If you’re going to get serious about cryptocurrency, you need a hardware wallet. When you’re new to the game and your portfolio is small, you may be comfortable with software wallets or even keeping your keys on the crypto exchange. But as your assets grow, it’s just too risky: you need to put a barrier between your keys and the internet by storing them on an offline device.
Perhaps you’ve been thinking of transitioning to a hardware wallet for a while, or maybe you’re totally new to crypto and want to dive straight in with a high-security wallet. Either way, now is a great time to get a Ledger hardware wallet, because four snazzy colour options have just been unveiled for the Ledger Nano X and Ledger Nano S Plus: Ruby Red, Pastel Green, Retro Gaming and Amethyst Purple.
Why do I need a hardware wallet?
When you buy cryptocurrency, you get a 256-digit number called a private key. You need to keep this safe, because anyone who has it can access your crypto assets. There are a few ways of looking after your keys. Some people entrust their private keys to their crypto exchange, keeping them in an online wallet accessible via their user account. This is quick and convenient, but it means that you don’t actually hold the keys to your valuable assets - a third party does, and the control is in their hands.
Another option is a software or hot wallet. The hot wallet holds your keys within an application on your phone or computer. With this kind of wallet, the keys are within your possession. But it has the disadvantage of residing on a hackable device that’s always connected to the internet, so your keys are always vulnerable to attack.
The only way to keep them really safe is to use something that keeps them in your possession and away from the internet. That’s a hardware wallet: a physical device that’s used only for holding crypto keys.
Ledger hardware wallets
Over 20 percent of the world’s crypto assets are secured through Ledger hardware wallets, so it’s one of the most trusted names in the industry. Users can manage their digital assets through the Ledger Live app, which is installed on your smartphone or desktop computer. The app makes it easy to buy and trade crypto assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and NFTs - all in one place. It’s simple to use and gives you complete control of your whole crypto portfolio, while your private keys remain stored offline. So if your phone or computer are hacked, the attacker won't get them.
You may be wondering how the keys are kept fully separated from the internet - after all, there has to be some communication between the physical device and the Ledger Live app. To maintain the separation, transactions are broken down into two parts. The app sends the details to the physical device, and they appear on its screen. You can then use the wallet to cryptographically sign the transaction without the keys being transmitted. Learn more about the process here.
Should you lose your Ledger wallet, your keys are protected in two ways. Firstly, the microchip itself is very secure. Ledger wallets use a Secure Element Chip - the same kind you get on bank cards and passports. This high-security chip has been tested by an independent third party and certified to be invulnerable to physical attacks, so your keys are still safe even if your device falls into the wrong hands.
Secondly, you can get your keys back even if you don’t have the wallet. When you set up your account for the first time you get a secret 24-word recovery phrase, and you can use this to restore access to your assets through a new Ledger.
Ledger Nano S Plus and Ledger Nano X
The Ledger Nano S Plus is the entry-level option for keeping your crypto assets secure. The Ledger Live app lets you manage your portfolio, while the physical wallet protects your keys. For those who want to carry out transactions using their smartphone, the Ledger Nano X has all the features of the Nano S Plus, as well as an end-to-end encrypted Bluetooth connection to your phone.
Both models are now available in the original black, and four new colours.