Bitcoin is an abstract concept. It is unlike a cold hard currency in many ways. One can’t touch bitcoin like cash but it still carries value. We need a physical wallet to store our dollars or euros. We don’t need a physical wallet to store our bitcoin. In fact, many people might opt for a simple and easy route.
These individuals might go with a software wallet brand like MetaMask for Ethereum or Electrum / Jaxx for Bitcoin. Then there are those who might elect to store their Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies at places like Coinbase, Celsius, and other brands that might even pay you to keep your value with them. Of course, this is convenient but does it help you out over the long term? Sadly, the answer is that it doesn’t.
We find that those who place their hard-earned value in exchanges might be at risk of losing their assets. Did you know that an early entity by the name of Bitcoin7 was hacked in 2011? Guess how much bitcoin it lost. More than ten thousand precious bitcoins that someone took the time to acquire and place on the exchange only to lose it to some nefarious individual. That same year we noticed that Mt. Gox saw a seizure of more than 2,000 bitcoin.
But that’s not all. Ever since that fateful year thieves have been stealing bitcoin on exchanges each year to this very day. Believe me when I tell you that storing bitcoin on a hub like OKEX is not smart in the least bit.
What are you to do as a more cautious investor who is interested in holding bitcoin and other similar crypto assets for the long-term? You have already ruled out that you can not store it on these hubs of activity, and that software wallets have their flaws. Where do you go?
Well, the answer is that you would gravitate to cryptocurrency hardware wallets. Hardware wallets? You inquire while scratching your head. Yes, it may seem like we are bridging the future to the past by going back to physical wallets. But the fact is that they make significant sense for a broad range of reasons.
Let’s find out more about why physical crypto storages make sense and how they can add value to the life of a serious and prudent bitcoin investor. In this article, you can also find reviews of the top 12 best bitcoin and crypto hardware wallets.
The answer to this is simple, you want one of these items because it will store your precious assets in the digital realm. Further, these storages can preserve your value and substantially minimize the chances of loss.
Do you think that your hard-earned crypto coins and assets will be worth more now or in the future? Many hope and pray that it will increase in value over ten times or more as the years pass by.
If that is the case, then it only makes sense for many to treat these stores of value with great caution and act like the Winklevoss twins in keeping the whereabouts of their bitcoin assets to themselves. They act with utmost secrecy when it comes to where they placed it. The reason why they take such precautions is that they don’t want to compromise their hard-earned assets. Remember that these are some of the people that heard about it early on and invested in it early on.
The twins have a vested interest in preserving it as safely as possible. Those who seek to be like the Winklevii might not have all the resources they have to be as paranoid and super secure. But you can get really close. It will not have as much fanfare as the rich who have bunkers but it will do the job.
A hardware wallet for Bitcoin and altcoins will do the trick for you and help keep your value safe. A physical wallet or HD wallet can add immense value from a safety and security standpoint. This category of wallets is for those who don’t like to gamble with their value and believe in the long-term potential of bitcoin and the entire ecosystem as a whole.
They are not interested in the moves that happen on a day to day basis. No, far from it. These investors think in decades and even centuries. They want to glance into the future and have a vested interest in a certain type of world where sound money genuinely preserves value while fiat currency erodes into nothingness.
Quite frankly, you will want a hardware wallet to greatly reduce the chance of crypto loss and preserve your digital benefit.
To find out what differs between these two wallets we need to understand what each of these concepts is. Let’s start with a physical digital wallet and understand what it is before we differentiate between a regular one.
Don’t be concerned, the definition of hardware wallet (HDW) is very simple. It is merely a physical device typically resembling a USB drive where one will hold private keys. If you don’t know what private keys are, well they are like passwords that help you to unlock your accounts. Further, remember that you will utilize these secret strings to sign your different actions and even recapture your public account.
Private keys are important because only you should know them and no one else.
The critical points to remember when discussing these items is that they are gadgets that are made with security in mind. The idea is to abstract away private keys and create opacity in this regard. These keys or access codes are never in harm's way.
