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The Best Bitcoin Hardware Wallets (2019 Edition)
This is a comprehensive guide on what we believe are currently the best wallets to store your Bitcoins safely and securely. There are both online (hot) and offline (cold) wallets but we advise users to choose offline wallets as they offer better protection overall to your private key. Offline cryptocurrency wallets include hardware wallets such as Ledger series wallets, Trezor, KeepKey and paper wallets too. Despite the safety that hardware wallets offer, users are tasked with keeping their private keys offline themselves which limits trading the BTC held in the wallet. This article is for investors that wish to HODL their bitcoins and we’ll explore some of the best hardware wallets in the cryptocurrency market today. We dwell deeper into the features of these cryptocurrency hardware wallets, focusing on their advantages and disadvantages.
What to know before buying a bitcoin hardware wallet
Security – Hardware wallets are known as the best and most secure cryptocurrency wallets in the world. However, some hardware wallets offer better security properties than others.
Credibility – Before putting your coins in any wallet you should check the credibility of the wallet if it is a scam or not. Investors have lost money due to fake hardware cryptocurrency wallets and you don’t want to be one of them.
Price – Hardware wallets come at different prices, some far more expensive than others. These however have better features than the cheaper ones.
Reputation – It is important for one to go through several reviews to ascertain where it stands amongst other users in the community, just to be sure about what they’re committing themselves to.
Coin support – Hardware wallets allow storage of a number of coins but not all of them, make sure your selected cryptocurrency wallet supports Bitcoin.
The 5 best Bitcoin hardware wallets
1. Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S hardware wallet The Ledger Nano S is one of the most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallets today. The small USB-shaped like device comes with a screen to allow selection of coins. The Ledger, as it is popularly known as, offers a safe and secure option to key in your passphrase through the screen avoiding any online contact. The wallet supports Bitcoin, ETH, DASH, and other ERC20 tokens.
Key features of Ledger Nano S
Multiple cryptocurrencies support
A 24-word recovery phrase in case you lose your PIN.
Trezor hardware wallet (Image: Trezor) Trezor cryptocurrency wallet is widely regarded as one of the safest hardware wallets in the world. The wallet authenticates the transaction and sends an online note which is signed by the device solving a unique algorithm. This can only be done using the private key stored on the hardware wallet. The wallet is backed by a 24 word passphrase that can be added a 25th custom word to strengthen the security. Trezor is widely preferred by Bitcoin holders for its small size and multi-currency support feature.
Key features of Trezor
Multi-currency support including BTC, ETH, LTC, ZRX and DASH.
Enhanced security using the 25-word passphrase with a custom word.
Disadvantages of Trezor
It is expensive.
Takes a relatively longer time to ship i.e. 5-7 business days.
3. KeepKey wallet
KeepKey official cryptocurrency wallet (Screenshot: KeepKey) KeepKey is a cryptocurrency hardware wallet that was developed using Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) technology to safely store users’ private keys. The wallet has a 256 X 64 pixels OLED screen with an anodized aluminum case and a poly-carbonate front. Despite its high price, Keepkey offers better security measures and more cryptocurrency support including DASH, ETH and all ERC 20 compatible tokens.
Key features of KeepKey
The wallet has a 12-word passphrase to recover your account in case you lose the PIN.
Compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows.
Disadvantages of Keepkey
The wallet is expensive.
Only available on Amazon and the official KeepKey website.
4. Ledger Blue
As a member of the Ledger series, Ledger Blue offers a high standard of security despite having a costly tag on it. The iPad shaped device starts at $300 USD per device. Due to the inflated price, most users prefer Ledger Nano S to it as they offer storage to the same number of coins. iPad shaped Ledger Blue wallet (Image: Ledger)
Key features of the Ledger Blue
Applies unique modular architecture that allows for mate applications to function in seclusion on top of the original firmware.
Ledger Blue also allow the users to reset their passwords at any time.
Disadvantages of Ledger Blue
The device is bulky and heavy to carry around.
The expensive price tag does not match the features offered by the wallet.
5. Paper Wallets
Bitcoin paper wallet This section has been dedicated to cryptocurrency hardware wallets hence the inclusion of paper wallets as a secure option to store your Bitcoins. Paper wallets refer to a paper that contains a private and public key to your BTC coins. The paper is printed from Bitcoin ATM’s as the only available copy and also contains the passphrase. Users should store the passphrase carefully in a different location in case you misplace the paper wallet. There are websites that convert online wallets to paper wallets by copying keys and pasting them to a document that is then printed through one’s browser. Always delete the history of your browser afterwards or use incognito mode.
