Hardware wallets are the safest way to keep your cryptocurrency, and the Ledger Nano S is widely recognized as one of the best hardware wallets around.
Introducing the Ledger Nano S
The company was founded in 2014 in France, and their Ledger product quickly became among the most trusted hardware wallets, alongside Trezor. Its interface, both on the device itself and each connected application, is refreshingly straightforward and will set anyone at ease no matter how much Bitcoin, Ethereum, or another cryptocurrency is at stake. By itself, the Ledger Nano S is virtually impenetrable, though it must be connected to a computer via USB for you to send and receive cryptocurrencies that also include Litecoin, Zcash, Ripple, NEO, Stellar, QTUM, and over 20 more.
Ledger Nano S Security
The main security features of the Ledger Nano S are its lack of an internet connection and its cryptographic locking mechanism, much like other hardware wallets. One can only access the wallet with a PIN code, and the private key by using a long 20-word secret code. The latter is impossible to know unless they bought the device and wrote down the passphrase on paper.
Entering the phrase is tiresome, some say by design, but cryptography is secure enough and doesn’t warrant a 5-minute password just to send some Bitcoin. If one loses their Nano S, they can buy another one and regain access their blockchain wallet by inputting this phrase into the new device.
Ledger has a thorough array of mobile authenticator applications for those who want to use 2FA, and protects each application (Windows and MacOS) with the best security protocols. Still, the Ledger is more vulnerable when it’s connected to your computer and some have even claimed to hack it this way, though this is still highly dubious. Regardless, many Ledger Nano S users have large quantities of cryptocurrency and use the Ledger exclusively as a vault.
Using the Ledger Nano S
Setting up the Nano S is a confidence-inspiring and simple process. Plug it into your computer, choose a PIN code of up to 8 characters, and then the device will give you the 20-word secret phrase (only once!). You need to write it down on the sheet provided and keep it in a safe place. That’s it.
Connecting the Nano S to a bitcoin wallet is a bit more complicated. When the Nano S stick is connected to your PC with the USB cable, you’ll need to download all the applications relevant to you on Ledger’s website. You also need to choose which blockchain to connect, which can be confusing for beginners.
This all can be a bit tedious, as adding more cryptocurrencies to the Ledger can mean a lot of different apps. Regardless, connecting the Nano and using its wallets, (after they’re set up), is a pleasant experience. Each has a dashboard with basic Deposit and Withdraw options, QR code integration, and other standard features.
One of the best perks of the Nano S is its Google Chrome extension. One can easily access their wallet balances in one tidy window, and use it to freely send and receive cryptocurrency to other wallets from the Ledger. However, it must be plugged in for this to work. Fees depend entirely on the blockchain being used and are taken directly from one’s wallet balance.
Ledger Nano S Support
It’s not difficult to get in touch with Ledger support, though it isn’t possible over the phone. Instead, the company has an email address that they’ll respond to relatively promptly, though it might take a few days to hear back in some cases. The email address isn’t published in text format—you can only find it by clicking the support widget on the bottom corner of the window, which is a bit inconvenient. However, the level of service that you’ll get once a connection has been established is exemplary.
Banking With the Ledger Nano S
Just shy of perfect, the Ledger Nano S is arguably the best hardware wallet for storing cryptocurrencies. It’s few minor flaws include a two-button scheme that takes time to operate, though these wallets aren’t designed for buying coffee with Bitcoin anyway. Ledger’s plethora of applications might also be unwieldy for some, but in all other aspects the wallet performs well, and is airtight in terms of safety. It even packs some much-appreciated features, like the Chrome extension.