There are two golden rules when it comes to crypto investing: don’t leave your coins on an exchange and store your coins on a hardware wallet. Ignore these rules at your peril, there are numerous painful stories from people who haven’t heeded that advice. To that end, it’s essential to have a good hardware wallet to keep your funds safe. In this article, we’ll look at two of the most popular options: the Trezor and Ledger wallets. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and once you know these it will be easier to make an informed decision.
What They Have in Common
While the wallets diverge in many ways, they still have a lot in common. Both act as an easy way to secure your funds so that it’s impossible to transfer a coin without physical control of the wallet. Even if a hacker gains control of your email, your phone number through SIM porting, or whatever else, they won’t be able to drain your funds without control of the physical device.
Both wallets support more than 1,000 currencies. Of those, a vast majority are ERC20 tokens running on the Ethereum blockchain. A full list of compatible coins for Trezor can be found here, and here for Ledger. In addition to supporting most of the same coins, both companies are five years old. That’s not long for a traditional market but in crypto, which really only came into existence a decade ago, it’s a lot.
The Trezor Wallet
The most noticeably lacking feature of the Trezor wallet is that it doesn’t support Monero, the privacy coin. Or, more accurately, it is compatible with Monero but it doesn’t have support for a Monero wallet. Without that the process of using a Trezor to back up Monero is difficult and few people will have the technical skills to do it easily.
Another downside of the Trezor is that the less expensive model, the Trezor One, does not support all of the coins that the more expensive model, the Trezor Model T, does. The Trezor One is €70 and the Model T is €150, meaning you have to pay more than twice as much in order to be able to store all of the coins you might want to. The Trezor One does not support Monero, Cardano, XRP or Tezos. That’s unfortunate as these are all top twenty coins that are continually growing in popularity and the fact that you can’t store them on the inexpensive model is disappointing.
When buying a hardware wallet, however, Trezor does offer healthy discounts for people buying three at a time. There is also an option to buy crypto steel with your Trezor. The crypto steel is a fireproof, mostly indestructible way to store a backup phrase. It’s a great choice for anyone with a hardware wallet because it allows for the recovery of assets even if the wallet is destroyed.
The Ledger Wallet
As opposed to the Trezor One which costs €70, the Ledger Nano S only costs $60 which is quite a bit cheaper. The Ledger Nano S also has the advantage of supporting the full range of currencies, there is not the need to buy the more expensive model. The downside is that the Nano S has a very limited storage capacity on the device. In practice, that means that somebody using it to store multiple coins will constantly have to uninstall and reinstall wallets for different coins. This can be time-consuming and seems like something that should be updated, given how cheap storage has become.
Thankfully, the more expensive model, The Ledger Nano X, has fixed this problem. It’s capable of storing several dozen wallets at the same time. In addition, Nano X also has an interesting feature, it’s Bluetooth compatible. That means that it can sign transactions without having to be plugged into the computer via a USB cable.
This makes it much more practical as a device to carry around and use to secure crypto assets that you plan to spend on a regular basis. Importantly, no sensitive data is shared via a Bluetooth connection. Private keys and seed phrases are never sent, it all stays on the device. The only thing that happens is that the Nano X approves transactions and that only happens when the user presses a key on the physical device. Again, no matter what a hacker compromises he cannot steal funds without physical control of the Nano X. If you still don’t feel safe using Bluetooth you can turn it off as well and only use the device via a USB cable. This Ledger retails for $120 which is still less than the premium model of the Trezor.
In addition to the Ledger Nano S and X, there is also the Ledger Blue. This is a larger, touchscreen model costing more than $200. It’s currently sold out and Ledger may be discontinuing it at some point. However, if they do decide to keep selling it the device is a nice option for someone who enjoys a less cramped user interface, as the screen on the Nano S and X is quite small and pixelated.
Choosing Between the Two
Whichever hardware wallet you select, the important point is that you have one in the first place. It’s the most secure way to store assets and absolutely critical for anyone who owns cryptocurrency. A good rule of thumb is that if the crypto you own is worth more than the cost of a hardware device, you should have a hardware wallet.
Ledger offers more types of wallets and they are the only ones with a Bluetooth wallet on the market. Trezor does not offer that. Ledger also allows buyers of the Nano S to choose what color of plastic shell they’d like for their device. The Trezor devices do tend to cost more and you have to purchase the more expensive model for full coin support. Nonetheless, they are a trusted manufacturer with the likes of Andreas M. Antonopoulos supporting them.
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