No matter if you’re a complete newbie in the world of crypto, or an already-experienced trader and hodler, you likely know that security is always a sore issue that many crypto enthusiasts deal with. Keeping your crypto assets secure can be a difficult task! However, in this YubiKey review, I’ll tell you about a device that will likely help you with that, big time.
If you’ve never heard of YubiKey, chances are that this product will be a literal revelation for you! It is considered by many to be the single most important piece of technology when it comes to protecting your digital accounts and assets from potential hackers and online thieves.
With all of the praise that the device receives, though, it makes sense to think that there’s a catch - worry not, however, since we’ll analyze every single important aspect of the product in this YubiKey review, and check to see whether YubiKey crypto is actually useful, or if it’s all blown out of proportion.
- Advanced 2FA security
- Multiple models to pick from
- Durable, well-made
- Protects your crypto assets on an exchange level
- Does not eliminate a need for a separate cryptocurrency wallet
- A bit expensive
Table of Contents
- 1. YubiKey Review: PROS
- 1.1. The Ultimate Replacement for Google Authenticator
- 1.2. Exchange-Level Security
- 1.3. Supported on Most Devices
- 1.4. A Sturdy, Well-Made Product
- 2. YubiKey Review: CONS
- 2.1. Some Compatibility Issues with iOS Devices
- 2.2. May Provide Users with a False Notion about Cryptocurrency Wallets
- 3. Price
- 4. How to Use YubiKey?
- 5. Conclusions
YubiKey Review: PROS
Now, then - we’ll start off our YubiKey review by taking a look at the main benefits that this particular device can yield to the user, and we’ll also discuss the pros and general advantages of using YubiKey, in general.
For the sake of clarity, however, I should stress that we’ll be talking about the YubiKey 5C NFC - the “latest and greatest” from Yubico.
Admittedly, visiting the company’s official website, you’ll see that there’s a pretty decent variety of products to pick from - all that come with their own, specific use cases and individual qualities. That being said, though, the aforementioned model is the best product from Yubico yet - it combines all of the best features of its predecessors, while still bringing something new to the table.
With all of that said, though, before we jump into the actual YubiKey review and talk about its benefits… What is YubiKey, in the first place?
To put it in a very short and simple manner, YubiKey is a small device manufactured and sold by the company Yubico. The purpose of this device is to help protect your information on the internet. This is done by providing an improved version of 2FA - two-factor authentication - to all of your applicable online accounts.
Now that you have the very basic idea down, let’s move on to the specifics, and check out some of the more-positive user YubiKey reviews.
The Ultimate Replacement for Google Authenticator
Well, we’re starting out with a big one right off the bat, I guess…
One of the most common debates that you’ll encounter online and that are related to Yubico will be people comparing YubiKey VS Google Authenticator. This comparison makes perfect sense, granted that both of these products provide you with the same type of service.
If you’re active in the world of cryptocurrency trading, chances are that you’re very aware of Google Authenticator. It’s the prime tool that you’d use to secure your crypto exchange account with two-factor authentication - well, GA, or Authy.
These days, 2FA support isn’t something that exchanges can be proud of - instead, it’s actually seen as an almost-mandatory security feature to have! While two-factor authentication isn’t a foolproof method of protecting your account (and, thus - your crypto assets), it’s certainly still very effective.
However, user YubiKey reviews argue that, as far as the YubiKey VS Google Authenticator debate goes, GA is only effective while you have your device with you. No app - no protection.
Say, if someone was to steal your phone (or you simply lost it yourself, or it broke - the possibilities are endless), you would also lose access to your Google Authenticator, and would have to set everything up from zero again. In case of theft, however, this might prove to be an issue - the thief could then potentially access your crypto exchange account, and steal your assets.
The YubiKey 5C NFC prevents such a situation from happening. This is because, due to the built-in NFC (Near-Field Communications) technology, in order to verify your login to an exchange, you would have to possess both the YubiKey, and your phone (or computer) at the same time.
It’s actually one of the main points of user YubiKey reviews that talk about this device’s superiority when compared to Google Authenticator.
To put it short, YubiKey adds an extra layer of hardware security to your accounts. This brings us to our next point - using the YubiKey 5C NFC, you could eliminate the need for another type of crypto wallet.
Visiting the company’s official website, you might notice that they talk about “security on an exchange level”. This is one of the sales points for Yubico - they claim that, with their devices, you will be able to store your wallets on an exchange without having to worry about getting yourself a hardware wallet.
Now, this is something that I simply disagree with. However, I’m still mentioning it as a benefit of the YubiKey, simply because things are a little bit more complicated than just that.
Yubico states that, by using YubiKey, you’ll be able to avoid the difficult processes of setting up and then using your hardware wallet. The implication here is that, since YubiKey provides you with improved 2FA security, you don’t need to worry about someone getting access to your Google Authenticator, and thus compromising your account on a crypto exchange, too.
