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Ledger has an impeccable reputation when it comes to bitcoin hardware wallets. They have two products and the Ledger Nano S is the more affordable of the two which is perfect for the novice cryptocurrency investor who is looking at not spending too much on an expensive hardware wallet. When it comes to quality, functionality and security this is comparable to Trezor’s Model One but with a more slick design.
In this review we will analyze the design, functionality, and most importantly the security.
What is the Ledger Nano S?
The Ledger Nano S was released in 2016 and has since sold over 1.5 million of these devices. This device is extremely compact and it can easily fit in your pocket which makes it perfect for traveling.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the device has an inscription which reads ‘vires in numeris’, this is Latin for ‘strength in numbers’. This is in reference to the cryptographic security contained in the device.
It has multiple security features and it is intuitive to use.
This device is an affordable option to keep security accessible for anyone who has cryptocurrency.
Ledger Nano S: First Impression
Nano S comes in a simple package and the box contains the device itself, 1 micro-USB cable, Lanyard for wearing device around neck, one keychain and key ring, and a recovery sheet for writing down the seed phrase.
The advantage of this device is how it does not stand out, from a distance most people would assume it is a simple USB stick.
Operating the Ledger Nano S
If you are a beginner and non-technical than you do not need to be worried. The instructions that are provided in the package are simple and guide you on how you can set-up the Ledger Nano S.
What you should always remember is to write down the recovery seed on the provided recovery sheet and save it in a safe place. I would recommend that wherever you save it, that you choose to save two backups of the recovery seed. I personally choose to backup both in electronic and paper form. This means you will need to scan the recovery sheet and save it in a secret folder on your computer and make sure that you do not name it with anything that is associated with bitcoin, Ledger or cryptocurrency. For those who are unaware, the recovery seed is what you need to access your funds in the scenario where the device is either damaged or lost.
Again, the entire process is simple, you connect the Nano S to your computer, access the Ledger website, and then install Ledger Live. From there you click on ‘Initialize a new Ledger device’, and you are on your way.
Ledger Nano S: Security Features
Ledger takes security seriously. They offer the CC EAL5+ Security. What this means:
CC: Stands for common criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation. This is based on an international standard (ISO/IEC 15408) for computer security certification. When it comes to a particular product, it must meet the base standards of the common criteria.
EAL: The Evaluation Assurance Level is a category ranking assigned to an IT product or system, after a Common Criteria security evaluation. The five levels of EAL are:
- EAL1 — functionally tested
- EAL2 — structurally tested
- EAL3 — methodically tested and checked
- EAL4 — methodically designed, tested and reviewed
- EAL5 — semi-formally designed and tested
Ledger ensures that all of their hardware wallets including the Nano S are fully-certified on the market certified by ANSSI, the French cybersecurity agency.
Another security element is the device does not arrive with pre-installed software– that’s installed during the set-up process. It is PIN-protected and allows you to label your device and customize the home screen to make it unique to you. You will install Ledger Live software during the sign-up process.
The Ledger Nano S is a great way to jump into the world of cryptocurrency without having to splurge for the higher priced Ledger Nano X or even it’s competitor the Trezor Model T. The safety of this device and the fact that it resembles a simple USB stick makes this this device a popular favorite for members of the cryptocurrency community. Nonetheless, we do recommend that sophisticated cryptocurrency investors consider the Ledger Nano X due to the additional features that are offered in this premium product.
Daniel is a big proponent of how blockchain will eventually disrupt big finance. He breathes technology and lives to try new gadgets.