So, you’ve heard about all the different wallet types, but you want to find out more about the famous Ledger wallet? Well, you’re in the right place as today I am going to tell you everything you need to know about it!
Unlike most wallets, you will actually need to buy the Ledger wallet. However, after reading this guide, you should be able to decide whether or not you’re prepared to buy one.
First, I am going to give you an overview of what the Ledger wallet is and what it does. Then I will go through its advantages and disadvantages, as well as a full review of its security features. Finally, I will show you how to set it up, receive coins and send coins.
But let’s begin by finding out what the Ledger wallet is!
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Ledger Wallet?
- 2 Ledger Nano S Supported Coins
- 3 Advantages of the Ledger Nano S
- 4 Disadvantages of the Ledger Nano S
- 5 Is The Ledger Wallet Resistant to Hacking?
- 6 What Comes In The Ledger Wallet Package?
- 7 How to Set Up The Ledger Wallet
- 8 Conclusion
What is the Ledger Wallet?
The Ledger Nano S, also referred to as the Ledger wallet, is a hardware cryptocurrency wallet which allows you to safely store your cryptocurrencies. Not only that, but it allows you to send and receive lots of different cryptocurrencies too.
The company behind Ledger are a French start-up who released their first wallet in 2014. Since then, they have become a market leader in the hardware wallet industry. In fact, the Ledger wallet is so successful that it has sold over 1 million devices!
So, What is a Wallet Hardware Wallet?
Before I explain how a hardware wallet works, it’s a good idea to understand how a software wallet works.
The majority of people store there cryptocurrencies in a software wallet, which can be downloaded on to a desktop/laptop or mobile device. These have lots of advantages, such as being really convenient to send coins to another person, as well as being free.
However, they are sometimes vulnerable to being hacked. This is because a hacker is able to install malware on the device and infect a users computer with a key logger, which allows them to steal your wallet’s private keys and the cryptocurrencies stored within them.
This is how hardware wallets like the Nano Ledger S are different. Instead of your private keys and cryptocurrencies being held on a software platform, they are held on a physical hardware device! This also means that your coins are always held offline, making it virtually impossible for anyone to access them remotely.
If a hacker wanted to steal the cryptocurrencies that were held in your Ledger wallet, they would need to not only steal the device, but they would also need your secret pin. The security features are even greater than this, but I’ll talk about that in more detail later on!
So, now that you know what the wallet does, let’s find out what cryptocurrencies the Ledger Nano S supports!
Ledger Nano S Supported Coins
As you probably know, there are now more than 1,500 different cryptocurrencies available to buy and sell, with more and more being added every day. Unfortunately, there is no wallet in the world can that store all of them, and some wallets can only store one specific coin.
Fortunately though, the Ledger wallet is a multi-currency wallet, which means that is able to store lots of different coins.
As of June 2018, the Ledger wallet can support 25 different cryptocurrencies. This includes the obvious coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash, as well as less popular coins such as Ubiq, Hcash and Stratis! You can also link your Ledger Nano S to wallets such as MEW and NEON, so you can store all Ethereum and NEO tokens on your Ledger too.
The team at Ledger Nano S are constantly working on adding to their list of supported cryptocurrencies, and IOTA is one of the next big coins expected to be included!
You can check the official Ledger wallet by clicking this link to see a full list of the coins they support!
So, now that you know what the Ledger Nano S supported coins are, the next part of this guide will cover the advantages of the Ledger wallet.
Advantages of the Ledger Nano S
As you have probably figured out, the main advantage to buying the Ledger wallet is that it is the most secure way to store your coins! In fact, owning a hardware wallet is as close to storing your cryptocurrencies in a real-world safe! But why?
Well, like I mentioned earlier, software wallets can be hacked if a device is infected with malware, virus’s or a key logger. What the hackers attempt to do is steal your private keys, which would then give them full access to your wallet.
