3 Key Things to Look out for When Buying a Hardware Wallet

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3 Key Things to Look out for When Buying a Hardware Wallet

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Hardware wallets are cryptocurrency storage devices that secure your crypto holdings completely offline with your private key.

Hardware wallets are also known as cold wallets.

A hardware wallet only goes online when you want to initiate a transaction. This approach to crypto storage is for portability and maximum security.

You may be considering owning a hardware wallet to further secure all your digital assets.

Buying a Hardware Wallet

Asides from the brand, model, style, and other peripherals, there are 3 main things to look out for when buying a hardware wallet.

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Now, let’s get to it.

—1. Security;

—2. Platform support; and

—3. Digital asset support.

Ledger Nano S

1. Security

Security is the first thing to look out for when buying a hardware wallet.

Hardware wallet security

The overriding purpose of using a hardware wallet over online wallets or hot wallets is security, so this criterion should be taken seriously.

Whatever product you buy should satisfy the following sub-criteria:

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A. It must be resistant to getting infected by an infected computer

Your computer (phone, desktop, laptop, etc) may be infected without you know.

To avoid losing your digital assets, you must use only hardware wallets that can still keep your assets safe under such conditions.

This means that whatever wallet you’ll be using should have things like built-in buttons (or an on-screen keyboard).

B. It must have Grade-A data protection (Cryptography, etc)

Sensitive data about a user’s digital assets will be stored on their hardware wallet.

To prevent wrong persons from getting hold of these data, choose only hardware wallets that can excellently protect stored data. This implies the following:

— The hardware must be made up of secure hardware (especially the memory and permanent storage.)

— The hardware you choose must use only secure implementations of standard cryptographic systems.

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C. It must support secure communication with a computer

To authorize transactions on your cryptocurrency account, your computer will have to communicate with your hardware wallet; the communications must be secure (secret to possible spies).

Trezor one

D. It must support safe firmware update

Softwares are hardly perfect. They usually need to be updated. A zero-day vulnerability may be discovered, causing a hardware wallet to require an update.

Whatever hardware wallet you’ll buy must support firmware updates. It must support this update in a safe way.

Many hardware support firmware updates, but during the update, an attacker may replace the new software version with a counterfeit one.

E. It must be safe from counterfeiting

When hackers realize they can’t hack a hardware wallet, they sometimes resort to selling counterfeit hardware as genuine ones to people.

At times…

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— hackers buy genuine hardware wallets, modify them, repackage them, and sell them as genuine products.

— hackers create counterfeit products from scratch but sell them as genuine products.

Let’s see what unboxing a Ledger hardware wallet looks like.

Whatever product you’ll be buying must have a way of telling if a particular wallet is genuine or not.

SEE ALSO: Top 11 Best Cardano (ADA) Wallets for Staking & Storage

SEE ALSO: Best Hot and Cold Bitcoin Wallets

SEE ALSO: World Most Popular Hardware Wallet-Ledger Nano S and Nano X

For instance, Trezor’s products are ultrasound sealed. If a hacker opens up a Trezor product (for the sake of turning it into a counterfeit), it’ll be very difficult for them to put it back together; this way, it’ll be extremely difficult for hackers to sell counterfeit Trezor products.

Let’s see what unboxing a Trezor hardware wallet looks like.

F. It must have been reviewed by a credible security expert

There are times when hardware wallets meet all the criteria above but still have security issues.

To ensure that you don’t buy such wallets, only buy wallets that have passed auditions made by credible security experts.

SEE ALSO: Trezor One and Trezor Model T Bitcoin Hardware Wallets – Which is Better?

2. Platform Support

When buying a wallet, ensure that the wallet supports your platform(s). Elaborating, —

— If you’re a Windows user, ensure the wallet supports Windows or the standard web browsers.

— If you’re a macOS user, ensure the wallet supports macOS or the standard web browsers.

— If you’re a Linux user, ensure the wallet supports Linux or the standard web browsers.

— If you’re an Android user, ensure the wallet supports Android.

— If you’re an iOS user, ensure the wallet supports iOS.

Ensure the wallet supports your version of your platform.

For instance, if your phone runs Android 9, buying a wallet that supports only Android 10 and higher, maybe a bad idea.

3. Digital Asset Support

When buying a hardware wallet, ensure the wallet supports all major digital assets. If you buy wallets that support only a few or minor assets, you’ll likely frequently have to buy new hardware wallets.

Trezor Model T

Ledger Hardware Wallets
Ledger Hardware Wallets

Alternatively…

There are many hardware wallets; analyzing every one of them based on the 3 criteria above, will be very time-consuming; to save you from spending that time, I’ll recommend two excellent products: Ledger Nano X and Trezor Model T.

Ledger Nano X and Trezor Model T are both excellent: almost any cryptocurrency holder will find them suitable.

Ledger Nano X

Ledger Nano X is a product from Ledger SAS.

Ledger Nano X

The product is one of the most secure in the market. Its security excellence has been verified repeatedly by top security experts (individuals, groups, and firms) around the world.

Ledger Nano X supports all the major platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS).

Ledger Nano X supports over 1,500 digital assets, including all the major ones.

Trezor Model T

Trezor Model T is a product from SatoshiLabs.

Trezor Model T - 3 Key Things to Look out for When Buying a Hardware Wallet

The product is one of the most secure in the market. Its security excellence has been verified repeatedly by top security experts (individuals, groups, and firms) around the world.

Trezor Model T support 4 of the major platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android).

You may think this lack of iOS support makes it inferior to Ledger Nano X, but that’s only relatively true.

Trezor Model T also has aspects where it is better than Nano X.

Trezor Model T supports over 1,600 digital assets, including all the major ones.

Final Thoughts

With the surge in cryptocurrency prices, the value of your digital assets only keeps appreciating.

For better security and control of your cryptocurrency holdings, making some investments in a hardware wallet wouldn’t be a bad idea.

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