In this review we will be going over Ledger devices’ pros and cons and also why it is important to have a hardware wallet. We’ll also talk about the main differences between Ledger’s two main products, Ledger Blue and Ledger Nano S.
Why have one
It is no news that recently, cryptocurrency investing has skyrocketed due to dramatic increases in value of primarily Bitcoin. Also, everybody knows, cryptocurrency’s past has been filled with hacks of exchanges and theft of software wallets.
Hence the growing popularity of bitcoin wallets which allows keeping coins safe off exchanges and away from hackers.
Today, though, a typical cryptocurrency investor has more than just Bitcoin, and needs an all-in-one solution for storing their digital assets. This is where hardware wallets like Ledger come into play.
With a hardware wallet private keys are never exposed: sensitive operations are isolated within a state-of-the-art Secure Element, locked by a PIN code. The hacker would need to physically have the device in hand or have access to your PIN or recovery seed (a mnemonic phrase used as a key which should never be stored digitally). Even so, hardware wallets are the most secure way of storing crypto money today.
Transactions are physically verified only by the device holder (you). If the device gets lost or stolen, the PIN will prevent any unauthorized access.
Also you are protected against scams such as “phishing” websites which try and take your private keys.
A hardware wallet is replaceable, so no worries about losing your digital assets (as long as you don’t lose your private seed).
Now that this is covered, let’s take a look at Ledger two main products, Ledger Blue and Ledger Nano S.
Ledger Blue vs. Ledger Nano S
Both devices feature robust safety for storing cryptographic assets and connect to any modern computer (via USB) and have a secure OLED display for confirming transactions with a single tap or press of a button. Both are lightweight and sleek, designed and crafted in France.
Ledger Wallet Nano, the smaller of the two, may be a more popular choice for an investor-beginner. Nano offers a great level of security with a “tiny” price tag.
Ledger Blue, a smartphone-sized device, claims to be the most advanced hardware security gear on the market. It boasts a large touchscreen and packs enterprise-level crypto-capabilities. Besides USB, it also features Bluetooth connectivity.
Both wallets support multi-application execution (with a caveat – see below). A user can send and receive payments, check their accounts and manage multiple addresses for each currency from the same device.
The Ledger’s hardware wallets are secure, reasonably priced, and easy to use.
A good hardware wallet should have compatibility with multiple currencies. And Ledger wallets support 23 (more being added), among them Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, ERC 20 Tokens (OMG, GNT, REP, SALT), Dash, ZCash, Ripple, Stratis, Dogecoin (and supports forked coins).
Ledger wallets are also SegWit compatible for both Litecoin and Bitcoin which will drive the cost of your transactions down.
Ledger devices are backed by native desktop (Windows, macOS, Linux) and mobile applications (for Nano, Android & iOS) and the Ledger Wallet Chrome app which translates to a top user experience.
The products might be cheaply priced, however, not cheaply made. While all similar devices on the market are fairly resistant to damage or tempering, we must admit the Ledger’s stainless-steel body is more robust in this regard.
The somewhat bad
Ledger Nano S can only run about 4 to 5 different applications on the device (the caveat). If you want to store more than 4 or 5 coins on a single device, you may want to consider the Ledger Blue which is considerably pricier.
Shipping delays are very common due to the high demand. Ordering direct from Ledger may take 2 or 3 weeks. Amazon can get it shipped to you quicker, but it will cost ~50% more.
Entering the PIN is a bit time consuming with the Ledger Nano S due to multiple pressing of Up and Down buttons (could be improved).
The Ledger Nano S is a great bang for the buck compared to other bitcoin hardware wallets on the market. It is extremely versatile, small, sleek, robust, and has a great price vs value ratio. Leger Blue is more suitable for an experienced investor who doesn’t mind a heftier price tag.
Whatever device you choose, we suggest, if you hold a decent number of altcoins and are planning on HODL’ing them on, that you should get off exchanges. Do consider moving them into cold storage like a Ledger wallet.