If you would like to purchase bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies you’ve come to the right place! Contrary to storing money in a bank, when you store your cryptocurrencies you are completely in control. This is the beauty of cryptocurrencies: you decide what happens to your coins.
But how do you store your cryptocurrencies safely? A hardware wallet is the best option. On this page we will explain everything about hardware wallets and you’ll find out why a hardware wallet is a safer storage method than an online wallet.
Everything you need to know about hardware wallets:
- What is a hardware wallet?
- How do I obtain a hardware wallet?
- An overview of the most popular hardware wallets
- How do I secure my coins using a hardware wallet?
Ledger Nano X
What is a hardware wallet?
A wallet is similar to a digital bank account. Here you can send, receive, and manage your cryptocurrencies. A hardware wallet is a physical wallet. They come in all different shapes and sizes; the Ledger Nano S for example looks a lot like a USB stick.
A hardware wallet is one of the safest methods to store your cryptocurrencies. When using a hardware wallet, the access to your coins is encrypted by the device. This makes it safer than an online wallet for example.
When using an online wallet, the access to your wallet is stored online. If a website like btc.com gets hacked, there is a risk you will lose your coins. That risk isn’t there when you use a hardware wallet, since it uses offline storage.
In addition, hardware wallets are protected against unauthorized use with an extra PIN. If your hardware wallet gets stolen or lost, no one is able to access your coins without the PIN. With your backup seed you will regain access to your cryptocurrencies yourself. We’ll explain how to use the backup seed later.
How do I obtain a hardware wallet?
You can purchase a hardware wallet on the website of the manufacturers or from official retailers. A trustworthy official retailer is Cryptomaan. The company is based in the Netherlands but they ship all throughout Europe.
Sometimes, when the demand for cryptocurrencies is high, hardware wallets can’t be delivered directly from stock. This was the case late 2017, when loads of people bought cryptocurrencies and wanted to store them safely. The demand for hardware wallets increased and they were sold out pretty much everywhere.
An overview of the most popular hardware wallets
The Trezor is a user-friendly hardware wallet which you can use to store bitcoin and other altcoins. Just like the Ledger Nano S, Trezor supports the most commonly used cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ether and litecoin. In addition, the wallet enables you to store all ERC-20 tokens.
- Chrome extension
- Android application
- Log in on MyEtherWallet
Storing your bitcoin, ether, and altcoins is now easier than ever. The Trezor T introduces a new, easy to use touchscreen, and it is ready for the future with its new USB-C connection and microSD card compatibility.
Ledger Nano X
The newest Ledger hardware wallet has just been released!
You’re able to connect your Ledger Nano X to your phone with Bluetooth. Download the free app and you can manage your crypto anytime, anywhere with the Ledger Nano X. This combines the safety of a hardware wallet with the ease of use of your phone.
With the new Ledger Nano X you can store up to 100 different coins simultaneously. Its predecessor, the Ledger Nano S, could only store 18 coins at once.
- Via your computer or laptop (cable)
- Via your phone (Bluetooth)
Ledger Nano S
One of the most frequently used hardware wallet is the Ledger Nano S. This hardware wallet supports over 1100 different cryptocurrencies and all ERC-20 tokens. ERC-20 is the standard for cryptocurrencies that are run on the Ethereum network.
The Ledger Nano S is protected by a PIN, this is an additional safety measure if you want to access your coins.
- Chrome extension
- Integration with Copay, Electrum, Mycelium, MyEtherWallet, GreenBits en Bitgo
KeepKey is another hardware wallet you could use to store your bitcoin and altcoins on. Using KeepKey you are able to generate and manage your private keys offline in cold storage, guarded from computer vulnerabilities and viruses, while utilizing wallet software for safe transactions.
- Chrome extension
- Integration with Electrum en Mycelium
The BitBox02 is a minimalistic hardware wallet and two-factor authenticator that focuses on safety and privacy. This hardware wallet combines the highest level of security, ‘cold storage’, with the ease of use of a software wallet. It supports multiple cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ether or litecoin, and all ERC-20 tokens.
- With the BitBox02 native software client, security risks of browser-based clients are avoided
- Has a ‘hidden wallet’ function
How do I secure my coins using a hardware wallet?
You’ve already chosen to store your coins in the safest way possible. A reason for choosing a hardware wallet could be that you don’t want to spend your coins in the upcoming years.
In a hardware wallet you don’t actually store your coins, you store your private keys. With your private keys you’re able to prove to the blockchain that you are the owner of a certain address.
In case you lose your hardware wallet or if it gets stolen you are still able to access your coins by creating a backup.
This backup usually consists of a series of 12 or 24 random words, that are generated by your hardware wallet. These words are referred to as the seed phrase, or the recovery seed. The blockchain uses the first four letters of those words as backup identification. If you enter the words in a wallet (doesn’t matter which wallet), you will regain access to your coins.
We always advise our users to write down the seed phrase and store it in a safe place. The hardware wallet generates these words offline which means hackers can’t access it. Make sure to store your seed phrase offline as well, and do not keep it near your hardware wallet.
The safest method of storing your backup seed: CRYTPOTAG
Most people write down their recovery seed on a piece of paper, however this method isn’t 100 percent bulletproof. In case of a fire or a flood, the piece of paper that has your recovery seed written on it will be useless. That is why CRYPTOTAG was invented!
The CRYPTOTAG is made out of titanium plates. In the plates you can engrave the first four letters of every word of your recovery seed. The CRYPTOTAG is corrosion and erosion resistant, and is able to withstand temperatures up to 1655 degrees celsius. In just a few hammer strokes your backup will be safely stored forever, in style!
If you've got any questions on how store your coins safely, please feel free to contact our support team.