Are you curious about the Ledger Nano S? Do you think that it keeps your cryptocurrencies safe? Well, you will get to know about this. The Ledger Nano S is probably the most widely used and reputed hardware wallet or cold wallet on the market. This has a good reason as well. The company Ledger has conducted a lot of marketing around their secure element that has been successful in raising more VC money than what their competitors have. In this Ledger Nano S Review, we will take you through all the aspects of the cold wallet and see if marketing could meet the reality.
Many people often ask “What Is Ledger Nano S Used For?”. Here is the answer. The hardware wallet or the cold wallets permit one to store their cryptocurrencies in what is commonly termed as cold storage. Cold storage can be termed as a method in which the private keys and the other information are kept aloof from any contact with the internet. This is owing to the fact that security of any information in contact with the internet can get compromised. Over time, various secured methods for storing your cryptocurrencies have evolved such as paper wallets. These are easily accessible and offer a good balance of functionality and security.
Basics & Background Of The Ledger Nano S Wallet
The Ledger Nano S had been first introduced in the year 2016 and is a multi currency hardware device. It supports more than 1,150 cryptocurrencies. It has been carefully designed to harness the flexibility, security and the easy backup of the HD wallet structure. The Nano S offers cold storage by creating and storing the private keys of an individual offline.
It can also be integrated with any third party wallets for managing the ERC-20 tokens. However, Ledger Nano X has already joined the market as the successor holding a higher position in the Ledger’s product line and offering even more features than the Nano S model. You can definitely go ahead and compare Ledger Nano X vs S to find out which suits you the most.
The Ledger Nano S model was launched back in 2014. Ledger being a global company, it specializes in secure blockchain apps and devices. The company also boasts its sales of 1.5 million wallets till date in 165 countries. The Ledger variants have demonstrated a relatively high degree of engagement with the community at large by offering abundant support and addressing the individual risks and issues.
How Does The Ledger Nano S Look Like?
The Ledger Nano S is a pen drive or flash drive sort of thing. It features two hardware buttons for navigating the simple on-screen user interface. The buttons are also used to confirm or decline transaction signing. The chassis possesses a textured black plastic finish that offers a sense of sturdiness, however, sitting on it or exposure to high temperature is definitely not recommended. The pen drive-like hardware wallet also comes with a covering joined to the chassis that is made up of a metal.
What does the box contain? Well, the box is made nicely and worth keeping for the easy storage of the device. It comes with the following:
- Ledger Nano S
- USB Cable
- Backup and Info Cards
The Striking Features Of Ledger Nano S
Below are some of the most amazing features of the device.
The Ledger offers some security features that are unique in the industry. The Ledger family of the cold wallets are solely the fully certified cold wallets in the market that have been certified by ANSSI, a French cybersecurity agency. It features what is commonly known as a “secure element”. Specifically, the secure chip that has been used is basically a ST31H320 with a CC EAL5+ certification. It is a black colored medium sized chip located in the top left of the device.
As per Ledger,
“A Secure Element is a secure chip that…embeds intrinsic countermeasures against many known attacks. This kind of chip is tamper-resistant and protects your device to a range of different attacks.”
The secure chip of Ledger is what differentiates it from the other cold wallets that are available on the market in respect to the key storage.
On your first initialization of the Ledger, you will always be prompted to set up a 4 to 8 digit PIN code. This PIN is the thing that permits you to open the device and use it and works similar to your bank’s account PIN. This is a very important step. However, you need to keep in mind that this PIN is not required for restoring a wallet from the seed words.
It is solely a simple password for making sure that in case you lose your device, all your coins cannot be stolen easily. This also prevents the attackers from attempting to brute force the PIN and acquire access to your coins.
Backup Using The BIP39 Recovery Seeds
The Nano S of Ledger permits you to backup your cold wallet utilizing a standard known as the BIP39, which in short means that your private key is converted into an easily readable series of 24 words. If you ever lose your wallet or if the wallet gets destroyed or stolen or you cannot remember the PIN, you have to input this series of words into another hardware or software wallet that will fetch your coins back.
