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Ledger Nano SReview
About Ledger Nano S
To combat the vulnerabilities of online cryptocurrency wallets, some innovative companies have come up with the concept of hardware wallets. A hardware wallet is a physical device that stores both the private and public keys that are used for receiving and spending cryptocurrencies. The hardware wallet has several distinct advantages over software wallets, as it is more secure. For example, the private keys are stored in a hardcode manner in a chip that prevents the data from being transferred out in plaintext. This also makes the hardware wallet virtually immune to intrusions by viruses, unlike software wallets where they can be easily hacked. In this review of hardware wallets, we will look at the Ledger Nano S produced by the Ledger company.
- Who should use it?
- Device Appearance
- Supported Coins
- Where and How to Buy?
- Pros and Cons
Ledger is a French company that was established in 2014. It was founded by 8 professionals in entrepreneurship, cryptocurrencies and internet security. The company currently has more than 80 staff based in Paris and San Francisco.
The Ledger Nano S hardware wallet connects to your computer through the USB interface. The technology behind the Ledger Nano S is a proven technology and has been adopted by the banking industry for the past few decades. With the Ledger Nano S, all cryptocurrency transactions are processed in a secured environment hence allowing you to carry out cryptocurrency transactions even on a compromised computer
The Ledger Nano S has several distinctive features which put it ahead of the competition. Some of its main features include the following:
- Multi-Currency Support
You can use the Ledger Nano to hold different cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin within the same wallet
- Display Panel
It comes with a built-in display panel which lets you check and confirm your transactions.
Its strong security features will ensure that your wallet will never be breached.
- Multi-Apps Support
The Ledger Nano S also supports various companion apps such as other cryptocurrency wallets and other crypto tools such as FIDO® U2F, GPG, SSH.
- Ease of Backup
With the Ledger Nano S, you can also easily backup your ledger.
Importance of the Nano S display screen
Although the Nano S display screen might not seem much to anyone who is familiar with gadgets, its importance cannot be overstated. This is because the screen plays a critical role in the recovery of your wallet content in the event your device is lost or damaged. While we often see the display of any cryptocurrency web wallet on smartphones, the fact that the smartphone is connected to the internet leaves it open to vulnerabilities. This is why we often hear of cryptocurrency exchanges being hacked and the coins being stolen by hackers. The display screen on the Nano S also helps to provide an added layer of protection when making payments. With it, you can easily confirm the amount transacted as well as the correct address.
Who should use it?
The Ledger Nano S is ideal for those who own cryptocurrencies and wish to protect their assets from being hacked, while at the same time without curtailing their cryptocurrency transactions. If you own a lot of cryptocurrency assets, the Ledger Nano S offers one of the cheapest and easiest ways to secure your cryptocurrency holdings. In addition, cryptocurrency investors who hold multiple types of coins will be able to store all their coins in one single hardware wallet.
The convenience offered by the Ledger Nano S also makes it suitable for those who transact with cryptocurrency often. The ironclad security build into the Ledger Nano S lets you plug your wallet into any computer regardless of whether the computer has been compromised or not.
For security, the Ledger Nano S uses a dual chip architecture with a CC EAL5+ certification level. It is further protected with a 4 digit pin code which has to be keyed in every time you plug it to your computer.
In order to protect your Hardware wallet from being infected by malware, the initialization or restoration process is only done in a closed secured environment. And finally, on the paired smartphone side, the Ledger Nano S requires 2-factor verification or an actual security card.
There are 2 buttons on the Nano S which adds to the security of the wallet. Before a transaction can be confirmed, the user of the wallet needs to press both buttons simultaneously. This ensures that no hacker can hack your wallet and make a payment confirmation.
Apart from the security offered by the 2 buttons, you also need to provide a PIN number upon setting up your wallet. The PIN helps to secure your cryptocurrency holdings in the event you lost your wallet. Without the PIN, nobody will be able to access the wallet to transfer any payment. In event that the PIN is keyed in wrongly for 3 times, the Nano S will wipe all the data contained in the wallet.
The Nano S is shipped in a box that is sealed with an anti-tampering seal. If the seal is altered in any manner, you should not accept delivery of the wallet as it has been tampered with. In such a situation, you can email Ledger and return the tapered item to the company in exchange for a new one.
Your privacy is also assured as your data is hard locked in the Ledger Nano S secured environment. In short, your hardware wallet is decentralized and isolated from the web. Ledger’s wallets are ranked by the Open Bitcoin Privacy Project as the most private wallet in 2016. The recommended option for privacy with desktop computers is Electrum and Mycelium for Android-powered devices.
What’s in the box
When you purchase your Ledger Nano S, you will get the following items in your box.
