Are you a future crypto millionaire who’s found that hot cryptocurrency? However, here’s the problem, those legendary 100x games aren’t likely to happen overnight. Sorry for being a negative nelly here.
That means if you’ve picked that winner you’re probably going to have to wait a bit for those sorts of insane games to happen. But here’s the question are savvy crypto HODLers just sitting around with that crypto waiting to be hacked? Of course not.
In this blog post, I’m going to go over the safest hardware wallets for crypto that money can buy. I’m also going to share a few essential crypto tips when it comes to using these devices. Something that you don’t want to miss.
Before we talk about security we need to talk about legality.
Many people don’t appreciate this, but time is one of the only commodities money cannot buy. That’s why I highly respect yours and it’s the reason you have the table of content. Use it to jump ahead to the sections that interest you the most.
What are The Best Hardware Wallets For Crypto
Ready to secure that crypto. Let’s unlock that mystery.
Ways To Store Crypto
To get started I should probably explain the different ways that you can store crypto and why I think that hardware wallets are your best bet.
The truth is that most crypto newbies rock onto a crypto exchange, buy that crypto and just leave it there. Yes, that is very convenient and is a minimal hassle. But what’s the problem with that approach?
Well, if you do that you won’t hold your private keys, instead you’re essentially the owner of an IOU (a document that acknowledges a debt owed) issued by a crypto exchange company.
If you’re fortunate enough to be keeping your coins on an honest exchange, there is one major threat and that would be that exchange hacks are not uncommon. After all when there are hundreds of millions of dollars lying around on exchanges. It’s not surprising that they make a tempting target for hackers.
For those who think I’m just telling tales, here are some examples: last year Kucoin got hacked for a whopping 281 million dollars, just a few months later Exmo lost six percent of all user funds on the exchange to a hack.
Search “crypto exchange hack” on your browser and I can promise you that you won’t be short of reading material.
Other shady exchange companies might make it nearly impossible to get your coins off their exchange too. However, there are many legit exchanges out there.
Here’s the deal, even if you opt to use one of those top exchanges, have you got full 100 certainties that they’ll keep your crypto safe? Sadly no one can. Sure I’m comfortable keeping small amounts on the exchange, but anything larger leaves me a tad worried.
That’s why very many crypto HODLers in the space recommend that you store your coins in a wallet you control that is self-custody. That way you control those private keys and you are not reliant on that exchange middleman protecting your funds.
The easiest way of doing that is by downloading a free wallet app on your phone or computer. These apps are super convenient and you do control those all-important private keys.
However, the problem with those types of wallets is that the private keys are exposed every time you connect to the internet. Which I imagine is pretty much all the time for those smartphone and computer users out there.
Click on the wrong link to download a dodgy app by accident or get that other type of virus and that hacker could empty those crypto coffers in a flash.
You could go low-tech and protect yourself against hackers by going for the paper wallet route however, there are good reasons why this isn’t exactly a popular option anymore.
They’re pretty inconvenient. Most people don’t want to be printing out a new paper wallet for every transaction they receive. This means that many paper wallet users reuse the same address. Bad news for privacy.
If you’re a butterfingers then you could lose access to that crypto by simply spilling a cup of coffee over that precious piece of paper.
What Are Hardware Wallets?
Finally, you have hardware wallets. What the heck are they? These wallets are physical devices that come in all manner of shapes and sizes. In short, they store your private keys in a way that the private key never leaves the device, also each transaction needs to be validated on the device itself.
All these matters as it means that your private keys are never exposed to your computer. It also means that if your computer has a virus or malware you can still use these devices safely on that computer.
If you’re wanting the best crypto security to guard that future fortune against remote attacks, then you are going to want to get a hardware wallet.
Now, with all that being said, hardware wallets do have two key vulnerabilities. The first is what crypto security experts named “the deadly five dollar wrench attack”. It’s a highly technical exploit that involves the use of this👇 advanced piece of equipment:
As an attacker, all I need to do to get your crypto with the tool above is to clobber you over the head until you give me your password. A low-tech but pretty effective hack.