Advantages of Paper Wallets
Private keys are held by the user hence total control of your coins.
Paper wallets cannot be hacked.
Disadvantages of Paper Wallets
The paper wallet is easily misplaced.
Difficult to exchange, use or trade the paper cryptocurrency wallets.
The wallets mentioned above offer the user the best options to hold your coins in a safe manner. Always store significant amounts in a hardware wallet as online wallets can be hacked and your funds stolen. Passphrase words should be stored safely in case the hardware wallet is lost or misplaced. Want to know more about it, join us on our Discord and Telegram channels and get into the discussion, or join our 8000 member community on our ICO DOG Investment Platform: www.icodog.io www.icodogpool.com Source: https://icodog.io/bitcoin/the-best-bitcoin-hardware-wallets-2019-edition/
I wanted to give everyone a heads up that Apple may not be approving all Bitcoin apps. I submitted my bitcoin Merchant app last saturday to itunes and it was rejected last night(June 6). The scope of the app is limited to do only two things: 1 - Display a QR code embedding a bitcoin address, and an amount 2 - Notify the user when the bitcoin address receives an amount Keep in mind there are no private keys held in the app or on the server. It is not a crypto currency wallet. Apple informed me the reason for rejection: 22.1: Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer's obligation to understand and conform to all local laws 22.1 We found that your app contains content - or facilitates, enables, or encourages an activity - that is not legal in all the locations in which the app is available, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines. Specifically, your app assists in the trade of crypto currency. Please see the attached screenshot for more information. We encourage you to review your app concept and evaluate whether you can incorporate different content and features that are in compliance with the Guidelines. Click here to view the attached screenshot. For now I can only guess as to why it was rejected, so I have asked Apple for clarity as to why the app was rejected. I will update this stream when I get some clarity.
Hi, Can you please provide some clarity as to why the app was rejected? This app does not initiate a bitcoin transaction. There are no private keys held in the app or on the server. It is not a crypto currency wallet. The scope of the app is limited to do only two things: 1 - Display a QR code embedding a bitcoin address, and an amount 2 - Notify the user when the bitcoin address receives an amount The website that users are asked to sign up on, asks them to enter a Bitcoin address that they want to be embedded in the QR code. It does not ask them for private keys. Thank you, Lorne Update June 7, 1:48 PSTClick here to see the full message thread.
Dear Lome, Thank you for your response and feedback. Since the app assists users in the trading of Bitcoin, which is not a legal currency, it is in violation of 22.1. Kind Regards, App Review Team
My response: Hi,
Will the app be approved if I limit the countries it be made available to? If so, can you please provide a list of countries that it would be approved for? Also, can you please provide clarity on "the app assists users in the trading of Bitcoin"? For example: Would an app that has an instructional video on how to acquire Bitcoins be in violation of 22.1? Would an app that calculates the Bitcoin conversion rate be in violation of 22.1? Would an iPad POS that allows merchants to accept payment in multiple tender types including Bitcoin be in violation of 22.1? Can you please let me know which of the above examples would be approved or rejected. Thanks, Lorne Update June 9, 10:20 PSTClick here to see the full message thread.
Apple's response: Dear Lorne,
Thank you for your response and feedback. In regards to your question, the app is fine so long as it doesn't help facilitate the user to participate in illegal activity. This includes the buying or selling of crypto-currency. The app showing balance or exchange rate is fine because it does not allow the user to participate in the exchange. Hopefully this helps in the revision of your app. Kind Regards, App Review Team
Link to all my other Bitcoin Guides NOTE:If you decide this is too complicated for you; web wallets like coinbase have an offline storage option for bitcoins that is in all likelyhood probably a totally safe and viable option for general users. If you really can't understand this, I recommend simply using their cold storage option. Here is my step-by-step guide on Bitcoin cold storage, or at least the method I use. I recommend starting by first reading my Cold Storage Concepts Guide as otherwise you may not understand some of these steps. What we’re doing is actually very simple and straightforward, but unfortunately looks a lot more complicated than it is. This guide is for anyone who has a large amount of bitcoins and wants to store them securely for a large amount of time, instead of relying on third party wallets like blockchain.info or coinbase.com who might be compromised down the line at some point. Note that I use OSX and other apple devices so unfortunately this guide is biased for those using apple… please don’t flame me. Alternatives exist for everything I list here for both Windows and Linux, just post if you get stuck I’m sure someone will help you. There are many approaches you can take to cold storage, and the methods you use will depend on the level of paranoia you have and the degree of security you need, but this method will work for around 99% of people. I welcome any and all feedback, and I encourage anyone intending to use this to read comments below to get second opinions. YOU WILL NEED
5 normal 6-sided Dice (note: physical dice only! Do not use software!)
