Over the past few years, awareness about Bitcoin, the decentralized and global currency, has significantly risen. Founded on the basis of a brand-new invention called blockchain, many consider it to be the most momentous invention after the internet, with people claiming that it could do the same to currency, what the internet previously did for information.
Needless to say, more and more people who are realizing the potential of the cryptocurrency, are purchasing Bitcoin in search of making a profit.
A quick look at how Bitcoin Hardware Wallets function
Hardware Bitcoin wallets offer most of the security that paper wallets offer. Although they are susceptible to physical stealing, they eliminate the procedure of needing to consign the private key in the format of wallet import to particular software which could be susceptible to online threats.
Hardware wallets generally come in two parts – they can either be a connected device or a disconnected one. The connected device grasps the public keys, performing all necessary jobs of an average wallet by selecting which dealings to sign. Nevertheless, it cannot sign it because the offline device has the private key.
The next step is to link the device with a USB port (this process might seem insecure to some) or by using a QR code. When the USB technique is implemented, the deal is directed to the offline device, which is now connected, signed and subsequently sent back to the wallet in order to be consumed into the global Bitcoin network and its countless number notes for confirmation and addition to the blockchain.
When the QR code procedure is used, the Bitcoin deal is collected by the software connected to the internet and the generation of a QR code happens. This code is at that point, scanned by the device which is offline, which then produces a signed transaction QR code. This subsequently gets scanned back into the software connected online and is then sent to the Bitcoin network for confirmation.
The Best Bitcoin Hardware Wallets
Not only BTC, other cryptocurrencies like Ripple, Ethereum, LiteCoin Dash, etc., can also be stored in a Hardware wallet, keeping all of the user’s money safe and protected in one place. Hardware wallets boast a great track-record as there has been no recorded event of a hack or currency theft on any Hardware wallet. The four-digit pin offers inherent security and exclusive freedom of spending of owned cryptocurrency to the owner of the wallet. Here are the best Hardware wallets in the market at the moment:
Ledger Nano S
This is a highly smooth, strong, safe and affordable Hardware wallet in the market, by far one of the most low-priced Hardware wallets that are available in the market in the price range of $68.
It is a multicurrency wallet made on a smartcard device and it is very light in weight. It needs to be connected to a USB port directly so as to manage the user’s account, safeguard Bitcoins, making secure payments.
The Ledger Nano S boasts of a variety of advanced features too.
Usable on any computer, regardless of the OS, it works perfectly with Mac or Linux machines and it is also companionable with Google Chrome on Windows 7-10, Mac 10.8+ and Linux. The small-sized device comes with free updates. The Ledger Nano S puts to use normal USB ports and can also be utilized through a cellular device with a USB adapter. The management interface or the MI is an app for Google Chrome, easy to use and learn.
The functioning of the Nano S is simple yet impressive. The Bitcoins owned by the user are kept secure with the use of a microchip and a PIN code. The dealings are confirmed with the use of an additional factor to gratify anti-malware significances.
The Ledger Nano S is wholly safe from malware. The user can validate payments even on compromised machines, putting to use the two-factor security card or with notifications on the mobile phone. This is an extraordinary and particularly prominent ability of the Ledger Nano S, allowing the device to be operated in situations where a user would find it difficult to use other hardware wallets.
The Nano S is designed through a technique which ensures that all sensitive Bitcoin actions are done inside the protected component integrated on the microchip. Correspondingly, the Bitcoin private keys are in no occasion held by the Ledger or by any third-party as they are solidly sealed inside the user’s smartcard device. This feature of the Nano S gives the user an assurance that no software, app, or hacker can ever gain access to the private keys in any way. The user’s account can be reinstated from a backup in case a Nano S gets lost or stolen. This feature helps in making the experience of using the Nano S practically free from any concerns.
Since a PIN is required, even when a Nano S is physically stolen, very little can be done by a hacker trying to crack it. Alongside Bitcoin, the device lets the user store nine other major cryptocurrencies (Ripple, Dash, etc.)
Trezor is a protected transaction signing and storage tool for Bitcoins considered to be one of the leading hardware wallet solutions in the market, prominent for the advanced security options that accompany it. This Bitcoin wallet supports Windows 7-10, OS – 10.8+ and Linux. The security features are very strong with every Trezor device having a distinctive PIN code. So, even if the computer on which the user has used his or her Trezor gets hacked into, the distinctive PIN can never fall into the hands of the hacker as only the owner has access to it.
The production of private keys takes place on the Trezor making the keys unable to leave the device. This in turn again delivers ample assurance that no foreign party can ever have access to the private keys of a Trezor (except for authorized parties). The Trezor device creates a retrieval seed at the very moment of device initialization. This retrieval or recovery seed helps in recovering all material including private keys and the complete history of transactions in case an owner loses his or her Trezor, making theft or loss of a device, nothing of disastrous damage to the user.
