What is a Ledger?
Ledger is a fast-paced, growing organisation designing encryption and infrastructure technologies for cryptocurrency as well as blockchain apps for individuals and businesses by exploiting distinctive patented technologies.
Ledger seeks to protect a new transformative class of crypto assets: financial crypto assets such as bitcoins or Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), data crypto assets such as sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices or machine-to-machine devices, and digital identities such as second-factor authentication or passwordless login.
The company has developed a distinctive operating system (OS) called BOLOS, which is integrated either to a secure chip for the Ledger wallet line or to a Hardware Security Module (HSM).
Up until now, Ledger has become the only player in the industry to have this technology.
Hardware wallet is a small device that holds the cryptocurrency private key. The interesting thing about it is that it never reveals your private key outside of the device, which means that it is still kept offline (also known as cold storage).
Even if you try to transfer money from it, it can sign the transaction on the device itself and not on any device connected to it. That’s why it is easy to connect your hardware wallet to any infected computer without having to do so (also known as hot wallets).
Ledger hardware wallets are a set of multi-currency wallets that are used to store private cryptocurrency keys offline. Two hardware wallets are in operation: Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue. Both wallets support 25 blockchains for cryptocurrencies.
The list contains popular cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum, and lesser-known ones, such as Vertcoin and Komodo. Transactions using cryptocurrencies include the use of private cryptographic keys. But these passwords, which are usually kept digitally, are vulnerable to robberies and hacks.
Cryptocurrency consumers have built alternative storage schemes. This includes hot (online) wallets, handheld wallets (smartphone wallets) and paper wallets (stored on paper). Hardware wallets are a type of offline storage.
They are device-based, meaning that they use storage devices such as USB drives to hold private keys, making it impossible for hackers to access the key from online.
Most people store their cryptocurrencies in a software wallet that can be downloaded to a desktop/laptop or mobile computer. They have a number of benefits, such as being very easy to submit coins to another user, as well as being cheap.
They are, though, also vulnerable to being hacked. This is because a hacker is capable of downloading ransomware on the system and infecting a user’s machine with a key logger that helps them to steal private keys and cryptocurrency held within the wallet. This is how distinct hardware wallets like the Nano Ledger S are.
Instead of the private keys and cryptocurrencies being stored on a web network, they’re held on a physical hardware unit! It also ensures that the coins are still kept offline, making it nearly difficult for someone to reach them remotely. If a hacker were to steal the cryptocurrencies that were stored in your Ledger wallet, they would not only need to steal the computer, but they would also need your secret pin.
The security features are much broader than this, but I’m going to talk about that in more depth later on! So, now that you know what the wallet is doing, let’s figure out what cryptocurrencies the Ledger Nano S supports!
Trezor is a stable bitcoin storage and transaction signature platform for open source hardware and applications. Private keys are created by the computer and thus cannot be obtained by malware. It uses a deterministic wallet structure, which ensures that it can hold an infinite number of keys. A seed recovery is produced when the system is initialised.
In the event that Trezor is lost or robbed, all of its contents can be retrieved using this seed (private keys, bitcoin balance and transaction history) to a new computer or to another GDP 0039/BIP 0044 compliant wallet.
Trezor has also implemented a special way of accessing the PIN code that stops keyloggers from capturing it even though they are entered on a hacked device. The encryption passphrase can be set to the top of the PIN code defence. More passphrases should be used for plausible denial.
Trezor One provides everything you need to secure cryptocurrency funds along with advanced functionality such as Password Manager or U2F two-factor authorization.
Recovery Phrase, also known as Seed Phrase, are utterly important when using a hardware pocket. If, for whatever cause, your Nano X or Ledger Nano S are unusable (theft or destruction), you have not lost your precious cryptocurrencies.
Your 24 words act as a buffer for all the crypto properties that your computer handles. Your recovery term can be used as a master key that any programme on your Ledger system uses to measure your private keys.
