I originally got a Ledger Nano S back in 2017, but didn’t use at the time after reading some poor reviews and concerns around access to funds and security. Over a year later, I came across the box and decided it’s time for a second chance.
So here goes……
First off, the reviews are a lot more favorable now and there has been development done on aspects of the wallet’s security.
What is a Hardware Wallet and Why are they important?
Hardware wallets are secure, offline devices; around the size of a pen drive in the case of the Nano S. Offline, meaning they’re not connected to the internet and so not susceptible to the various different malware and virus that can target devices connected to the internet.
Essentially, they store your cryptocurrency offline so you can’t be hacked – at least that’s the theory (there have been some reports of phishing attacks, but more on that below). From a security perspective it’s definitely the best option to store your crypto; particularly important if you’re HODLing a large bag of coins.
According to Ledger’s website, they are the most popular crypto asset secure wallet with 1,441,683 sold worldwide (as of April 11, 2019)
To start, a little on the security.
Ledger has built all its devices around specialized chips called Secure Elements. These chips help to mitigate against a lot of different types of attacks.
From the Ledger website: “A Secure Element is a secure chip that provides an extra layer of security compared to standard ones. It embeds intrinsic countermeasures against many known attacks. This kind of chip is tamper-resistant and protects your device to a range of different attacks.”
When setting up the ledger you will need to write down your 24-word recovery phrase and keep this safe as it is the only backup of your private keys. The phrase itself has also been simplified recently and now consists of a choice among 4 words for each of the 24 words.
However, security is only as strong as its weakest point.
One scam involves reselling of a Nano S with a recovery sheet that has been pre-configured by the seller. Ledger never provides a 24-word recovery phrase so you should only accept a recovery phrase obtained from the screen of the Ledger device. A buyer bought this device from eBay and it came with a scratch card for the recovery phrase. Unbeknownst to the buyer, the seller had already taken down the secret recovery phrase and created the official looking scratch card. Once the buyer loaded the Ledger with funds, the seller was able to use the recovery phrase to steal the funds. So always buy directly from Ledger or through the authorized distributor / reseller network.
The Ledger Nano S comes nicely packaged. The box ships with tamper-proof tape around the packaging and includes the following items inside:
- Ledger Nano S
- Micro-USB cable
- Strap for wearing device around neck
- Recovery sheet for writing down seed
Setting up your Nano S using Ledger Live
Ledger live is the new app for your ledger device that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s designed to replace the Ledger Chrome Apps. In general, it’s a very nice UI and easy to navigate. We did have a couple minor glitches, but this was probably because the device firmware had not been updated since 2017. See the steps below:
Pros and Cons
Trezor, Keepkey and BitBox are popular alternatives to the Ledger Nano S.
Ledger Nano S is one of the best hardware wallets on the market and is a must if the security of your crypto is important to you ( note: It should be!). If you want to know where you can buy Bitcoin online to store in your Nano wallet, click here.