Ledger Nano S – Next Generation Hardware Wallet

Ever since the emergence of Bitcoin back in 2009, developers have put a tremendous amount of time and energy towards designing secure wallets for cryptocurrency users. Hundreds of software wallets with varying levels of security and convenience quickly popped up all over the web.

However, despite their ingenuity, the developers couldn’t overcome this one inherent flaw of software wallets. Any device directly connected to the internet was subject to malware, keylogging software, and similar threats that would put the coins on the device at risk.

With the rapid increase in Bitcoin’s value, the wallet security quickly became the number one priority for everyone that owned more than a couple of dollars in various cryptocurrencies.

This prompted companies like Ledger Wallet, Trezor, and KeepKey to pioneer the concept of hardware wallets. They added a whole new layer of security, since these devices were specifically designed to generate private keys in an offline environment, meaning that nobody could access the stored coins without the device itself.

That said, I recently started using the Ledger Nano S. I wanted to give you a bit of information and share my thoughts of this latest generation hardware wallet. If you’re still debating which wallet to get, this post might just help you make up your mind!

What Is Ledger Nano S?

As I see it, the Ledger Nano S is the pinnacle of cryptocurrency security. This Bitcoin, Altcoin, and Ethereum hardware wallet employs the best security measures to ensure maximum protection of your cryptographic assets and digital transactions.

Private keys are safely stored on the device itself, within a state-of-the-art Secure element (dual chip), and protected by a PIN code. Upon configuring the device, you select a 4-digit PIN that is required whenever the device is accessed.

This means that, even in the event of using a compromised second screen (i.e. your PC), all your assets are still well-protected from keylogging, since the PIN is entered on the device itself. As an added precaution, you can also set an auto lock time for the device.

Ledger Nano S easily connects to any computer via a micro USB cable for convenience. However, all transactions need to be confirmed on the device itself, with a simple push of one of the side buttons.

Completely customizable, the Nano S allows you to quickly and easily send and receive payments, check your accounts, and manage multiple addresses, all from the same device.

Configuring the device is surprisingly simple, and it only takes only a couple of minutes, with most of that time going towards writing down your seed. The 24-word seed (essentially used as a recovery phrase) is displayed on the tamper-proof device itself, completely eliminating the risk of hackers seeing your seed through a compromised device.

Design & User Interface (UI)

The design of the Ledger Nano S is quite similar to that of a standard USB flash drive, with a metal casing for added durability. It’s small (98mm x 18mm x 9mm), light (16.2g), compact, and stylish.

Furthermore, it can easily be attached to a key ring, so you can make sure it never leaves your side!

The device has two side buttons that allow you to control it. Like I mentioned, the initial setup only takes about 5 minutes, and once complete, all that’s left to do is install an app in order to access the interface.

Nano S runs dedicated companion apps, which can be configured through the Ledger Manager (a free Chrome application for Windows, Mac, and Linux).

Alternatively, you can download any of the compatible software wallets you see on the image below, and run them on your device:

The interface is clean and pretty intuitive, and it took me only a couple of minutes to get the hang of it. You can customize the wallet to show the desired flat currency, the denomination of the coin (BTC, mBTC, etc), and select the display language. A feature I particularly love is the ability to rename all my accounts.

Another great thing about Nano S is that it supports FIDO certified U2F (Universal Second Factor Authentication), allowing you to add 2-step verification to non-cryptocurrency related online transactions with websites, companies, and services that also support FIDO.

Security

The entire design of the Ledger Nano S is based on its Secure Element - a dual chip architecture (ST31/STM32, Certification level: CC EAL5+). The firmware integrity is guaranteed by cryptographic attestation.

This means that neither the manufacturer (Ledger Wallet) or any other third party will ever have access to your private keys, since they are hard-locked in the Secure Element, within the hardware itself.

Additionally, each time you plug in the Nano S into another device, you are required to input the 4-digit PIN code you selected during configuration.

So, even if you lose your Nano S, or it gets stolen, your assets will still be well protected, giving you plenty of time to use the recovery phrase (seed) to restore your accounts on any other Ledger device or compatible wallets (BIP39/BIP44).

This is your last line of defense. Make sure no one has access to the sheet you wrote down your seed on (one is provided by Ledger with the device), and if worse comes to worst - you'll always be able to regain control over your coins.

Features

Multi-Currency Support
Supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Zcash, Dash, and Stratis.
Super-convenient, allowing you to store all your different currencies in a single device.

Multi-Apps
Runs a wide variety of companion applications, and supports popular cryptocurrency software wallets (Bitcoin & Ethereum wallets, Ripple, CoPay, MyCelium, etc.)
Supports FIDO® U2F, GPG, SSH and even allows you to build your own applications!

Built-In OLED Display
All vital information is displayed on the device itself, for your eyes only.
Check and confirm transactions using the two physical side buttons.

FIDO® certified U2F
Supports the FIDO® Universal Second Factor authentication standard on Google, Dropbox, GitHub or Dashlane.
Add a layer of security to all your online transactions by using the 2-step key verification.

Maximum Security
Your private keys and other confidential data are never exposed to anyone, not even Ledger.
It's securely stored within the device itself and locked behind a PIN code.

Backup & Restoration
In case anything goes wrong, simply use the 24-word phrase on your recovery sheet to restore your accounts to any Ledger device or compatible wallets (BIP39/BIP44).

Overall thoughts

In my honest opinion, Ledger Nano S provides everything one could ask from a hardware wallet, and more!
It's super-convenient, built for maximum security, supports currencies other than just Bitcoin, and - what came as a bit of a surprise - is the cheapest hardware wallet out there (just shy of $70).
The intuitive software makes it an excellent choice for a first-time wallet, since it takes minutes to set up and is easy to get the hang of.
So, if you're considering getting into the cryptocurrency business, I wholeheartedly recommend this awesome little device.

Superb Convenience, Maximum Security

Safely store your cryptocurrency assets and make quick & easy transactions on the go with the Ledger Nano S.

 

 

Share this blog post with your friends
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn