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Ledger and Third-Party Wallets

Read 5 min
Ledger devices on a podium
— Aside of Ledger Live, Ledger hardware wallets can connect to a plethora of third party wallet applications.

— These are wallet applications created by external communities and developers that serve as a bridge between your Ledger device and the blockchain.

— They can be used to manage cryptocurrencies or features not supported in Ledger Live, as well as serve as a backup in case of a service outage.

— Using your Ledger hardware wallet with legitimate third-party wallets remains secure, since your private keys do not leave your device.

Your Ledger journey starts with our powerful, all-in-one software: Ledger Live. It is, however, not the only wallet application that you can use your Ledger device with – it can connect to many third-party wallets. In this article, we’ll explain what these are and why they are useful.

What Are Third-Party Wallet Applications?

At Ledger, we initially created Ledger Live to give Ledger users one central hub for managing a vast amount of cryptocurrencies. We’ve built on this to include even more exciting features, such as natively staking and buying cryptocurrencies. However, Ledger Live isn’t the only way you can manage cryptocurrencies…

You can also use different wallet applications that are not created by Ledger. These are called third-party wallet applications. They are created by developers outside of Ledger, but our hardware wallets can still securely connect to them.

To put it simply, a wallet is a software application on someone’s computer that synchronizes with a blockchain. Through this synchronization, it can see how much of a specific cryptocurrency you have. In the case of hardware wallets, they form the bridge between your hardware wallet and the blockchain. A third-party wallet is just one that was created by different developers than us.

Why Would You Want To Use Third-Party Wallets?

While Ledger Live is an exceptional tool for managing a plethora of different crypto assets via your Ledger hardware wallet, there are some possible reasons why you might opt to use it with a third-party wallet instead. Let’s go over the main reasons.

Cryptocurrency support & community development

First and foremost, there are quite a lot of cryptocurrencies that are only supported through third-party wallet applications. These wallet applications are developed by communities outside of Ledger, who wanted to see their favorite cryptocurrencies supported on our hardware wallets. For example, you can currently only manage your NEO through the NEON wallet application.

Most applications nowadays are created through community development. There are so many new apps made by these incredible communities that we can’t add all of them to Ledger Live immediately. As such, you’ll need to use a third party wallet application instead. You can find which wallet application you can use for managing your desired crypto assets through this page. It includes links to the correct wallet applications as well, and shows which crypto assets are natively supported in Ledger Live as well. For those interested in how the development of community applications works, you can find out more about it here. That said, we’re constantly working on supporting more cryptocurrencies directly in Ledger Live, with Stellar, Tron and Cosmos being added in 2020 thus far. (spoiler: more to come)

Extra features

You might also be looking to use a certain feature that isn’t implemented in Ledger Live just yet. For example, if you want to use Replace-By-Fees (RBF) for a Bitcoin transaction, you could use your Ledger device Electrum to do this. In many cases, this could include advanced uses. We would recommend our users to first do their own research to see how these features would work. 

There are also a few cryptocurrencies which could be used for staking, that are currently not available in Ledger Live. Examples include staking VeChain (VET) to passively obtain VeChainThor tokens (VTHO), staking Cardano (ADA) and many more. Komodo is, for example, a cryptocurrency that can be managed in Ledger Live, but for claiming rewards you’d need to use a third-party wallet (e.g. Magnum Wallet). 

A back-up and freedom of choice

While Ledger Live’s had a pretty impressive track record in uptime, something could always happen to cause a temporary outage. In the unfortunate event where Ledger Live’s not working for a short period of time, you can still continue managing your cryptocurrencies by connecting your Ledger device to a compatible third-party wallet. Third-party wallets can serve as a great backup, in case of emergency. For example, if we ever face any difficulty with our XRP service, you could use your Ledger device with the XRP Toolkit web wallet.

We’ve got a dedicated status page showing up- and downtime for each service and cryptocurrency to keep everyone informed. There’s also this page showcasing which alternatives to Ledger Live there are for each cryptocurrency. On top of serving as a backup, it gives our users the freedom of choice – if someone prefers to use a different wallet than Ledger Live, they’ll have the option.

Are Third-Party Wallets Safe To Use?

Yes, they are. Rest assured that we wouldn’t allow for these if they hadn’t been. Your hardware wallet is designed to keep the private keys that give access to your cryptocurrencies offline. These don’t leave your device, whether you are using Ledger Live or a third-party wallet application. 

Equally important, you still need to verify any transaction that you make through your Ledger device via its buttons – a third-party wallet cannot bypass this. The screen of your Ledger hardware wallet still shows the exact request that the third-party wallet is sending to it, taking man-in-the-middle attacks out of the equation. In short: yes, you can safely use your Ledger device with a compatible third-party wallet. We do strongly recommend making sure to get them through their official websites to avoid potential phishing attempts, similar to making sure to get Ledger Live through

Third-party wallets provide extra flexibility for both Ledger users as well as developers. We’re extremely thankful to all the different communities and developers who have dedicated their time and effort to add support for new cryptocurrencies. Thanks to third-party wallet applications, Ledger users are given more choice, got a backup in case of emergency and have many more crypto assets they can manage through the security of their device.

Keep learning! If you enjoy getting to grips with crypto and blockchain, check out our School of Block video Smart Contracts for Beginners

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