Ledger Nano S Review

It’s the crypto wallet conundrum that led to the development of hard wallets, which are essentially encrypted bits of storage, or a standard USB stick with special software on it. Since the industry is all about innovation, and size reduction, Ledger developed their Nano S based on core features that met stringent security requirements in a small package.

This lovely little device acts as a Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Altcoin hardware wallet, as such, it is a versatile option for those that handle large cryptocurrency accounts in various coin forms.

Ledger

The Ledger Wallet company is a French corporation that was founded in 2014. This venture company developed and introduced one of the most popular secure wallet devices on the market and is now a major player in the crypto accessory market.

Ledger was founded back in 2014 in France, and since then has managed to attract a lot of attention. Ledger has raised over $85 million in funding from many sources and top investors. Its most recent fund injection was $75 million in January 2018.

The Ledger team managed to quickly become one of the biggest hardware wallet providers on the market. In fact, they are so successful in their marketing and product reliability and performance that they have drawn to a lead together with older hardware wallets such as Trezor.

Based on the data from their site, they have sold over 1,000,000 Ledger Nano S devices in over 165 countries.

Ledger Nano S

I start off by introducing the specifications of the Ledger Nano S and then go onto present various aspects of its functionality and performance. Before I begin, what do the customers think?

Customer Reviews

Online reviews show that the majority of Ledger Nano S owners are satisfied with their products and in many cases claim to sleep well at night. The device is registered as being easy to work with and ultra-secure. The only downside of the wallet as attested by some users that have multiple currencies is that there is low storage space availability. This is because each currency requires a specific app to manage it, and this what takes up space.

GUI

The user interface is very simple, and all you need to do is remember the PIN you selected as well as record the 24-phrase seed password that is given to you for use when creating private keys.

Ledger Nano S Pin

Setting up the Nano S for the first time is fast and easy, and it takes exactly 3 minutes to complete the process. The time is split between the actual set up that takes less than a minute and the rest of the time dedicated to writing down the seed phrases.

After installation, you need to download the currency specific apps to manage your vault.

The Ledger Nano S comes with a Google Chrome extension, so you get a faster response time when using the system. The extension is mainly used for accessing your account details, trading in Bitcoins, and enabling settings to set your exchange rates and language interface.

One feature that comes as a relief is that you don’t need to create new wallets for the Ledger vault, it works fine with any wallet you have, including those on less mainstream systems.

Currency Support

The Ledger Nano S supports many mainstream currencies, and these include Bitcoin, Ethereum, LiteCoin, Zcash, Dash, and Stratis.

Take note that it supports XRP (Ripple) perhaps the only one that does.

Security

It is a fact that Hardware wallets are the most secure devices for storing your crypto assets. However, take heed, even as the hardware it is susceptible to bad connections, as such, always remember that even when connected to a PC, and since the device is cybersecurity, you can still be affected ed by viruses and such malicious codes. A such, make sure the PC you connect to is a clean device.

Ledger Nano S is considered to be one of the more if not most secured hardware wallets on the market.

Accessibility and Convenience

The Ledger Nano S is accessed using the USB connector; this is a security device, so its access is limited to minimum invasion potential. As such, you will need a USB port to access the wallet for trade. This is also a device for holding data on large assets, this means, if you are a small trader, or have a limited budget, or if you use your coins to buy everything online all the time, then a vault-like Nano S is not for you.

While this is a simple device to use, it is essentially a hardware vault, and as such, you need to carry it around with all the time and plug it in for all activities. You might want to use it to store most of your assets and have a secondary wallet online, used for daily activities.

Price

The Ledger Nano S price is set at €79, which is about $99 USD. This includes free shipping to almost everywhere around the globe. At this price, the Ledger Nano S is one of the cheapest options on the market, but this low price is no indication of a fault in design. This is by far a leader in security and versatility, and that is why the Nano S is so popular.

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My Take

This device will satisfy most users, and anyone that has bothered to read the literature and bought one will be satisfied with the results. The Ledger Nano S is an easy to use hardware wallet (vault), and it provides trust, security, and versatility all in one neat little package.

Now that I have made the initial presentation let’s take a closer look and in detail at this product and how it operates.