When a user wishes to conduct a deal, the software just directs a transaction template to the Trezor, requesting for a digital signature. The Trezor then displays the specific amount that has been asked for and the address where the amount has to be sent. The user can then proceed and validate the action by just clicking the correct button on the hardware.
Trezor functions similar to a Ledger Nano S. Both produce a twenty-four-word phrase which can be put to use in case the private key is lost and needs to be recovered. The cost of a Trezor is about $99, making it pricier than Ledger.
Together with BTC, the Trezor device also supports seven other cryptocurrencies, including ETHC, ETH, DASH, XRP, and others.
KeepKey is a hardware wallet device founded on a USB interface. The manner in which the KeepKey is designed is unique because when a user is configuring or using it, he or she will be required to assess and approve each and every Bitcoin transaction which will be made to undergo the authorization and exhibition facility it delivers.
A highly useful characteristic of the KeepKey is that it collaborates with any prevailing wallet software by taking the duty of managing a private key generation, deal signing and private key storing.
Its retrieval process works in a remarkable way where a spinning cipher is used to reinstate a retrieval seed. This feature implies that private keys are not required to be stockpiled on KeepKey.
The hardware wallet generates a private key with the help of its random number generator, an inherent feature combined with the chance factors from the user’s computer, a feature that lends additional power to the randomness of the key’s features owing to the use of two different sources.
The big screen of the device makes it easy for the user to navigate and check out the Wallet Address, although many have complained that the size of the screen is not that much of a helpful feature. KeepKey, like other hardware wallets, previously discussed, boasts a Seed Key and Private Key.
A feature of KeepKey critics often attack is its lack of complete cryptocurrency support. Offering support for only six currencies, way lesser than its competitors, it can be purchased for a cost of $99.
OpenDime is the first so-called ‘Bitcoin Bearer Bond’ or what is commonly referred to as a ‘Bitcoin Stick’. Size-wise, it is a very small USB stick that lets the user spend Bitcoin in a way that normal dollar bills are spent.
The device can be passed along several times. It can be connected to any USB port in case the user needs to check his or her balance. It can also be unsealed at all times if the user wishes to spend BTC online.
The device comes in a mini USB shape, and setting it up is amazingly speedy and simple. The user just has to plug his or her OpenDime into a USB port, after which the device acts just like any normal USB drive. With a little amount of storage, in the hardware wallet’s folder, a web page can be found which is to be opened in the user’s browser.
There is just one basic instruction to follow, which asks to drop a file onto the drive. Once that instruction is followed, the OpenDime automatically creates an exclusive address for the user to accept Bitcoin with.
Made in Switzerland by Bitcoin Core creator Jonas Schnelli, Digital Bitbox Hardware Wallet is a protected hardware RNG & key storage that uses the crypto element of a 50-year expiration period along with an epoxy-filled case.
Unlike its peer Trezor, the device offers offline backup and retrieval of BIP-32 seed with a micro-SD card instead of BIP-39 lines inscribed on paper as in Trezor. The device also offers a native software wallet client and it is also able to put to use a smartphone to authenticate transaction information.
Coming in the price range of $69.99, the hardware wallet physically appears a bit more like a normal flash-drive compared to its counterparts. It also gives the user the option to have a secondary password which can be used to mask his or her balance in the main addresses.
This hardware wallet is ideal for technology buffs that stress on the need for having optimum security since all factors are open-sourced, and can be confirmed for security as per the will of the user. In spite of the device’s minimalist design, the wallet offers great functionality.
Need for Hardware Wallets
Most people, who purchase Bitcoin online, keep their owned BTC online as well.
However, storage of Bitcoins on a Bitcoin wallet that is online and linked in more than one way to the Internet, more commonly known as a, ‘Hot wallet’, for a long period of time can be a cause of apprehension for most users. This is because there is always a major chance of losing the stored Bitcoins to an attack by hackers.
Exploiting the ‘always connected to the internet’ feature of Hot Wallets, hackers see it as an easy opportunity to breach these wallets, leaving no trace of their crime, earning some ‘easy BTC’ in the process.
In order to keep owned Bitcoins safe and secure, going for Bitcoin Paper Wallets or Hardware Wallets is the smartest thing a BTC owner could do.
Unlike Online wallets, these are Cold wallets where the ‘keys to the wallet’ or the Seed is owned only by the owner of the Bitcoins and it is not present just on any server. If Bitcoin is to be accepted widely as a mainstream currency, there needs to be an increase in the awareness and usage of these by-products of the cryptocurrency phenomenon.
The above-mentioned Hardware wallets are the best in the market.
Buying one of these is paramount for a BTC or other cryptocurrency enthusiast.