As bitcoin and alternative digital currencies grow more valuable, the demand for hardware wallets has grown significantly. Currently, there are a lot more options than when the first bitcoin hardware wallets came out and a lot more features. Here’s a look at some of the most popular cryptocurrency physical storage devices out on the market today.
Hardware Wallet Advantages
A cryptocurrency hardware wallet is a physical device that stores private keys in a protected area within the device. People appreciate hardware wallets because they act similarly to a paper wallet but are far more functional for spending and receiving purposes. To date, there really hasn’t been any major incidents of large-scale hardware wallet vulnerabilities or verifiable incidents of funds stolen by hackers. Hardware wallets are also resistant to viruses, and private keys cannot be removed from these devices in plaintext. Although no method is 100 percent secure, Bitcoiners believe there are many significant advantages of using a hardware wallet, and there’s a bunch of devices to choose from on the market.
The well-known brand Ledger Wallet has one product currently available for customers; which is the Ledger Nano S. The firm is releasing a product called the Ledger Blue, but the device is only available for pre-order at the moment. The Nano S is a reputable hardware wallet with lots of good reviews on the web since it was created. The device holds crypto-assets like bitcoin, ripple, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and others. When using the Nano, a user tethers a wallet to a Chrome plugin, and the device connects with a standard micro-USB connection. The Nano embeds an OLED display for users on the device for PIN verification, seed restoration, sending confirmations, and more alongside using the physical wallet’s buttons located on the side.
Ledger says shipping takes about two weeks, and most people would agree you should purchase the wallet from the company but the wallet is also sold by third-party retailers like Amazon. One of the biggest security risks for hardware wallets is a compromised shipping process, but people still order from third parties as prices can be cheaper. Purchasing the Nano S through ledger the price is $69 USD or 0.123 BTC at the time of writing.
Trezor is also a popular hardware wallet brand created by the company Satoshi Labs. The wallet offers private key storage for bitcoin, altcoins, and ERC-20 tokens as well. The Trezor wallet also can perform 2FA functions, act as a password manager, and offers document signing and encryption with GPG. Trezor has been around for years, and the device also has a solid reputation in the review department.
The hardware wallet also uses its physical screen and two buttons for PIN verification, sending confirmations, and firmware updates. Trezor connects with a micro-USB connector and has a solid plastic case. Right now Trezor says a new device can be shipped in 1-2 business days with priority shipping. Without shipping fees, the device costs around $106 or the bitcoin price equivalent. Further, the company will be releasing the second version of its device called the Trezor 2, so some enthusiasts may want to wait for that release.
Keepkey is a hardware wallet manufacturer owned by the cryptocurrency startup Shapeshift. The Keepkey is bigger than the Ledger or Trezor and offers an anodized aluminum case. Like the others, it offers a micro-USB connection, and a 3.12″ OLED screen display for verification and confirmation procedures. One unique option Keepkey offers is its ability to connect with the Shapeshift exchange in a more secure fashion. Keepkey also stores private keys for multiple cryptocurrencies, and users can create custom firmware on the device as well.
Keepkey hasn’t been around as long as Trezor or Ledger but has maintained a solid reputation and the product has decent reviews. The device costs $129 using bitcoin, Paypal, or credit card and can be shipped out either standard mail (3-9 business days an extra $15) or priority shipping (Fedex 2 Day an additional $47.98).
The hardware wallet Digital Bitbox is a new product created by the Swiss-based company, Shift Devices AG. The Bitbox is smaller than all of the hardware wallets available on the market as it connects directly to a computer with a USB connection. Additionally, the device comes with a recovery micro SD card, and it can store keys for multiple digital assets as well. One interesting feature Bitbox has is the ability to process “out-of-the-box” multi-signature sending features. Bitbox, however, does not have a screen like the other devices and doesn’t have many physical interface procedures.
When we first reported on the Digital Bitbox, the shop was closed due to high demand, but currently, the Bitbox shop is now open. The Bitbox costs around $54 but requires an extra $30 for Fedex Priority Express unless you are a Swiss resident. As we mentioned the device is a fairly new hardware wallet on the market, and there are only a few reviews online.
Bitlox is another relatively new hardware wallet product manufactured by the Hong Kong-based company Bitlox Limited. Bitlox is bigger than most hardware wallets being roughly the same size as the Keepkey but offers three different types of wallets. Users can choose from the Advanced ($98), the Ultimate ($148), and the Extreme Privacy set ($198). Bitlox can be connected with a standard USB, and the wallet offers BIP32 and BIP39 seed phrases. The device also has a display screen and multiple buttons on the device’s face.
One unique offering from the Bitlox product is its Bluetooth functionality which can tie it to a mobile phone. Bitlox doesn’t have many reviews online detailing whether or not customers enjoy the product. Although there are a couple Youtube videos and written Bitlox reviews. Those who want to purchase the Bitlox must also use the International Courier Express option which is extra $26. Customers can buy the device with either bitcoin or Paypal and it can be shipped worldwide.
Peace of Mind
Hardware wallets continue to grow in popularity as cryptocurrency adoption grows more fervent. These devices are considered a reliable investment because, in the long run, they can prevent theft from malicious actors online and peace of mind that your cryptocurrencies are safe. As the digital asset phenomenon continues, its likely more improvements will be made to these devices, and more manufacturers may come out of the woodwork.
What do you think about these hardware wallets? Do you own any of these brands? Let us know what you think and your experiences with these products in the comments below.
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Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
Images via Shutterstock, Bitlox, Digital Bitbox, Trezor, Ledger, and Keepkey.
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