easy to secure. whenever you want to spend your bitcoins you would need to connect your device to the internet.
If you are looking to store bitcoins for a long time or you have a large number of bitcoins. I recommend you use Hardware wallets
Advantages of Bitcoin Hardware wallets
- Best way to secure your bitcoin very safe.
- Your coins are in your custody and not dependant on any third party.
- Easy to set up and run them
- 2 Level security ensures your bitcoins are secure if your device is stolen
- Ideal for folks who are looking to store large number of bitcoin and for a longer time
Only big hardware wallet I can think of is they do not come free you have to pay for them.
Best Bitcoin Hardware wallets for 2018
Now that we understand the core functionality of Bitcoin Hardware wallets time to jump into the list of top Bitcoin wallets.
Ledger Nano S
Ledger Nano S is a premier bitcoin wallet which also supports ethereum and multiple other Altcoins. Ledger NanoS has been built buy Ledger Sas a Paris based company.
Key Advantages of Ledger Nano S Wallet
- Multicurrency support, Ledger Nano S wallet provides support for multiple currencies currently it supports bitcoin, ethereum and many other Altcoins
- Cheapest in the market. Ledger Nano S is the cheapest hardware wallet in the market.
- Multiple App Support you can run multiple companion applications
4. Can be connected to a USB device on any desktop or laptop.
Key Shortcomings of LedgerNano S device
What Comes in the Bag along with Ledger Nano S
If you are ordering a Ledger NanoS wallet expect the following things in the box
- Your Hardware Ledger Nano S hardware device
- USB cable
- Instruction manual
- Recovery sheet
Key Security Features of Ledger Nano S Wallet
- Pincode on setup. Which helps you to secure your bitcoins in case of you lose your device. It is a 4 letter pin code.
- Passphrase support is still not available but will be available in upcoming models.
- Temper proof seal
- Recovery phrase is generated offline and hence reduces risk of hacking
How to set up a Ledget Nano S
Trezor Hardware Wallet
Trezor is a premium Bitcoin hardware wallet which was launched in 2014. Trezor wallet is one of the earliest hardware wallets to be launched. It provides secure bitcoin storage and simple way to spend your bitcoins like a hot wallet. Trezor is built by a company called Satoshi labs and ships for $99.
Key Advantages of Trezor wallet
- Multi-coin support: Currently apart from Bitcoin, Trezor also supports Ethereum (+ all ERC-20 tokens), Ethereum Classic, ZCash, Litecoin, Namecoin, Dogecoin, Dash and Bitcoin Testnet.
- Simple device that can be connected to a USB to your laptop or desktop computer
- Safe to use on Malware infected systems
Is Trezor Hardware wallet safe
Trezor hardware wallets are completely safe as your private key never leaves your device. Your device interacts with a software wallet. Software wallet is where all the action happens all your transactions are controlled by software wallet. Once you are ready to complete transactions software triggers a signing and confirmation request if you assent Trezor will sign and send back the transaction. When you are receiving currency you do not need your Trezor to be plugged in it manages on its own. So Trezor reduces any chance of your private keys being exposed and hence completely safe.
How to Set up Trezor Wallet
Keep Key Hardware Wallet
Keep Key as the company likes to say is a simple bitcoin hardware wallet. Apart from btitcoin it supports ethereum, dash, dogecoin, litecoin, dash and namecoin. Keep key currently retails at $99 and can be bought directly from Keepkey site or you can also buy from Amazon. Keep key was launched in 2015 and has seen steady adoption since then.
Key Features of Keepkey Bitcoin Hardware Wallet
- Stylish and sleek design with metal body. Looks classy.
- Digital display screen which relays all the information
- Best in class security features which protect from both virtual or physical attacks
- You can use it in conjunction with any of the software wallets
Key Security features of Keepkey Bitcoin Hardware wallet
- Safe to use any infected machines or machines compromised by hackers
- Personal PIN to protect against misuse on physical theft
- Wallet is backed up by 12 words seed generated at the time of set up. In case of loss or theft of the device, you can recover your wallet with this seed
- At transaction time you see the recipient on the screen and then confirm.
Hardware wallets are the safest way to secure your bitcoins. Every other kind of wallet is susceptible to some kind of attack from hacker or malware attack. As i mentioned earlier if you are planning to store bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency wallets for a long time I would strongly recommend you use hardware wallet.