If you have read many articles on cryptocurrencies, you must have come across the phrase hardware wallets. These devices are the holy grail when it comes to storing your cryptocurrencies safely.
Of the many hardware wallets in existence today, one of the earliest and most used hardware wallets worldwide is the Ledger Nano S. This sub $100 hardware wallet is not only light on your pocket but also extremely secure when used to store crypto assets.
This article will go through all the features that the Ledger Nano S has to offer and look at the numerous things I liked about this small device.
Worry-free wallet. Can be used without any worry on an already compromised computer.
Durable design. The build quality of the Ledger Nano S is excellent. Thus, making it highly durable.
Affordable. With a price tag of just $59, the Ledger Nano S provides the ultimate security for your crypto assets.
Amazing interface. The device also comes with its screen, which can verify transaction details before authenticating it.
Limited storage. On a single Ledger Nano S, you cannot have more than 18 different cryptocurrencies simultaneously.
Tedious Navigation. For people with large hands, navigation using the two small buttons in the device can be a bit hard.
Yes, the Ledger Nano S has limited storage of only up to 18 cryptocurrencies, but this is still more than enough for an average user.
The product is also a bang for your buck since you will never need to worry about your wallet’s security every time you use it.
Not only that, the added interface means that you can never go wrong in your transactions. If you desire a tangible, secure wallet and fit for your budget, this product is for you.
What Are Hardware Wallets?
Cryptocurrencies are digital assets that can be stored on virtual wallets. These wallets are memory addresses where your cryptocurrencies reside. The wallets are of two types- first, we have software wallets that you can install on your computer or mobile phones. Next, we have the hardware wallets, which are physical devices designed specifically to store cryptocurrencies.
The problem with software wallets is that they are always connected to the internet, making the funds you store on them vulnerable to attacks. Hardware wallets are extremely secure devices, capable of storing all your crypto assets without any security risks attached to them.
A golden rule that I follow is that if your total portfolio is worth over $1,000, it is worth investing in a hardware wallet. This adds an extra layer of security and protects your funds.
Now that we have a brief idea about hardware wallets, let us have a closer look at the Ledger Nano S, one of the most widely used hardware wallets today.
Behind the Company
Ledger is a company that was founded back in 2014 by eight individuals. The main aim was to create secure financial solutions for blockchain-related assets using the power of embedded systems.
What started as a company of 8 experts has now grown to have130 employees across San Francisco, Paris, and Verizon.
With the newly added workforce, Ledger has been making newer innovations to create better and more secure cryptocurrency wallet services and enterprise solutions for the world.
Hands-on of the Ledger Nano S: A First Look
Design and Durability
The first time I looked at the Ledger Nano S, it reminded me of a Pendrive with a metal casing around it. Yes, that’s how big the whole device is. It could simply fit in your pocket, or act as a keychain, making it very easy to carry the device.
Don’t be fooled by the size of the Ledger Nano S. The build quality on this hardware wallet is very sturdy. It has a metal enclosing that gives it additional protection against falls.
You might have heard that exchange wallets such as Coinbase, etc., do not provide you access to the private keys. This means that even though you have cryptocurrencies in this account, you never fully control your funds.
You won’t get access to any of the private keys on the Ledger Nano S either. No one gets access to the private keys on the Ledger Nano S. If you want to send cryptocurrencies out, you will need to enter the pin you set earlier to make transactions from this hardware wallet.
When you first open the Ledger Nano S, you need to create/restore a wallet. To set up your device, you first need to connect it to your computer using a USB cable. In the process of creating a new wallet account, you will have to enter the 24 keywords provided by the device during setup.
Consider these 24 keywords as a private key for all your crypto wallets on the Ledger Nano S. Inside the box that the Ledger Nano S comes in, you will see a sheet of paper with 24 blank spaces. You would need to fill in these 24 spaces and keep them safely in a storage unit.
This key phrase is the only thing that can restore your entire wallet even if you end up losing or damaging your existing Nano S. Keeping this digitally on a computer is not advised as it could be a vulnerability if your computer gets hacked.
You might now be thinking about a scenario wherein your computer is already compromised before you set up the Ledger Nano S. Luckily, Ledger Nano S has been designed to handle such situations, as well.
Displaying the 24-word key phrase on a compromised system would mean that the attacker would have access to your wallet. This is why the key phrase is only displayed on the screen of the Ledger Nano S. Thus, making it impossible for attackers to look at the key phrase.
Setting the Pin
Once you have created a wallet account and backed up the 24-word key phrase safely, you can move on to set the pin for your device. This pin is used to authenticate any outgoing funds from your wallet.
The Ledger Nano S has two buttons and a small display on the device itself. You can use them to both enter the pin as well as verify the outgoing transaction correctly.
Once you have set up your Ledger Nano S, you need to install the Ledger Live on your computer. This software is used to interface between the hardware wallet and the computer. It also allows you to transfer from your wallet.
Popular exchanges such as Binance, etc., and software wallets such as MyCelium, Electrum, etc., can also be used along with the Ledger Nano S.
Note: As the popularity of cryptocurrencies increases, attackers have started to use more innovative ways to get to your funds. One of the newer fraud methods is that your Ledger Nano S comes with a note that contains the 24-word seed phrase already configured.
If you receive such a device, return it immediately. A new Ledger Nano S never ships with the seed phrase configured. The end customer is always the only one who knows the seed phrase of his Ledger Nano S.