HDW’s give your unique and precious digital values a home to rest from a volatile and violent world. These wallets provide a different level of security that is not found elsewhere. At the present moment, we can consider them as one of the best ways to hold cryptocurrency value.
Let’s learn a little bit more about regular wallets now.
A regular wallet is one that is popular like an account on a place like Hotbit. These places provide a place for you to send and receive funds pertaining to different options like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other altcoins and tokens.
Regular wallets can also include software, mobile, and online ones where users can quickly access their tokens with a click of a few buttons a device connected to the scary internet.
These virtual pouches are present after install on a general computing device like a home-based Mac or laptop. If you were to dig further, you would find such an application on your hard drive. One critical point is that they connect to the world wide web and have exposure.
These containers are found on mobile devices and offer simplicity from your device. One can view information, conduct asset movement, and even pay with tokens in some situations with these applications. But there is a problem with these, they optimize for convenience over maximum security. Someone with malware can seize your private keys and you know that those are the most important part of the entire process.
These storage applications are found on the world wide web. They are domiciled there and you can imagine what that means to you and anyone who chooses this option. Most of these providers will have some level of access to private keys in some form or fashion. Again, this is another one that offers the devilish bargain of convenience over a bit of friction and more security.
As you may have noticed by now, hardware options offer one unique component of different barriers to ward off potential maleficent individuals who thirst after your precious digital money.
We can quickly conclude the main advantage of an HD value container is that they help to minimize a great many bouts of risk that are present in the market today. Let’s break these down a little more.
In an HD, your private keys will nest inside of a location known as a microcontroller. This is not always the case but it is true in most scenarios when dealing with these kinds of wallets. Further, we should know that it is not as simple to move the private keys in a quick way. That is the core value of these items.
They make it harder for people to come by and extract your private keys.
Another critical value with these units is that they do not have a similar breadth of exposure to viruses and malware. That is because they are not online or they do not have access to a variety of programs and applications on a regular basis.
It is not digitally native, it is separate from the start. That is important in an era where cybersecurity attacks are on the rise. Therefore, we can state that it is vaccinated and has antibodies against threats that affect other wallets.
The next component is that there can be a layer of abstraction between your private keys and software you need to get in touch with for this reason or that reason. That means you get that layer of security from the start.
The validity of the device and how it processes transactions is possible due to a FOSS type framework.
Remember that the primary point here is that you are able to reduce your exposure to risk and help you preserve value in the long run. Here you can recall that private keys stay secure and snuggled in a safe space. Next, these devices will ask you to confirm transactions on the device away from computers or other devices that can compromise your safety. Some of these even come with pin codes that help to provide even more layers of security.
It is prudent to realize that hardware wallets differ in security. Some have really secure chips known as secure elements while others still offer a standard of safety but maybe not to the strongest extent. These are of the same nature as those used in transaction cards, SIM, and even travel signals like passports.
The point is to heavily guard physical devices to minimize compromise potential.
Some even have a BOLOS, a way to methodically access value in a simple but secure manner.
Lastly, don’t worry, your device can hold a wide variety of tokens if you wish with most of these HD wallets.
The primary disadvantage of the cryptocurrency hardware wallet is that it is not as accessible. For instance, you are likely not going to carry it around when you walk around and go places. If you want to complete a transaction, you will do so with a more convenient one on your desktop, mobile, or from a web-based standpoint.
The other disadvantage is that you will have to pay money to acquire such a device. That is a primary problem for those who are gambling with money they don’t have but won’t pose an issue to others.
But if you are heavily investing in bitcoin and plan on holding it for longer than the average joe, why would you want to be cheap with storage? It makes no sense. People who focus on the future buy one of these appliances because they want protection for their wealth.
They don’t want to risk their sound money and hard wealth to something as simple as malware and the creativity of evil people who seek to steal and hold crypto that isn’t theirs.
The designers of these contraptions make it to where it will have a secluded component where your secret keys will rest, that too, on a chip that is known to be secure. Now, say you want to send the leading digital asset for a transaction, place your appliance into your personal computing machine.
