Cold storage ethereum refers to ether (or the private keys for those funds) that is stored offline.
Ethereum, ERC-20 tokens and other altcoins are more popular than ever, but that popularity has also garnered the attention of hackers.
Unfortunately, cryptocurrencies like ethereum cannot be stored in a traditional bank, so owners of ethereum do not benefit from the safety and insurance that a bank provides.
This means that the owner of ethereum is solely responsible for protecting their own digital funds. This is where cold storage ethereum comes in.
Storing your ethereum offline keeps it safely outside of the reach of hackers. Cold storage options include:
- USB drive
- Paper wallet or QR code
- Physical wallet
- Hardware wallet
A common concern for someone using a USB drive, paper wallet, QR code, physical wallet or sound wallet is that if any of these items fall into the wrong hands, the private keys are extremely vulnerable.
Because of this, many people who use cold storage methods like a paper wallet or USB drive store that device in a safe deposit box for added security. However, doing so makes it more difficult for them to access the ether when they need it.
A hardware wallet, on the other hand, is widely considered the safest form of ethereum cold storage, and provides ease of use as well.
What is an Ethereum Hardware Wallet?
A hardware wallet stores your digital funds’ private keys in an offline hardware device that you can connect to a computer or smartphone to make transactions.
As cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin have become more common, hardware wallets have become popular as safe, functional, and easily accessible cold storage solutions.
Ether that is stored in a hardware wallet is protected even if the computer you are using falls victim to a hacker or a virus.
The private keys stored on a hardware wallet also can’t be transferred in plaintext, protecting you from malware.
Because hardware wallets require a PIN code to access, it is difficult for a thief to access funds from it even if they steal the device.
ERC20 tokens can also be stored on a hardware wallet, but must be accessed via a software wallet such as myetherwallet.com.
While there are, in theory, ways that a hardware wallet could be compromised (a bug in the firmware or software, a corrupt shipping process or production/assembly system), at the time of this writing, there is no record of a theft from a hardware wallet. Because of this, hardware wallets are commonly accepted as the safest means of cold storage ethereum.
Meanwhile, with easy connectivity via smartphones and computers, hardware wallets provide easy access to your funds when you need them. Hardware wallets seamlessly blends security and protection with ease of use and accessibility.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ethereum hardware wallets on the market.
Ethereum Wallet Cold Storage
A cold wallet provides the most secure option for storing cryptocurrency that still provides you easy, frequent access. Some wallets only allow storage of a few cryptocurrencies, but a select few can store a plethora. If you need to learn how to cold store Ethereum, read on for a short primer on what to look for in Ethereum wallet cold storage.
A high-quality cold hardware wallet provides both security and simplicity. It will have the following features:
- private keys and private key controls,
- an easy to use user interface,
- an active development community,
- a backup system and restoration capabilities,
- multiple operating systems compatibility.
The Top Ethereum Cold Storage
- Trezor: Pronounced like the American English word “treasure,” this hardware wallet served Bitcoin first, but added Ether to the cryptocurrencies it serves. It store the token data offline on its internal secure electronic chip. The chip only activates when you sign in with your password. You can connect it to the hot storage MyEtherWallet (MEW) website to move Ether after purchasing or trading it. This portable USB device comes in black, gray and white. It starts at $99.
Ledger Nano S:
- Ledger Nano S: It’s not just for Ether, you can store numerous cryptocurrencies offline in the Ledger. The device signs any Ether expenditure you make with a private key stored on the device. It features an OLED screen for viewing and controlling transactions. It offers some of the strongest security available. It starts at $99.
- KeepKey: The KeepKey combines the features of Trezor and Ledger Nano S to store cryptocurrencies, including Ether. It offers a larger screen though and weighs a bit more. Its plastic casing can chip easily if dropped. It lets you securely store tokens offline. It starts at $129.
- Ledger Blue: The Blue provides a large screen compared to other hardware devices. About the size of a cell phone, the front face is all screen. It’s made by the same company as the Nano S and features the same high-quality security measures. You must enter a PIN to use it. It supports Ether and 23 other cryptocurrencies. It offers a backup, so if you lose your device or it’s stolen, you can recover your account and tokens by providing your confidential recovery phrase. It starts at $269.99.
- YubiKey Neo: The Neo is an USB hardware device that supports multiple cryptocurrencies. It uses strict security measures and also serves as a password and login manager. It starts at $77.
