You may be looking for the best cryptocurrency hardware wallet because you’re worried about security. We don’t blame you. Cryptocurrencies have only recently come under the microscope in light of the digital asset, Bitcoin, skyrocketing to an average of $19,786 in a matter of four months in 2017. While hundreds of thousands of investors stormed the market in search of a “get rich quick scheme”, hackers also took part in the craze with more certainty. Earlier this year, Japanese hackers ran off with just over $500 million worth in NEM coins after invading the servers of an Asia-based exchange, CoinCheck.
After the hack, hundreds of thousands of people realized that it’s time to diversify coin holdings in different wallets, whether they be software or hardware.
What is a crypto hardware wallet?
Instead of storing precious, intangible coins on the servers of your favorite exchange, it makes much more sense to store on a device that looks much like a USB flash drive.
Exchanges are obvious targets of altcoin heists as they often carry millions of U.S dollars worth in coins as a part of their daily business operations. A crypto hardware wallet, unlike the assets it carries, is tangible. The good ones have operating systems and easy to use interfaces. They require a PIN to access and can only be connected to the internet by utilizing your computer’s USB port. Some of them are even available in different languages. The most notable features in using hardware wallets are that they provide security using cryptography and present the option to backup your coins on an offline server in case your hardware breaks or malfunctions.
What to look for in a hardware crypto wallet
- PIN to Access
- Dual factor authentication
- Easy to use interface
- Variety of supported coins
- Compatibility with other online and hardware wallets
1. Ledger Nano S 5
The Ledger company has made big strides since its inception in 2014. It’s perfect for anyone serious about storing cryptocurrency. With an LED display for payment validation and a PIN to confirm, the handheld device is convenient and secure. As another method of security, Ledger Nano S also features two-factor authentication. The device has its own operating system, BOLOS, supporting Windows (7+), Mac (10.8+), and Linux.
The hardware supports a multitude of the best cryptocurrencies and is easy to via USB compatibility. The only drawback the device has is that your computer must be connected to the internet and running solely on Google Chrome for all applications to work. Ledger’s website boasts over 1,000,000 devices sold globally. You can get it for just under $100 on Amazon.
2. Trezor One
The Trezor One, by SatoshiLabs was designed and crafted in the Czech Republic by cryptocurrency advocates and a stellar cyber security team. In Czech, trezor literally translates to “vault.” The Trezor team is credited with developing the first hardware wallet for cryptocurrencies using modern cryptography.
It provides an LED display for an easy-to-use interface, as well as a PIN to access the wallet. Providing even more security, the devices prompts you to use two-factor authentication when verifying your purchase. The unique piece of hardware is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux and offers over 500 possible alt-coins to hold and trade. Much like every other hardware wallet, the device requires your computer to be connected to the internet and connected via USB. On Amazon, you can get it for under $100.
Another competitor in the hardware wallet space is KeepKey. Created by a subsidiary of the Shaftshift exchange, KeepKey highlights the notable differences its device holds over its competitors. Launched in 2015, KeepKey noted that its security measures were far stronger than Trezor or Ledger.
We have yet to view anyone brave enough to confirm this notion; however, KeepKey does not have an operating system. Not having an operating system essentially makes a device malware proof. It’s nearly impossible to infect a device with complicated instructions if that device does not have an operating system. While security remains an advantage in using KeepKey, a major drawback is the availability of only 35 cryptocurrencies. Still, the device couldn’t be more easy to use by plugging it in one of the USB ports of your computer. Snag it on Amazon for just under $100.
4. Trezor Model T
If you wanted to spend just a little more money to secure your digital assets, look to Trezor’s Model T. The innovative second edition hardware crypto wallet by Satoshi Labs was redesigned for better ease-of-use and security measures. The largest difference from the original is in the easy-to-use touchscreen interface. The only downside to this is that it is the sole way to interact with the device.
The Model T features the same availability of about 500 different coins while adding more layers of security. To even connect your device via USB, you must enter a PIN. You only get one shot an inputting a PIN, as every time you input it incorrectly you are locked out for some time period to the power of 2. In addition to its mainstream security, the Model T comes with a 12-word seed recovery card that allows you to back up your coins in the event of you forgetting your password. All in all, Satoshi Lab’s Model T seems to be the favorite, other than its higher price tag.
While the emerging cryptocurrency market still has lots to prove in terms of practicality, adoption must be taken with caution. Hackers will continue to enter the market with the growing popularity of secured coin offerings and the beginning of adopting international currency. Depending on how many coins you have, it may be smart to think about hardware wallets as they continue to compete for market share and are relatively inexpensive.