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Author Topic: [Guide] Hardware wallets - which one is a good choice?  (Read 274 times)
BitCryptex
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July 01, 2018, 03:46:18 PM
Merited by suchmoon (7), OmegaStarScream (4), LoyceV (2), Lucius (2), LeGaulois (1), Coolcryptovator (1)
 #1

Table of contents

      1. General Information
      2. The most popular hardware wallets
      3. Other hardware wallets worth attention
      4. Comparison of wallets

General Information

What are hardware wallets?

Hardware wallets are devices designed to store private keys and sign transactions independently from the computer. Their main advantage is being able to use them even on an infected computer. These days, most hardware wallets have built-in screen on which user can check whether or not the destination address was modified by a malware. However, it is not possible to store every cryptocurrency on a such device. It all depends on the support of the manufacturer.

What if I lose my wallet or destroy it?

At the first boot, every hardware wallet generates either 12 or 24 word seed which you can later extend with a custom passphrase. This seed can be used to recover coins using third party software, for example, Electrum. It is recommended to test the seed before sending any coins to the generated address. Exposure of the seed should be considered as a major security issue and coins should be urgently moved to another address not associated with the same seed. Firmware updates sometimes wipe the device, keep that in mind before updating your device.

Are hardware wallets completely safe?

No, there is no perfect solution. A few vulnerabilities have been found in the most popular hardware wallets but they required a physical access to the device. Here are examples of attacks that were possible to perform on TREZOR One and Ledger Nano S. If you don't trust hardware wallets because of that, you should consider using a cold storage. It's less convenient but it provides higher security.

Choosing a proper wallet

Every hardware wallet is different. It is difficult to recommend only one model but there are only a few companies which sell trustworthy devices. Keep in mind that you are not paying only for the device but also for a long-term support. It would be a shame if your wallet didn't get an update after, for example, SegWit was activated.


The most popular hardware wallets

Ledger Nano S





This device is maintained by a French company. Ledger decided to use Secure Element which checks on every boot if the software on the device was modified. Some people are not keen on this solution since it's not completely open-source. You can either use Electrum or Ledger's Chrome app to access your wallet. It will be soon replaced by a new desktop and mobile client which will have more features. Currently, their Chrome app seems to lack some useful features such as using your custom backend and signing transactions without broadcasting them. To send specific coins you have to install a proper app on your device using Ledger Manager. Because of Secure Element, the available space on this model is quite small. However, you can uninstall apps anytime and your coins won't disappear. Later, you will have to reinstall the app which takes some time.

Ledger Nano S supports a huge variety of altcoins which is why many people choose it. You can find a full list here.


Ledger Blue





Big touchscreen, built-in battery, Bluetooth connectivity (not used by any app) and a larger memory are things which differ this model from Nano S. Due to high manufacturing costs, Ledger decided to stop selling this device. At the time of writing this guide, the last batch of ten thousand devices is available. Its support has been much worse than the other model, but Ledger is trying to make up for it.


TREZOR One





TREZOR is one of the most trustworthy hardware wallet manufacturers, located in Czech Republic. TREZOR software is fully open-source so anyone can contribute and help with implementing more coins. TREZOR is constantly upgrading their web wallet interface - you can find many features which are not supported natively by other hardware wallets. The device doesn't have any pre-loaded firmware. Due to security measurements, it's downloaded from TREZOR's servers on the first boot. Some users might find it difficult to input PIN and the seed recovery is done on the computer.


TREZOR T





TREZOR T runs on a completely different software written from the scratch. Developers claim that it will make adding more coins easier. This model has a touchscreen which allows user to input PIN and passphrase on the device screen. SD card slot is definitely an unique feature. In the future, it will be possible to store files which will be automatically encrypted with your private key. This model will soon support Monero and Ripple.


KeepKey





KeepKey has been recently bought by ShapeShift. This device has less features than models described above. However, the developers are trying to make up for it. KeepKey does not support native SegWit addresses (it's not possible to receive and spend from them). You can use either Chrome extension or Electrum to manage your coins. Because of the large screen, it might be difficult to hide or transport this wallet.


OpenDime





OpenDime is a small USB stick which you can hand out to any person you want. The device generates private keys and does not expose them (even not to the owner) unless the seal is void. There is no need to broadcast a transaction to the network, it's useful especially if the transaction fees are too expensive. You can simply give it to the other person.


