Trezor: The Original Hardware Wallet
The world of cryptocurrency has been growing exponentially over the last few years. Namely, Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dash, and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) have been increasingly growing in popularity among those interested in digital currencies. Most Bitcoin users typically use the freely-available web and mobile wallets, but security scares have been resulting in the desire for a hardware wallet with more security measures such as private keys.
Created by Satoshi Labs, the Trezor wallet was the first hardware wallet on the market. Hardware wallets have distinct advantages over other types of wallet, which include online exchanges and desktop wallets.
This is because with hardware wallets your recovery seed is not exposed to the internet, and it is not even exposed to your local computer which could be infected with malware.
In order to send funds, hackers actually need access to your physical hardware wallet and the associated pin. When keeping your funds online you are vulnerable to a hacker or team of hackers anywhere in the world. It offers a number of advantages over traditional wallets and renders your private key safe from any kind of attack.
With a hardware wallet, you are vulnerable to a person in your immediate vicinity who knows how cryptocurrency works, knows what a recovery seed is, steals your device, and forces you at gunpoint to reveal your secret pin. In other words, it is extremely unlikely. And Trezor provides an extra layer of security to work around even this unlikely scenario.
The Trezor wallet came out in 2014 as the first hardware wallet, at the time supporting only Bitcoin. Trezor was created by a Czech startup called Satoshi Labs and the translations of “Trezor” in most Slavic languages means “Vault”. And this is essentially what it is, a secure vault to store your cryptocurrency.
The design of Trezor is similar to that of a vault, being quite dark and clunky, not sleek or modern like other hardware wallets with neater and more usable interfaces. Trezor is light and easy to carry around in your pocket.
This can be contrasted to the KeepKey, another hardware wallet based on Trezor’s code that is not portable. One commonly cited criticism of Trezor is that the screen is a little too small compared to its competitors, the KeepKey and the Ledger Nano S.
While not being the coolest or most modern piece of software, Trezor is quite easy and simple to use and set up. It is a “no frills attached” hardware wallet that is the most secure of all hardware wallets for a number of reasons.
Its plain design also means it is less likely to get stolen, essentially looking like a plastic block with a small screen.
But even if somebody did get their hands on your Trezor there is little they could do. The time to enter a pin doubles with every incorrect attempt.
This means that the Trezor is immune to brute force attacks. In the meantime, when you figure out that your Trezor is stolen you can just buy a new one and recover your cryptocurrency portfolio.
Even if you enter your pin on a computer that is infected with key-logging software, your pin will not be compromised because of the pin matrix designed by Trezor. Every time you use your Trezor you need to look at the placement of the shuffled numbers. Transactions need to be verified on the Trezor by physically pushing two buttons.
Trezor is the most secure wallet for a number of reasons. It has been around the longest and has the most community support along with the best track record.
It also has a passphrase support feature. This means that you can add an extra word onto your initial 24-word recovery seed.
You can have a unique passphrase to each individual cryptocurrency wallet on your device. So even if, by some miracle, hackers got access to your pin and device they would not be able to access the individual wallets.
The recovery seed stays the same, however, each account has a passcode. If you were held up by criminals, you could simply give them the password to the account with $50 worth of funds instead of the real wallet.
This is the primary advantage of the Trezor as opposed to the Ledger Nano; you can store multiple accounts for an extra layer of security. This passphrase is an optional expert feature for security professionals or those serious after protecting their portfolio. You could use the same Trezor to access dozens of different wallets.
All these security features mean that hackers don’t focus on hardware wallets in any case, as they would have such a tiny chance of success. Hackers will prefer to target the low-hanging fruit, using online exchanges and phishing scams as opposed to going after hardware “vaults” like Trezor.
The code for Trezor is also 100% open source, in comparison to its main competitor the Ledger Nano S, which has 2 proprietary chips where the source code has not been disclosed.
Trezor retails at $99 which is a standard price for a hardware wallet. There are some wallets coming out for $200 and above and all they offer is convenient extra features and neat user interfaces. In terms of security, Trezor is still the best there is.
Setting up the Trezor is easy and much the same as for other wallets. You will have to connect Trezor to your computer via USB and go to the Trezor URL.
You will then choose a pin which can be between 4-10 numbers in length. After this, you will be given a 24-hour recovery seed. Write the two of these down in secure locations. If you lose them, you lose your funds.
Trezor currently supports 15 cryptocurrencies (many sites claim it supports 10, however the official Trezor website lists 15). While the Nano S supports more cryptocurrencies, the device can only install 5 applications, which actually means you can only send and receive 4 cryptocurrencies at one time.
You have to install an application to work with every cryptocurrency. Trezor does not have this inconvenience, despite a smaller number of supported cryptocurrencies.
Trezor is the most secure wallet available primarily due to its multi-phrase support, but also because it has been around the longest. It also has the most support and is integrated with many services, including the Bitstamp exchange.
It is not the trendiest wallet available and for those looking for cool features and a fluid user experience then there are other options. For those who simply want an easy way to secure their cryptocurrency as much as possible, Trezor is the best.
Last update on 2018-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API