Open up an application that is respective to your appliance. You will proceed through the transaction, receive a notification on your external appliance, then only after you confirm it will it finalize.
Sure, there are security risks.
These risks include items that may take place in transfers, those that pertain to lack of secure device formation, and potential leaks in the device itself.
One issue is where a third party will use malware like Masad Stealer to switch out your intended recipient with the one they want. They can do this ever so subtly by replacing the address as you enter it into the specific sector. In some cases, the code is present on your web portal.
Some malware can be even more sophisticated where it can vacuum saved passwords on your portal, files on your computer, images of your desktop, cookies present on your browser, and credit card information present within your browser.
Malware programs are an ongoing threat and one should practice great caution when one is inserting the gizmo into the computer and letting the internet touch the equipment.
How do you defend against such a threat? Keep your computing instrument clean. Further, make sure to run antivirus material and other programs that help to clean, defend against, and destroy outside threats.
You can not do too much if the device was improperly made or if there is something inherently wrong with it, except getting another one.
Remember to keep your transactions low and this can help you to minimize potential issues from a web-based or software standpoint.
Practice precaution and stay vigilant throughout the entire process to preserve your life savings.
The firm has been around as early as 2014 and has gone on to raise quite a bit of investment money since its founding. The reason is that investors believe that the company will last for a while and sell resilient and reputable products over the long term. The brand serves people across the globe with durable hardware devices.
Customers know that Ledger has sold more than 800,000 units to date.
People appreciate Ledger because it is the other innovative brand on the market. They love it because it has an affordable option but they dislike the fact that it doesn’t have passphrase integration.
You opt for this device if you want to quickly secure your various cryptocurrencies in a cost-effective manner. It touts support for more than 500 coins.
The brand is competing on price as well as overall value.
It has two products:
The Nano S goes for $60, and the Nano X goes for $119.
The Ledger brand battles it out with the Trezor brand to provide the most cold vaults to customers. Both of these brands offer simple solutions that help people protect their precious assets.
The brand came about in late 2014 with a well-received bitcoin hardware wallet. It pioneered the concept and was the first to introduce such a gizmo to the world. Users were excited by the fact that the solution would bring them cold storage solutions while having the flexibility to move funds as they would with a regular online storage facility.
The Trezor brand has several HD products.:
The Trezor One came out early and is now going for around $80. It does have a screen. The Trezor T goes for $160.
Why do people prefer Trezor?
The answer is simple, the brand pioneered the concept and has arguably spent more time with the product, research, and development side of things. Further, it has a sparkling reputation and is known to provide a compelling security design for the leading digital asset. Those who purchase this product will not have to worry about potential harm resulting from online and in real-life threats.
Remember that you have full control and that it is set up in a decentralized manner, you will have a seed phrase that will continue to stay in an isolated fashion. The seed remains in arctic conditions because by design it should never be near the internet.
Finally, you will have a PIN with this brand as well, giving you additional security to ward off threats. If you forget your PIN, you must wait to re-enter. If you want to make 15 guesses it will take quite a bit of time.
If you lose your Trezor, buy another one and you can find that your wealth should be intact.
Only buy the gizmo from the brand directly or from authorized resellers.
This is another top-notch brand in the hardware storage world.
Here’s what you need to know about the brand.
The product currently hosts more than 35 different digital assets. It looks great and simple to operate. People like the fact that it comes at a low price point.
Keepkey is great but it might not compare to the other two brands mentioned above as they have been around for longer.
Open Dime is another brand that some blockchain people know about today.
There’s not much to say about this except for the fact that it does offer a compelling level of security and is thought of as a way to give bitcoin like you would a regular euro note. What is cool about this is that it enables you to conduct transactions without having to go directly through the blockchain minimizing fees.
It works with many computing products.
People love the fact that it has a simple setup process.
Consumers know this as a Bitcoin Stick, and you use it by sending a percentage of value to the wallet present within. Then you would release by breaking a portion of the stick to find the private key!