What can you do to help protect yourself against that “five-dollar wrench attack”? You don’t want to be bragging to that girl you met a few minutes ago about all the crypto you have.
Chances are they wouldn’t be very impressed anyhow and you also don’t know who is listening. The point is that if no one knows that you own crypto, then you can probably sleep well with that hardware wallet tucked under your pillow.
The second potential vulnerability with hardware wallets is buying them from an unofficial supplier. This involves scammers on listing and online market places like eBay or Amazon. Sending you pre-programmed seed words on a poisoned device.
The easy way to protect yourself from that nightmare is to buy directly from the hardware wallet company themselves.
Now that you know all the ins and outs of crypto wallets, it’s time for the main event which is the best hardware wallet.
Let’s move on to my top seven picks:
Now I’m just going to be straightforward here. After the Ledger data breach, Trezor became my go-to hardware wallet of choice and is what I use to store my crypto. There are two types of Trezor. which one did I go for?
We are going to look first at the latest Trezor model t. Like both Trezor models, the model t is air-gapped for 99 of the time. If you want to use it, you’ll have to plug it into your computer or phone with a USB-C connector. an important thing to note is that Trezor mobile support doesn’t extend to the cool kids with iPhones. Sorry about that.
I can safely say that I find these devices are the easiest ones to set up and use. That’s a massive plus for anyone new to crypto or people like me that like to keep things as easy as possible.
In other good news, the Trezor model t boasts support for the most cryptos of any wallet on this list. How many exactly? well, 1 617 to be precise. If you’ve found that hidden 1000x gem, then Trezor is your best shot at storing it.
Model t also comes with a bigger screen than the other type of Trezor. Its color has touch screen functionality and the device also supports micro sd cards. If those sorts of features have value to you, then that’s certainly something to consider.
Another cool thing with both types of Trezor is that they integrate with my favorite free wallet Exodus. The reason why I think that’s a big deal is that Exodus not only looks stunning, but it is the go-to option that I point my mates towards when they’re sitting on the fence when it comes to getting a mobile wallet.
That integration gives Exodus wallet users the option to upgrade their security with Trezor. Pretty neat. The Trezor model t is the ideal hardware wallet for anyone who values ease of use and support for the widest possible range of coins.
With all that being said I think the Trezor one is the best choice out there for most people.
It doesn’t have that snazzy color touchscreen or micro sd card support. However, the Trezor one is very cheap. You could buy three Trezor ones for the same price as a model t.
Pretty much everything else that I’ve said about the Trezor model t applies to the Trezor One. However, there is one major difference when it comes to supported coins the Trezor model t supports cryptos like Ripple, Cardano, EOS, and Monero and the Trezor one doesn’t.
If you’re hodling Cardano to the moon then you might want to opt for a model t instead.
Who is the Trezor one for? Anyone who wants an easy way to protect their crypto against remote attacks at a keen price point and wants the option to store around 1600 different cryptocurrencies.
As a person who uses Ledger happily for years. Firstly I need to be straight up and say that to my knowledge there is nothing wrong with the security of Ledger devices themselves.
Why all the doom and gloom here? You need to know that Ledger suffered a data breach in mid-2020. It turns out that 272 000 customer home addresses, telephone numbers, and names were released on the internet at the end of last year. That data dump also included around 1
million email addresses too.
That all kick-started a slew of scam emails to Ledger customers trying to extort them for money. What’s even scarier is the thought of criminals using that list to five-dollar wrench attack anyone in their local area.
I used to be a huge fan of Ledger and the hardware wallets themselves are top-notch. However, this whole debacle has shaken my faith in Ledger keeping that all-important private data secure.
If you’re willing to overlook that indiscretion by Ledger. What hardware wallets have they got on the shelves?
The ledger nano s will set you back around 75 USD or 62 euros. For that modest price point, you’ll have the ability to store 27 coins and more than 1500 tokens. All that is possible by using the ledger live desktop app to manage those cryptocurrency accounts.