Paper: The Other Cold Storage
Most people into cryptocurrency, blockchain platforms and smart contracts like high-tech. One of the safest methods of Ethereum cold storage is good, old-fashioned paper. Yes, really. You simply print out a copy of the private keys and public keys with your purchase information. It’s best to store these in a safe or safety deposit box.
You can use an application called ETHAdress to create a paper wallet. It lets you add an extra measure of security by encrypting the private keys before printing. It doesn’t require much set up time, but don’t lose the paper wallet. Unlike the high-tech versions, there is no backup.
Ethereum Cold Storage Wallets Keep Your Investment Safer
Since all forms of cold wallets keep your cryptocurrency stored offline, they keep it safer. Although it might seem tempting to use a desktop or Web wallet, these don’t offer the same level of security. So, while Exodus might seem great since it stores nearly one hundred cryptocurrencies, keep in mind that with it and most other desktop wallets, you need to remain connected to the Internet while using it. With hardware and paper wallets, you’re able to store offline. You can also access your information while offline. Now that you know how to cold store Ethereum, you only need to buy a wallet and some Ether to get started.
Best Cold Storage Ethereum Hardware Wallets
Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S is our top pick for ethereum cold storage wallets. 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.
It weighs just 16.2g and measures 98mm x 18mm x 9mm when fully open (60mm x 18mm x 9mm when closed). It looks like a thumb drive and at a price point of $99.
Comprised of stainless steel and plastic, the Ledger Nano S features a sleek, efficient design. Two buttons located on the side of the device allow you to confirm transactions easily while enjoying the protection of physical transaction verification. The Ledger Nano S keeps your ethereum safe without sacrificing style.
In addition to ethereum, the Ledger Nano S can store bitcoin, litecoin and other altcoins. It is compatible with GPG, SSH, FIDO®, U2F and more. The Ledger Nano S was built on dual chip architecture (ST31/STM32, Certification level: CC EAL5+), so its firmware is guaranteed through cryptographic attestation.
How the Nano S Keeps Your Ethereum and Other Crypto 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: 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
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 ethereum 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/ethereum 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
- 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
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.
Ledger Blue: A Premium Ethereum Cold Storage Wallet
The Ledger Blue is the premier offering from the French company Ledger Wallet; they claim that the Ledger Blue is “the most advanced hardware security gear on the market.” It’s easy to see why they say that. The Ledger Blue is handheld, lightweight, provides excellent functionality, and a color touchscreen that makes operating it a breeze.
Key benefits of the Ledger Blue
- Versatility – the Ledger Blue works with many cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ether.
- Ease of use – The Ledger Blue’s color touch screen makes navigating through applications and manual approval of cryptocurrency transactions simple.
- Connectivity – With both USB and Bluetooth connectivity, the Ledger Blue works with any computer or smartphone.
- Safety – Protection via a PIN number, manual confirmation before executing transactions, offline storage, and a secure recovery process to protect you in case you lose your pin. Protects from hackers, malware, and more.
- Top end technology – The Ledger Blue is the product of over two years of research. Developed with power and flexibility in mind, the best –in-class technology inside of the Ledger Blue is built on the Blockchain Open Ledger (BOLOS) platform. The advanced operating system works seamlessly with numerous applications, which are quickly available via the dashboard on the device.
- Color touchscreen – The Ledger Blue features a 3.5 inch, LED-backlit touchscreen with color display and anti-scratch glass housed in a sleek yet tough case. The color touchscreen makes it easy for you to use apps, and validate transactions through an intuitive display with a comparable ease of use to a smartphone.
- Battery powered – A rechargeable 500mA LiPo battery enables the Ledger Blue to work with smartphones and computers without relying on an external power source.
- Compatibility – The Ledger Blue works with Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, and Linux operating systems.
How the Ledger Blue keeps your Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Other Currencies Safe
With the Ledger Blue, you can confidently be your own, secure bank. You access the Ledger Blue via a four to eight digit PIN code, ensuring that you and only you can access your assets.
The Ledger Blue secures your cryptocurrencies safely offline on the device, using on a dual-chip architecture embedding a ST31 Secure Element and a STM32 microcontroller, to create a fully isolated environment, which means that your account information is stored completely on your device, and nowhere else. The firmware integrity of the Ledger Blue is guaranteed by cryptographic attestation.
