Ledger, who manufactures ledger hardware wallets, have released their latest security device, the ledger blue. A bit of background: Hardware wallets differ to software wallets in one key way that is crucial, software wallets on your PC or phone load the private keys into memory when you decrypt your wallet, or store them unencrypted if your wallet has no passphrase. Malware can steal coins the moment you enter the password to your wallet.
A hardware wallet such as LEDGER and TREZOR close a significant security flaw, by signing bitcoin transactions within itself, never allowing the private keys to leave the secure element inside. You set the wallet up and are given a master seed which you write down, never stored on any machine. You can write down multiple copies if you wish. You set a 4-digit PIN to access the USB wallet, and the ledger application can be installed onto google chrome without system admin permissions, enabling use almost anywhere.
The LEDGER and TREZOR hardware wallets are also much safer than online wallets to store funds. Keep copies of your master seed safe and rest assured malware cannot touch your coins. The basic ledger wallet, the HW.1 is just under 20 euros. The ledger blue allows multiple wallets for different cryptocurrencies to be saved on it, and its’ screen acts as a second factor authentication so malware cannot change the address you are sending coins to on the clipboard without you noticing.
The secure element is EAL6+ approved, higher than many other smart cards, and in fact higher than many bank cards which are EAL5+ approved. The current price is high, 274.80 euro for the pre-order, which can be bought from ledgerwallet.com, but they along with TREZOR are leading in the security of hardware wallets. Black arrow also released their own hardware wallet, but with their reputation of swindling customers during their miner pre-order where they paid but were faced with severe delays in receiving hardware and no refunds, best to avoid hardware wallets from them.
If you handle more than a small amount of Bitcoin, a hardware wallet is a must for ultimate security, storing the seed safely is almost like the security of cold storage with the convenience of being able to plug it in and using it without sweeping or importing the private key of cold stored coins.
Pre-order the ledger blue if you would like a hardware wallet which supports multiple cryptocurrency wallets at once, but if you need something more basic for Bitcoin only at an easier price point, look no further than the LEDGER HW.1!