The Ledger Nano S was the first real alternative to the king of hardware wallets, the Trezor. The Ledger Nano S is a well-regarded cryptocurrency wallet that will not let you down and has a number of robust security features, such as private keys, making it next to impossible for hackers to steal your funds. It is generally viewed as being the best in terms of hardware wallet security, up there with the Trezor.
Whether you prefer the Trezor or the Ledger Nano S really comes down to user preference as both wallets are highly secure. Hardware wallets are the best there is in terms of cryptocurrency security and it pays to go for the best models on the market.
The Ledger Nano S was released in 2016 as an alternative to the market leader Trezor. The Ledger Nano has good customer support and a solid backing. It is made by a French company, Ledger, which was established in 2015.
Ledger Nano S Review
The setup process for the Ledger Nano S is the same as all other cryptocurrency wallets. When you initially complete the setup process you will be given a string of words, often 12, 18 or 24.
This is known as the recovery seed. This recovery seed is very important and there is a saying in the cryptocurrency community that if you don’t own the seed, you don’t own any cryptocurrency.
This precious seed is stored on your Ledger Nano and cannot be accessed unless a hacker has your Nano and also the pin to the Nano. If more than 3 incorrect attempts are made for the pin, then all data is deleted from the device.
The Ledger Nano looks a lot slicker than its main competitor, the Trezor. It has a modern feel and is in the shape of a USB device. The packaging is very neat and minimal, much like how Apple package their products.
Setting up the Ledger Nano is simple. You plug the device into your computer via USB, navigate to the Ledger Nano URL page and commence the setup. You then configure a pin for your device, which you will write down somewhere safe.
You cannot use the device without a pin. After this, you will be given the 24-word recovery phrase. The setup process for the Ledger Nano is more intuitive and user-friendly than the Trezor, but not by a wide margin.
When installing applications, you will have to use the Chrome browser, which is not the case with the Trezor. The Ledger can support 5 different applications at once, and the Ledger Manager application is a prerequisite.
All transactions completed on the web wallet need to be approved on the Ledger Nano S. The Nano S is integrated with popular wallets such as MyEtherWallet, Electrum, CoPay, Bitgo, and GreenBits.
One of the Ledger Nano S’s biggest selling points is that it supports more cryptocurrencies than any other type of hardware wallet, by a large margin. It currently supports over 25 cryptocurrencies which are as follows:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ethereum ERC-20 Tokens
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Zcash (ZEC)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Dash (DASH)
- Stratis (STRAT)
- Komodo (KMD)
- Ark (ARK)
- Expanse (EXP)
- Ubiq (UBQ)
- Vertcoin (VTC)
- Viacoin (VIA)
- Neo (NEO)
- Stealthcoin (XST)
- Stellar (XLM)
- Hcash (HSR)
- Digibyte (DGB)
- Qtum (QTUM)
- PivX (PIVX)
One area where the Nano S may lose out to its competitor is that it does not provide the option to add another word onto the 24 word recovery phrase. This would add yet another layer of protection, as you could have a 24 word recovery phrase and also an additional phrase or password for each individual cryptocurrency. In this manner your cryptocurrency would be as foolproof as it could be.
While the general setup is more than enough for the vast majority of individuals, security experts and people holding extremely large amounts of cryptocurrency would appreciate this feature. The source code for the Ledger Nano S is open source, however the Nano has one or two proprietary chips on board meaning it is not 100% open source.
The Ledger Nano S has a metal casing which makes it more durable than the Trezor and other hardware wallets and its design and user interface are a little better.
It looks a little slicker and provides an improved user experience. It is small enough to fit into your pocket and take with you on the go.
Like the Trezor, the Ledger Nano has two buttons on it which need to be physically pressed in order to confirm transactions. This means there is no way for hackers to hack into your hardware device and confirm transactions. They need the actual device and the pin.
Related: read our full comparison of the Trezor vs Ledger Nano S
What is interesting about all hardware wallets is that you are still required to write down your pin and recovery seed somewhere safe. This is really the only point of failure, as somebody could find this recovery seed and then recover your wallet without your knowing.
The chances of this are very slim, as they would have to see where you put your passphrase and also know that you had written a recovery seed for a cryptocurrency wallet. Otherwise, they will just come across some random words written in a page.
To get hyper-secure you could use a simple form of human encryption like writing the words on different lines, upside down or in a different language. Just remember that you did it this way.
Ledger Nano S Conclusion
The Ledger Nano S retails a few dollars cheaper than the Trezor, but not enough to make a real difference. It is an excellent hardware wallet that looks better and provides an improved user experience than Trezor.
In terms of security Trezor is a little more secure and has been around a little longer, with more apps and integration with cryptocurrency payment processors and exchanges.
While the Ledger Nano S provides support for more cryptocurrencies, the wallets in the Nano S have to be switched to support more than 4 coins, which is very inconvenient. So really the battle between cryptocurrency support is a tie.
In the end, it really comes down to user preference and both are excellent hardware wallets. All in all, the Trezor might just edge it right now but the Ledger Nano S seems to be moving faster than Trezor in terms of implementing features. Things move quickly in the world of cryptocurrencies.
Last update on 2018-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API