This means that as long as the recovery term is the same, the private key equation will still have the same outcome. You will learn further on how programmes measure private keys for each cryptocurrency.
While your recovery phrase might be introduced to you as a series of terms, it really transforms into a long string of data that looks very familiar to a cryptocurrency address. These are shown as humanly readable words for your convenience.
As stated at the beginning, your 24-word recovery phrase is a backup of all your crypto properties. This also ensures that once anyone else can get their hands on your list of 24 terms, they can use your cryptocurrencies. As such, it’s incredibly important to keep your recovery phrase of recovery safe. Apart from having your recovery phrase safe, it’s just as important to get your 24 words written correctly.
Any spelling or word order mistake will allow a new collection of addresses to be created – and not the ones you placed on your cryptocurrencies. To lend a hand with this, Ledger has created a dedicated programme to verify if the recovery phrase you wrote fits the one your computer is actually using: the Recovery Check app.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that if Ledger had failed to exist, the recovery phrase would be accessible to restore access to your cryptocurrencies. Ledger is not the first wallet provider to use a recovery phrase. These are part of the BIP-32 standard. This ensures that if Ledger is no longer around, you can still type your 24 words into another compliant wallet to access your cryptocurrencies.
You may also enter a recovery phrase from another wallet in your Ledger device. For maximum protection, this is recommended only for other hardware wallet providers. Note: Ledger hardware wallets only produce 24-word recovery phrases for recovery.
You may also enter a 12, 18 or 24 word recovery phrase that you got from a particular wallet supplier.
What is Ledger Nano S used for?
Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet that is used for storing and investing in common cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other popular altcoins such as Litecoin, Bitcoin Currency, and ZCash.
Driven by USB networking, Ledger Nano S provides firmware-level support for companion applications for different cryptocurrencies that enable users to submit and receive cryptocurrency payments, search their accounts, and manage multiple cryptocurrency addresses from the same device.
The device looks like a regular USB pen drive and can be attached to any compatible device with an associated USB cord. It can be used for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and other altcoins. It provides an appropriate built-in monitor showing real-time messages and views to verify and validate funds and transactions on the computer using physical buttons.
Protects cryptocurrency holdings and wallet addresses. The user’s private keys are hard locked in the device’s Safe Element, making it foolproof. A 4-digit hidden PIN code is required any time the computer is plugged in for any transaction or demand that prevents any misuse in the event of failure or theft.
The device also follows the FIDO® Universal Second Factor format, which is used to ease the authentication process for compliant and common online services such as Dashlane, Dropbox, GMail and GitHub. Currently, Ledger Nano S supports more than two dozen dedicated companion applications for various cryptocurrencies and security systems.
As these companion applications are allowed for firmware upgrades and searching via the app catalogue, they provide an increased level of security and protection from malicious attempts. The device is also compliant with different ledger wallet programmes, which are compatible digital wallets of common cryptocurrencies that can be mounted on computer devices such as a PC.
Ledger Nano S enables safe import and export of recovery sheets for fast backup and reconstruction on any ledger system or ledger wallet compliant with BIP39/BIP44 specifications. Computer appears to be malware-proof and compliant with Windows (7+ versions), Mac (10.9+ versions), Linux or the Chrome operating system. It extracts the requisite power from the USB, and no batteries are required to run the hardware wallet.
Ledger Nano S Review
Ledger Nano S supported coins
As you already know, there are currently more than 1,500 different cryptocurrencies available to purchase and sell, and more and more are added every day. Unfortunately, there is no ledger wallet in the world that can hold any of them, and certain ledger wallets can store only one particular coin.
Luckily, though, the Ledger wallet is a multi-currency wallet, which means that it can hold a number of different coins. The Ledger wallet can carry 26 coins and more than 1500 tokens. These include obvious coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Bitcoin Gold, as well as less common coins such as Ubiq, Hcash, and Stratis!
