Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency has come roaring back with a vengeance after laying low for 3 years. Today Bitcoin sits at all-time highs of $47,000 per coin and Bitcoin’s siblings Ethereum, Litecoin and a hundred or so other altcoins (short for alternative coins) sit at their own record highs today. With all of this re-emerging energy and focus due to institutional interest, how does a minnow keep their Cryptocurrency stash safe? I explore options for the best cryptocurrency hardware wallet in 2021. If you’re reading this then you probably know a little bit about cryptocurrency.
Why Should I Use a Hardware Wallet?
The best way to put it is a cash under the mattress analogy. It’s the 2021 version of that. I’ve had my software wallets on my pc hacked. Exodus wallet hacked, Atomic wallet hacked and emptied before. Without explanation. The sub-Reddits for both of these wallets had no idea what happened and could not recover THOUSANDS of dollars in coins and tokens. So I had to rethink my cryptocurrency storage strategy.
There are a number of places where people keep their cryptocurrency.
- Software Wallets (Semi-secure)
- Exchanges (Not secure long term, open to hacks and spoofed phone numbers)
- Paper wallets (Secure as long as the paper doesn’t get ruined)
- Hardware wallets (Most Secure)
If you don’t have your private keys, you don’t have your cryptocurrency in your possession. It’s really that simple. So that eliminates exchanges right off the bat. Gemini, Binance, Coinbase, all of these exchanges have custody of your crypto. While they’ve been reliable, there’s no telling what can happen in the future.
The only way to keep your cryptocurrency almost 100% safe is to use a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S or X.
What is a Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet?
To put it simply, a Crypto Hardware Wallet is a keypad. When you transfer cryptocurrency via web or software, as great as the security measures to send the cryptocurrency are, like 2 Factor Authentication. They can still be spoofed or hacked.
With the physical bitcoin hardware wallet, you’re required to physically put a passcode and then physically press buttons on the Ledger Nanos to make those transfers happen. If you do not have the physical Ledger wallet, then the cryptocurrencies held on there cannot be moved. Which makes their security levels above everything else available.
It’s simple a dongle, small circuit board with memory, that’s activated by buttons.
Now as an emergency precaution, each Nano gets a passphrase in case you accidently lose your Hardware Wallet. This is a special 24-word passphrase that becomes your last resort in the event that you misplace or lose your Ledger Nano S or X. You can write this 24 word phrase down anywhere you wish. But for an added level of security, I purchased this:
This steel wallet allows you to write your passwords down in a virtually indestructible safe so that it can withstand physical damage and you won’t lose your coveted passphrase.
This is a vitally important backup safety measure because I’ve known so many people who have cryptocurrency and have left small fortunes on the table because they don’t remember what they did with the passwords. Sometimes they just never wrote them down at all. This alleviates that problem as long as your steel wallet remains somewhere safe.
Best Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet in 2021? Ledger Nano vs. Trezor.
Obviously I’ve chosen the Ledger Nano and I’ve chosen that over the Trezor. My personal experience with Trezor is not good. From connection issues to vanishing coins, I cannot recommend Trezor with any confidence whatsoever.
Ledger Nano S and X however, I’ve had a great experience overall even if at times they have tried my patience. Buying the best BTC hardware wallet is a critical financial decision if you plan on building a cryptocurrency portfolio. A Ledger hardware wallet is where it’s at.
Ledger Nano S and X Review
Physically both are pretty much the same. The Ledger Nano X is slightly larger (so if you buy a case for Ledger Nano S you will have to cut the space a little larger to accommodate the Nano ). Both have two buttons to toggle direction, numbers, letters on the screen and to make confirmations. The Nano S buttons are located on top while the Nano X buttons are a bit larger and located on the face/screen side. They each come with a lanyard, USB cable, and a metal covering
Ledger live, the software to connect your PC, MAC, or smartphone has improved dramatically since it has first been released. When it was first released in the Summer of 2018 it had many issues. Stability, connectivity were all big problems I had during that time and I grew frustrated enough to delete Live from my computers. However with each release it has improved stability wise as well as the amount of features it has.
Since then :
- Buy and Sell
These features make it safer and less costly to transfer your coins and tokens to an exchange to receive them back after paying outrageous exchange fees. Also not all coins are available in all places.
Ledger Nano S and X Supported Coins
Ledger Nano supports 26 coins and over 1,500 tokens. Ledger Live has full integration with only a fraction of the assets but all of the most popular coins and tokens are fully supported such as ; Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Binance coin, etc.
Ledger Nano S vs X
The Ledger Nano X memory capacity is double that of the Nano S. However you can connect multiple Nano S’s and X’s to one Ledger Live installation, you just have to make sure when you’re sending crypto, the right Nano is in. They come in 5 different colors so my suggestion is to buy different color Nano S’s to prevent confusion.
Ledger Live is simple to use. To Send your crypto, enter the recipient address, the amount, confirm on your device, and it’s gone. It updates with portfolio contents as long as you’re connected to the internet. One of the cool features of the Nano X is you can connect your smartphone to it via bluetooth. Although this function in my personal opinion likely opens you up exploits. I don’t ever need to use my Nano with that kind of urgency. It might be a feature some need in an emergency however, so it is available.
How To Buy A Hardware Wallet Like The Ledger Nano
Just click the button inside the review box and it will take you to the Ledger website. This is an affiliate link.
Best Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet $59-$119
+ Vast array of ERC-20 tokens and coins for storage, staking.
+ Ledger Live software interface is simple to use
+ Nano S is well priced, Nano X more expensive, more space.
– Nano S is limited in space. Some of the more sophisticated blockchains will use up the memory fast. 2-3 coins may use the whole capacity.
– Occasional glitches hinder performance. Make sure to always keep firmware and Ledger Live software up to date.
Turning Your Ledger Nano Into Your Own Bank
With proof of stake coins and lending has come the ability to make money by delegating or loaning your cryptocurrency to those who need capital. Ledger Live allows you to earn interest on stablecoins USDC, USDT, and DAI (3USD attached coins) . Interest payments can be anywhere from 2% as high as 12% APR. This obviously blows anything banks are offering out of the water. Not only that but you’re not restricted to lending terms. You can lend and withdraw the loan the same day. There are no restrictions unlike with a bank. You also keep your tokens on your Ledger the whole time. So you’re never in risk of losing them because they’re being held by someone or something else.
Then come the staking coins, which are coins that pay you (earn rewards) to support the network by holding coins and being a conduit of the network. You help the network run. ATOM, ALGO, ADA, Tezos are coins that I personally stake and delegate using my Ledger. I believe these will be extremely valuable in the future because of their utility. So coins like these, as well as lending can net you some outstanding gains without having to do much. The beat , savings, savings bonds, treasury bonds, CDs, and many other instruments by a mile.
Bitcoin and Gold have an inverse correlation. So when Bitcoin rises, Gold goes down and vice versa. When BTC starts to reverse trend, PAXG which is a crypto gold stablecoin would be good to swap with.
The exchange I always recommend to buy and sell with is Gemini : Get $10 when you sign up for Gemini.
I’ve used them for 4 years and trust them. Have never had a problem. Read more about cryptocurrency below.