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How To Use Phantom With a Ledger Wallet

Read 6 min
Medium
Ledger devices on a podium
KEY TAKEAWAYS:
— Phantom is a software wallet designed to enable seamless transactions on Solana-based dApps

— Phantom is non-custodial wallet, meaning the private keys are your own and your crypto assets are fully under your control

— As a hot wallet, Phantom is always connected to the internet, which means it is vulnerable to hacks deployed using malware

— In this article, we explain how to leverage your Ledger hardware device with Phantom wallet to enjoy both seamless dApps transactions, and absolute security of your private keys

Solana is a blockchain designed for fast and efficient transactions. As such, the chain has provided the perfect environment for countless apps, games, NFTs and more. But to interact with them safely, you need to have the right tools. If you’re new to this network, make sure you check out the guide to What Solana is.

However, if you already own some SOL in your Solana wallet yourself, it’s likely you’ve heard of Phantom. It’s a Solana-friendly crypto wallet designed to handle dApps and DeFi transactions seamlessly.

Here, we explain the wallet, Phantom, what it can and can’t do -plus- the safest way to use it with your Ledger hardware wallet.

What’s Phantom Wallet and why use it?

Phantom is a hot wallet for the Solana network available to use with Ledger, as an extension on both Chrome and Brave browser. It’s arguably the most popular Solana hot wallet, boasting over 2 Million active users at the time of writing. So why is this Solana software wallet so popular?

Accessibility

Phantom is a hot wallet – available as a browser extension – that’s designed to interact seamlessly with dApps on the Solana blockchain. This enables you to access the expanding world of Solana, including dApps, DeFi, and NFTs on the Solana blockchain.

Ease of use

Phantom’s interface is sleek and intuitive, meaning you spend less time figuring things out and more time getting to know the dApp ecosystem. The wallet provides a simple format for sending, receiving, staking SOL, and swapping your crypto (some swaps can even be done within the wallet itself) and can be easily connected within Solana dApps to make your transactions frictionless. You can even see your purchased NFTs within its interface.

Balance Screen
Swap Screen

Ownership of Your Private Keys

Crypto is about having complete freedom, right? That means having control over your assets at all times. To that end, one key advantage of Phantom wallet is that it’s non-custodial. What does this mean? 

Many wallet providers retain control of your wallet’s private keys. This really means submitting some of your control over your crypto assets, and putting your trust in the security of the platform. Isn’t this missing the point? 

Phantom allows you to use its interface using your own private keys. Put simply, they believe in self-custody, with Phantom being a non-custodial wallet. This means Phantom will never have access to your data or your funds, meaning you remain in control of your assets. It does leave you responsible for those keys though, and this entails some risk.

Why a Hot Wallet Isn’t Completely Secure

By definition, a hot wallet, or software wallet, always remains connected to the internet, which has its advantages since it’s convenient to use. But as you might be aware, there’s a downside: anything connected to the internet is never entirely secure.

How many links have you clicked on in the last week? The last day even? You might be alarmed to know that one of the most common vectors used by crypto hackers is to deploy malware to your computer via malicious links. 

Once you’ve clicked, this malware can spy on your browser to access your private keys and take control of your wallet and transactions, without you even being aware of their presence. The bottom line is that, as long as your keys are stored on a connected device, they’’ll be vulnerable.

Still thinking about those links? It might be time to consider your options.

Why Should I Connect My Ledger Wallet To Phantom?

You might be wondering how you can enjoy the benefits of Phantom wallet without compromising your private keys. Well, you’re in luck, because there’s a pretty simple way to do that.

Adding a hardware wallet, such as the devices Ledger offers, allows you to transact with the seamlessness of Phantom, while never exposing your private keys on a connected device.

How does that work?

Your Keys Stay Offline

The Ledger hardware wallet physically stores your private keys, and provides an offline venue for transactions to be signed securely. The device is protected by a Secure Element chip, known to be the most reliable and secure chip on the market.

With your private keys isolated from your connected device, hackers are unable to view them via any sort of malware, even when you sign a transaction. 

Two-step Verification

Further to this, by keeping your keys within the Ledger hardware wallet, you will now need to physically sign all transactions on the device itself. All Ledger devices benefit from a Trusted Display – a screen that cannot be tampered with by malware to falsify the transaction details. This means the maximum possible transparency for every transaction you make, as well as enhanced security via two-step verification.

Same Transactions, But Safer

So by the simple addition of a hardware wallet, you can use Phantom without exposing those all important private keys.If that sounds good to you, follow the step by step guide we’ve made below to find out how to connect your Ledger wallet to Phantom.

How to Connect Phantom Wallet To Your Ledger

In case you’re new to Ledger, let’s start with a step by step of how to set up your brand new device. You’ll find easy to follow instructions on how to set up your Ledger on our support pages. Once that’s done, we can get into it.

Step 1. Make sure you have the SOL app installed on your Ledger device. If you don’t, you can do this via the Manager section in Ledger Live. Simply search for the SOL application and follow the prompts on the screen to install it. Once the application is installed, make sure to close the Ledger Live interface, as it can conflict with Phantom.

Now, open the  Phantom wallet on your browser.

Step 2: Click on the top-left menu of the Phantom wallet and find and click on “Connect Hardware Wallet” in the drop-down menu that appears.

Step 3: When you click “Continue,” Phantom will look for a Ledger device connected with. Make sure your SOL app is open on your Ledger to allow Phantom to connect. 

Step 4: Once this is done, you’ll be prompted by Phantom to choose the Ledger account that you want to connect. This is because, when you set up your Ledger Wallet, it automatically creates a “tree” of accounts for you. Then, you simply need to select the one you use habitually.

Tada! You will now be able to view the Solana balance held by your Ledger hardware wallet within the Phantom interface. This means you can interact with Solana based Dapps and DeFi services seamlessly, while your private keys remain completely secure within your hardware device. Enjoy the ride! 

If you’re having any trouble or feel a bit lost, this support page might answer your tricky questions.

Explore Solana in Complete Security

The golden age of dApps offers more options for using your crypto than ever before. However, along with those new options comes some risk. By taking the time to really understand the ins and outs of self-custody you’ll be truly free to enjoy the fast-growing Solana based ecosystem. These simple steps can help maximise your security, ensuring you protect your private keys effectively. 

Now your Phantom Wallet is connected to your Ledger device, you’re ready to go! But there’s one more detail you need to know going forward.

In order to complete transactions using Phantom and your Ledger device, you will need to  “enable blind signing”. Put simply, this will allow your device to sign transactions from complex smart contracts.

If you’re using dApps, blind signing is an important concept and one you should get familiar with. Check out our School of Block episode for your guide on how best to manage it.


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