Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what Bitcoin is and that its value surpassed the $14,000 mark! This escalated price rise is unlike anything seen in the financial markets ever before. In 2017 alone, Bitcoin’s price rose by over 1300 percent!
Looking at these values and popularity of Bitcoin, it only makes sense if you want to have some Bitcoins in your name – everyone else is making a run for it! But, before you get yourself in too deep, how about a basic understanding of this cryptocurrency?
Bitcoin is one of the largest, most successful cryptocurrencies worldwide. It is a worldwide digital currency and also a digitalized payment system. When you use bitcoin the records are saved in a shared digital ledger, called the blockchain.
Why the surge in price? Among other reasons, Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, and no financial regulatory authority or country has control over its operations. So, Bitcoin is solely online.
Bitcoin Wallets: Storing Your Coins
With your interest piqued, let’s take a look at how you store your Bitcoins. With no bank attached to it, you need a place to keep your coins, a wallet of sorts. To meet your needs, there are online, mobile, desktop, and hardware wallets. The hardware wallets are the best and the most popular options. The online, mobile and the desktop wallets are also called hot wallets.
Hardware wallets are akin to USB or pen drives and have no connection to the internet. To use it, all you will need to do is to connect it to your laptop or PC and then upload or download your currency as and when it’s needed. Therefore, you have to connect to the hardware wallet for you to spend your Bitcoins.
Hot wallets run on internet-connected devices like mobile devices, computers or tablets. For use, the hot wallets generate private keys or secret codes with your device connected to the internet. As a result, it isn’t as secure as a hardware wallet.
Hardware Wallets: The More Secure Option
The hot wallets aren’t necessarily unsafe, but the hardware wallets are more reliable & will keep your bitcoin 10x more secure. This is because it keeps the private keys private and offline. So, the keys are safe even if you connect the device to a malware infected laptop or PC.
Considering the difference between the hot wallets and the hardware wallets, there is no argument that you need a hardware wallet, right?
So, which is the best hardware wallet for you? The top 3 cryptocurrency hardware wallets are Ledger Nano S, KeepKey, and Trezor.
Ledger Nano S
This is one of the best hardware wallets for Bitcoins. It is from the well-known hardware wallet brand, Ledger Wallet based in France. It boasts European-inspired sleek design and a cool touch.
It’s a reputable hardware wallet with tons of positive reviews, and it has all the right features to show for it!
Security of your Bitcoins – this wallet has an anti-malware second factor, a feature that lets you check and confirm transactions displayed and then you can confirm the same transactions using the physical buttons. So, you won’t have to worry about the safety of your hard-earned Bitcoins.
Also, your data remains confidential, and it doesn’t get exposed thanks to the high-end security system in a strong and highly isolated environment. You have to lock it using a 4-digit PIN code. You will also like the fact that you get a recovery key to back up your accounts. The recovery key makes it easy to restore your data to any other Ledger Device or other compatible wallets like BIP44 and BIP39.
Ledger Nano S is malware-proof. It has a secure element based on a dual architecture ST31/ STM32 with a certification level CC EAL5+ ensuring the firmware’s integrity.
The other reason why this is a favorite hardware wallet is that it allows usage with companion apps. You can use it with cryptocurrency wallets, GPG, FIDO U2F, and SSH. You can build your own applications as well.
What’s more, the Ledger Nano S supports the FIDO Universal Second Factor Authentication standard on Dropbox, Google, Dashlane and GitHub.
+ Backup system works great
+ Secure, virus and malware-proof
+ Easy to use
– Limited space
This hardware bitcoin wallet makes use of modern cryptography for delivery of safe payment. It provides ultimate security even when using unprotected devices keeping your private keys safe. The use of state-of-the-art cryptographic practices and algorithms so that you don’t have to read long manuals.
Trezor gives you an isolated environment for all offline transactions, signing, as well as the use of a small display for verification of your details.
It is easy-to-use and is Windows, Linux and Mac OS X friendly. You can back up all your contents with this device too.
It’s a multi-currency hardware wallet that allows the use of Bitcoins, Litecoins, Testnet, Ethereum, ZCash, and Dogecoin, among others.
+ Sleek design
+ Easy to use
– More expensive
This is a bank-grade and secure hardware wallet. By making use of the best-practice bitcoin security, anyone can use it.
Virus and malware-proof – it doesn’t have an operating system. So, the layers that would harbor viruses and malware is non-existent. Key-loggers are non-existent as well.
Backup and recovery
In the initialization process, you have one chance of writing down your twelve-word-recovery-sentence. In case you lose your wallet, you can easily recover the data without compromising the details in your account.
It supports Ethereum, Namecoil, Litecoin, Dash, Dogecoin, and Testnet.
Also, you can use it on a PC, Linux, Mac, as well as Android devices. It has a large OLED display that gives you clarity for every Bitcoin leaving the device.
+ Secure, virus and malware-proof
+ You can recover your account information in case you lose it
+ It is recommended for use for large quantities of data
– Reinstalling the seed-key is cumbersome
– It isn’t the easiest hardware wallet
Other than the three hardware wallets above, you can also try Bitlox. Having a hardware wallet is the best thing you can do to secure your bitcoins. So, if you are serious about bitcoins, get a bitcoin hardware wallet. With many options to choose from, always consider the security, portability, usability and the price of the wallet before buying. You need a wallet that gives you complete ownership security and private keys. Protecting your bitcoins is the most important thing in the Bitcoin world.
Photo: David McBee