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How To Choose The Best Hardware Wallet For You

Read 3 min
Beginner
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KEY TAKEAWAYS:
— Hardware wallets are by far the most secure way to secure and manage your funds, but is can be hard to know which crypto wallet is best.

— Ledger hardware wallets marry the convenience of storing all your private keys in one place with the security of Secure Element and BOLOS operating system.

— Our Ledger Live user interface is a one stop shop where you can manage your assets directly from the hardware wallet.

— It’s designed with military grade security, including Secure Element chip and custom BOLOS operating system, so you can focus your energy on managing your assets.

How can you know which crypto wallet is best for you? Not all hardware wallets are created equal. Understanding how they work and what they are made of will guide you to choose the perfect device for your assets.

Why Do I Need a Hardware Wallet?

As you’ll know, if you’re buying any sort of crypto, a hardware wallet is non-negotiable. There are a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, as you know, it keeps your most important data offline. This means your wallet is safe from online attacks. Secondly it also gives you full ownership and control over your cryptocurrencies by giving you sole access to your private keys. This is something a software wallet cannot offer by design.

In short, hardware wallets are devices that ensure your private keys are stored offline. Unlike digital or hot wallets, they provide a layer of security against the evolving threats that come from being connected to the internet.

Yet, even among the hardware wallets family, not all devices are equal. Like computers or mobiles, they are not all worth the same.

But what makes them so different?

Well, mainly, their pull is due to their secure components.

Why Are Hardware Wallets Secure?

To explain, the security level of a hardware wallet depends on the quality of protection layers.

Remember, cryptocurrencies are assets that need specific security protection. In the same way that you wouldn’t build a vault out of lego bricks, you wouldn’t build a hardware wallet using components taken from your coffee machine. Or would you? 

Components of a Hardware Wallet

To clarify, hardware wallets typically consist of three primary security features or layers:

  • A hardware (physical) component. Like how computers and mobiles work with a processor, hardware wallets use a chip.
  • An operating system, like Microsoft Windows for PC, macOS for Apple computers or Android for most smartphones.
  • An anti-tampering authentication check. This checking process can include several steps, you often have both a PIN code and a password to completely unlock your smartphone. It can include up to 2 steps for the most secure hardware wallets.

Naturally, the security of these features varies from wallet to wallet. That’s right – not all hardware wallets use the same components and not all of them work as effectively as each other to keep your funds secure.

So, why

Why Ledger Hardware Wallets Are So Secure

Security is absolutely central when you’re deciding which crypto wallet is best for you.

Crypto needs a high level of security – remember, you are your own bank.

Think about that. It’s a huge responsibility, and there is nobody to fall back on should you make a careless mistake. That’s why there’s no room for compromise when you choose your wallet. Ledger understands the gravity of security, which is why the components in Ledger devices are the best on the market.

Let’s take a closer look at the most important ones now.

A Tamper-Proof Chip: The Secure Element

Most hardware wallet providers use generic chips (called Microcontroller chips). Those are used in common appliances like microwaves and TV remotes.

But for the awesome responsibility of securing a hardware wallet, these chips are not up to the task, because they have a number of vulnerabilities – this leaves your most precious data wide open to hackers with technical knowhow.

So at Ledger, we use a higher level of chip, designed specifically for sensitive data called secure element. Secure element chips are used in passports, credit cards and payment systems. Essentially, you’ll find these powerful components anywhere that requires you to keep your data extremely secure. With every Ledger device benefiting from a secure element chip, you can have peace of mind, knowing your funds will never be vulnerable to physical hacks.

A Custom-Built Operating System: BOLOS

Operating systems are a critical feature of hardware wallets, and a component that deserves your attention.

Off-the-shelf operating systems could have security flaws as they are not explicitly tailored towards protecting crypto assets. Additionally, hardware wallet services are rapidly adding support for more crypto assets, including intuitive interfaces and Bluetooth compatibility that are difficult to reconcile with conventional operating systems.

Therefore, “tailor-made” operating systems can offer much more flexibility to support crypto assets.

That’s exactly why Ledger uses a bespoke operating system called BOLOS. In short, BOLOS allows your Ledger device to update and integrate new features. Plus, it allows all the different elements of the wallet to integrate your key data without ever revealing it to any of the applications. Agility with total security.

An Ecosystem That Spans Much Further Than Its Hardware

Of course, the security of the Ledger ecosystem goes far beyond the devices themselves.

Other key features to consider for your hardware wallet include; crypto coverage, optional features, ease of use and access to crypto services and more. So what does Ledger offer in terms of wider ecosystem benefits exactly?

Ledger Offers Crypto Support

When it comes down to extra features, the first thing you should check is if the hardware wallet supports the cryptocurrencies you’re interested in. Expanding the suite of supported crypto assets while maintaining the same security standards has been one of the main development focuses for wallet providers. For instance, Ledger hardware wallets support over 1500 different cryptocurrencies

Accessibility and Convenience

Beyond coverage, there are other features that can be attractive to users, like bluetooth connection, increased storage capacity etc.

At Ledger, we have been dedicated to giving you full power over your crypto by improving convenience along with the overall user-experience., without ever compromising security.

Ledger devices provide you with easy access to crypto management services thanks to one-single app: Ledger Live. This one-stop-shop offers you the possibility to directly buy, sell, lend or swap crypto assets thanks to our different partners, while keeping your private keys secure in your hardware wallet throughout.

When evaluating crypto hardware wallets, security should always be among your top priorities. Here is a quick recap of what you need to have in mind when choosing your hardware wallet:

How to choose your Hardware Wallet

Hardware Wallets: Offering Security and Freedom

So now you have the lowdown – at Ledger, we create hardware wallets to provide you with the highest level of security for your private keys, along with an interface to make your interactions easy and seamless. To dig into exactly why, make sure you check out the full article on Ledger’s Security Model.

Keep reading and continue your path towards financial freedom!

Knowledge is power.

Knowledge is power – so keep on learning! If you enjoy getting to grips with crypto and blockchain, check out our School of Block video where we peek inside the head of a scammer.


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