Ledger Wallet Review – Safe Smartcard Cryptocurrency Hardware Security?

Ledger Wallet is a popular series of hardware Bitcoin wallets that typically competes with Trezor for the top of the Bitcoin hardware wallet world. Read our review to find out if Ledger’s the right choice for you.

What Is Ledger?

Ledger is a hardware Bitcoin wallet manufacturer available in three varieties, including the Ledger Blue, the Ledger Nano S, and the Ledger Nano. The company is typically seen as one of the most popular hardware wallet makers in the world, and they compete with Trezor as two of the most popular hardware Bitcoin wallets in the industry.

Ledger is made by a Paris, France-based company. The wallets range in price from 29 Euros (for the Ledger Nano) to 229 Euros (for the Ledger Blue). However, Ledger is best-known for its Nano wallets. Let’s take a closer look at each of the company’s products.

Ledger Wallet Types

Ledger Blue

The Ledger Blue promises to be the most advanced hardware wallet on the market – and many Bitcoin enthusiasts agree. Priced at 229 Euros, the wallet is more expensive than Trezor’s offerings. Key features in this wallet include multi-application execution and enterprise-grade cryptography all packed into a sleek, lightweight, handheld device.

There’s also a touchscreen to make it easy to use. The Ledger Blue comes with USB and Bluetooth connectivity as well. Using the touchscreen, you can securely manage transactions and complex smart contracts.

When the Ledger Blue says it runs multiple apps, it means that these apps run in full isolation on top of the hardware’s firmware. This means you can easily add new cryptocurrencies or apps without compromising the master seed.

Many people enjoy using the Ledger Blue for its flexibility – it can easily be adapted for use everywhere from the enterprise world to individual Bitcoin users. Since all major crypto libraries are embedded in the firmware, the Ledger Blue can support any type of blockchain.

Like other Bitcoin wallets, the Ledger Blue requires you to enter a 4 to 8 digit PIN code every time you unlock your device. Currently supported coins and platforms include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Fido U2F, Dogecoin, ZCash, Dash, and Stratis.

Ledger Nano S

The Ledger Nano S can store Bitcoins, Ethereum, and other altcoins. Like the Ledger Blue, it emphasizes strong security features and secure digital payments. It doesn’t have Bluetooth, but it connects to your devices using USB.

Instead of a touchscreen, the wallet features a secure OLED display that lets you double-check and confirm each transaction just by tapping on the side buttons.

You unlock the Nano S with a PIN code. The Nano S locks transactions within a Secure Element, which means they can’t get tampered with and they’re physically verified.

Ledger Nano

The Ledger Nano is the cheapest Ledger Bitcoin wallet available today. It’s a Bitcoin wallet on a smartcard device that features a small format and low weight. To use the Nano, you connect it directly to a USB port, then get ready to make secure payments.

To access and manage your Bitcoin account, you use a free Google Chrome application created by Ledger. If you lose your Ledger Nano, then you can restore it on any Ledger Wallet or other compatible solutions.

For security, the Nano uses EAL5+ smartcard, described as “a high-level security standard used for financial processes, passports, health care systems and governmental data.” Your private Bitcoin keys are never held or known by Ledger or a third party: they’re locked within your smartcard. Your wallet is decentralized, which means you are your own bank.

Ledger Pricing

Here’s how pricing breaks down across the Ledger models:

  • Ledger Blue: 229.00 €
  • Ledger Nano S: 58.00 €
  • Ledger Nano: 29.00 €

On Amazon, the Ledger Nano is available for $49.99 USD with free shipping.

About Ledger

Ledger is based in Paris, France but maintains offices in San Francisco. The company is led by CEO Eric Larcheveque, CTO Nicolas Bacca, COO Joel Pobeda, and CBO Thomas France.

You can contact the company by email at hello@ledger.fr

Ledger Reviews

The two Nano models tend to be the most popular hardware Bitcoin wallets available today. Here are some of the pros and cons of those wallets:

Pros

  • Really easy to set up (most have Bitcoins on their wallet within 3 to 5 minutes)
  • Lower cost than Trezor
  • Better than online wallets in terms of security and Bitcoin protection
  • Easy-to-use app
  • Simple cold storage solution

Cons

  • You’re sometimes asked to update the firmware, which can be a nerve wracking procedure if you have a large amount of Bitcoin stored in your wallet
  • One customer on Amazon described the wallet as “fragile”, although most people didn’t seem to have quality issues

Ledger Wallet Summary

In general, the Ledger Nano wallets are seen as a good, cheap alternative to Trezor. You’re sacrificing a little bit of security, but you’re spending about half the price. It’s also important to note that this isn’t an ideal wallet for those who need to store a large amount of Bitcoin, as you could lose access to a substantial amount of money inadvertently.

Overall, Ledger’s wallets are a substantial upgrade over the online wallets used on exchanges, but the cheaper Ledger Nano wallets aren’t ideal for those with substantial amounts of Bitcoin.

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