Pretty neat right?
It is perfect for anonymous transactions as it helps to obscure the transaction as you hand over the device to pay for goods and services.
Further, remember that this item is perfect for those who want to hold bitcoin over several years as well.
Find it Open Dime for around $36. This is a bitcoin-only product.
It is prudent to realize that Coldcard wallets will not win any beauty contests but it does a good job when it comes to security. It looks like a calculator as opposed to the regular USB aesthetic present with other devices. This is a product released by Coinkite that is exclusively bitcoin-related and started moving in fall 2018.
This wallet stays true to the open-source ethos like other hardware devices and has similar features. What is great about this one is that you do not need to connect to a computing unit to use it.
What surprised me is that there is a wonderful aspect that makes the device commit seppuku.
What do I mean by that?
Use the BrickMe Pin to destroy the wallet. Put that in and it will K.O. the device.
Someone might find your Coldcard and bully you. They might force you to show them your value, you can trick them with a built-in feature by using the plausible deniability aspect which takes you to a dummy wallet.
It is easy to carry and it will run you around $70.
The people at ColdCard designed it to where it will host two of your coins. For now, it will hold bitcoin and litecoin. But you might not like the fact that it might be a bit more challenging to get used to at first.
This is a product created by CoolBitx, a company that came about in 2014. Did you know that product was funded by people like you and me on Indiegogo?
Cool Wallet is a sleek wallet that seems like it is a debit card. Thankfully, it will fit right inside of your jeans or in your cash carrying compartment. The Cool Wallet is a brand that keeps it simple while also paying close attention to security and transportation.
You can access the sleek storage option through a mobile application but remember that it has a screen on the card.
What is interesting about this one is that it has a digital value platform within it.
Set up and future charging is simple and efficient. You can speculate right through the application in a decentralized manner. You can also utilize wallet connect to work with platforms to execute trades. One of these will run you around $100.
Cool Wallet support doesn’t disappoint and will get back to you as quickly as possible.
You would go with this application because you want to access additional features such as the decentralized speculation component.
The platform is run by a small company that is in the European region. This is a bitcoin-based product that is only interested in providing services to those who want to keep it as simple as possible.
It is another card that will run you around $25 and you can purchase it on their site itself.
So what is it?
People know it as an NFC smart card compatible as a Bitcoin wallet. Those who opt to use this card will only need to memorize or know a PIN and the public address. The private key is within and will never be online.
You don’t need additional software.
The process is simple. Order the card, get the address, send bitcoin to the card, use it to pay. It is a great idea but it is one that will need more time as more merchants must accept BTC for it to be genuinely relevant.
Bitlox is a respected option in the industry as it is capable of containing a wide variety of digi-assets and even storage options that are more discreet. People love it because of the many different features that are present within it.
Some refer to it as a high-end security vault because of how it is designed. It is very compact and is hailed as a shock-resistant and liquid-resistant appliance.
The display looks great, several wallet options are present, and a PIN is also a core component here.
Those who have acquired this piece of equipment have nothing but great opinions on the matter. The only issue they note is that it might be difficult to get acquainted with it at first because it comes with a plethora of features. People also have concerns around the fact that it is not open source and that there is no multi-signature process.
Yes, it is BIP32 and BIP39 oriented.
Oh, it is bitcoin only.
But other brands such as Ledger and Trezor usually come to mind first.
Many have not heard about this brand in the past because most of the market share is captured by others. But this doesn’t mean that Secalot is not a great product, as a matter of fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
You must realize that this is a native open PGP implementation product that creates simplicity in use. It has features that users appreciate like OTP and they realize that they can have more bang for their buck.
People also love the fact that it has an amazing design. It almost looks like a lighter.
Remember to purchase the item at the official page and nowhere else to practice full safety.
This is another brand that raised money in an indiegogo campaign and used the power of its peers to come to life. The company saw more than $50K come into its coffers to breathe life into the Ellipal product.