Other hardware wallets worth attention

Coldcard





This device doesn't have any specialized software. It works with some well-known software wallets. The device has a micro SD card slot which can be used for data storage and transporting (un)signed transactions. Currently, it's only available as a pre-order. It's worth to mention that you can use multiple PINs (accessing different wallets or even bricking the device).


BitBox





A small wallet created in Switzerland. Wallet data is stored on a micro SD card. Instead of built-in screen, this device has a touch button which is used for accepting and rejecting transactions. It is possible to use a smartphone to verify if the recipient's address is correct. It does not support as many altcoins as Ledger and TREZOR.


Bitlox





Credit card sized wallet with e-ink screen which doesn't require much power. Bluetooth can be used to communicate with a mobile device and a micro-usb cable with a computer.


Comparison of wallets

Which one is better? TREZOR or Ledger?

It all depends on your needs. Ledger mostly focus on supporting more and more altcoins while TREZOR developers are adding more advanced features to their wallet. I would recommend TREZOR for anyone who is not interested in altcoins. Their build quality and support is almost equal (TREZOR team responds very fast not only through their ticket system, but also GitHub and Telegram).

What is the difference between TREZOR One and TREZOR T?

TREZOR T is going to support more coins in the future because of new hardware and software. Touchscreen in TREZOR T allows for a secure input of PIN, passphrase and the seed in case you want to recover your coins.

Which device is more future proof?

If you decide to buy either TREZOR or Ledger you won't have to worry about future Bitcoin forks. Don't expect to be able to claim every single one without exposing your keys to a third party software. More advanced features such as touchscreen and additional connectivity are useful, but they might easily break, it will make your device useless.

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mdayonliner
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July 01, 2018, 03:54:10 PM
 #2

May be you want to use this PNG image instead of the one you have used with a white background. Consider it as a little help.


Nicely done however I am sure there are some other topics with the same idea. If my memory is serving me right then I have seen few more topics about hardware wallets guide types.

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July 01, 2018, 04:11:19 PM
 #3

I never heard about 2 hardware on your list both Keepkey and OpenDime.
Well, for me I will choose the hardware wallet which is well-known and used by many bitcoin users here in the forum so Ledger nano S is the one hardware wallet that I think will keep you more safety because it's already been tested by many people.

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July 02, 2018, 12:08:21 AM
 #4

May be you want to use this PNG image instead of the one you have used with a white background. Consider it as a little help.

Thank you very much. I have resized this image and now it should look better. I can't find anything better for KeepKey, though.

Feel free to suggest which wallets I should add. Currently, I have described the most popular ones.

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July 02, 2018, 08:46:01 AM
 #5

I can't find anything better for KeepKey, though.



Happy?  Smiley

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July 02, 2018, 03:43:26 PM
 #6

Happy?  Smiley

Yes, thank you Wink

I have just added two more wallets - Coldcard and Digital BitBox. Coldcard is still not available in retail, but I think that it was worth mentioning because of how it looks and works.

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July 04, 2018, 01:51:54 PM
 #7

You might also want to include these hardware wallets into your list:


Note that some are open source while others are not.
I would also not trust those wallets without making some researches, checking whether source code is open source, look at reputations, etc. ..

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July 04, 2018, 03:34:49 PM
 #8

I am not sure whether it is copied from any blog or somewhere. Then title can be change as What is hardware wallet and list of it.  However, looking the listing down each wallet. I feel you are good at listing the good wallet in the order correctly.

I see the ledger nano s and Trezor wallets are good option to opt as the savings wallet for big funds too.

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July 04, 2018, 07:16:17 PM
 #9

You might also want to include these hardware wallets into your list:

Thanks for your suggestions. I will look through them and decide which ones are worth attention and trust.

I am not sure whether it is copied from any blog or somewhere. Then title can be change as What is hardware wallet and list of it.  However, looking the listing down each wallet.

You are right, the title is a bit misleading but my initial plan was to describe the advantages of each wallet and compare them. I will do it along with the addition of new wallets.

By the way, the last batch of 10 thousand Ledger Blue is available for sale. I still don't know if there is any point in including it here.

