The 5 Best Crypto and Bitcoin Hardware Wallets of 2019 Reviewed.
In today’s article we will be talking about the best crypto and bitcoin hardware wallets to safely store your digital assets. While there are a number of crypto hardware wallet companies out there in the market, the 2 that have really stood out in the community is Trezor and Ledger.
Trezor - The Original Pioneers of the Hardware Wallet Industry
Trezor is the pioneer of the entire hardware wallet industry releasing the world’s first hardware wallet the Trezor One in a kickstarter crowdfunding campaign back in 2013. Trezor is currently lead by cypherpunks and original crypto pioneers, Marek Palatinus and Pavol Rusnak based in the Czech Republic.
One thing we love about Trezor is that they are first and foremost a community backed venture, it is a product that was funded by the community, built by the community, and for the community. This led them to make their source code for the Trezor platform entirely open sourced, all the components that store and manage the private keys to your cryptocurrencies and digital identities are transparent; any developer can read and verify for you what the device does on their GitHub. How Trezor operates is in the true spirit of the crypto industry, where openness, trust and community collaboration is celebrated. These exact values were what built bitcoin and the industry from literally nothing to what it is now.
To date there are 3 products that fully run on the Trezor infrastructure, the Corazon, Trezor Model T and the Trezor One which we will be going through in more detail.
Trezor Model T - The Gold Standard
The Trezor Model T was released back in 2017 and is Trezor’s flagship product. It was designed as a single-purpose computer designed to keep your funds safe, fits in your pocket and connects to you computer via a USB cable.
Prominent features of the Trezor Model T:
1. Large colour touch screen
The Trezor Model T has a LCD touchscreen (240x240 pixels) which provides enough space to display transaction details comfortably, requests for confirmation, warnings, and even simple images. The screen is an essential tool allowing the user to reliably check the legitimacy of entered data with no need to trust the host device(computer/phone).
The touchscreen also gives the user the ultimate control of the device. The necessity of physical confirmation has been implemented to protect the accounts from the vast majority of remote attacks. Using the touchscreen is the only way to unlock the device, enter the PIN, recover the existing wallet, and to confirm any other action.
As such, even though it’s just a screen it provides major security enhancements.
2. Easy to use
Trezor Model T uses the standard and battle-tested Trezor Wallet, the web interface, which is easy to use even for someone new to crypto. Select the desired cryptocurrency in the left-hand menu, and you are ready to go. The user experience is very smooth and secure. It requires the user to confirm each outgoing transaction or address generation directly on the device. This means that you do not have to trust the computer you are connected to.
Watch a video on how to set up your Trezor wallet.
3. It’s not just a crypto wallet
The Model T comes with a batch of handy and easy to use additional features such as In-wallet Exchanges, Password Manager, Two-factor authentication capabilities, and even a direct fiat-to-crypto Buy feature. You can buy and exchange cryptocurrencies, manage your digital identities, and keep your passwords accessible and safely stored — all within the Model T’s interface.
4. Excellent customer service
The Trezor customer support team is well-known for being one of the best teams in the business. With a customer satisfaction rating of over 91%, support available 7 days a week, and highly skilled and knowledgeable advisors, they are always there to help you.
Corazon - A Collaboration by GRAY® and Trezor
The Corazon is a collaboration between the Trezor and GRAY® families designed to create something exclusive and truly unique for the higher end of the crypto market. These hardware wallets are built upon the same software and electronics of the Trezor Model T and housed in an aerospace grade titanium case CNC machined and assembled by GRAY®. Therefore, apart from its exterior housing, how the Corazon works is exactly how a Trezor Model T works and has all the benefits as listed above. As such, let’s talk about the differences in its exterior casing and how it improves the device.
Prominent features of the Corazon:
1. Better materials and durability
The Corazon’s exterior case is CNC machined from a solid block of aerospace grade titanium (Grade 5, 6Al4V to be exact) while each case takes up to 12 hours to machine by GRAY® 's most experienced engineers. Apart from the Corazon titanium, it also comes in a stealth and gold finish, limited to 500 and 100 pieces worldwide respectively. The stealth and gold finishes are made from base material titanium and coated in a process called PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition), this coating is known to be the most durable coating possible on titanium and is popularly used in the luxury watch industry. As such expect the Corazon to be the most durable hardware wallet you will ever have, it would probably survive after being run over by a car.