That makes it super simple to store send and receive crypto. However, it is super important for any ledger nano s owner to know that only three to six applications can be stored on your device at once.
That means those with large portfolios full of exotic altcoins might get frustrated by having to constantly uninstall and reinstall apps to manage all those cryptos.
You might be thinking that a capacity of just three or six apps is nowhere near enough. That might not be a big issue. The reason why is that each separate blockchain has its app. That means you can store any erc20 token by just installing the Ethereum app. Staking for a bunch of coins is also supported, a big plus for HODLers.
Moving on to security. There are no known hacks when it comes to the devices themselves. Another cool thing about Ledger is that it integrates with a host of web3 wallets like Metamask which are almost mandatory when it comes to dabbling in DEFI. If that’s something you want to do then you might want to consider getting a ledger.
The ledger nano s was the original hardware wallet. However, those interested in Ledger also have a newer shinier option to consider which would be the ledger nano x. The ledger nano x shows up the s when it comes to looks, a bigger screen, better build quality, and Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to use the device with the ledger live app on your mobile.
Finally, those altcoin dabblers who have pushed crypto diversification to the limits will be pleased to know that the ledger nano x can install up to 100 apps.
If you’re considering a ledger hardware wallet then the question you should be asking is if all those additional features are worth paying double the price?
Honestly, if I was forced to pick between the two types of ledgers, I’d probably go for the more economical ledger nano s and save that extra money. That being said I do understand how the x could appeal to those that hold crypto portfolios with a plethora of different coins.
If you are going to be buying either ledger device I would refrain from handing over any phone numbers. You should also use a separate email address from your main one for an added precaution.
This hardware wallet looks like a calculator or an online bank key. Why would you consider getting one? Coldcard is probably the most secure hardware wallet out there.
That’s due to a host of security features and these include some of the following:
- a duress pin which you can punch in if you’re under attack from a five-dollar wrench. If you use that pin then everything seems normal to the attacker. However, what’s happened is that the bitcoin key generated isn’t your regular one with all your bitcoin. Instead, a completely separate wallet is opened up.
- Coldcard also lets you set up a brick me pin which fries the secure element on the device and renders it inoperable (a bit like a self-destruct button). You will need your seed words to recover them, but the hope is that the attacker doesn’t have them.
- If the attacker tries to brute force your pin then Coldcard has an option for that as well. You get 13 attempts or the device gets fried again.
- Coldcard now supports BIP39 passphrases so you can also create an unlimited supply of distraction wallets. This feature is also useful for your organization of funds or accounts.
- You can activate a time delay when logging into the Coldcard.
- Another cool security feature is that you can operate this wallet completely air-gapped, basically completely unconnected to your pc. You can manage that bitcoin and use the device by just plugging it into a power bank or power adapter.
- Finally, some people don’t trust the randomness of seed word generators. With Coldcard you can generate that seed phrase by using random dice rolls.
Honestly, I’ve not seen most of these kinds of security features implemented on any other hardware wallet. Also what’s awesome is that all code for Coldcard is open sourced so anyone There are some drawbacks:
- The first is that this wallet only supports bitcoin.
- Another drawback is that cold card security does come at the expense of ease of use. if you want to sign a BTC transaction, you’ll need to create a partially signed bitcoin transaction on your device before you can finally sign that transaction. That’s pretty time-consuming and irritating if you send a ton of BTC transactions.
This wallet is the most secure option I’ve seen. It’s simply got a host of security features that I’ve yet to see elsewhere. However, all that counts for nothing if you intend to store altcoins.
It’s not the most straightforward wallet to use either. All that being said if you have a massive stack of bitcoin, then you’ll want to consider this option.
4. Ellipal Titan
This is yet another air-gapped cold wallet and it is a pretty expensive wallet, but it could well be worth that price.
The wallet is sealed to be dust and water jet proof. If anyone tries to force the wallet open to tinker with it, your keys will be deleted once a breach is detected, thus protecting your wallet against physical attacks.
