The Best Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallets to use in 2020
The annals of the crypto industry are flooded with numerous cases of security breaches which led to the loss of huge amounts of money. To mention but a few, are cases of Mt. Gox, Coinrail, Cryptopia etc. and these have all contributed to the slow mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. Storing private keys on online computers or interacting with websites are some of the routes through which hackers steal the funds of crypto users, hence the need to store private keys offline or in a cold state.
Crypto enthusiasts, on the other hand, have never given up on the quest to create blockchain solutions that would provide robust security for the funds of people. This led to the development of Cryptocurrency Hardware wallets which store private keys offline, and this breaks any attempt of hackers having access to the funds of users from any remote area. Prominent among them are Ledger Nano X, KeepKey, Trezor and Ellipal.
This review seeks to explore some of the unique features that makes these hardware wallets secure and also easy to use.
Ledger Nano X
Ledger is one of the pioneering companies in the development of hardware wallets since 2014. Their first product to hit the market was the Ledger Nano S which was admired by most people in the crypto-sphere. However, the company released a new model – the Ledger X, which came along with improved security features, user interface and user experience.
The Ledger X is portable and comes with a very good metal case which ensures its durability and longevity, as compared to other plastic casing hardware wallets. In addition, a Bluetooth feature has been integrated to it as a way of approving transactions of the wallet. The Bluetooth feature is to replace the use of cable and PC ledger software application, which were used in approving transactions.
The Bluetooth feature works together with the mobile version of Ledger Live application, which ensures that users are able to have access and use their funds wherever they are. The need to always connect to a computer before making transactions with the Ledger Nano S was bulky in a way and makes it vulnerable to be hacked (though never recorded).
The Ledger Company is one of the famous cryptocurrency producing wallets with high-grade security in all its products. To compound the series of features, is an increased storage space of the hardware wallet to as high as hundred times that of the previous version. This makes it possible for users to install several other applications on it. The Ledger X also comes with a much broader screen to increase visibility as compare to the very narrow screen of the Ledger S. With all these improved features, the Ledger Nano X cost about $115 (VAT excluded) and supports over 1250 coins and tokens (mainly ERC-20 Tokens), whilst the Ledger Nano S costs $56, with same pricing conditions.
The Trezor wallet, a safe and secure vault for crypto enthusiasts to save their funds has also stood the test of time in this industry since its development in August 2014. It is the first bitcoin hardware wallet to be developed into the crypto industry. It’s a key-sized device which stores the cryptocurrencies and private keys of users in an offline mode disconnecting any possibilities of security breach. The Trezor wallet has two models on the market which are the Trezor One and Trezor Model T which is the latest of its development. Security is a huge concern of the company, hence they have put in place several security measures to ensure that the cryptocurrencies of its users are stored safely beyond the reach of hackers. It supports over 1000 cryptocurrency coins and tokens but not as high as that of the Ledger Nano products. It comes with a rectangular shape screen accompanied with two buttons, which act more like a “Yes” or “No” button, when manipulating the wallet. The wallet comes with only a PC version of its software application, hence making it function more like a vault than other wallets for daily transactions. The Trezor One and Trezor T models cost about $49 and $150 respectively.
Though developed a few months after Trezor and Ledger, Keepkey has seen much adoption not necessarily by any unique features that it possesses, but compared to both the Ledger and Trezor it is less expensive, yet provides maximum security for the funds of its users. Keepkey was founded by Darin Stanchfield with Ken Hodler as his Chief Technology Officer. The company is headed in the US and was acquired by Shapeshift in August 2017.
This hardware wallet is a bit larger than Trezor and Ledger but still fits perfectly into the pocket of its users. It supports over 100 cryptocurrency coins and tokens, but can support much more when connected to Myetherwallet. The wallet is designed with a simple user interface to make it easy for the average Joe in crypto to use.
One feature worth mentioning about Keepkey is the built-in cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to trade their cryptocurrency directly through the application without necessarily signing up on any exchange platform. KeepKey costs about $79 which is quite fair compared to the latest models of both the Ledger and Trezor.
Taking the development of cryptocurrency hardware wallet to a new level is Ellipal Air-Gapped wallet, that makes sure that there is absolutely no connection between a hardware wallet and any online computer. Come to think of it, why do we say hardware wallets store private keys in a cold state yet at some point in time we need to connect them to online computers in order to execute transactions? I leave this question for readers to make their own decision. With this concept in mind, Ellipal sought to design a hardware wallet that is completely air-gapped and has no connection with computers in order to execute transactions. Though there has not been any recorded case of a security breach with the use of hardware wallets that connects with online computers it is still a loophole which needs to be sealed off completely and the solution is Ellipal Air-Gapped wallet. It comes in a very solid metal casing and a multi-touch screen so that users can interact with ease as compared with the smaller screen of most existing cryptocurrency wallets.
The Ellipal wallet has been designed to mimic the strength of a memoth in terms of how it secures the funds of its users. Designed in a secured wallet and also implanted with an Anti-tampering feature that makes the wallet destroy itself in case of any attempts to open it up. It does this to protect the funds of its users. It’s Air-Gapped feature comes as a result of the wallet, having a barcode scanner at the back of the wallet which scans the barcode text of transactions in order to make payment. This prevents making any transaction across any network making it the only cryptocurrency wallet that stays cold forever in all its activities. Currently, Ellipal supports some major cryptocurrencies as well as ERC-20 tokens and still expanding its cryptocurrency assets portfolio.
Ellipal wallet has also integrated recently with Binance DEX hence supports all coins running on its chain as well as making transactions through Binance DEX. The Ellipal is quite expensive taking into it all the improved features which have been inculcated into it and goes for $169.99
Hardware wallets are proven to be the best devices in storing large amounts of cryptocurrencies, due to the nature of development. Most of them either operate with the use Zero Trust Protocol or Limited Protocol that does not reveal the private keys of the wallet, even if interacting with malicious computers. They also come along with a 12-24-word seed phrase and extra pin that users can set to provide extra security to their wallets. Renowned companies like Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey, Ellipal have taken the lead in developing hardware wallets for the crypto industry.
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