Caring for and keeping your cryptocurrency investments safe has never been more important than it is today. Thankfully, there are many established organizations and startups that have provided the public with some great cryptocurrency storage options you can count on.
Why use a Hardware Wallet?
We went into detail about Hardware wallets in our Best Bitcoin Wallets article, basically – by choosing to use a hardware wallet you are adding an extra layer of safety to protect your cryptocurrencies in the event that your computer is compromised by a virus or malware which could steal your private keys by way of a key logger. They also protect you against scams such as fake websites which use “phishing” to try and take your private keys. With a hardware wallet, even you do not see your private keys, they are stored in the device and you gain access to your crypto wallets by using a pin that you set up and have to physically enter on to the device.
If your hardware wallet ever became damaged or lost, its easy to restore your wallets by way of a list of “seed words” which you create on setup of the device and write down on the cards provided. These seed words should be stored somewhere safe, away from the wallet and preferably in two locations as a means of extra redundancy.
If you have any sort of investment in cryptocurrencies, it makes sense to use a hardware wallet – they are by far the safest means we have at the moment of protecting your investments.
Getting to Know the Wallets
Both products are greatly respected by the cryptocurrency community for the security and peace of mind that they provide. It should be noted that they do not actually store the currencies themselves. Instead, Trezor and Ledger simply follow coin information on the blockchain, while the physical equipment acts as protection for private information and data that are used to access digital assets.
Trezor is essentially an offline bitcoin wallet designed to help users keep their cryptocurrency within arm’s reach and extremely secure. It operates as a very secure cold storage device, meaning it is always offline. However, it provides great flexibility and connectivity when the need to trade or exchange cryptocurrencies arises. It’s noted by many to be the most trusted and secure way to store bitcoins.
Ledger is a cryptocurrency hardware wallet that comes in the shape of a USB drive. It’s designed with robust safety features in mind and is excellent at storing digital assets and providing a safe way to execute digital payments. Ledger is compatible with any modern-day computer.
Take a look at our full review of the Ledger Nano if you need more details about this device.
Appearance of the Systems
Trezor devices are constructed out of plastic. By contrast, the Ledger USBs are made encased in stainless steel, providing for maximum damage resistance. While both are fairly resistant to damage, it is safe to say that Ledger’s stainless-steel body provides more safety in this regard. Plus, the Ledger looks way more stylish than the Trezor, and it’s also less clunky.
Both devices come with two buttons that are used to manage crypto wallet software. Each of the devices come with miniaturized USB ports and screens. It should be noted that Trezor’s screen is larger than the one that the Ledger sports. In addition to screen size, Trezors are larger than Ledgers; however, this does not necessarily have any impact on performance. Since both storage devices have their ups and downs regarding their physical appearance, it will be helpful to dig deeper and analyze the two even closer.
Whats in the Box ?
If you purchase one of these devices, you might be interested to find out what exactly you will receive with each one.
The Trezor comes in a small square box which has a safety seal on it so you can be sure the product hasn’t been tampered with. Inside you will find the device encased in black foam with a strap for hanging it up. Also includes a USB cable for connection to your computer, a user manual card, 2 recovery seed cards and a number of Trezor branded stickers ( although I’m not sure why you would want to use these to advertise the fact that you own one! ).
x2 Recovery Seed Cards
With the Ledger you will receive much the same, it includes a USB Cable for easily connecting it to your computer, a Key Chain and a Lanyard should you need to keep the device on your person and also instructions and a card for your seed words.
Using the Devices
Trezor is compatible with desktops and hand-held devices. It supports MacOS, Windows, and Linux, and it’s also compatible with all Android devices. To some interested users, this may be a huge plus. There are also Google Chrome extensions available for Trezor that will help with managing the gadget and the data placed in it.
The Trezor wallet interface is clean and well designed, it enables you to view transactions with send and receive tabs at the top. The only thing to note, is that you will see at the top left is a drop-down to switch between cryptocurrencies – I didn’t notice this at first and accidentally sent some Litecoin to a Bitcoin address. The probably was fixed though as they have an online tool for switching currencies between wallets.
The Ledger is compatible with MacOS, Linux, Windows, and even Chrome OS. However, it requires the use of Google Chrome or chromium to function properly; extension downloads are also required to use the Ledger.
The Ledger interface is again, very nicely designed and easy to use with all the information and tools you will need clearly labeled.
What I like about using these devices is the fact you can have most ( if not all ) your cryptocurrencies in one place and accessible from one screen – its a lot better than having several pieces of wallet software installed and having to use different ones to send and receive. The fact that both the interfaces for Trezor and Ledger are so clean and attractive to use is a big bonus – using one of these will make a big difference to the way you use and interact with your investments – it all feels more polished and user-friendly.
Cryptocurrency support is probably the most important factor in determining which gadget to use. Keep in mind that nothing is stopping you from using both if that is right for you.
Trezor can be used to hold a huge variety of digital coins and support for more digital coins is being added all the time. However, it should be noted that Trezor does not provide full support for certain cryptocurrencies due to hardware constraints.
List updated April 2018
Bitcoin Cash / Bcash (BCH)
Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
Ledger has full support for Bitcoins and Ethereum and other currencies through its Google Chrome extensions. The device can satisfy standard requirements of cryptocurrency users. At this time Ledger supports a lot more currencies than the Trezor, here is the up to date list as of April 2018.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
Ethereum Tokens (ERC-20)
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
An interesting thing to note when comparing the two devices is that Trezor is actually the first ever physical storage utility for Bitcoins. To keep things interesting, Ledger became the first physical storage utility with full support for Ethereum. Both devices constantly go through software updates and adding new functionality and coin support. Picking a device based on crypto support is quite challenging, which is why some users simply take advantage of both.
The setup process for both devices is quite similar. Trezor and Ledger require you to set up a pin code as an added security measure. If anybody steals your device, he or she will have quite a difficult time accessing it due to the pin code reinforcement. If someone makes more than three incorrect attempts, the device deletes all the data stored on it. Full support for recovery seeds is also implemented in the devices in case that occurs. As an added security measure, the devices show a user’s seed; however, it is never displayed on a computer screen. Therefore, scammers and thieves will be futile in their attempts at stealing your precious bitcoin wallet seed.
Most of the operations are controlled by the buttons placed on the Ledger and Trezor devices. The buttons can be used to scroll through menus or used to select items. Both devices make it impossible to access any data without connecting them to a computer via a flash drive connector and inputting the correct pin code.
Both devices can be used to send or receive coins, view all information and operations, and monitor on-screen transactions. It’s important to note that the cost of a Ledger device is around $60, while the cost of a Trezor device is closer to $100. Trezor has slightly better wallet software, even allowing transaction information to be synced with a DropBox account. There are options to create an endless amount of hidden accounts by password protecting a user’s seed. Trezor also has a password directory that is easily accessible.
Both devices cover a lot of cryptocurrencies with more being added all the time. The Ledger currently supports more currencies so you should check the list above to make sure your desired coin is covered.
If a wallet has been lost or corrupted, it can be recovered without having to connect the Ledger device to a PC. However, the firmware and integrated wallet software aren’t as advanced as Trezor’s. There is also no support for shrouded accounts, nor is there password administrator functionality implemented.
It’s quite difficult to designate the better device. Both will definitely give you their money’s worth. The price tag on each isn’t wildly different, either. Making a purchasing decision will ultimately boil down to which device supports the coins you own and beyond that personal preference over the look and design of the wallet and the software user interface.
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