Private keys are stored inside the device’s secure element, so they are never shared with Ledger or any third party, thus safeguarding your data from hacking. Both restoration of your master seed and initialization take place on the secure environment, which means your assets are never vulnerable to malware. Additionally, each application on the device is isolated, and they do not share information.
The Ledger Blue ensures transaction integrity with a “WYSIWYS” paradigm—What You See Is What You Sign. You manually confirm each transaction via the Ledger Blue, which provides proof of presence, and protects you from malware, viruses, and man in the middle attacks. Even if you connect your device to a computer infected with a cryptocurrency stealing virus, the WYSIWYS system will keep your assets safe.
Because all major crypto libraries are embedded in the Ledger Blue’s firmware, the wallet can support any type of blockchain, including:
- Bitcoin (COLU, Counterparty support)
- Ethereum (ETH/ETC), tokens & contracts support
- All bitcoin clones (Litecoin, Dogecoin, Zcash)
- Monero (in development)
- Tendermint (in development)
- Hyperledger (in development)
- Sidechains (Liquid) (in development)
Dedicated Companion Apps, and Wide Compatibility
The Ledger Blue runs dedicated companion applications to allow you to securely manage your cryptocurrency accounts. As more cryptocurrencies emerge, new applications are added. As of right now, the Ledger Blue is compatible with: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Fide U2F, DogeCoin, ZCash, Dash, Stratis, SSH, GPG, Ripple, Hello, Bitcoin Cash, Komodo, and Ethereum Classic.
The Ledger Blue 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, and Bitgo.
Thanks to its modular architecture, the Ledger Blue runs multiple dedicated companion apps in full isolation on top of its firmware. The strong security model allows you to add new cryptocurrencies and apps to your device without risk of compromising the master seed.
How to operate your Ledger Blue Ethereum Cold Storage Wallet
Ledger Wallet has a series of helpful walkthrough videos to guide you through configuring, managing, and troubleshooting your device. Here’s a brief overview of how to conduct the major functions of the device.
The Ledger Blue’s color touchscreen and interface make setup, and transactions very simple. First, open the Ledger Wallet app on your computer for the currency you’d like to use (such as Bitcoin, or Ethereum for example). Then, connect your device via USB. Open the corresponding app on the Ledger Blue.
The computer will recognize your device, and display your account information. Then, you enter in the transaction information on your computer, including recipient, and amount, and click “send.” The Ledger Blue then displays the details of your transaction on its touchscreen, and asks you to manually confirm it on the device. Once you give your physical confirmation, the Ledger Blue approves your transaction. Then you can safely remove the Ledger Blue from the computer.
When you first set up your Ledger Blue, it will randomly generate a list of twenty-four “recovery words,” which you can use to access your device if you lose your pin number, device, or need to import your accounts to another wallet. The Ledger Blue comes with a paper “recovery sheet” for you to write down your recovery words, which you should then keep in a secure location.
- 97mm x 68mm x 10mm
- 97mm x 68mm x 10mm
- Windows (7+), Mac (10.9+), Linux or Chrome OS. Requires Google Chrome or Chromium, and one USB port to plug your Ledger Blue
- Microcontrollers and Connector
- Connector: USB Type Micro-B
Certification level: CC EAL6+
Chips: ST31G480 (secure) + STM32L476
- Connector: USB Type Micro-B
- Zamak (frame) and Plastic (case)
Contains Neodymium magnets
- Zamak (frame) and Plastic (case)
Ledger Wallet’s Ledger Blue is designed to be a premium solution for safely using cryptocurrencies. It delivers on that promise with a seamless interface controlled via the color touchscreen, excellent connectivity and versatility, and top-notch safeguards through isolation, and manual transaction confirmation.
How To Use Ledger Wallets for Ethereum Cold Storage
Ledger Tutorial: Adding and Importing Accounts
Migrating Your Crypto Assets From Coinbase To Ledger
Account Creation on Ledger Live
As Ethereum, Bitcoin and other new cryptocurrencies continue to gain popularity, the risk of theft from hacking continues to grow. With no banks to protect your digital currency, it is important for each owner to secure their funds from potential threats, as well as have a way to easily access their digital funds.
Luckily, hardware wallets for cold storage Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens allow you to have your cake and eat it too. You can have secure cold storage ether funds you can access effortlessly and efficiently.
The Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue are great Ethereum hardware wallets that can keep your ether safe and offer unique convenience and accessibility options. For this reason, many cryptocurrency users actually utilize more than one of these cold storage hardware wallets.