Cold storage 2016: best bitcoin hardware wallets
Last update: December 12, 2016
- All hardware wallets available now listed very very briefly (with a Dolly Parton quote)
- Bitcoin Hardware wallets if you …
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So what is the business with Bitcoin hardware wallets?
They are far more secure, they can have a watching only wallet for you to keep track of your incoming transactions and they are tiny enough to stay with you all day in your pocket.
We have already talked about bitcoin hardware wallets before, back then we only covered Trezor and Ledger wallets.
- Ledger is cheaper and easier to use, it is also the safest Bitcoin wallet at the moment. Drawback is it only supports Bitcoin, no altcoins.
- Homeland: France
- Altcoins: none
- BUY for <40 EUR HERE
- Trezor has shitloads of integrations, probably more than you need, but they all work and work well. It is safe enough but it is reasonable that people don’t like 24-word seeds. It supports altcoins, you can keep both altcoins and Bitcoin on a single device.
- List of all supported apps contains systems to pay bills with Bitcoin (bitwala, cashila), sentinel (to alert you when your balance changes) and many a wallet (Electrum, Mycelium, some altcoin wallets)
- Altcoins: Bitcoin, Testnet, Litecoin, Namecoin, Dogecoin, and Dash
- Homeland: Czech Republic
- BUY for 99 USD HERE
- As Dolly Parton once said about the Whitney Houston song to which Dolly has full rights: “That’s ok she can take all the credit. I’ll just take the cash.” Trezor is an open source project with code published on GitHub. Guess what happened, someone took that code, made a few improvements, had designed a pretty hardware and started selling a premium product called KeepKey for insane amount of money. Eventually, they lowered the price to Trezor level.
- Homeland: USA (WA)
- Altcoins: Bitcoin, Testnet, Litecoin, Namecoin, Dogecoin, and Dash
- BUY for 99 USD here
If you are just starting with Bitcoin
Right first off: If you are new to the squad go for Ledger. The security specs are very good for any hardware wallet, Ledger is the cheapest option. The cheapest HW.1 model of Ledger costs about 20 â‚¬ with tax.
Ideal is you want really safe storage but don’t feel like chucking into this business a whole lot of actual money.
- Ledger wallets cost either 19 â‚¬ for HW1 or 29 â‚¬ for other models (before tax)
- Both KeepKey and Trezor’s cost 99 USD. Trezor was always this much, for KeepKey (Trezor’s fork) it’s a massive discount.
Ledger on your computer
It also pairs with Mycelium (the most popular mobile wallet), Electrum (the most popular self-hosted lightweight software wallet) and Green Address (a browser plugin).
If you don’t want pin
PIN is quite a typical additional layer of security. You get the possibility of static pin with Samourai wallet , with Mycelium Android app and even on Kraken exchange (there it’s a primitive version of 2FA).
For KeepKey and Trezor’s the validation when sending out money is the PIN. It’s fairly secure, considering you are initiating the transaction from a different device. The attacker would have to get access to your computer wallet, the physical device and also know the PIN. They PIN is in both devices typed in through a rotating keyboard. No keyloggers.
Still, if you for some reasons just cannot be bothered with another number: Ledger Unplugged is the only hardware wallet to integrate a phone validation. Ledger Unplugged is the Ledger wallet that looks like credit card. It is EAL4+ Java Card, they use these to make passports. All sensitive procedures happen inside the card in a tamper-resistant element.
Recovery of hardware wallets
Some people are very cautious about the recovery options. It makes sense, if you want to have your coins safe you need to be sure you won’t lose them by performing recovery on some insecure device: If you lose your hardware wallet you might choose to recover it with a computer-based HD wallet. It is possible with a wallet of the same BIP (usually 39 or 44, depends on your hardware wallet).
KeepKey is the only hardware wallet to tune up the recovery procedure. It uses a rotating cipher to enter the mnemonic words that represent the private key. The only thing the connected computer can see is the number of characters the user enters before the word autocompletes on the screen of the device.
That being said, Trezor’s recovery is safe enough though in principle the method is considered less secure. Trezor’s has a 24-word seed to make recovery secure, KeepKey is just more sophisticated with their encryption. More information here
If you want it pretty
Not even kidding. Redditors show their human side and are taken aback by the slick design and large display of KeepKey!
So, here’s the thing:
- KeepKey looks stylish, has high-quality USB cable and just got pretty darn cheap. However, integration with Mycelium is not working well. And that’s very limiting if you want to watch your balance from your phone
- Ledger Unplugged is cheaper and pretty slick too, I say. It looks like a credit card. Plus, seamless integration with Mycelium.
- Trezor’s…Well, Trezor looks like Trezor. Trezor only has functional benefits like perfect integration with whatnot.
- A very long Reddit post about features of KeepKey, Ledger and Trezor. It was written by a KeepKey employee but it’s quite fair.
- Old post about Bitcoin wallets here
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