For starters, I agree with the general sentiment expressed by the company - YubiKey does, for a fact, eliminate the need for a separate hardware wallet, for many people out there. However, this group of people is mostly made up of beginner crypto hodlers who’ve just started out, aren’t familiar with crypto storage, in general, and want to have a simpler approach to things.
You see, an experienced cryptocurrency trader will diversify their asset storage - in other words, they might keep a smaller amount of crypto on their exchange account, while also utilizing one or even two hardware wallets for higher levels of security.
Now, for my counterargument - while YubiKey crypto might surely be a great alternative for a separate wallet from the user side of things, that is unfortunately not the case when it comes to the exchange itself.
Exchanges tend to get hacked - even today, when security is at the forefront of each and every single trading platform, there are still hack-ins happening every single year.
Although user YubiKey reviews are very optimistic when it comes to the device in question, unfortunately, YubiKey can’t protect your cryptocurrency assets from a break-in from the exchange’s side of things. Sure, most high-end crypto exchanges insure their user funds nowadays, but still - you can never be sure!
Long story short, the YubiKey 5C NFC can surely act as a great alternative to most cryptocurrency wallets out there, but if you want to be completely sure and calm regarding the safety of your crypto coins, you should still consider purchasing a high-end hardware crypto wallet, nonetheless.
Supported on Most Devices
If you were to look at some user YubiKey reviews that talk about the earlier versions of the device, you might notice a pattern - claims of lack of compatibility with certain devices.
At the same exact time, the YubiKey 5C NFC receives a wide range of praise regarding the same exact point. Let’s take a closer look at why that’s the case.
The YubiKey 5C NFC utilizes a USB-C connector, and has built-in NFC. That, by default, makes it one of the most universal pieces of data protection technology on the market.
Prior versions of the device (and some current alternatives) either lack NFC, or have a different connector stick. Both of these factors limit the number of devices that they can be used on quite significantly.
Thanks to most modern devices turning towards the USB-C type of connector, however, the YubiKey 5C NFC exceeds drastically over its peers. Combine that with the built-in NFC functionality, and you have yourself a very reliable, security-oriented device that should be compatible with most modern mobile devices and computers / laptops.
A Sturdy, Well-Made Product
As far as this YubiKey review is concerned, I’d say we’ve covered the security aspect of the device rather extensively. However, digital security is just one part of the equation - there’s also physical sturdiness, too.
In that regard, the YubiKey 5C NFC does stand tall over its peers, once again.
Looking at the product page of Yubico, you’ll be able to see all of the different devices that the company deals in. It’s rather obvious that the before-mentioned model stands out of the crowd, even from a visual standpoint - it’s much bigger than the rest, which, judging by multiple user YubiKey reviews, is a huge benefit.
Size is just one part of the equation, however. It’s important to also consider the fact that the device does, reportedly, feel very sturdy. The chip, modules, and connector are all encased in a solid plastic cover - the YubiKey feels light, but very durable.
Yet again, this isn’t just for show, either! Sure, you’ll want to always make sure that your device is safe from the prying eyes of thieves and hackers, but at the same time, you’d probably want it to hold up to the tests of time and wear, too. And, in the case of YubiKey 5C NFC, that should be covered!
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YubiKey Review: CONS
So, now that we’ve covered all of the main benefits of the YubiKey 5C NFC, it’s time to look at some less-positive user YubiKey reviews, and check to see if the device in question has some glaring issues that need to be addressed before you decide to make a purchase.
Some Compatibility Issues with iOS Devices
As ironic as it may sound, while the latest version of the YubiKey is compatible with most devices on the market, users still report some compatibility issues with a select few of those devices.
Namely, these would be iOS machines.
Even on the company’s official website, if you were to take the quiz to find out which YubiKey is going to be best for you, and choose USB-C as your preferred connector, you’d be immediately warned about its lack of support for iPad Pro devices.
Now, admittedly, this is a pretty niche use for YubiKey - it does work well with most of the devices that are iOS-based. However, as niche as it may be, it still affects a portion of the company’s potential customers, nonetheless.
May Provide Users with a False Notion about Cryptocurrency Wallets
This specific aspect is, admittedly, very unique to YubiKey crypto, but it’s also probably the most important issue to address, nonetheless.
While it is true that I’ve mentioned this a bit earlier in the YubiKey review, I feel that a point of such importance should be emphasized in a separate section of the article, altogether.
Yubico seems to be adamant that, with their products, you will be able to avoid the hassle of setting up a separate cryptocurrency wallet, be it a hot one, or even a hardware one. The company also pushes the “exchange-level security” narrative quite adamantly, too.
On one hand, I don’t blame ‘em. To this day, I remember the first time I heard about cryptocurrencies - it got really confusing, real fast! Back then, if I was offered an opportunity to store my cryptocurrencies in an alternative way - one that would save me the hassle of figuring out how wallets worked, in general -, I might have taken it!
However, as time would show, that’s not the right way of going about it.
