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Review of KeepKey
KeepKey is a popular cryptocurrency hardware wallet that was released in 2015 in Kirkland, Washington. The device is effectively a slightly larger version of the Ledger Nano S, which is the size of a regular USB stick. The focal point of the KeepKey is security, ensuring that your cryptocurrency tokens are safe by saving the private keys associated with them in an offline environment, otherwise known as cold storage. This remains the case even if you connect the device to a virus or malware infected computer.
One of KeepKey’s distinguishing features as a hardware wallet is its ShapeShift feature, which allows for you to exchange between cryptocurrencies using only the KeepKey device and client. This was made available due to the ShapeShift exchange acquiring KeepKey in August 2017.
Pros & Cons
KeepKey Wallet Overview
How does KeepKey work?
The KeepKey wallet helps to store the private keys associated with your coins in an offline form (cold storage). This secures your assets from being compromised through online methods such as hacking. You can manage the storing of your coins through the KeepKey client, which can be accessed through your computer on Google Chrome.
Which cryptocurrencies are supported?
KeepKey can store up to 36 unique coins, along with any ERC-20 token. Some of these tokens can also be exchanged for one another through ShapeShift, a feature unique to the device that allows for the direct exchange of coins using only the KeepKey device and client. The currently supported tokens are:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- All ERC-20 tokens
- Dash (DASH)
- Doge (DOGE)
- Aragon (ANT)
- Augur (REP)
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
- Bancor (BNT)
- Civic (CVC)
- DigixDAO (DGD)
- District0x (DNT)
- FirstBlood (1ST)
- FunFair (FUN)
- Gnosis (GNO)
- ICONOMI (ICN)
- iExec (RLC)
- Matchpool (GUP)
- Melon (MLN)
- Metal (MTL)
- Numeraire (NMR)
- OmiseGo (OMG)
- Ripio Credit Network (RCN)
- SALT (SALT)
- SingularDTV (SNGLS)
- Status (SNT)
- Storj (STORJ)
- SwarmCity (SWT)
- TenX (PAY)
- WeTrust (TRST)
- Wings (WINGS)
- 0x (ZRX)
What devices is KeepKey compatible with?
KeepKey can operate through the Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android operating systems. This means you can use it with:
- Android smartphones
Although KeepKey doesn’t specify the countries it supports currently, as long as you are based in a country where the device can be delivered to, you can use it. However, it is recommended that you should only buy the device directly through the KeepKey website, their official resellers, or Amazon. This is to avoid the risk of the device being tampered with by a third party seller.
KeepKey Customer support
KeepKey’s website contains an extensive support section, with answers to most low-level queries regarding a range of topics including FAQs, troubleshooting (firmware, software or hardware issues), and how to get started. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can get more personalised support by submitting a ticket on Keepkey’s website. The response times may vary, but you should expect a response within 5 working days. There is no live chat or phone support.
The KeepKey wallet features a professional, sleek design and a large user-friendly screen. Although it doesn’t have own native app (like its competitors Trezor or Ledger), the KeepKey Google Chrome app is easy and intuitive to use. Furthermore, the ShapeShift feature sets the device apart from its fellow competitors by allowing for the exchange of cryptocurrency tokens whilst only using the KeepKey device.
For those that do not wish to use the ShapeShift exchange, it’s still possible to connect to any existing exchange and transfer your funds to the KeepKey wallet. However, in comparison to other options, this wallet offers fewer cryptocurrencies available for storage. Although this will not be an issue if you’re only looking to store the more well-known cryptos.
How does a KeepKey keep my cryptocurrency safe?
By virtue of being a hardware wallet, KeepKey secures your cryptocurrency coins by keeping your private keys completely offline. Other notable security features include:
- PIN code. You get to create this PIN during the setup process and this helps prevent any unauthorized persons from having access to your funds, balance/s, or transaction history.
- Recovery phrase. This is a backup system that features a 12-word recovery phrase generated on initial set up. If you are looking for a more secure recovery phrase, there are also the alternate options of using an 18 or 24-word recovery phrase. In the unfortunate event that your wallet might get damaged or stolen, you can easily recover your funds by using the recover phrase through the KeepKey client Chrome app.
- Additional passphrase. