A 6 Minute Read
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##Bitcoin: Effortless to Use, Effortless to Lose
When browsing Reddit’s /r/sorryforyourloss, it doesn’t take long to get a uneasy feeling te your belly about the security of your precious bitcoin. The subreddit, which features numerous stories of people losing their bitcoin te just spil many different ways, is meant to “showcase the top minds of bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies) failing to secure their precious internet money properly” with the ultimate objective of inspiring people to reassess and up their defenses.
Of course, there is no shortage of methods through which you could lose your bitcoins, but the most popular tend to be forgotten passwords, lost wallet files, hacked computers, and compromised exchanges. Compromised exchanges present a relatively effortless problem to solve: don’t keep your bitcoin on an exchange, and instead use your own keys. Lost wallet files and forgotten passwords are also relatively straightforward: use a wallet that permits you to write down a recovery seed, like Electrum, and store this te numerous secure locations. Hacked computers, however, are a trickier brute.
The way that many defend themselves against a compromised system is to use offline operating systems booted from USB rams with other USB slams being used to transfer transaction files to and from online computers. I’ve done this for several years, and while it offers an adequate level of security, it also makes actually using your bitcoin a long and inconvenient ritual, to the point that if you’re like mij you’ll grab for your credit card before bothering to access your bitcoin.
##Hardware Wallets to the Rescue
Fortunately, hardware wallets effectively solve this problem. Te brief, they consist of a physical device that typically interfaces with a wallet application on your rekentuig through USB, and permit you to securely hold and spend bitcoin without worrying about your rekentuig being compromised. They do this by using a lil’ on-board pc that is specifically designed to securely hold bitcoin keys and use them for signing transactions. This way, the actual keys that unlock your bitcoin never actually touch your laptop, and theoretically cannot be stolen by malware.
Moreover, well designed hardware wallets will have a display on them that will visually vertoning the address that your bitcoin will be sent to when performing a transaction, spil well spil the amount that is being sent. What this prevents is malware switching the destination address and amount behind the scenes before your transaction is sent from your wallet application to the hardware device, thus, if the address or amount listed on the hardware’s display differ from what you typed into your wallet application, you know you’ve bot attacked and can cancel the transaction before it is sent.
Of course, all of this relies on being able to physically secure the hardware wallet. Fortunately, wij are much better with physical security than wij are with digital security. We’re far more used to securely storing paper documents and physical keys than wij are with securely storing digital files that can be copied, moved, and stolen without our skill. Most hardware wallets will require a Speld to unlock spil well, so that if someone does manage to steal your physical device, they won’t be able to use it without the Speld. Eventually, hardware wallets (should) always provide you with some sort of recovery key that you can write down and store ter a secure location, such that if you lose your wallet you can still recover your bitcoin.
With all of thesis advantages of hardware wallets te mind, te late 2018 I determined to purchase a Ledger Nano S, Ledger’s newest bitcoin hardware wallet (my Amazon affiliate listig).
##Ledger Nano S Review
Very first of all, I feel compelled to say that I have never attempted a Trezor or Keepkey, or any other contesting hardware wallet for that matter. Therefore, I won’t be touching too much on either of those products spil I haven’t actually used them. I also am not qualified to comment te detail on the technical security of the device (albeit, I have not read anything about its security that wasn’t positive). My perspective ter this review is spil someone who long held bitcoin using cumbersome security practices, and yet still never fairly felt secure. From that perspective, I voorwaarde say that the Nano S has bot worth every satoshi.
The Nano S comes spil the successor to the Ledger Nano, with three notable improvements being the addition of a display on the device, the addition of physical buttons on the device, and the capability for the Nano S to generate its keys on the device itself (the older Nano required you to boot an offline rekentuig for initial setup). Of course, with thesis improvements comes a higher price, $81CAD specifically, which is almost dual that of the original Nano. With that said, this still rings te lower than the Trezor or Keepkey, which emerge at about $10-20 more.
The Nano S also features numerous apps that are isolated from one another. Thesis include wallet apps for other cryptocurrencies, like Dash and Ethereum, spil well spil an SSH/PGP client and a FIDO U2F client (more on the importance of U2F can be found here). Spil well, more apps will likely be added ter the future, so it is nice to know that your purchase might just grow ter potential use-value.
Ter terms of physical construction, the Nano S feels rough enough, but I can’t help but wish that it felt more solid given that its target audience is likely to hold at least a thousand dollars on it. Again, unless you’re treating it terribly I doubt that it would pauze, but I also wish that my heart wouldn’t skip a strike if I dropped it on concrete. Nevertheless, it is very klein and lightweight, and will lightly getraind on your key-chain if you desire to carry it with you (spil I do).
Using the device is straightforward. Upon plugging the device into your rekentuig, the screen will power on and you’ll go through a elementary initialization process, which will include setting a Speld and backing up your seed on the included recovery sheet. Make sure to keep this recovery sheet te a safe place, and consider making a copy te another location. If you lose your Nano S and the seed, you’ll lose all your bitcoin. You can also set the Speld to commence from random numbers, so that if someone listens to how many times you click up or down to type ter your Speld, it will be different every time.
Pressing either button at the top will cycle through various menukaart options, while pressing both at the same time will select whatever is presently highlighted. I originally thought that this would be fairly cumbersome, but it turned out to be utterly usable. Te fact, getting ter and out of each app/setting/spijskaart uncommonly takes more than a few clicks.
Speaking of which, to use the bitcoin wallet, all you need to do is install and open the Chrome app that Ledger refers to on its webstek, butt-plug te and unlock your Nano S, and then come in the bitcoin wallet app on the device. If for some reason you don’t want to use Ledger’s own wallet app, you can also use a multiplicity of others, including Electrum. Personally, I find Ledger’s wallet app flawlessly functional and aesthetically pleasing, and love that you can lightly manage numerous ‘accounts’ ter the same window.
While the U2F authenticator is preloaded onto the Nano S, if you want to install other apps or upgrade the firmware on the device, you’ll need the Ledger Manager, which you will also find on their webstek. Note that you will need to enable the developer options if you wish to install the PGP/SSH app.
The only kwestie that I ran into is that it lacks instruction for use on Linux devices. Primarily, my Nano S wouldn’t communicate with the Chrome wallet app, but a bit of Googling exposed that there are several udev rules that need to be added. It would have bot nice to have this mentioned te the opbergruimte. Another minor voorwerp worth mentioning is that if you everzwijn perform a firmware upgrade, you will wipe the entire device and should make adequate preparations. I wouldn’t count this spil a point against the Nano S, however, it is just something to be aware of.
So, would I recommend the Ledger Nano S? Yes. Te fact, I’d suggest that if you getraind within the same perspective spil I had (that is spil someone who long held bitcoin using cumbersome security practices and yet still never fairly felt secure), and if you have at least one bitcoin, then I’d urge you to buy one instantly. The Nano S is secure (so I hear), exceptionally effortless to use (while still remaining functional), supports numerous apps (with more coming), can be used spil a U2F authenticator (which is $25CAD on its own), and, most importantly, just makes life with bitcoin better.
Of course, if you want to support mij you can buy a Ledger Nano S using my Amazon affiliate listig. Disclaimer: I fully paid for the product myself, and might make a few dollars from thesis affiliate referrals. With that said, te no way has that uitzicht altered my review, and I strongly encourage you to check out numerous reviews before making your purchase.
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