Everything You Need to Know About The Ledger Nano S
Cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity by the day. However, hackers, malware, and other security breaches constantly threaten users of these emerging currencies. In the realm of cryptocurrency, the responsibility of protecting your assets falls solely on you. Unlike traditional currencies, which can be stored in a bank and insured, cryptocurrencies are uniquely vulnerable and require the user to protect their own assets. Luckily, there are hardware “wallets” that keep your currencies safe and offline, providing safeguards against hackers and malware. In this series, we will compare these products for you.
Ledger Wallet, the French cryptocurrency wallet maker, has two signature products. In this piece, we’ll cover their portable option, the Ledger Nano S.
Ledger Nano S
A portable safe haven for your Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more
The Ledger Nano S is a portable hardware wallet for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Altcoins, and other cryptocurrencies. It can hold multiple currencies on one device, allowing you to manage many accounts all in one secure wallet.
The Ledger Nano S allows you to send and receive payments, manage your accounts, and oversee various addresses. Ledger Nano S supports the FIDO® Universal Second Factor standard, making the authentication process streamlined and easy to use with compatible online services like Dropbox, Gmail, Dashlane or GitHub.
Based on a dual chip architecture (ST31/STM32, Certification level: CC EAL5+), the firmware integrity of the Ledger Nano S is guaranteed by cryptographic attestation.
How the Nano S keeps your currency safe
State of the art technology: The Ledger Nano S uses state-of-the-art security to isolate sensitive operations inside of your hardware wallet. Confidential information and other secrets are never exposed, keeping them safe from potential malicious forces.
Direct storage on the device: All of your data is stored directly on the device, so even if you connect the Nano S to a computer with bitcoin stealing viruses, you can safely make transactions from that computer through the Nano S, without falling victim to theft.
Private keys are locked inside the device’s secure element, so they are never shared with Ledger or any third party, keeping them safe from hacking. Configuration, restoration, and initialization of your device are also done on the secure environment, to ensure that your assets are protected from malware.
Pin Code and physical verification: By requiring a four-digit PIN code each time the device is connected to a computer, and physical verification for each transaction via a button located on the side of the device, the Nano S ensures your transactions cannot be tampered with, empowering you to confidently be your own bank.
Restoration to compatible wallets: In the event that you lose access to your account, the Ledger Nano S features easy restoration on compatible wallets or any other Ledger device and accounts are backed up to a recovery sheet.
Convenient wallet interfaces and cryptocurrency companion apps
The Ledger Nano S runs dedicated companion applications to allow you to securely manage your cryptocurrency accounts. While new apps are added as more cryptocurrencies emerge, at this moment, the Ledger Nano S works with: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Fide U2F, DogeCoin, ZCash, Dash, Stratis, SSH, GPG, Ripple, Hello, Bitcoin Cash, Komodo, and Ethereum Classic.
The Ledger Nano S operates with its own cryptocurrency wallet interfaces on your computer as well, through free Google Chrome applications called “Ledger Apps,” such as: Ledger Wallet Bitcoin, Ledger Wallet Ethereum, and Ledger Wallet Ripple.
You can also use other compatible software wallets, including Copay, Electrum, Mycelium, MyEtherWallet, GreenBits, Bitgo.
How to operate your Nano S
The Ledger Nano S easily connects to any computer’s USB port via a micro-usb outlet on the end of the device. Your device has two buttons on the side, which you use to toggle and select options on the OLED display.
There are helpful walkthrough videos on Ledger Wallet’s website that guide you step-by-step through setting up, using, and resetting your device (if necessary). Here’s a brief overview of how it works. The controls on this device are fairly intuitive.
To configure a new device, you press both buttons. That will activate the display. As you set up your device, the left and right buttons are used to navigate, and pressing both buttons at the same time validates your choices.
When you first set up your device, it will display a list of twenty-four randomly generated “recovery words.” These are important because if you lose your pin number, or device, or need to import your accounts into another wallet, you can use the recovery words to access your device. The Nano S comes with a paper “recovery sheet” for you to write down your recovery words, which you should then store in a safe place.
Access to your Nano S is protected by your pin code. To enter your pin code, press the right button to reach a higher number, left to choose a lower number, and both buttons at once to select.
You can use the buttons in the same way to scroll through the apps and options on the display. Generally, pressing one button moves up a menu, hitting the other moves down, and pushing both buttons at once selects an option.
To send bitcoins or etherium with your Nano S, connect it via USB to a computer. Launch the appropriate Ledger Wallet app on the computer. Enter your pin code on the Nano S, and open the bitcoin/etherium application on the device. When the computer detects your device, you can access your accounts on the computer, fill out transaction info, and when you’re ready, click on “send.”
To confirm your transaction, the Nano S shows transaction info on its display, and requires manual consent via the device. Press the right button to sign the transaction. Then, your transaction will process and show up on the computer. At that point, you should quit the app on Nano S wallet, and disconnect the device. To power off your device, unplug the USB cable.
Benefits of the Nano S
- Security – The Nano S protects your device from hackers, malware, and other threats
- Portability – The device is about the size of a standard USB flash drive
- Versatility – House multiple cryptocurrencies on the same device
- Compatibility – The Nano S works with Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, and Linux operating systems
- Safely authenticate all transactions via physical verification on your Nano S
- Affordability – The Nano S is more affordable than other wallets, such as the Ledger Blue
Downsides of the Nano S
As of now, the Ledger Nano S only supports Google Chrome or Chromium integration.
- 98mm x 18mm x 9mm
- 98mm x 18mm x 9mm
- Windows (7+), Mac (10.8+), Linux or Chrome OS. Requires Google Chrome or Chromium, and one USB port to plug your Ledger Nano S
- Microcontrollers and Connector
- Connector: USB Type Micro-B
Certification level: CC EAL5+
Chips: ST31H320 (secure) + STM32F042
- Connector: USB Type Micro-B
- Brushed stainless steel and plastic
Nano S Prices
At 58€, the Nano S is a very affordable cryptocurrency wallet and is available at www.ledgerwallet.com
The Ledger Nano S is an excellent solution for those looking for safe, affordable, and portable cryptocurrency storage. You can find The Nano S at the Ledger Wallet website.
Also in our cryptocurrency wallet comparison series: Ledger Wallet’s other signature product, the Ledger Blue.