Bitcoin hardware wallets are a tamper-proof electronic device designed to store private keys of your coins in an offline setting. The private keys and digital signatures needed to spend bitcoins are generated via these wallets.
Best Bitcoin hardware wallets
Some of the core features of Ledger Nano S are the easy to use OLED interface, and a flash drive like feel with two buttons on the side for navigating the interface. It is a battery-less device which you can connect to a PC or mobile device via USB.
To start working, you should set a PIN code and create a recovery phrase. The Ledger Nano S also supports an advanced security mode (only for advanced users) to manage different sets of accounts, each protected with a different passphrase. This feature is also referred to sometimes called “Plausible deniability”.
“Plausible deniability” is a security feature that combats the risk of being threatened and/or forced to enter your PIN code. With this option, you can manage two PIN codes, unlocking two separate accounts:
- Your first PIN code provides access to your main wallet, like a basic account, with low amounts used for daily payments and small transactions.
- Second PIN code, linked to a specific passphrase you need to set up, opens an hidden account, to save large amounts, which will only be used occasionally. With this option, in case you are forced to recover a wallet from your 24-word backup, only the main wallet will be displayed, and the second account will remain hidden, as long as you don’t reveal the attached passphrase.
The Trezor Bitcoin hardware wallet pioneered the era of hardware wallets. Created by SatoshiLabs, it is the world’s first secure Bitcoin hardware wallet.
It looks like a small calculator with an OLED screen. To start working, you should set a PIN. A recovery seed key ensures security in case the device is lost or damaged.
Enabling the passphrase protection lets you hide your accounts by “building” an additional layer onto your seed. Unlike PIN, the passphrase is never stored on the device and your wallet becomes dependent on it. When you enable this feature, Trezor will ask you to enter the passphrase which will be then combined with your seed (12-word seed used to backup your Trezor) and a new, unique account will be created. While PIN provides effective protection for your device, you can think of the passphrase as an ultimate safeguard for your seed.
KeepKey is another hardware device available in the market for storing bitcoins.
Your private key is stored securely on your KeepKey, never leaving the device. Your KeepKey is PIN-protected, which renders it useless even if it falls into the wrong hands.
KeepKey’s large display gives clarity to every digital asset leaving the device. Each transaction must be manually approved using KeepKey’s confirmation button.
Once your private key is generated, you are given the one-time opportunity to write down a backup of your KeepKey in the form of a twelve-word recovery sentence.