Ledger Nano S is one of the most secure hardware wallets in existence. Apart from the rugged build quality, the device also comes with impressive embedded software security. The security on the device is so good that no one ever gets access to the wallet’s actual private keys.
Without access to the private keys, an unauthorized party cannot use your funds. To make cryptocurrency transfers, you can connect the Ledger Nano S to a supported software wallet and initiate the transfer. You would need to enter the pin to authenticate the transfer.
Before you enter the pin, you can verify the receiving wallet address as well as the number of cryptocurrencies you are transferring. This ensures that you don’t accidentally transfer an incorrect amount or to a wrong address.
Cryptocurrencies Supported by Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S currently supports 26 cryptocurrencies and over 1,500 different crypto tokens. The team behind this device constantly adds support for promising new cryptocurrencies that are released into the market.
Some of the most popular cryptocurrencies supported by the Ledger Nano S are:
While the Ledger Nano S does support over 1,500 different cryptocurrencies, you can probably use up to 18 at a time.
You need to install apps of respective cryptocurrencies on the Ledger Nano S to start making the transfers. The memory on a single Ledger Nano S is limited, and it might be enough to install up to 18 different apps.
So, you would have to either buy multiple wallets or delete an old app to start using a newer one with your Ledger Nano S.
Price and Durability
The Ledger Nano S is priced at just $59, making it one of the cheapest hardware wallets out there. The level of security that this hardware wallet offers would help to prevent any theft of your cryptocurrencies.
While the device might be cheap, it is surprisingly durable. On using the device for the first time, you will recognize its amazing build quality. I have been using my Ledger Nano S for the past three years, and it has experienced a few falls. However, the device is still functioning.
Hence, it is worth investing in a Ledger Nano S if you have a decent amount of money in cryptocurrencies.
Other products in the market offer everything that Ledger Nano S has at double or triple the price. Because of its competitive pricing, this device continues to gain the respect of many crypto users around the world.
The Ledger team also provides dedicated support for all their customers. The website has a help section that recommends all the existing resolutions. If you don’t find what you are looking for, then you can leave them a message with all the details and the documents attached.
Within 24 hours of doing so, the team will get back to your query over an email. The question can be a doubt related to the device’s setup, some function-related inquiry, or even a straight-up request to add support for a new cryptocurrency.
Just a few years ago, Ledger Nano S supported less than 50 cryptocurrencies. This itself shows the hard work put in by the development team in delivering a great product that is durable as well as affordable.
Here is some important information that is taken from their Frequently Asked Questions section.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ledger Nano S
No, you will not lose your coins when you uninstall or install an app. They will remain in your wallet and balance, and you can transact once again when you decide to reinstall them in the device. Remember that wallets are separate entities from their app counterparts, so installing and reinstalling does not affect the funds’ balance.
This is a security method created by Ledger to prevent other people from accessing your account. This feature protects your privacy and helps you choose multiple addresses to either send or receive crypto funds. Of course, all existing addresses can be used more than once for your convenience, so there is no need to worry about losing them.
An upgraded version of the Nano S is available in the market: Ledger Nano X. It offers more functionality than the S series, but it comes at a higher price. Keep in mind that you should always choose the hardware wallet which best fits your needs. For beginners, the Nano S will suffice. For experts, the Nano X is a good device.
The Ledger Nano S is a great hardware wallet for any new cryptocurrency user. For an experienced crypto user who holds a wide range of cryptocurrencies, a wallet with a higher memory is suitable. So, if you intend on sticking to only a few cryptocurrencies, then go for the Ledger Nano S.
Ledger Nano S Reviews
Ledger Nano S Review – January 10, 2021
The device works as it is supposed to, and it is very durable! I checked and rechecked its functions, and everything works smoothly. Setting up and backing up is very easy, and transactions are fast. I never thought that I’d be so happy about purchasing a hardware wallet.
Review from Kia
Ledger Nano S Review – December 6, 2020
Overall a great hardware wallet to use. The company continues to expand its supported cryptocurrencies by adding more of them. I think that this is a great tool, especially for beginners who store the major coins available in the market. Private keys are very secure, and it has features which can impress even an expert trader.
Review from Mike
Ledger Nano S Review – February 17, 2020
As a new crypto user, I wanted to find a device that can help me safely store my funds. With threats of hacking available everywhere, there is a great need to employ extra measures to ensure that my money stays where it’s supposed to stay. My Nano S purchase is one of the best decisions I have created. I used to be so paranoid about my transactions, but it helped me in giving myself peace of mind.
Review from Kaye
Ledger Nano S Review – May 28, 2019
My expectations upon ordering Nano S were not that high. I thought it would be one of those useless devices which serve to attract customers through unreal features. However, my entire outlook on the product changed once I decided to use it.
As I used it more, I discovered that they are constantly expanding their pool of cryptocurrencies. This made me very happy as I am a trader who stores values coins.
Review from Dennis
Ledger Nano S Review – October 20, 2020
The durability of the device and good, and it has some nice perks that come with it. However, I realized that the screen is too small for older people like me. Other than that, it is an excellent product!
Review from Rona
Ledger Nano S Review – January 5, 2020
I dislike the fact that one of their security measures is to write the keywords on a piece of paper. Also, I wish that more cryptocurrencies can be stored at once since many people keep funds in different wallets. Overall, great product for the price.
Review from Cathy
Ledger Nano S Review – June 18, 2019
I wanted to install Ripple in it, but I am sad that they do not support the currency. The device itself is good, but I wish more currency support were available.
UPDATE: They expanded their currencies, and it seems like everything works smoothly now.
Review from Ana