Several innovative applications and services are stemming from cryptocurrency. One of these is the cryptocurrency hardware wallet that is gaining traction alongside digital currencies. Very functional, they are an integral element in cryptocurrency transactions and considered a reliable investment, preventing malicious attacks and guaranteeing peace of mind.
What exactly are cryptocurrency hardware wallets?
Cryptocurrency hardware wallets are small devices that can be plugged into a computer or mobile phone. They allow a user to store, send and receive cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
A cryptocurrency itself is not stored in a wallet. Instead, private keys, that is, secure digital codes known only to the user and to his wallet, are stored to demonstrate ownership of a public key (a public digital code linked to a certain amount of currency). A cryptocurrency hardware wallet thus stores the user’s private and public keys and acts like a personal ledger of transactions. Private keys are also generated in an offline environment, thus placing them out of the reach of hackers.
Cryptocurrency hardware wallets present multiple advantages
Cryptocurrency hardware wallets are endowed with a high level of security features and the devices are under constant evolution. Some of the advantages of investing in one are:
- The wallet is immune to computer viruses.
- Private keys are not exposed to the user’s computer.
- The wallet requires confirmation of a transaction on the device and not on the app on the computer before any transaction.
- Most wallets are encrypted with pin #’s in a similar manner to debit cards, which subsequently offer another layer of security.
- Users generally have the freedom to validate the entire operation of the device.
- Cryptocurrency hardware wallets can generally host various cryptocurrencies.
- They are also referred to as ‘cold wallets’ as they are disconnected from the Internet when not in use.
It is considered that the only downside to cryptocurrency hardware wallets is their high cost. Nonetheless, it is recommended to invest in one as they represent a secure means for storing and making transactions in cryptocurrencies, especially if a user holds a considerable amount of coins. To date, there have not been any major incidents of funds stolen or hacked.
The five most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallets
Currently, there are already a bunch of cryptocurrency hardware wallets to choose from on the market. Here is a list of the five trending ones.
The Ledger Wallet is a well-known brand offering Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue as a cryptocurrency hardware wallet for customers.
Ledger Nano S is a very user-friendly portable device storing 4 apps simultaneously on the hardware. A user having more cryptocurrencies may, however, access them through the Ledger Manager. The Ledger Nano S has chiseled a good reputation for itself since its creation. To use it, a user has to tether the wallet to a Chrome plugin; the device connects with a standard micro-USB connection. The Ledger Nano S embeds an OLED display on the device for PIN verification, sending confirmations, seed restoration, and other purposes. The physical buttons are located on the side.
The Ledger Blue, on the other hand, is available only on pre-order for the time being. This version has a touchscreen, Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth connectivity and can hold more than 10 apps or cryptocurrency wallets at the same time.
The Ledger Nano S and the Ledger Blue can be purchased from the company itself or from their official Amazon page. Since prices can be cheaper from third parties, many customers prefer to opt for them, ignoring risks of compromised shipping processes.
Trezor Wallet is a popular cryptocurrency hardware wallet crafted by the Satoshi Labs. It is one of the first cryptocurrency hardware wallets created and has been on the market for some years already. The wallet has been designed to store private keys for bitcoin, altcoins and ERC-20 tokens. The wallet can perform 2FA functions while acting as a password manager and offering document signing and encryption with GPG. The wallet uses a physical screen as well as two buttons for PIN verification, confirmations, and updates. Presented in a solid plastic case, it connects with a micro-USB connector.
It has a solid reputation and is a cheaper option than the Ledger Wallet in North America. Users in Europe may purchase directly from the company’s website as it is based in Europe. The company is also appreciated by providing active support on their subreddit, r/trezor. Another version of the wallet, known as Trezor 2, should be released soon.
Keepkey is a cryptocurrency hardware wallet created and owned by the startup Shapeshift. The wallet comes in a bigger format than Ledger and Trezor and has an anodized aluminum case. Just like the other wallets, it offers a micro-USB connection and storage for multiple cryptocurrencies. It also possesses a 3.12″ OLED screen display for confirmation and verification purposes. Keepkey is equally endowed with the ability to connect with the Shapeshift exchange in a very secure manner. Despite being a relatively new product, Keepkey has earned a good reputation on the market.
The Digital Bitbox is a new cryptocurrency hardware wallet launched by the Swiss company Shift Devices AG. It comes in a smaller format compared to the other wallets available on the market and may be connected directly to a computer with a USB connection. It possesses a recovery micro SD card and supports “out-of-the-box” multi-signature sending features. Even if it can store keys for multiple currencies, Digital Bitbox does not possess a screen like its counterparts and lacks many physical interface procedures. Being a new product, it does not really have any extensive reviews from consumers.
Bitlox is also a new cryptocurrency hardware wallet created by the Hong Kong-based company Bitlox Limited. Roughly the same size as Keepkey, Bitlox falls under the big format category of wallets. The device has a display screen and various buttons and is connected using a standard USB or Bluetooth. It equally offers BIP32 and BIP39 seed phrases. The unique feature of Bitlox is that it comes in three different types of wallets: Advanced, Ultimate, and Extreme Privacy. The latter is the most expensive version. Being a new product, it does not have many customer reviews.
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