You've likely heard the phrase, Not your keys, not your coins.
This is likely the single most important aspect of securing and safeguarding your cryptocurrency assets. If you don't have sole custody of your cryptocurrency keys, you don't own your coins. If another person, organization or entity has access to your cryptocurrency keys, then they have access to your cryptocurrency.
The best method to keep sole custody of your keys is through the use of a hardware wallet.
Over the last few years, there have been many innovations and developments coming from hardware wallets, one of my favorites is the ability to exchange cryptocurrencies directly from within the wallet - no external exchanges required.
Hardware wallets also don't require any KYC (Know Your Customer) so you can buy and hold your cryptocurrency with relative anonymity.
What is a Hardware Wallet & How Does it work?
A hardware wallet is a physical device that allows you to safely store your private keys on a piece of hardware. The private keys are stored on the hardware wallet and protected by a PIN and optional passphrase, allowing the user to easily create transactions without exposing their private key.
If in the unfortunate case where the hardware wallet is stolen, the bad actor won't have access to the private keys and won't be able to create any transactions (unless they know your PIN and passphrase). Many Hardware wallets also come with lock-out features where when a PIN is incorrectly entered, it either locks out the user or has a time delay enforced.
Hardware wallets do not expose the private keys to the internet, preventing unauthorized use. This is also why hardware wallets are also often referred to as cold storage.
If your hardware wallet is ever lost, the assets are backed up with a single seed phrase. This seed phrase, also known as a recovery phrase (often a list of 12-24 words in a specific order) can be used to regenerate your private key, allowing you to move your keys to a different hardware wallet with relative ease.
Top 5 Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallets:
There are over a dozen cryptocurrency hardware wallets actively sold within the cryptocurrency space and here are my top 5 choices.
Here are my top 5 Hardware Wallet Picks:
Trezor - Top Choice
My top choice for affordable, easy to use, and secure is Trezor - Hands down.
I have owned a Trezor hardware wallet for almost 8 years now and over that time have purchased many of their hardware wallets. As someone who lived in Prague, the Czech Republic very close to their head office, I have quite an affinity for their products.
If you were wondering what "Trezor" means, it is the word "safe" in the Czech language.
The Trezor Model One was the first hardware wallet I ever purchased and have continued to use and purchase many more for both myself and my friends and family. Since then, I have also purchased and owned their latest hardware wallet, called the Trezor Model T.
Trezor offers only two variations of their hardware wallet. Their legacy wallet (which I still use) the Trezor Model One, and the most recent edition, the Trezor Model T.
Trezor Model One - €82
The original Trezor hardware wallet. This is a great introductory wallet if you are new to cryptocurrencies and is priced very reasonably at only 82 Euros. The downside to the Trezor Model One is it is limited to the number of cryptocurrencies it can support (the new version, Trezor Model T supports many more coins).
If you keep the majority of your cryptocurrency holdings within the more popular coins, this may work well for you. If you are looking for greater cryptocurrency support, I would highly recommend looking at the Trezor Model T.
For a full listing of the coins that this wallet supports, check out the Trezor Coins page.
Trezor Model T - €296
The most recent addition to the Trezor Hardware Wallet is the Trezor Model T. This wallet offers the ability to store many more cryptocurrencies than the original Trezor.
What Cryptocurrencies are Supported on Trezor?
If you are worried about ensuring Trezor can support all your cryptocurrencies, you can visit their Supported Coins and tokens page which details specifically which cryptocurrencies are supported and on which device.
Trezor Model 1 and the Trezor Model T users also have access to Trezor Suite, which is a desktop downloadable software package that gives users the ability to see their entire portfolio holdings, and trade, buy, sell and exchange cryptocurrencies directly from within the application anonymously. This is a great feature for those who prefer to keep their transactions private.
My Trezor Hardware wallets are my go-to wallet for the safe cold storage of cryptocurrency. Model One is slightly limited in the number of cryptocurrencies it can store, so I use it for only the most popular cryptocurrencies.
The Model T I use more frequently as it has a greater capacity for more coins. Both the Model One and Model T are my primary hardware wallets.
These Trezor hardware wallets can also be integrated with a number of software wallets, in particular Exodus wallet, giving it even access to a greater number of cryptocurrencies that can be secured through your Trezor device.
Ledger Nano S Plus
Ledger Nano X is one of the most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallets in the market.
This hardware wallet is compact, supports more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies, can be managed from your mobile device and offers a more comfortable design compared to the company’s previous version.
While I personally find the device too small and the buttons difficult to use, it is still a very practical device. The Ledger Nano is one of the most integrated hardware wallets on the market and if are looking for a hardware wallet with the greatest market integration and available apps, it's the Ledger.
Once a very popular (and expensive) hardware wallet was Keep Key. Unfortunately, this hardware wallet is limited as it only supports 40 different digital assets. It is one of the more affordable hardware wallets on the market.
KeepKey is a hardware wallet that features a sleek and modern-looking design. The wallet is easy to use, it offers unique security measures as well as customer-friendly prices. The wallet itself can be easily managed for your mobile device. However, the main issue is that it supports only 40 cryptocurrencies.
The newest addition to my hardware wallet is BC vault. BC Vault is slightly larger than traditional hardware wallets and has many security features not found on other hardware wallets. The biggest difference with BC Vault is how they store the seed phrase, or put it another way - there is no seed phrase with this wallet.
The price for BC Vault starts at around $150 which is a fair price for the protection that it offers. A great benefit is that it also has the ability to safely store your NFTs.
When it comes to coin support, it supports more than 2000 coins and claims to also support NFTs. However, I have yet to test this feature.
Should You Buy BC Vault?
In my opinion, it is a value-for-money product just because of its features and the quality of the material. Yes, you can buy it from their official website.
I recommend this hardware wallet if you are searching for an affordable secure hardware wallet within a reasonable budget.
When purchasing this wallet, you can have the option of purchasing a customizable wallet with a printed design of your choice. This is great for those looking for an original or unique wallet design. You can get your logo engraved on the body of the hardware wallet which makes that hardware wallet so beautiful.
Before Buying a Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet
- Only purchase your hardware wallet from the official website and not from Amazon or secondary markets to ensure your product has not been tampered with.
- The links provided to these wallets on this page are linked directly to the official retailers of the product. By using these links you can be assured you are purchasing at the official store of the manufacturer and by doing so you also help us earn a small commission on the sale.