How To Secure NFTs?

Read 5 min
Key Takeaways:
— The craze for NFTs is only growing by the day, and hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing into this new-found love of the art, gaming and crypto communities.

— NFTs’ increasing popularity is not only attracting art and crypto enthusiasts but also thieves and hackers.

— The recent hack on the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway showed how important it is to secure your assets.

— In this article, we explain exactly how you can tuck away your NFTs in an ultimately secure 2FA-enabled wallet.

Ever wondered why you should secure your NFTs?

Artists, celebrities, art collectors, even high school students… these days, everyone’s starry-eyed about art and collectibles in the form of non-fungible tokens, a.k.a NFTs.

Why shouldn’t they be! The American digital artist Beeple just sold one of his NFTs for over 69.3 million dollars, making it the third most expensive artwork sold by a living artist EVER. All Beeple could tweet in his excitement was: “Holy f**k.

Credit to WAVE.fr (and Beeple, obviously)

The sale adds to the bigger picture of our fastly digitizing world and the rising interest in digital art and collectibles.

The hype is such that a few hundred thousand dollars have started to look like small grabs in the world of NFTs. And unsurprisingly, as art enthusiasts turn to NFTs, so do hackers. So, now is the time to learn how to secure your NFTs.

Secure your NFTs: it’s your responsibility

If you have spent your hard-earned money on NFTs, there’s no way you should take their security lightly. But how to safeguard your NFTs, you wonder?

To start with, you must choose the right crypto wallet to store your NFTs. And there are two types of those: software (hot) and hardware (cold) wallets. 

Now, most NFT marketplaces require you to have a software wallet, which is used to instantly create your account on the platform. These software wallet is connected to the internet, which exposes your private keys to some level of risk, but they make regular transactions on dApps, or NFT marketplaces for that matter, more convenient. Additionally, they’re still far safer than buying NFTs with credit cards. 

On the other hand, hardware wallets offer ultimate security by keeping your private keys disconnected from the internet. But that makes it difficult to directly buy or sell NFTs on marketplaces. 

So, which one should you choose? How about using a mix of both to ensure ease of use and ultimate security?

The Ledger Nano is a range of hardware wallets that allows you to connect with trusted third-party hot wallets like MetaMask. When you link your Ledger Nano to MetaMask, the private key controlling your NFTs still remains in your hardware wallet, tucked away in the fortress of its secure element chip, all while your hot wallet can read your balance and help you manage it. 

Hence, you can connect your MetaMask wallet to any NFT marketplace like Open Sea and easily trade the assets from within the security of your device. Every time you initiate an action, the MetaMask wallet will send a request to your Ledger device. The transaction will only take place when you physically sign/approve the request using the private key in your hardware wallet.

This works the same as your bank sending you a one-time password on your mobile phone to approve transactions, but only this time with the blockchain’s immutable level of security. And as long as you have your Ledger device, and safeguard your recovery phrase, no one can steal your NFTs.

Connect your Ledger Nano to your MetaMask Wallet

If what we said above sounds promising, here are the simple steps you can follow to connect your Ledger Nano to MetaMask:

First, get yourself a Ledger hardware wallet to safeguard your private keys. Ledger devices come with a software called Ledger Live (available on mobile & desktop), which is basically the equivalent of the app store to the iphone, providing you with a safe gateway to all your crypto services and downloadable for free through this link.

Once in Ledger Live, create your Ethereum account by clicking on ‘accounts’ on the left hand side, then ‘add an Ethereum account’.

After that, you can turn your Fiat ($,£,€, etc.) into Ethereum (Cryptocurrency). For most of you the easiest way to do that will be via Wyre/Coinify on Ledger live.

Next you will be able to use the Ethereum account you created in Ledger Live on MetaMask from within the security of your Ledger device.

Sounds great? Let’s walk you through the steps of how you can connect Ledger to MetaMask.

Step 1. Connect your Ledger Nano to your computer device using a USB cable. Also, open your MetaMask wallet in full screen on your browser.

Step 2: Click on the top-right menu of the MetaMask wallet and then find and click on “Connect Hardware Wallet” in the drop-down menu.

Step 3: When you click “Continue,” MetaMask will look for a Ledger device connected to the computer. So, to make sure it discovers your wallet, unlock your Ledger device. 

Step 4: Once it discovers your wallet, it will prompt you to choose a Ledger account that you would want to connect to MetaMask. Choose the one you prefer and finish (or create one from Ledger Live if you have none).

Step 5:  Three last steps to make sure everything runs smoothly.

  1. Click on the “Ethereum application” on your hardware wallet display then click on “settings” and turn on “blind signing” (please make sure you’re aware of the risks associated with blind signing). Or else it won’t work properly. 
  2. Open the MetaMask window, click on the account logo at the top right corner, scroll down to “settings” and click. Then click “advanced settings”, scroll down and turn on “WebHID”. 

Tada, This will enable you to view your Ledger wallet balance on your MetaMask extension. You will also be able to transact across all blockchain applications that support MetaMask. The only thing you will need is to connect your Ledger wallet to your device open Ledger Live, verify and sign the transactions.

Step 6. Enjoy your ride: you can now interact with all your favorite NFT marketplaces from within the security of your hardware wallet, by selecting MetaMask on login.

If you’re having any trouble or feel a bit lost, this support page might be of help.

Transfer your pre-Ledger NFTs to safety

As we previously said, “Owning” a crypto asset really means controlling the private key that points to that specific asset on the blockchain. This is how the record knows and displays which wallets own which NFTs or currencies. If someone gains access to your wallet they can steal your assets, and the transaction is irreversible. 

To avoid that, you should log-in and transact on any NFT marketplace by using your Ledger account via middle-wares such as WalletConnect or MetaMask. If you have NFTs on other accounts, make sure to transfer them to the Ledger one. This is how it works: 

  • 1- First, connect your Ledger Ethereum account to Metamask (see above).
  • 2- Open MetaMask, select the destination account (Ledger account) and copy the deposit address.
  • 3- Next select the account that contains your NFT (For example Account 1) 
  • 4- Go to OpenSea: https://opensea.io/
  • 5- Select the #NFT you want to transfer and Click the transfer icon in the top right corner. The one that looks like a gift. 
  • 6- Final step, carefully type or paste the address of your ledger hardware wallet into the address field. Be sure you double-check it before clicking transfer.

Closing thoughts

Just like for any new technology, getting started in the decentralized space can be overwhelming at times. It was for most of us. But that does not have to stop you from enjoying the ownership, privacy, control, and financial freedom that this technology has to offer you. 

To make things easy for you, we have the most engaging, free educational material to guide you through every step in this space. Whether you prefer to read or to watch videos to educate yourself, we have you covered with the Ledger Academy and School of Block.

Just in case you’re wondering… yes, you’ll learn more about NFTs, private keys, blockchain, security, and every new term you may have come across in this article!

Knowledge is power.


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