2. Enhanced hardware security
The Corazon features an anti-tamper proof design incorporating the use of hooks and latches, once the titanium cases have been snap fitted onto the electronic components, it is not removable anymore without someone seriously damaging the outer shell, in which case you would know that it has been tampered with. This method of assembly is actually very costly for GRAY® as any unit that has not been perfectly assembled has to be discarded.
Another unique security improvement would be the Corazon’s mechanically textured surface which serves as an anti-cloning fingerprint or a mechanical hologram. This texture is the result of specially engineered cutting tools and a uniquely program CNC machine tool path that GRAY® can identify adding an additional layer of security to the device.
3. Exclusive with a futuristic design
In terms of design, the Corazon looks like a telecommunication device right from the future. Cutting ridges break the profile of the Corazon, creating an angular design inspired by the aerodynamic shape of hypersonic planes and spaceships. GRAY® 's mission is to envision the future and to engineer it for the present, as such the design of the Corazon is unlike anything the crypto industry has ever seen.
For a more detailed comparison of both the Trezor Model T, you can check out this article here.
Trezor One - Affordable and The OG Wallet.
Trezor One, when compared to the premium Trezor Model T, is simpler and more affordable, but with the full level of security you need to secure your cryptocurrencies . It brings crypto safety the masses and it is also a suitable entry point for cryptocurrency beginners.
A few differences between the two:
1. Screen Display.
The Trezor One has a small screen, two buttons instead of the LCD touch screen of the Model T. This means you would have to do your PIN entry, Passphrase Entry, and Device Recovery by typing on your computer or mobile phone, although Trezor has made such that the process is still secure. This is in contrast to the Trezor Model T/Corazon, where you can input commands on the device itself.
The Trezor One comes at a price at 69 EUR’s while the Model T comes at a price of 149 EUR’s. You would have to decide whether the Trezor Model T’s extra features are worth the price difference, in our opinion it does.
3. Difference in features
The Trezor Model T has some additional hardware features such as an additional slot for a MicroSD, this would mean that you can store your passwords on Password Manager directly onto the card with the Model T, while with the One you would have to store it on the cloud. The MicroSD will also allow the Trezor Model T to have data and file encryption directly on the device that the One will not have.
Ledger - The Security Professionals
Ledger was the second company to come into the crypto hardware wallet game back in 2014, they were started by a team of eight experts with complementary backgrounds in embedded security, cryptocurrencies and entrepreneurship, united around the idea of creating secure solutions for blockchain applications. To date they have sold an impressive 1.5 million hardware wallets around the world with their most popular models being the Ledger Nano S and the Ledger Nano X. Apart from creating hardware wallets, they have also ventured into crypto security for financial institutions with Ledger Vault which is a multi-authorization cryptocurrency wallet management solution enabling financial institutions to build digital asset operations at speed and scale.
Ledger Nano X - Ultimate Mobility
The Ledger Nano X is Ledger’s flagship product and was just recently introduced in 2019, it features a bluetooth capabilities allowing you to manage secure transactions, install and uninstall apps, and check their real-time balances on the go on the compatible Ledger Live mobile app.
Prominent features of the Ledger Nano X:
1. Ultimate mobility with Bluetooth capabilities
The Ledger Nano X’s new bluetooth capabilities will essentially allow you to use your crypto wallet wherever you are as long as you have either your phone or laptop with you. While this is convenient, there have been some concerns from security experts that having bluetooth capabilities increases the surface vector of attack from a hacker. However, Ledger has in place security measures to prevent this from happening and has yet to been hacked. So it still remains to be seen whether a bluetooth capability will make it more prone to be hacked.
This is in contrast to Trezor’s security model, where they try to make the Trezor a single purpose computer with a simple USB connection to your computer and try to remove as many unnecessary features as possible intentionally to increase the security of the device.
Furthermore for crypto enthusiasts, they usually have both mobile app wallets and a hardware wallet, where they store some ‘loose’ change on their mobile app for ease of daily transactions and store their main funds on their hardware wallet which they keep at home. We find the Ledger Nano X in a weird position in how a customer would use it, as you probably won’t want to make a huge transaction on the go but would rather do it from a place of safety in which you wouldn’t need a bluetooth capability.
2. Increased storage for your crypto’s compared to the Nano S
The Ledger Nano X can store up to 100 crypto assets, which is six times more capacity than the Ledger Nano S, and includes an improved interface with a larger screen. 100 crypto assets will probably be more than you would ever need at a single time in your crypto journey, so that will be beneficial for the users.
3. In built Secure Element.
Ledger hardware wallets make use of a specialized secure chip called a Secure Element. These chips provide the highest level of security for a chip, and are much stronger than traditional chips. Secure Elements are used for high-end security solutions such as credit cards and passports. The top-left black square seen inside this Ledger Nano S is what a Secure Element looks like.
Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S is Ledger’s most popular crypto wallet. They have to date sold 1.4million of these units around the world.
Here are some of its features:
1. Simple design
The device is controlled by only 2 buttons, and all actions can be verified on its screen. The Ledger Live companion app enables you to easily manage your crypto transactions.
2. Affordable price
At only around 73 USD, the Nano S is the most affordable wallet in the market and is a great starter device for people new to the space.
3. Insufficient storage space
One problem with the Ledger Nano S is that it has very limited storage space and as such can sometimes only hold 3 apps at the same time, which means you can only conveniently access 3 cryptocurrencies at the same time on the device. Although Ledger’s software is able to support more than 1000’s of cryptocurrencies, you can only have ~3 apps which we believe is not very convenient for users especially for those who like to hold multiple altcoins.
Now so which wallet should you go for?
1. A beginner with a low budget
As a beginner with a budget we would recommend going for the Trezor One as it is affordable at 69 EUR’s, has the storage capacity to store many cryptocurrencies and the Trezor Wallet interface is very easy to use.
We recommend paying a bit more for the Trezor One as compared the Ledger Nano S to have the convenience of being able to conveniently store more than ~3 cryptocurrencies at the same time.
2. A crypto and security enthusiast
As a crypto enthusiast who has been trading and holding some cryptocurrencies for awhile, the Trezor Model T and the Ledger Nano X would be the best choice for you. The Model T in addition to being a crypto hardware wallet has additional features such as In-wallet Exchanges, Password Manager, Two-factor authentication capabilities, and even a direct fiat-to-crypto Buy feature.
The Ledger Nano X on the other hand has bluetooth capabilities allowing you to manage secure transactions, install and uninstall apps, and check their real-time balances on the go on the compatible Ledger Live mobile app making it very convenient to use.
To decide between the both, you would have to ask yourself whether you believe and trust in the open source (Trezor) or a closed source (Ledger) security approach more. Both have its pros and cons, although both have been shown to be very reliable through the years.
3. A Whale
If your portfolio fluctuates in more than 4 digits a day, and you are currently trying your very best to figure out how to take your lambo to the moon with you, the Corazon is the definite choice for you. Built upon the Trezor Model T with a design and materials inspired by spaceships of the future. The Corazon has all the benefits of the Trezor Model T and more, making it the ultimate collector’s item for those who have made their wealth in the crypto industry.
The GRAY® brand, founded and based in Singapore, owes much of its distinctive character to the city that they call home. Inspired by the technologically advanced city-state, GRAY® was born to be the periscope into the future, to inspire those who will shape it. Rebels at heart, GRAY® 's designs have no history as their heritage is the future, their creations are daring experiments in mechanical artistry, engineered with the most advanced technical materials possible. To date they have created the most exclusive and luxurious tech accessories for the iPhone, Samsung & Macbook, cryptocurrency hardware wallets, and a range of daily accessories such as writing instruments and card wallets. They have been featured prominently on Business Insider, The Verge, Bitcoin.com, Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, Unbox Therapy and many more publications.