With the Ledger Nano S, your private keys are stored within the actual device. Furthermore, as the wallet is always offline (unless when sending funds – more on this later), nobody can attempt to access them through an internet connection.
When you receive your device, you will be required to choose a pin number, which has to be a minimum of 4 digits. Only you should know this PIN number, and you will have to enter it manually on to the device every time you want to use it.
There is an extra layer of security too which protects you if you ever forget it. After confirming your pin number, you will then be given a 24 word recovery phrase. Again, this is shown on the Ledger screen, so nobody other than you will have access to it. In the case that you forget your pin, you can simply enter the recovery phrase on to the device, then create a new pin.
The developers also release regular firmware updates. So, to ensure your hardware device remains secure, you must perform regular updates. For full instructions on how to do this, click this link here.
Another security feature is the Ledger’s protection against physical damage. The Ledger Nano S has been built using highly durable materials, including a cover that is made from stainless steel. This ensures that if you made the mistake of dropping it, it would be very difficult for the device to become damaged.
There is no such thing as a perfect product though, right? So, although the Ledger’s security is one of the best in the industry, there are some disadvantages to consider too, which I will discuss below.
Disadvantages of the Ledger Nano S
Firstly, unlike software wallets, the Nano Ledger S is not free. If you purchase the wallet directly from the Ledger wallet website, it will cost you around 95 EUR. Although you might be able to get it cheaper from another retailers (such as Amazon), I wouldn’t recommend you doing so.
This is because you can’t guarantee that the seller has not installed a virus within the hardware device, which could then give them access to your wallet. Always buy directly from the official manufacturer, which you can do by clicking here!
Another disadvantage is its inconvenience. When it comes to sending coins to somebody else, you will need to plug your Nano Ledger S in to your desktop device. In doing so, you will then need to enter your pin number. This is much less convenient than using a software wallet, as it takes more time and effort to transfer funds.
You also need to consider that the Ledger wallet is less user-friendly than some of the software wallets available. It is really important that you read the instruction manual before you set it up.
So, now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of the Ledger Nano S, I am now going to explore whether it really is impossible to hack!
Is The Ledger Wallet Resistant to Hacking?
Let’s find out what would happen if a hacker managed to physically steal your Ledger wallet.
Firstly, to gain access to your funds, the hacker would need your personal pin, which only you have. They would be given three attempts at entering the correct pin number, and if they enter the pin incorrect three times, the Ledger will go into a time lockout. This is an excellent security feature as it gives you time to regain access to your Ledger wallet by entering your backup pass phrase.
However, there is an interesting story that was released by a journalist at Wired.com in late 2017, who explained how he lost both his pin number, as well as his recovery phrase. The journalist had more than $30,000 worth of cryptocurrencies held within his Nano Ledger S and had no way of accessing the funds.
The journalist managed to find a programing genius who found a vulnerability in the latest version of the Ledger wallet, which allowed him to override a recent security update. After following the instructions provided by the programmer, the Journalist was somehow able to regain access to his wallet.
Although the Ledger Nano S team claim that this security flaw has since been fixed, it does show that nothing is ever 100% secure. Even the most secure vaults in the world have been hacked before, so just remember that although a hardware wallet makes it almost impossible for someone to steal your funds, nothing is ever certain.
In reality, if you were in the same position as the journalist, there is no way that you will ever be able to recover your funds. Ledger Nano S never have any access to your private keys, so it is your responsibility to keep them safe.
What Comes In The Ledger Wallet Package?
Wondering what’s included when you make the Ledger wallet purchase? Well, here’s a list of things you will find in the box:
- Ledger Nano S
- Instruction Card
- Key Chain
- Recovery Card
- USB Cable
Although I mentioned it earlier, I just want to remind you to never buy the Ledger wallet from anywhere other than the official website.
How to Set Up The Ledger Wallet
If you have read this Ledger wallet guide so far, you should now have a good idea of what the wallet does, how it is different from a software wallet, and its advantages and disadvantages. I have also explored the security of the wallet too.
So, if you have decided to buy one (or you already have one), I am now going to show you how to set it up!
- First you will need to insert the Ledger Nano S in to your device’s USB port.
- You should now see “Configure as new device” on the screen of your Ledger wallet. By pressing the button on the right, you are selecting “Yes”.
- This will now install the required drivers on to your device.
- You will now be asked to choose a PIN number. To begin the process, press both the left and right buttons at the same time.
- You can choose any PIN number combination, as long as it is between 4 and 8 digits. However, it can’t be an easy to guess combination like “1,2,3,4” or “9,9,9,9”. Also, you will need to enter this PIN number every time you want to use the Ledger wallet, so don’t forget it!
- Once you have entered the PIN number and are happy with it, you will be asked to enter it again. This is to make sure you haven’t made a mistake.
- As soon as you have confirmed your PIN number, the Ledger wallet will then tell you to write down your backup recovery phrase.
- It is very important that you write down the 24 word recovery phrase and then keep it somewhere safe. This could be the last thing that stands between you losing your funds. Remember, if you forget your PIN number or you have your device stolen, your passphrase will give you access to your coins.
- Each of the 24 words will be shown on the screen individually. Afterwards, the device will then test you by asking you to re-enter some of the words.
- Once you have completed the password recovery set up, your Ledger wallet will now be ready to use!
So, now that you have set up your Ledger Nano S, let’s find out how you can send coins to it!
How to Receive Funds
- Before you get started, you will first need to download the Ledger Manager. You can do so by clicking this link.
- Click on Available in Chrome, followed by download. Then follow the installation instructions.
- Once you have installed the Ledger Manager, you then need to download the wallet app. If you want to send Bitcoin, then click on this link here. Otherwise, click here to download the wallet app for other cryptocurrencies.
- Whichever option you went for, download the app on to your device and install it.
- Once you launch the Bitcoin (or your cryptocurrency of choice) app that you just installed, you will be asked to insert your Ledger wallet in to your machine and enter your PIN number.
- You will then be asked whether you want a Legacy wallet or Segwit wallet. The most user-friendly option is Segwit.
- Next, click Receive, which you will find at the top of the application.
- Now click Display Address on Device.
- Your unique Bitcoin Ledger wallet address will now be displayed. You can simply copy it, head over to the wallet that is currently storing your coins and then transfer them across! Warning: Only send Bitcoin to this address.
That’s it! Your Ledger wallet should receive the coins within a few minutes! Now, let’s look at how to send coins from your Ledger to another wallet!
How to Send Funds
I am now going to show you how to send Bitcoin from your Ledger wallet. This process is the same for all coins, however, just make sure you have installed the correct app for the coin you want send or receive, which you can find in the section above. I will continue to use Bitcoin for this example.
- Go back to your Bitcoin wallet application. If you have disconnected your Ledger wallet, you will need to re-insert it and enter your PIN number again.
- This time, click on Send at the top of the screen.
- All you need to do now is enter the wallet address you want to send the funds to, as well as the amount. You also have the option of selecting the transaction fee. Bare in mind that the lower the transaction fee, the slower the transaction will take.
- Finally, to complete your transaction click on the green Send button!
That’s it! You now know how to send cryptocurrencies using the Ledger Nano S!
I hope you have found this Ledger wallet review enjoyable and educational. I have provided you with all the information that I believe is important before you decide invest in one.
If you managed to read this guide from start to finish, you should now have a really good understanding of what the Ledger wallet does, as well as all of its advantages and disadvantages. You should also know what makes the Ledger wallet so secure.
However, what are your thoughts on the story I told about the journalist? It does seem a little worrying, right? Let’s just hope that this was a very unusual event, and that Ledger have since resolved all of their security flaws (which they claim they have).
So, have you decided that you want to purchase the Ledger Wallet? If so, save this guide and revisit it later, so that you can follow my step-by-step guide on how to use it.
If you still have some concerns or questions regarding the Ledger wallet, please feel free to let me know!