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ColdLar is a Beijing-based company that builds cutting edge solutions to allow you to safely store your digital assets. They raised more than $10 million dollars in 2017 and the main investors include the likes of Bitmain and Huobi.
The company’s slogan is “Guardian for Cryptoasset” and they profess themselves to be the first and best cold wallet in China. Indeed, they reputedly make up over 80% of the Cold wallet market in China and are more popular there than companies like Ledger and Trezor. They have also been selected and listed twice in a white paper issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as well as a national high-tech enterprise.
The company has a number of products available under what they refer to as the T series, P series and S series. The ColdLar Pro 3 is part of the P series and the first generation Pro 1 was released back in 2017. ColdLar touch (an NFC card hardware wallet) and the new ColdLar Smart are part of the T and S series. They also offer ColdLar enterprise and vault solutions for institutional clients.
The ColdLar range of hardware wallets are designed to work completely disconnected from the Internet. Communications between the hardware wallet and the APP are made through QR codes or NFC which greatly improves security.
We’re going to review the ColdLar Pro 3 and the new ColdLar Smart. Both are similar products, but with slightly different features and target audience.
Unboxing and getting started
What’s in the Pro 3 box?
- Pro 3 device
- Seed password cards (x2). Check out our review of Crypto tag is you want the best security for your seed password.
- Type-C charging cable
- A leather case for password cards and device
- User Guide / Instruction manual
- Cleaning cloth
- Service Voucher
Getting started with the Pro 3
The charging cable is standard Type-C. ColdLar do not supply the charge connector, but a standard connector works fine. The device comes fully charged which is nice. When you power on the device you’ll see the language is in Chinese so you can change this to English if required. Next steps to get started are as follows:
- Download and install the ColdLar App on your phone
- Create a new account in the App
- Select Bind ColdLar wallet using the app
- Select the Pro 3 from the list of available devices
- Verify the authenticity of the product using the App
- On the Pro 3, restore wallet or create new wallet
- The Pro 3 will open the camera to collect the environment information (parameters) to automatically generate the seed password – 12 words.
- Write the seed keys down someplace safe. We recommend getting a Cryototag to keep your seed keys safe.
- Create your payment password
- Note: If you lose your payment password, your assets cannot be recovered.
- Set the account name
- Create gesture password
- Set up fingerprint
- Update the time using the App by syncing the time with a QR scan
- Go to account settings and enable the “Monitor” function. This allows you to conveniently manage your cold wallet assets in real-time via ColdLar App.
- The wallet is set up and you’re ready to go!
What’s in the Smart box?
- ColdLar Smart device
- Seed password cards x2
- Type-C charging cable
- Quick Guide
Getting started with the Smart
- Install the ColdLar App on your phone
- Create a new account in the App
- Select Bind Coldlar wallet using the App
- Select the Smart from the list of available devices
- Before using the Smart it is recommended by ColdLar that you recharge for 10 mins. Our’s came with a full battery so we were good.
- Create your pin code
- Turn on bluetooth on your phone
- Open the ColdLar app on your phone and connect via bluetooth. To so this you’ll need to enter a pin that will be sent to the Smart and displayed on screen.
Design and Features
How secure is the ColdLar?
ColdLar is divided into a cold hardware wallet and hot wallet app. The Pro 3 and Smart are hardware wallets and do not interact with the network at all. For the type C interface, it can only be charged and does not utilize data transmission.
You are only allowed to connect to the blockchain via the ColdLar app. It’s worth noting that the app is not open source and it is a requirement to use. There are pros and cons to this from a security perspective, but we definitely prefer open-source wallets.
Note: Coldlar do plan to open source their software in the future. It’s also possible to export your private keys from the Pro 3 and Smart and recover your assets on any wallet that supports the relevant BIPS – 33, 39 and 44.
Your private keys are not stored on the Pro 3 device, but generated using the payment password and seed phrase. The seed password is encrypted and stored on the device, the payment password is entered every time you use. So, in effect, the wallet can only work out the private key when the payment password is input.
The wallet is also HD and seed phrase is generated using environmental information as a source to ensure randomness and uniqueness.
When you setup the Pro 3 it has a fingerprint reader and a gesture unlock functionality which is nice.
The transmission on the Pro 3 is via secure NFC and It’s also multisignature enabled which is an important safety feature.
The Smart uses a secure element similar to the ledger nano, but the security rating of the chip is higher – the Smart has a EAL6+ rating which is extremely high.
Pros and Cons
The Pro 3
How does the Smart and Pro 3 stack up against competitors like KeepKey, Ledger and Trezor?
The Pro 3 is a premium product and comes in at a much higher price point than Ledger, Trezor and KeepKey. The $620 price tag does give you a lot of extra features, but it may be on the high side for the average user. The Smart is a very competitive on price.
You can use the Smart and Pro 3 anywhere you go with your smartphone and you don’t need a computer. This is a unique characteristic that distinguishes ColdLar from other hardware wallets.
The Smart 3 and Pro 3 have very high security standards. The Ledger Nano X is based on a dual chip architecture featuring a secure element. The Smart also uses a secure element. The ledger has a EAL5+ certificate while the Coldlar Smart chip has a higher EAL6+.
In terms of compatibility, the ColdLar hardware wallets are only compatible with the ColdLar app. This might be a concern for people who wish to utilize other wallets such as Electrum, Mycelium and Copay.
In general, both products are built very well and offer a not of features.
The Pro 3 is a premium product with a lot of features, but the price is quite high. The smart has similar capabilities but comes in at a much more competitive price point and is probably more appealing to the average user.