While there’s no disputing the fact that YubiKey is an amazing device, and that it surely does have capabilities to ensure the safety of your cryptos, I cannot stress this enough - IT DOES NOT REPLACE AN ACTUAL CRYPTOCURRENCY WALLET. Exchange-level security is great, but exchanges get hacked all the time - it’s not a foolproof method of security.
Instead, if you want to be completely sure about the safety of your assets, you should always consider getting yourself the best crypto wallet on the market. Hardware wallets are where it’s at, and in this industry, the Ledger Nano X is a leader.
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So - we’ve mentioned the main pros and cons of the YubiKey 5C NFC, and thus, you should already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the product in question.
However, there’s still one more less-than-ideal aspect that we need to look into - the pricing of the product in question. As you’ll see in a bit, multiple user YubiKey reviews don’t place pricing in the con section for nothing.
The pricing options for the YubiKey 5C NFC are:
As you can see, the device is, admittedly, rather expensive.
Now, the initial thought that many people have is simple - why should I purchase such an expensive item, if I also need to buy a separate wallet that will cost me a similar amount of money?
I have to say - a few good reasons!
First of all, while YubiKey crypto is the main point of our YubiKey review, this device will aid you in many more situations, apart from keeping your cryptos secure! It’s a universal security key that can be used on your social media accounts, your Google account, and many more additional places.
On top of that, it all falls back to that one, single term - security. If you combine the safety that YubiKey 5C NFC provides you with the virtually-impenetrable security of a hardware crypto wallet, you’ll be able to rest easy at night, knowing that all of your cryptos are as safe as they can be!
On top of that, you will also receive free shipping in the US if you purchase 2 or more products. Your YubiKey will also come with a 1-year warranty period, too. Good stuff!
How to Use YubiKey?
Finally, let’s discuss the question of how to use YubiKey for your crypto asset security purposes. Admittedly, this process is super-simple, but if you’ve never used this type of a device before, it might seem a tad bit confusing at first.
Step 1: Once you’ve received your device, take it out of the box, but don’t plug it into your computer (or phone) just yet. There’s no “initial setup process” that you’d need to pass in order to start using your YubiKey - just place it aside, and go to your preferred cryptocurrency exchange.
Step 2: Now, if you’re not yet registered on an exchange, do so. With most exchanges, upon registration, you’ll want to navigate to the Settings tab. Once you’re there, locate the 2FA - two-factor authentication - feature.
Step 3: Once you’ve selected 2FA, you’ll want to plug in your YubiKey 5C NFC into your computer, or touch it to the backside of your phone (if it supports NFC). If you do use a computer, though, make sure to touch the device (YubiKey) - this way, it’ll register that a human being is touching it, and that no remote hackers are trying to compromise your account.
Once you do that, you’re done! After your device reads the YubiKey, you should be set, and your 2FA settings should now be configured with the YubiKey. Naturally, not all exchanges are going to have the same type of setting process - however, following this short guide, you should face no issues setting the device up.
And indeed - as far as crypto security goes, setting up and learning how to use YubiKey is a pretty simple and straightforward process. Much more straightforward (not to mention - faster) than, say, setting up a separate wallet (although, granted, that’s still necessary!).
As mentioned a bit earlier in the YubiKey review, do also keep in mind the fact that you can use your YubiKey for many other purposes, too - not only for keeping your cryptos safe on an exchange! The setup process should, admittedly, be very similar, no matter where you decide to set it up.
Now that we’ve reached the very end of our YubiKey review, but a single question remains - is YubiKey a worthwhile investment, and would I myself recommend it?
Without a single doubt, the answer to both questions is a strong YES!
YubiKey is a very unique piece of technology, with the YubiKey 5C NFC model leading the way in the current market. Quite frankly, it’s a great tool to help ensure that all of your accounts - whether it be crypto exchange-based, or else - will remain secure and isolated from hackers and potential thieves.
When it comes to the YubiKey VS Google Authenticator discussion, the former is a clear winner. While GA is surely a reliable option, if you want advanced security and even stronger 2FA, you should always choose YubiKey over Google Authenticator, or even other alternatives, such as Authy.
Now, sure - the YubiKey 5C NFC is a costly investment. On top of that, as much as the company would like to prove otherwise, the device isn’t a replacement for your cryptocurrency wallet - you’ll need both in order to ensure the best possible safety of your crypto assets.
Frankly, it all depends on your own, personal situation, wants, and needs - a reliable and high-end cryptocurrency wallet (such as the Ledger Nano X, or the Trezor Model T) should always be a priority, over anything else. Once you have that, though, you can choose to further the security of your account on a crypto exchange with the YubiKey.
The argument for the worth of such an additional purchase can be seen in the fact that YubiKey will be able to help you protect some additional accounts on other platforms, too - it’s definitely not crypto-exclusive.
All of that being said, I hope that this YubiKey review was useful to you, and that you were able to figure out not only what is YubiKey, but also how you can benefit from this device, too. Thanks for reading, and good luck!
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