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July 05, 2018, 09:20:19 AM
 #10

BitCryptex very nice presentation of hardware wallets, it is good to have such thread and all informations in one place. Regarding good choice, we all know that Ledger and Trezor have the highest reputation among users. They are available on the market for some time and serious user with decent amount of coins has one of these two hardware wallets in possession.

I would emphasize that in my opinion Ledger Nano S has the advantage considering number of supported coins (which increases daily), and also better price compared to Trezor. Also Ledger should release desktop app this month which will be another great advantage in their favor.



By the way, the last batch of 10 thousand Ledger Blue is available for sale. I still don't know if there is any point in including it here.

I think Ledger Blue should be added on your list, it is a hardware wallet which is used by many users and there will be thousands of new ones.

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July 05, 2018, 09:42:55 AM
 #11

The Ledger Blue may become a collector in some years. There are few of them that I have never heard of. Bitvault doesn't have a password, instead, it uses biometric and fingerprint. I wonder why the manufacturers don't sell houses cases like for the cell phones.

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July 06, 2018, 12:24:39 AM
 #12

I wonder why the manufacturers don't sell houses cases like for the cell phones.
Someone attempted a kickstarter for a Trezor case last year... Apparently, there wasn't much interest in it. I'm guessing the pricetag put most people off.

The Nano S, doesn't really need one... it effectively has a metal case for protection.

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July 07, 2018, 02:19:41 PM
 #13

It's too bad for the project because I think it's something viable in the long run. But it's something that should be created without the need for a Kickstarter campaign. If someone has the fund to start then it's doable. Especially if the Trezor website could accept to feature the model on their site. Yeah Ledger Nano can't have a case

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July 07, 2018, 07:36:58 PM
 #14

Someone attempted a kickstarter for a Trezor case last year... Apparently, there wasn't much interest in it. I'm guessing the pricetag put most people off.
It's too bad for the project because I think it's something viable in the long run. But it's something that should be created without the need for a Kickstarter campaign. If someone has the fund to start then it's doable. Especially if the Trezor website could accept to feature the model on their site. Yeah Ledger Nano can't have a case

Actually, the company behind this kickstarter project is doing quite well. Their products are available here. They quickly ran out of supplies after releasing a new case for TREZOR T.

I have updated the guide a bit. Coolwallet.io doesn't load for me anymore so I can't get any official information about it.

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July 08, 2018, 01:14:35 AM
 #15

Coolwallet.io is loading here

Quote
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The world’s only mobile hardware wallet. Made for iPhone or Android.

Have total, end-to-end control over your cryptocurrency with an EAL5+ certified Secure Element microchip on a tamper-proof physical device.

COLD STORAGE
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July 09, 2018, 03:34:20 PM
 #16

I have no idea why anyone would use anything other than Trezor or Ledger.

It's nothing to do with features, those two have the most track record and the most eyes on them so they'll be the most thoroughly vetted. That counts for more than anything else by a country mile.

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July 09, 2018, 04:28:56 PM
 #17

The market for the hardware wallets is still small, there is still a lot to bring. In 10 years there's not that much HW. Even the new ones get a chance, and each could be used more than Ledger and Trezor. It's like saying why anyone would use anything other than Samsung or Apple

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July 09, 2018, 07:12:23 PM
 #18

I have no idea why anyone would use anything other than Trezor or Ledger.

It doesn't pay to cheap out, especially on a device which will store private keys of hundreds or even thousands dollars worth of crypto. So far, I have used only TREZOR One & T, Ledger Nano S and OpenDime. When it comes to money, I don't want to risk it by choosing an unknown brand, but there are people who are looking for distinguishing features such as micro sd slot, e-ink screen, small size etc. Some people prefer convenience over security.

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July 09, 2018, 07:20:21 PM
 #19

It doesn't pay to cheap out, especially on a device which will store private keys of hundreds or even thousands dollars worth of crypto. So far, I have used only TREZOR One & T, Ledger Nano S and OpenDime. When it comes to money, I don't want to risk it by choosing an unknown brand, but there are people who are looking for distinguishing features such as micro sd slot, e-ink screen, small size etc. Some people prefer convenience over security.

I'm not knocking the list. This is a useful thread indeed.

I am consistently amazed at how ready people are to throw money and trust at things they basically know nothing about.

Holes keep popping up with Trezor and Ledger and they have the funds and the incentive to address them. I wonder if any of these less known machines will even be aware of potential problems considering how few people will be picking them apart.

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