You can also find in the box in which your Ledger came a couple pieces of paper for noting down this series of words while you are conducting the device setup. However, backing up your Ledger following this method is not very secure. If this piece of paper is misplaced or damaged by any means, you will run out of luck. This is the reason why a group of people chooses to use a device named Billfodl for storing this set of words on pieces of stainless steel that cannot be penetrated by fire and flood.
There was once a customer of Billfodl who had more than $1,000,000 of Bitcoin backed up on just a notebook and locked it in a fireproof safe. His garage got flooded with 6 feet of rain and the safe became waterlogged. Thus, he lost everything.
Support For Passphrase
Currently, the Ledger Nano S supports the passphrase feature that can also be referred to as the 25th word protection. This security measure permits the users to add an extra word to their existing 24 word recovery phrase. There are mostly two reasons that make you follow this process.
(i) You would like to have extra security to your recovery phrase in case any other person finds your 24 words. In thai case, you would also need to remember that anyone having your 24 words holds the ability to recover your coins and flee with them. Adding another word to the existing 24 words of your choice means that they would know the word that you have chosen as well.
(ii) You would want to create a “dummy account” in your device that contains a small amount of coins. This protects you from the “$5 Wrench attack.” If you ever fall victim to such an attack, you would have a paraphrase set up that will lead to the plausible deniability regarding your larger account of the coins. You on;y tell the burglars about the small account of yours and hope that they would leave with very few of the stored coins.
Support For Multi-signature
A couple of the advanced cryptocurrency investors utilize more than a hardware wallet for signing the transactions. This shields the investors as it means that even if someone gains an access to one of your hardware wallets or cold wallets or even finds a vulnerability in the software, they would still require an additional cold wallet for accessing your coins.
The Ledger Nano S can be used as one of such devices that makes it more appealing than the hardware wallets that cannot be used in a sold wallet offering multi-signature. One of the easiest ways to set up multisig utilizing a Ledger Nano S is to pair the device with Blockstream Green.
The Trust Factor
Currently, the Ledger Nano S does not ship with the tamper resistant tape for preventing the attackers from opening the box and hence manipulating the device prior delivery. Instead, it offers a software solution for all the users to determine if
(i) The device is a legit Ledger Nano S device.
(ii) The device is not tampered.
It is possible for the device to achieve this benefit through its “Root of Trust” toolkit. How does this work? Well, when you run the tool on the received device, the servers of the Ledger send a message to the device. The device will only respond if it possesses a specific private key on the device. In case, the device failed to respond, it would mean that the device is either not legit or has been compromised and that you must on use it. However, this needs to be kept in kind that the toolkit will be effective if you use it BEFORE transferring any funds or coins to the device. If the device is compromised and you send funds to the device, the tools would not function as your funds will likely be gone by the time you will find about the mishap.
The Pros & Cons Of Ledger Nano S
Similar to almost everything, the Ledger Nano S also possesses its individual benefits and downsides. This section of the Ledger Nano S review forms the backbone of the article and that you need to keep all of these in mind before purchasing.
- It is an affordable yet sturdy cold wallet. The Ledger Nano S is much pocket-friendly than the various other hardware wallets making it a highly secured option at a good low cost.
- The private keys of the wallet remain in the device. Dissimilar with the hot wallets or online wallets via the cryptocurrency exchanges, the Nano S users can hold their private keys as they are never removed from the device itself or are accessible through the web.
- The S model helps the investors to store the popular and the lesser-known tokens and coins.
- It is one of the most trusted cold wallets.
- The user interface is quite user-friendly making operations easier on the device.
- The model of Ledger offers a pretty limited storage for the cryptocurrency applications. It is a fact that most of the cryptocurrencies would require a crypto app and the downside of the device is that it only supports the storage of only up to six apps depending on the size of the apps.
- The display of the device is relatively smaller and it does not offer the touchscreen facility. On calculating, it has been seen that the device is less than an inch tall and the whole device is just 17.4 mm or 0.685 inches tall. As already stated, two buttons are found in place of a definite touchscreen. Also, the device features a low resolution screen.
- Unlike the other wallets, the Ledger Nano S is not much mobile-friendly as it is not equipped with Bluetooth. As a result, one would require an USB cable for connecting to a computer or any other Android device.
Ledger Nano S Supported Coins
At the time of writing, the Ledger Nano S supports over 5,500 coins that includes the bigger cryptocurrencies and all the ERC20 tokens. Some of the many cryptocurrency coins that are supported by the device include:
- Aave (ERC20) (LEND)
- Algorand (ALGO)
- Binance Coin (BNB)
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Compound (COMP)
- Cosmos (ATOM)
- Dai Stablecoin (DAI)
- Dash (DASH)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Flow (FLOW)
- IOTA (MIOTA)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Monero (XMR)
- Neo (NEO)
- Polkadot (DOT)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Stellar (XLM)
- Tether USD (TRC20) (USDT)
- Tron (TRX)
- USD Coin (USDC)
OS & Hardware Compatibility
The Ledger Nano S is compatible with the following operating system and hardware:
- OS X
Ledger Nano S Review: Color Availability & Price
Currently, the Ledger Nano S on the official website of Ledger features six color availability such as: matte black, saffron yellow, flamingo pink, jade green, lagoon blue and transparent. Coming on to the price, the Ledger Nano S price features a price of $70.13 or INR 5,265.00 at the time of writing (the GST and Duty is not included). The device is also available in the x3 family pack that costs $210.39 or INR 15,795 at the time of writing (the GST and Duty is not included). Sometimes the company also offers 21% off on their family pack that comes under their “bundles” segment.
Occasionally, the company offers free shipping to some of the international locations including the United States. Otherwise, the users have to pay a shipping charge of roughly between $15 and $19 or more which is INR 1126.13 and INR 1426.43 (at the time of writing). The company also partners with various other resellers and you might find the device at a much cheaper price in any other place. The shipping time of the device greatly varies depending on the location where you purchase the device, however, it is expected that you might receive your device in less than two weeks.
As a note of warning, it can be stated that it is better if you purchase the device directly from the official website of Ledger or from the verified resellers. Else, you might end up buying a hardware wallet that has been used or tampered with.
Setup & Use
The Ledger Nano S is pretty simple to set up and use. The users are required to download the Ledger Live to their mobile device or computer and choose the setup new device option. Then the application will walk the users through a couple of processes that includes a guided security checklist. As soon as the Ledger Nano S is set up, the investors can use the Ledger Live App for performing most of the actions and then confirm the transactions by pressing both the buttons physically on the Ledger cold wallet.
It is a fact that the screen of the device is pretty small, it works perfectly for the limited transaction required. If you are required to enter the 24 word recovery phrase, it might be a tedious task to scroll through the alphabet and find each letter. The device is well suited for the occasional investors having a few coins. The Nano S is pretty beginner-friendly and easy.
In case an user faces any problem with the purchased Ledger Nano S, they are required to complete an online return form within 14 days of receiving the hardware wallet. The company also offers an online contact form for the claims alongside a robust help center, email address and phone number.
Assessing all the points disclosed in the Ledger Nano S Review, it can be stated that the device is a secure cold wallet that resembles a USB flash drive. It can be considered as one of the best Bitcoin wallets. Although the device supports a host of cryptocurrencies, many of the assets require the users to download a third party app and that the wallet possesses limited storage for the applications.
The Ledger Nano S seems to be a perfect option for the beginners as well as the occasional cryptocurrency investors who would seek to store their assets safely in an offline environment. However, the active traders who are looking for mobile access to their cryptocurrency might choose a Bluetooth-enabled device. You can also check out the Ledger Nano S Review Reddit version. You can also find some instances of the Ledger Nano S Hacked.