You can also connect your Ledger Nano S to ledger wallets like MEW and NEON, so you can also store all the Ethereum and NEO tokens on your Ledger. The Ledger Nano S team is actively working on adding cryptocurrencies to their list of approved cryptocurrencies, and IOTA is one of the next big coins anticipated to be listed!
Despite the variety of supported crypto properties, the key downside of Ledger Nano S is its limited internal memory. Allows you to load 3-5 separate cryptocurrency ledger wallets (depending on the size of the wallet apps).
It makes for a nice ledger wallet if you choose to hold a few different kinds of coins or tokens (for example, BTC and ETH). However, this is the perfect method for storing the entire altcoin portfolio.
However, there is a solution for this problem. You should install ledger wallet applications and set up ledger wallets to store coins, and then delete them from Ledger Nano S. While it seems counter-intuitive, your private keys would stay in your computer.
Removing apps after saving coins will help you save extra space. However, it also ensures that you will have to keep reinstalling applications if you need to enter those ledger wallets, which brings excess friction to the operation.
Most users are not happy removing their ledger wallet applications for digital holdings. Another Ledger computer, Ledger Nano X, fixes this problem fully and allows you to hold as many cryptocurrencies as you want.
After evaluating the Ledger Nano S multi-currency support, it is obvious that Ledger Nano S is the perfect device for newcomers and investors with a small range of digital coins. However, it is not the ultimate one-stop option for crypto enthusiasts with a diverse portfolio. Notice that small internal space still has its benefits.
It makes Ledger Nano S more safe, as well as a cheaper cold storage option for investors who want to reduce the possibility of fraud by storing digital assets in multiple cold wallets and/or locations.
The price of Ledger Nano S is $59 USD. This also involves free shipping to virtually every region. Ledger is now offering 20% off all computers. The S $59 USD price tag makes it equivalent to the Trezor One; both marginally more expensive than the Keepkey at $49. Don’t ever buy a Ledger Nano S or some other ledger wallet from eBay.
Only order from the Ledger store or the Amazon website.
How safe is Ledger Nano S?
A cryptocurrency hardware wallet is like a bank deposit box where you store your most valuable belongings. You cannot leave it vulnerable, and the only way to achieve this is to use the highest-grade encryption.
Ledger’s devices have gained users confidence and a reputation for protection. And if your computer has a security breach, Ledger Nano S will save your digital properties. It uses two layers of protection-ST31H320 (protection) and STM32F042 (OS) chips that hold your private keys and sign transactions as separate hardware components.
Nano Ledger S users can secure their coins by setting up a PIN code to open the system, as well as a passphrase used to allow users access to ledger wallets.
Can a Ledger Nano S be hacked?
Let’s figure out what’s going to happen if a hacker managed to literally grab your Ledger wallet. In the first place, to obtain access to your money, the hacker will need your personal pin, which only you have.
Three attempts must be taken to input the right pin code, and if they entered the pin wrongly three times, the Ledger would go to the timed lockout. This is an outstanding authentication feature, as it allows you time to restore access to your Ledger wallet by accessing your passphrase backup.
There is, though, a fascinating article published by a writer at Wired.com at the end of 2017, who explained how he lost both his pin number and his redemption term. The journalist had more than $30,000 worth of cryptocurrencies stored inside his Nano Ledger S and had little means to access the assets.
The journalist was able to locate a programming genius who discovered a loophole in the new iteration of the Ledger wallet, which helped him to circumvent a recent security upgrade. After following the directions issued by the programmer, the journalist was somehow able to restore access to his ledger wallet.
While the Ledger Nano S team maintains that this security vulnerability has been patched since then, it does demonstrate that nothing is 100% safe.
Also the most reliable vaults in the world have been compromised before, so just note that while a hardware wallet makes it nearly impossible for anyone to steal your money, nothing is really safe. In fact, if you’re in the same place as a journalist, there’s no chance you’ll ever be able to get your money back.
Ledger Nano S will never have access to your private keys, so it is your duty to keep them secure. The next few sections will outline some of the S’s security features.