It relies on the sole use of QR codes for data transfer. It is never connected to things like USBs, wi-fi, or Bluetooth. You want this to fully secure yourself against remote attacks.
This wallet is also pretty damn easy to set up and use. It also supports over 7000 crypto assets too. Chances are that the coin you want to store is supported here.
Ellipal also allows you to stake your coins, earn interest, exchange or buy crypto through its apps. I think there’s a whole lot to like about this Ellipal Titan wallet. The one thing I would say is that it’s relatively new and doesn’t have the proven track record of market leaders like Ledger.
Who is this wallet for? Anyone that wants an air-gapped wallet with multi-crypto support at a reasonable price.
Read: How To Invest In Crypto
5. Keep Key
Keep Key was founded back in 2015 and was acquired by Shapeshift in 2017. Another crazy thing is the CTO who oversaw its development was called Ken Hodler. No, I am not making that up. With a name like that, it’s maybe not surprising that Ken ended up in this line of work.
Anyhow one of the main attractions of Keep Key is its insanely reasonable price point. It’s also got a significantly bigger screen than even that ledger nano x.
Needless to say, it’s also got full integration with Shapeshift. That means that this wallet essentially has a full crypto exchange contained inside. Pretty convenient.
If you want to trade crypto securely, the device itself is secured by a pin code and backed up with seed words. For a while, Keep Key did have a pin vulnerability. This keep key vulnerability did require physical access to the device. It was also fixed pretty quickly by the Keep key team with a firmware update.
What about that all-important crypto support? Keep Key allows you to store over 40 cryptocurrencies. That’s not the widest selection however, you can combine Keep Key with Ethereum wallet and store any erc20 token. That’s around another 1 000 cryptos right there.
My main gripe with this hardware wallet is that some of those hot altcoins I hold are not supported. Which is a bit of a letdown.
With all that being said how can you quibble with Keep Key and it is pretty cheap? If you’re looking to get your hands on a hardware wallet with a ton of features and at a modest price, then I think Keep Key certainly needs to be considered.
As suggested by the name is the second entry from Shiftcrypto into the hardware wallet space. This is a huge improvement over their first iteration. It does have touch buttons on the side, it plugs into a phone and a laptop with USB-C of which both it has dedicated applications for.
One of the main things about the Bitbox02 that is nice is it has very simple micro sd card backups. You don’t have physical written backups, you have just an sd card and you can create as many as you like.
It is interoperable with a variety of different options for bitcoin wallets outside of its dedicated app. It also does have some more advanced features. For example, coin control and connecting to your nodes.
Those of you that are a bit more advanced will enjoy those, but they don’t kind of infringe on the easiness of utilizing the app.
Overall I found it to be a pretty easy experience in using the Bitbox. It’s a good kind of middle ground option for everyone.
7. Cobo Vault
This hardware wallet has been around for a while and it is the second iteration. A few of the things that are good about the Cobo vault that I like is the fact that it’s air-gapped.
Meaning that you never plug it into an internet-connected device, everything is done via QR code. Though it does give an extra few steps in sending transactions. The additional security afforded to you while doing that is vast.
The pro version does have a fingerprint scanner and a rechargeable battery which I found to be very nice given that it’s not plugged into any device. It needs to be independently charged and powered.
The device does have a secure chip and the firmware itself is open source. They do have a bitcoin-only option for the firmware. I highly recommend that you utilize that one versus the multi-coin one.
I much prefer using the Cobo vault with other external software. For example, Wasabi wallet on desktop and Blue wallet on mobile when it comes to the dedicated app.
If you are a newcomer then the dedicated app is one that I think you’ll have no trouble navigating. For me, Cobo Valt sits nicely in the middle where it’s advanced and gives you everything you need while having that additional security of using it via an air gap.
That’s all I have on hardware wallets. I’m interested in your thoughts. Are there any hardware wallets that I’ve missed off my list, do you think they’re worth the investment? Comment below.
Finally, if you found this article useful then help a brother out, and For now, keep that crypto safe and I’ll see you on the moon.