Everything You Need to Know About the Ledger Nano S Hardware Wallet

Is the Ledger Nano S right for you?

Securely storing your cryptocurrency is one of the most important aspects to consider when dealing with the world of crypto. There is a multitude of ways to keep your crypto safe, with one of the preferred options for safe storage being the Ledger Nano S Hardware Wallet.

What is the Ledger Nano S?

The Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a full host of other altcoins. Like other hardware wallets, it stores the user’s private keys in a secure hardware device, keeping them away from the prying eyes of criminals while still giving the user easy access to their cryptocurrencies. What makes the Ledger Nano S so useful is the combination of high security and ease of use. Users can quickly make payments with their digital currency but at the same time know that their coins are safely stored.

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Unlike predecessors of the Nano S, this hardware wallet offers a built-in OLED screen, putting it in line with competing devices such as TREZOR and KeepKey. Through the easily readable display, users can verify each transaction and confirm it by pressing a button on the top of the device.

The Nano S can be connected to any computer through a standard micro USB cable, making it widely compatible with almost any PC, laptop, or tablet.

According to the Ledger website, the Nano S natively supports 23 different coins such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, and ZCash. A wide variety of other ERC20 tokens (tokens using the Ethereum network) can be managed using Nano S when used together with MyEtherWallet. This versatility makes the Nano S particularly useful for clients and investors involved in many different cryptocurrencies.

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The Ledger Nano S cryptocurrency hardware wallet

History and About

Ledger, the company behind the Nano S, was founded in 2014 by eight professionals who used their various backgrounds to compliment each other to offer a security for different types of blockchain applications. These diverse backgrounds include experience in crypto technology, entrepreneurial endeavors, as well as embedded security. At the moment, the company has more than 80 employees who are based in the US and France.

How Safe is the Ledger Nano S?

While hardware wallets are not 100 percent safe (no solution is), they tend to offer the most secure method of storing digital currencies.

As with most crypto wallets, security concerns involving hardware wallets tend to be more user-based and can easily be avoided by taking the necessary precautions and following a certain protocol when using your wallet.

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One of the central factors of wallet security is your private key and the wallet’s recovery phrase. The Ledger Nano S uses a 24-word seed to recover your private key should you ever lose your wallet and it is crucial that you store this seed safely and securely. It should go without saying that this means storing the seed in a physical location and not on your computer or phone. If you lose your wallet and your recovery phrase, your coins will be gone forever, so be sure to treat it with the importance it deserves.

When used with care, the Ledger Nano S wallet does not have a known weakness in its security. As it is a hardware wallet, it cannot be hacked unless connected to a computer. There have been instances of users purchasing their Nano S from unauthorized sellers on the internet and received a device with malware pre-installed, so be sure to only buy your wallet from an official vendor.

The latest update to the Nano S software (1.3) also introduced a plausible deniability feature. If you fear you might face the risk of being threatened and/or forced to give up your PIN code, the Nano S lets you have one main account and two or more hidden accounts connected to the same wallet, backed up by the same 24-word seed. Even if you were forced to recover your wallet from your 24-word backup phrase, only the main wallet will be visible, while the other accounts remain hidden.

While this feature offers an added layer of security, Ledger warns users to not activate this option if they are not absolutely sure to know how to use it. Since you will be the only person to know the PIN codes and passphrases to the additional accounts, if you ever lose them, neither Ledger nor anyone else will be able to recover them for you.

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Does Ledger Have Fees?

Apart from the one-time purchase price, the Ledger Nano S has no recurring fees. Currently, the Nano S costs around 79 euros ($92), which makes it the cheapest device of the three major hardware wallets (the other two bein KeepKey and TREZOR) with a screen.

Purchasing the wallet on third-party sites such as Amazon can easily drive up the price to nearly double its cost, so it is recommended to buy the Nano S from the official Ledger website.

How to Use Ledger Securely

Setting up the Ledger Nano S is remarkably simple and easy to understand. If one follows the following steps, then using the wallet should be possible even for inexperienced users:

 

  1. Using the included micro USB cable, connect the Ledger Nano S to your (private and safe) computer.
  2. Chose a four to eight digit PIN Code and make sure that no one apart from you knows what it is.
  3. The Nano S will now display the 24-word recovery phrase. Write down every word and be sure to safely store it in a location only known to you.
  4. Proceed to install the Ledger Apps for the coin you plan to store and/or connect it to the software wallet of your choosing.
  5. Proceed to send and receive payments in a secure manner, ensuring that you only provide users with your public address and not your private key.

By following all points mentioned above and vehemently caring for the security of your device, you will find the Ledger Nano S to be a secure and easy to use hardware wallet. Be aware that securely accessing your funds on the go can be tricky as the wallet was not designed for this. If you are the type of user to travel a lot and won’t have access to a secure computer, this could prove problematic. In this case, you can simply transfer a small amount of your coins to a wallet you can access on the go while leaving your Nano S securely at home.

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