It is a QR system and is a bit more expensive for some people as it starts at around the $150 price range.
The major aspect going for it is the idea of pure isolation. View the implemented code on its github profile but it is not as transparent as many would like it to be. For instance, it is hard to find information about them and who they are and how they came to create the project.
The Ellipal looks like a phone but it is merely a wallet that is hard in nature.
This is another fairly newcomer to the hardware sector but it is one that has a small and modest following.
Here’s what you need to know about the D’CENT Biometric Wallet. It comes with great features such as biometric check-ins that help you to push security to another level.
You can take the wallet when you are on the go because it has great connectivity. Further, different users appreciate the fact that it will offer to host many different tokens instead of just one or two.
People might like the unique and interesting design pushed by the brand. The product helps you keep it simple so there are no worries here.
This was made by Cobo.com and it is one that comes with some very compelling features. The device seems to resemble a cellular device but it is not connected to the Internet. Further, it does not have features that other products might have like a USB component, or general connectivity in manners ranging from Bluetooth to NFC.
One can find that there are a touch-oriented display and a camera. It thrives on simplicity and helps to minimize potential variations and harm.
The firm decided to touch up the device with a liquid-proof grade material that helps provide even more protection.
Unique material means that it will weigh a bit more but users do not mind. They realize that it will minimize issues that may occur from abuse or accidental drops of the contraption.
It will cost you a pretty penny as it starts at $479.
In summary, it is reliable but you do not need to spend as much to see the value.
There is no real consensus on the best one. But if we look at it from a simple, price point, reputation, and general safety as well as transparency view, one can see that most people prefer the Ledger and the Trezor.
Many people find that these fit the bill when it comes to what they need and is exactly what will help to carry them through their digital asset journey.
Ultimately you decide what you want out of your wallet and what you can spend on it. Remember that you are looking to use it as a long term solution to store your precious digital asset wealth and so you should choose decisively.
This is a great question. The answer is that you can still retrieve the coins as long as you know your private keys and have access to Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 39 and Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 44 applications online.
These software applications include those that are similar to Electrum. Remember that there is a way to recover your possession with your secret phrase. Go to the official bitcoin wallet, that is right, I am talking about bitcoin core, download it, and then go to the console. After you enter the console pane, search for importprivkey privatekeyhere and that is how you can recover your value.
But this can take a lot of space and time.
You can branch out a little bit and opt for a slimmer client such as Breadwallet, Mycelium, or as noted above Electrum. Remember that with a platform such as Mycelium you can form an HD wallet and have a simple seed.
From there you can import the key that you have and recover.
Do not have concerns in this regard as you will have several ways to access your wealth as long as you have the right codes.
That’s a problem that you do not have to fret over.
Remember that you can only see and obtain your value with a PIN, without that, the device does not serve you well. Further, since you have your private key or recovery phrase, you can send the funds to different addresses (make sure to have recovery phrases for these accounts) quickly and simply.
Then proceed to purchase another hardware wallet to send your coins back to safety.
Yes, there are several brands that will host other cryptocurrencies like Ledger.
The reason why you shouldn’t use a USB is that you want to make sure that your private keys are protected. This is not the case with USB’s, they don’t come with specialized parts to prevent exposure to harmful events.
The idea is that you want to minimize private key leakage.
Remember that if you were to hold bitcoin keys on your USB that could easily get swiped with an infected computer.
The point is that you want to assume that there is danger and make sure to minimize the risk of loss here. There is no good reason to put your bitcoin wealth at risk for no point.
These devices mentioned above come with security in mind and are made for a specific purpose to protect and secure with signatures.
No, a hardware wallet is not expensive if you think about it from a long-term standpoint.
We all know one thing, the chance of cryptocurrency loss on regular entities and platforms is high. If you have high conviction that an asset will have more value in the future, why would you risk it and place it out in the open?
Placing it out in the wild is essentially what you do when you hold it on coin hubs of commerce and expect everything to be alright.
Losing your bitcoin is expensive, saving it and seeing it grow in value over time is not.