A trustworthy electronic device capable of using bitaddress.org (I recommend using an non-jailbroken iPad or iPhone)
Download a QR reader app
A copy of the Diceware password generation list, either on paper or on a separate screen
Pen/pencil and relatively strong paper.
Disk Utility, or other software to create encrypted drives
Dropbox account, Apple’s upcoming iCloud storage, or a relatively trustworthy long term network storage
A physical long term storage location, preferably in or near your house.
Some notes on requirements: We use 5 dice minimum as otherwise it will take you forever to generate passphrases, the better quality the dice and the more you have the quicker you can make passphrases. I recommend using iPads or iPhones because to my knowledge they are more secure than android in terms of viruses/malware (someone in the comments will no doubt correct me on this though). Alternatively you can buy a cheap laptop and brand new hard drive. On to generating the cold storage addresses! I’ve made extra notes at the bottom for more detail. COLD STORAGE METHOD
Lock yourself in your room, gather your things and make sure no-one is going to disturb you.
Get your dice and your diceware list. Roll 5 dice, look up the password and write it down. Repeat this at least 8 times to generate a passphrase for each cold storage address you want to make.
Write these down on a piece of paper as clearly and neatly as you can.
Take your iPad or other device and connect to the internet. Google ‘bitaddress’ and go to the top link (1).
Once you have loaded the bitaddress website, disconnect from the internet.
Click on the ‘brain wallet’ tab. (4)
Carefully and checking it over three times, enter each of your 8 word or more diceware passphrases, and click ‘generate address’.
Be careful that autocorrect didn’t change any of your diceware words
Generate a further 4 or 5 word passphrase that will be used as your ‘Master Key’
Take a screenshot of all of these addresses. On iOS devices this is easily done via the Home+Power buttons.
Close the Bitaddress website on your device, purge your internet history, cookies, etc.
On your laptop, disconnect from the internet and create an encrypted drive. Here’s how to do that in Disk Utility.
Make sure this drive is password protected with your Master Key from step 8.
Transfer screenshots of all of your cold storage addresses from your trusted device to the encrypted drive.
Triple check this worked, then delete all screenshots from your trusted device.
Use a QR reader to scan the PUBLIC addresses of all your cold storage addresses. Save these in your notes or email them to yourself (2)
Unmount the encrypted drive. Take this drive and put it on your dropbox folder or other network hard drive.
Reconnect to the internet on your computer and sync with dropbox or other service.
Take your piece of paper with your diceware passphrases on it and store it somewhere securely (3)
Go to your active bitcoin wallet, and send your bitcoins to cold storage. Congratulations, they are now secure.
Now a few things about what we did. We saved 2 copies of our cold storage private keys (the piece of paper, and the encrypted drive); this means if your whole house burns down then you still have a copy of your private keys in the cloud. If you forget your master key password, then you still have a physical copy in your house as a backup. We encrypted the drive so that anyone who gains access to your dropbox won’t be able to open it. You could even keep several copies of this encrypted drive spread over several locations and computers and it will still be safe. If anyone somehow finds your piece of paper, they will only see a list of random words and won’t necessarily know what it’s for (unless you leave detailed instructions or the word ‘bitcoin’ on it..!). You also used diceware so your passphrases are completely random so no-one can guess them, and in fact are almost as strong as the cryptography in Bitcoin itself. Also, it was easier to write down 8 english words than a random sequence of 1-6's so there's less of a chance you wrote down your passphrases incorrectly. To get your bitcoins out of cold storage, just scan the private key into your hot wallet, or re-generate the private keys from the diceware phrases you wrote down. (1) this prevents you from mis-typing the address and getting a phishing page. (2) We use a QR reader because this prevents writing the public keys down incorrectly. (3) i.e. a safe, or inside a book in your library, on the back of a family picture that doesn’t get moved much. Spend some time thinking about how you want to approach this. (4) You may have heard brain wallets aren't safe... this is not true. Only a non random brainwallet is unsafe (like one made from song lyrics), but since we generated our passphrases with dice they are random and the brainwallet is secure.
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