Like the TREZOR, the S also has two physical buttons to add to its security. To validate your charge, you need to manually click both buttons at the same time. This makes it so that no hacker can break into your device and validate your charge.
The Ledger Nano S also allows the customer to set up a PIN code. The PIN code helps avoid the loss of bitcoins if you lose your device. A stranger wouldn’t be able to transfer bitcoins from your Nano S because he/she wouldn’t know your 4-digit pin code. After three wrong pin code guesses, the unit cleans itself off.
Ledger no longer uses anti-tampering seals, since it is easy to forge them. Therefore, an anti-tampering seal may provide a false sense of protection. Instead, Ledger chose to include software tools to check that a piece of hardware is authentic and/or has not been tampered with. This programme is called “Root of Trust”.
Offline Storage and Backups
Let’s get back to the key objective of the hardware wallet. It stores your keys in an offline, secure environment. Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies stored on an online device are an easy target for hackers, particularly if you are using Windows.
If you use a hardware wallet that holds your bitcoins offline, your coins are kept offline and out of control by hackers. Ledger Nano S also lets you make backups for your ledger wallet by writing down a 24 word expression. You will use this term to recreate your ledger wallet in the event that your Ledger Nano S is destroyed, destroyed or stolen.
You may want to store your seed in a fireproof safe for an extra paranoid person. Or, you should have something like the Billfodl. The Billfodl Privacy Pro is made of stainless steel. It helps you to back up your seed to content that is much more resistant to fire, water and other possible threats to your seed backup.
For example, one user had a cryptocurrency of $1 million backed up on a seed. His house had been flooded, and the water had ruined his paper backup crop. This would not have happened if the consumer had kept his seed backup on stainless steel like Billfodl.
The Billfodl defends your seed from fire and future floods. This will be worth $80 based on the amount of cryptocurrency you store on your computer.
With more than 1 million units sold worldwide, the Ledger Nano S is the most common hardware wallet. The system is lauded for its security and support for a wide range of coins. Ledger Live is an official Ledger desktop programme that serves as an interface to the Ledger Nano S ledger wallet.
Your private key, which is used to decrypt all of your crypto-assets from the blockchain, can also be stored securely offline in Ledger Nano S. If you do not yet own any crypto-currency or crypto-assets, you can buy them on common, safe, and easy-to-use exchanges such as Coinbase or Gemini.
Ledger Live is the only interface that helps you to send and receive transfers, set up accounts, and access your balances on a Ledger wallet.
Ledger Nano X vs Ledger Nano S
Similarities between the Ledger Nano X and the Ledger Nano S
At its heart, both Ledger Nano S and Nano X are hardware crypto hardware wallets designed on the same concept – to provide the simplicity of cryptocurrency transfers provided by hot wallets, as well as the stability offered by cold storage solutions.
Both devices use the dual-chip architecture—a 32-bit general purpose microcontroller for general operations, and a bank-grade Secure Portion to safely store private keys on the ledger wallet.
The older Ledger Nano S uses the general purpose of the STM32F042K general purpose microcontroller and the ST31H320 Safe Element, while the Nano X uses the newer STM32WB55 (general purpose) and ST33J2M0 (Secure Element) chips. Both devices also have the same Standard Requirements (CC) EAL5+ certification level based on their chip design.
So, what’s odd with the new Nano X? Yeah, there are a few very important variations. But it’s completely up to you if they matter.
Differences between the Ledger Nano X and the Ledger Nano S
The Nano X strengthens both architecture and performance over its older sibling, the Ledger Nano S, without losing the protection of the device. Let’s take a closer look at the variations here.
Look & Feel: The first thing you’d know about the Nano X is that it’s a little bigger and heavier than its predecessor. Build-wise, both machines have a similar brushed finish in stainless steel and plastic. Overall, in our opinion, Nano X looks and sounds a little more premium than its predecessor.
