Ledger Nano S Wallet Website
- Ease of useIntermediate Upper Intermediate
- Supported Coins
Pros & Cons
- Cold wallets provide a very high level of security, which is essential for high-volume traders.
- There is a high degree of user control, provided sufficient skill in using the device.
- Users control of their own cryptocurrency, and never have to enter their private key, so it is kept safe.
- Cryptocurrency is backed up by seed key, so losing the device doesn’t cause the loss of your cryptocurrency.
- It is possible to use for on-the-go payments on a mobile device, with use of third-party software and the correct connector cables.
- You have to pay to buy the device, so it isn’t free upfront.
- It is complicated to install some third-party applications required for some coins and for companion wallets.
- If you do frequent transactions, you will have to keep track of two separate wallets, the hot one and the cold one.
- The software to run the wallet isn’t open-source.
Ledger does include the possibilities of interfacing with hot wallets, even mobile ones. It requires a PIN code to operate, and any cryptocurrency stored on it can be backed up by a seed key.
- Eric Larcheveque and Joel Pobeda
- 79 EUR (currently £69.50)
- Private Keys Stored by
- What it is
A physical hardware device that stores cryptocurrency keys (a cold wallet, disconnected from the Internet unless plugged in), that also includes hot wallet software to be used in combination with the cold wallet.
Ledger is one of the best-known cold wallets that you can buy. As a cold wallet, it is different from most other wallets, in that it is actually a physical device that you must plug into a USB port. You can only transact with it when it is plugged in. When the device is not plugged in, any currency keys stored on the device are safe from hacks.
Ledger is compatible with Linux, Mac OS, and Windows, and supports twenty-four different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, DASH and Ethereum.
Out of 74 user reviews, 40 gave Ledger the full five-star rating, for an average rating of 3.9 stars.
As mentioned, Ledger is a ‘cold’ wallet and therefore one of the most secure options for cryptocurrency wallets, and is generally preferred by expert traders who move large volumes of cryptocurrency for this reason. Private keys for device storage are not sent to any network; instead, they are kept securely on the device, and cannot be displayed in plaintext. You enter a PIN code on to physical keys on the device. Be sure to press the keys carefully.
When you initialise your device, you are first asked if you want to initialise a new wallet, or restore an existing wallet. When you initialise your new wallet, your cryptocurrency must at first be backed up with a 24-word-long seed key that you are supposed to record on a sheet given to you with the device, through writing it down by hand. This seed key will never be displayed again, so record it very carefully. Once recorded, this seed key must be stored in a very safe place, because another person could access your cryptocurrency if they knew your seed key. Some users can memorise their seed key with a mnemonic. If you suspect that you may be a target for cryptocurrency theft, store your backup seed key in a different place to your Ledger device.
Ledger does not support either multisignature authorisation or two-factor authentication. This can make it more convenient and faster to use, but the device would have even higher security if it possessed these two features
Ledger only has medium anonymity, because it is designed for you to have the smallest number of wallet addresses as possible. It is possible for people to recognise and list addresses as belonging to a specific user, especially if they have enabled online payments as a vendor. For this reason, it is best not to use your Ledger wallet for transactions that you intend to keep private.
Using this Wallet
I rate the Ledger Nano S as being of intermediate to upper intermediate difficulty, because its users have to interact with a device that only has two buttons, and users have to install and configure some wallet applications by themselves. Guides on how to do so certainly exist, and it is not incredibly difficult to do, but the device does not qualify as ‘plug-and-play’ for most of its uses. The Ledger comes with 3 applications installed – one for Bitcoin wallets (11 coins supported), one for Ethereum wallets (2 wallets supported), and one for the Ripple wallet. These wallet applications must be manually downloaded on to your computer. If you want to transact in coins not supported by these three applications, you will have to install other applications, both on to your computer and on to your device. However, your Ledger Nano S can only store five applications at a time, so if you want to use more than five, you have to uninstall one to use another (which does not cause you to lose any funds associated with the uninstalled wallet). To use the native three applications, you must set browser support on the device to NO, and to use other applications such as MyEtherWallet, Mycelium, and Bitgo, you set browser support to YES. From the above it should be apparent that the Ledger Nano S is neither overly complicated nor completely simple.
You access the Nano S software through the use of any computer that has a USB connection and has Google Chrome installed, or to a mobile phone with an OTG adaptor. Because it is possible to use it with a mobile phone, the Ledger Nano S can interface with a multitude of different hot wallets. This makes it more convenient to use the Ledger Nano S on the go than other hardware wallets, as you do not need to bring your laptop shopping with you. However, it does take intermediate computer literacy to set the devices up for use.
You can use the Ledger web site to seek support if you are having problems, available at https://support.ledgerwallet.com/hc/en-us/requests/new. On there, you are asked to fill out a form that asks you questions about problems that you are having. This allows the support team to give you detailed advice.
Alternatives to this wallet
The wallet system most similar to Ledger is the Trezor wallet, which is slightly easier to use, but also more expensive and less convenient, and it does not support mobile phone payments at all. Complaints and compliments exist in roughly equal number for each device, but they are not especially different from each other.
One other way to use cold storage is to use a paper wallet, which you can do with the Mycelium Entropy system, or create online at WalletGenerator.net).
Most other wallets are known as hot wallets and are always connected to the Internet. In this way, they are very different from USB-device hardware wallets, in that they are vastly more convenient and a lot less secure.
Overall, the most appropriate user class for Ledger is the high-end market, people who hold large amounts of cryptocurrency, and for people who want the best security that they can have. People who want to start their own blockchains or exchanges may learn how to do so through this device. It is a fairly difficult wallet to begin using and is thus not recommended for those without at least an intermediate level of computer literacy. However, people who wish to become cryptocurrency investors and hobbyists may find the learning interesting and enjoyable.
People who speculate with cryptocurrency will enjoy the ability to transfer currency between the hot and cold wallets, knowing that as soon as the transfer is complete, that it is extremely costly and difficult for others to steal their currency. The high security of the device will allow them to invest in peace. Open-source enthusiasts may prefer to support developers who use fully open-source software.