North Korea is experiencing hardship after the crypto crash wiped off millions from its stash of stolen digital assets. Reuters reported on June 29, citing four digital investigators. According to the investigators, the bear market threatens a key funding source for Pyongyang and its weapons programs. Allegedly, North Korea has invested heavily in sophisticated crypto hacking groups over the years. As a result, the country has become a significant threat, successfully orchestrating multiple high-profile attacks on the crypto space. An…
The annals of the crypto industry are flooded with numerous security breaches, which led to the loss of huge amounts of money. To mention but a few are cases of Mt. Gox, Coinrail, Cryptopia, etc. and these have all contributed to the slow mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. Storing private keys on online computers or interacting with websites are some of the routes through which hackers steal the funds of crypto users, hence the need to store private keys offline or in a cold state.
Crypto enthusiasts, on the other hand, have never given up on the quest to create blockchain solutions that would provide robust security for the funds of people. This led to the development of Cryptocurrency Hardware wallets that store private keys offline. This breaks any attempt of hackers having access to the funds of users from any remote area. Prominent among them are Ledger Nano X, KeepKey, Trezor, and Ellipal.
This review explores some of the unique features that make these hardware wallets secure and easy to use.
Ledger Nano X
Ledger is one of the pioneering companies in the development of hardware wallets since 2014. Their first product to hit the market was Ledger Nano S, which most people admired in the crypto-sphere. However, the company released a new model – the Ledger X, which improved security features, user interface, and user experience.
The Ledger X is portable and comes with an excellent metal case, ensuring its durability and longevity compared to other plastic casing hardware wallets. Also, a Bluetooth feature has been integrated into it to approve transactions of the wallet. The Bluetooth feature is to replace cable and PC ledger software applications used in approving transactions.
The Bluetooth feature works together with the Ledger Live application’s mobile version, ensuring that users can have access and use their funds wherever they are. The need to always connect to a computer before making transactions with the Ledger Nano S was bulky and made it vulnerable to be hacked (though never recorded).
The Ledger Company is one of the famous cryptocurrency producing wallets with high-grade security in all its products. To compound the series of features is an increased storage space of the hardware wallet to as high as hundred times that of the previous version. This makes it possible for users to install several other applications on it. The Ledger X also comes with a much broader screen to increase visibility as compare to the very narrow screen of the Ledger S. With all these improved features, the Ledger Nano X cost about $115 (VAT excluded) and supports over 1250 coins and tokens (mainly ERC-20 Tokens), whilst the Ledger Nano S costs $56, with same pricing conditions.
The Trezor wallet, a safe and secure vault for crypto enthusiasts to save their funds, has also stood the test of time in this industry since its development in August 2014. It is the first bitcoin hardware wallet to be developed into the crypto industry. It’s a key-sized device that stores the cryptocurrencies and private keys of users offline, disconnecting any security breach possibilities. The Trezor wallet has two models on the market: the Trezor One and Trezor Model T, the latest development. Security is a huge concern for the company. Hence, they have put several security measures to ensure that its users’ cryptocurrencies are stored safely beyond hackers’ reach. It supports over 1000 cryptocurrency coins and tokens but not as high as that of the Ledger Nano products. It comes with a rectangular shape screen accompanied by two buttons, which act more like a “Yes” or “No” button when manipulating the wallet. The wallet comes with only a PC version of its software application, making it function more like a vault than other wallets for daily transactions. The Trezor One and Trezor T models cost about $49 and $150, respectively.
Though developed a few months after Trezor and Ledger, Keepkey has seen much adoption, not necessarily by any unique features that it possesses. Compared to both the Ledger and Trezor, it is less expensive yet provides maximum security for its users’ funds. Darin Stanchfield founded Keepkey with Ken Hodler as his Chief Technology Officer. The company is headed in the US and was acquired by Shapeshift in August 2017.
This hardware wallet is a bit larger than Trezor and Ledger but still fits perfectly into its users’ pocket. It supports over 100 cryptocurrency coins and tokens but can support much more when connected to Myetherwallet. The wallet is designed with a simple user interface to make it easy for the average Joe in crypto to use.
One feature worth mentioning about Keepkey is the built-in cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to directly trade their cryptocurrency through the application without necessarily signing up on any exchange platform. KeepKey costs about $79, which is quite fair compared to the latest models of both the Ledger and Trezor.
Taking the development of a cryptocurrency hardware wallet to a new level is an Ellipal Air-Gapped wallet that makes sure that there is absolutely no connection between a hardware wallet and any online computer. Come to think of it, why do we say hardware wallets store private keys in a cold state, yet at some point in time, we need to connect them to online computers to execute transactions? I leave this question for readers to make their own decision. With this concept in mind, Ellipal sought to design a hardware wallet that is completely air-gapped and has no connection with computers to execute transactions. Though there has not been any recorded case of a security breach with hardware wallets connected with online computers, it is still a loophole that needs to be sealed off completely. The solution is the Ellipal Air-Gapped wallet. It comes in a substantial metal casing and a multi-touch screen to interact with ease compared with the smaller screen of most existing cryptocurrency wallets.
The Ellipal wallet has been designed to mimic a mammoth’s strength regarding how it secures its users’ funds. Designed in a secured wallet and implanted with an Anti-tampering feature that makes the wallet destroy itself if any attempts to open it up. It does this to protect the funds of its users. Its Air-Gapped feature comes as a result of the wallet has a barcode scanner at the back of the wallet, which scans the barcode text of transactions to make payment. This prevents making any transaction across any network, making it the only cryptocurrency wallet that stays cold forever in all its activities. Currently, Ellipal supports some major cryptocurrencies and ERC-20 tokens and is still expanding its cryptocurrency assets portfolio.
Ellipal wallet has also recently integrated Binance DEX, supporting all coins running on its chain and making transactions through Binance DEX. The Ellipal is quite expensive taking into it all the improved features which have been inculcated into it and go for $169.99
Hardware wallets are proven to be the best devices in storing large amounts of cryptocurrencies due to the nature of development. Most of them operate using Zero Trust Protocol or Limited Protocol that does not reveal the wallet’s private keys, even if interacting with malicious computers. They also come with a 12-24-word seed phrase and extra pin that users can set to provide extra security to their wallets. Renowned companies like Ledger, Trezor, Keepkey, Ellipal have led in developing hardware wallets for the crypto industry.
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