 

Device Appearance

The full set of items it comes with includes:

  • Ledger Nano S unit
  • 1 micro-USB cable
  • 1 Lanyard for wearing the device around the neck
  • 1 keychain with key ring
  • A Seed Recovery sheet

Physical Buttons

The Nano S has two physical buttons that add to its security; these buttons need to be pressed simultaneously when confirming a payment. This is another great feature that both secures the owner against making mistakes and also secures the device from hackers that might access the device (something that has not yet happened).

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As you can see, the two buttons are separated by two finger pushing.

PIN Code

A 4 PIN code is needed together with the buttons; this is an extra layer of security, so even if your device is in a PC, without the PIN code, it’s useless. Also, after 3 false attempts of the PIN code the device wipes itself.

Anti-Tampering Seal

Note, that when you first get the box, it comes with an anti-tampering seal, if this seal is broken, or if it looks like it has been steamed off and then reset, return the box immediately and ask for a new one. Make sure you e-mail the company before you return it.

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Offline Storage and Backups

The hardware wallet is used to store your assets offline so that when you are not connected to the internet, no one can access your assets in a cloud environment, or on your PC through hacking. One of the standard methods of backing up wallets is in an offline storage device, and these come with a 24-word seed code.

The Nano S package comes with a paper seed code list that you fill with the code you are sent. Once you have written this down, make a copy just to be sure. You can store it as a photo on your smartphone if you use a secure lock method, but just make sure your 24 seed code and your Ledger Nano S are not in the same place, that’s like leaving a safe with the keys around in the lock.

Since the seed is extremely important, you might want to make a copy in a fireproof, waterproof method, and one such method is the neat Billfodl.

Billfodl (Google this term) is a metal security device the size of a credit card that imprints your 24 seed words. This way, when you store them anywhere, you are secure against water and fire. This is a great solution for anyone with extremely large amounts of assets in their wallet.

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Setup Guide

Now let’s take a look at the actual set up process. It’s really quite simple.

Step 1: Turn on your PC/Laptop

Step 2: Using the Ledger Nano S Screen create a 4-digit PIN using the side buttons to up or down

Step 3: Press both the buttons on the Ledger device to select the number on the Screen.

Step 4: You will be presented with the Ledger 24 seed code. The words appear one at a time on the Ledger screen. Write them down as they appear.

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The Ledger Nano S will ask you to confirm your seed by providing two random words from your seed, such as give me the 8th word and then the 16th word.

Now you all set to install the necessary apps to manage your currencies.

Install Ledger Apps

Install the ledger manager app on your computer, so you can install the various software you will need onto your Nano S device. I will use Bitcoin as an example.

Open the Bitcoin Application, and select the Bitcoin Icon on the screen. You select it by pressing the two buttons when you see the B icon. Once pressed you can start to trade in Bitcoin via the Nano S device.

The Nano S Screen

What I like about the screen is how it helps you by adding an extra feature for security measures. Rather than relying only on the PC or smartphone screen. This is an added security feature that allows you to use the Nano without having to go through a PC or Smartphone for activation, and as such, reduced the level of infiltration by another level.

Don’t forget that Smartphones and PC’s can be hacked; as such, the Ledger screen secures from this interaction. Another good feature of the screen is that you can access the Ledger without being connected to the internet, which means you can manage the funds in the device and setup it up for use before you even plug it into another system.

Turning Off Ledger Nano S

Since this device has no internal battery, it automatically turns on when connected to a PC and turns off when disconnected. You can attach it to a power source for management, that means it is on, but not connected to an internet connected device.

Ledger Nano S Firmware Updates

Always make sure you have a backup of your 24-word code, always. Sometimes the firmware updates can cause issues with the device, and you will need the code to restore the wallet.

Avoiding Online Buying Scams

Do not buy a Ledger over e-Bay, only buy it directly from Ledger, after all, the shipping is free, and you get a new device that is tested and ready for use. If you buy from e-Bay, you will get screwed! In many instances, users that bought a device from e-Bay ended up with an initialized device that had a trojan, or even worse, the seller has the 24-word seed code. In that case, once you use the device, they will automatically log into your account and steal all your assets. Be warned!

Conclusions

The Ledger Nano is an exceptional device, well worth the small amount of money you pay for it, and in the long run, will provide you with a secure wallet option for any asset amount. I also expect that over time, they will improve the series by adding more storage space, including coinware apps and even adding more currency options.