- The Ledger Nano S unit
- 1x Micro USB Cable
- Instructions booklet
- Recovery Sheet
- 1x eychain & ring
Overall the design of the Ledger Nano S hardware wallet looks just like a USB thumbs drive.
The only thing which indicates that it is more than just a mere thumb drive is the built-in display on the wallet.
As for the cryptocurrencies that are supported by the Ledger Nano s wallet, they consist of the following:
In terms of pricing, the Ledger Nano S is currently selling for 79.00 € on the Ledger’s website. Shipping is inclusive in the price which covers worldwide shipping.
Offline Storage and Backups
The main purpose of having a hardware wallet such as the Nano S is to ensure that your cryptocurrency assets are kept safe by keeping your keys offline out of the reach of hackers. You can also backup your wallet, so even if you lost the physical wallet, you can still recover your cryptocurrency holdings. The Nano S by Ledger does this by letting you back up your wallet with a 24-word phase. The phase will enable you to recreate your wallet when you need to recover it due to your hardware wallet being damaged, lost or stolen.
Setup Guide & How to Use it
The Ledger Nano S can be set up in a time frame of 3 short minutes. The setup process can be accomplished even without the wallet being plugged into a computer. For the purpose of this review, we will walk you through the setup process with the wallet plugged into your computer.
Step 1: Plugging In
To plug your wallet into your computer, you will need to use the micro USB cable provided by Ledger.
Step 2: Creating the PIN
After plugging in the wallet, you will be asked to create a 4 digit PIN on the Nano S display screen. Use the two buttons on the Nano S to select the PIN numbers. Once you have decided on the number, press both buttons to confirm the number. Repeat this process until you have selected and confirmed all 4 digits.
Step 3: Recovery Phrases
After your PIN has been set up, you need to backup your recovery phrase. In the box, Ledger has provided the paper for you to list down the 24 words recovery phrase. List down the phrases on the paper in order of their appearance on the Nano S display screen. Just use the right button to navigate to the next phase once you are done copying the phrase onto the paper provided by Ledger.
It should be noted that this step is a crucial step as the 24 words phrases are needed to recover your wallet in the event you lose your wallet. For example, during the recovery process, Nano S will ask you to supply two phrases from the 24 phrases list. If it requests you to provide phrase 8th of the 24 phrases list, you will need to scroll down the list and confirm with both buttons the 8th phrase in the list. Always store the 24 phrases list in a safe location. Take note that you will also not be able to finish the configuration of the Nano S if you cannot confirm that you have copied the 24 phrases in the order that they appear on the Nano S display screen.
Step 4: Installing the Ledger Apps
In order for you to interact with the Nano S through your computer, you need to first install the Ledger Manager app. With the manager app, you will be able to install the software needed for handling different coins on the Nano S. For example if you want to handle Bitcoin on your Nano S, you will open the Bitcoin Ledger Application. Simply scroll through the Nano S display for the various available options. Once you see the Bitcoin icon, just press both buttons to activate the app. Once you select the option, you will see the wallet interfacing with the Bitcoin Ledger Application on your computer.
Remember to keep your 24 recovery list in a safe place. This is due to the fact that if anyone were to get access to the recovery list, they will be able to gain control of your wallet and your coins.
In terms of support, you can refer to the comprehensive help files on the product website. In the event that you require assistance, you can request for help on the customer support page. Take note that the support staff is only available from Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm CET.
Where and How to Buy?
The Nano S is available for purchase on the Ledger’s website.
Payment for your purchase can be with credit cards, Paypal or Bitcoin. Although you can also easily purchase a used Nano S on the internet, we do not recommend that you do so as the security of the device could have been compromised already. Hence always purchase your Nano S from the Ledger’s website or from a trusted distributor of the wallet.
Pros and Cons
- Built-in screen for validation
- Multi-Currency support
- Portable and Malware proof
- Reputable Wallet with over 1 million units sold
- Long 24 words seed phrase
- Ledger Nano S lacks passphrase support
Since its introduction, the Ledger Nano S has not suffered from any adverse publicity. By comparison to software wallets, hardware wallets are comparatively safer and hacker proof. In fact, to date, there have been no reports of cryptocurrencies being stolen from a hardware wallet. With the Ledger Nano S, even if the computer which you are using is compromised, the secure environment provided by the Nano S will ensure that your cryptocurrency asset is kept safe. Nevertheless, it should be noted that hardware wallets are relatively new in the market and their vulnerabilities may not have been discovered yet. So in the meantime, while your Nano S may provide you with an extra layer of security for your cryptocurrency assets, it should not be considered a silver bullet.
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