Display: also has a considerably wider screen, which in turn makes space for more details to be viewed simultaneously. For example, the smaller display of the Ledger Nano S would involve scrolling through the address of the recipient during the validation of the transaction, as the display was not big enough to display the entire address.
In Nano X, the full address can be viewed on the computer without scrolling, which is much more convenient and allows a quicker way to search the data at a glance.
Nav Keys: Navigation/Confirmation buttons have been changed as well. Instead of the two buttons on the side of the computer as in Ledger Nano S, the two buttons now sit on either side of the monitor. And they’re very big, they feel more sturdy, and they’re easy to press with the two thumbs.
There are a few major variations beneath the hood. The Nano X ledger wallet has a built-in 100 mAh battery, and the STM32WB series of microcontrollers are Bluetooth 5.0-supported wireless chips.
This ensures that Nano X ledger wallet allows Bluetooth wireless operations, and you can now use it with the Ledger Live software to send, receive and display transactions on both your desktop and mobile devices, without needing you to connect with a USB C cable.
In fact, the wireless portability feature is one of the most distinctive features of the Nano X ledger wallet, and possibly also the Ledger MSP for this model. With the Nano X ledger wallet, you can now go to a shop with your smartphone in your pocket and make a wireless purchase using the Ledger Live software on your iPhone or Android device.
Of course, it also has a state-of-the-art USB C cable connector (instead of a micro USB used in the Ledger Nano S), so if desired, you can also use it in the old-fashioned way by attaching it to your device.
The Nano X ledger wallet still has a lot of physical capacity than its ancestor. According to the firm, Nano X ledger wallet will hold more than 100 applications, each supporting a different cryptocurrency. In reality, as of this writing, you can instal all the applications currently available in the Ledger Store on your Nano X ledger wallet device.
In contrast, the Ledger Nano S supports fewer than 10 programmes loaded on the computer at a time. Note: Delete an app from a Ledger system does not affect any of your money. With the Ledger Live app for desktop and mobile devices, you can access the balance and transaction history of all your wallets connected to the Ledger seed.
However, you need to instal special applications on your Ledger Nano ledger wallet (applicable to both S and X) ledger wallet computers to build and sign new transactions in the blockchain of that particular cryptocurrency.
In addition to the additional features, the Ledger Nano X comes with a hefty price boost relative to the older edition.
You can get a Ledger Nano S ledger wallet for €59,00, but it will cost you more than twice, €119,00, if you buy a Nano X unit. The price of the two devices makes it more important for you to weigh each of the differentiating variables between the two devices before zeroing-in to a single decision.
The Dilemma – Which Device Should You Go For
The answer depends on your day-to-day use of crypto assets. If you regularly manage transactions between several cryptocurrencies, Nano X’s greater storage may be more useful than Ledger Nano S’s smaller storage. Also, if you need to execute crypto transactions frequently on the go, Nano X might be the most convenient choice thanks to Bluetooth 5.0 support.
If you are purchasing a Ledger Nano computer for the first time, you can consider the above factors when deciding between Ledger Nano S and Nano X. And if you are already a Ledger Nano S consumer, consider the above factors to decide if the variations are adequate to persuade you to pay more than double the upgrade price.
Conclusion: Is Ledger Nano S Worth It?
I hope you’ve found this fun and educational analysis of the Ledger Nano wallet review. I’ve provided you with all the knowledge that I think is important before you decide to invest in one. If you’ve been able to read this tutorial from start to finish, you should now have a very strong idea of what the Ledger wallet is doing, as well as both its benefits and drawbacks.
Overall, Ledger Nano S is one of the most accurate and stable crypto wallets in the world. It has an extra layer of encryption, which ensures that you would not only need to pick a pin code, but also a 24-word recovery expression. What’s more, because it’s made of sturdy materials, you’re not going to be concerned about physical damage.
With over 10 years of experience working as a financial analyst, Eric is highly aware of the potential of cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin, and the impact it will bring towards the global economy. He is committed to share everything he knows about crypto here at Crypto Digest News.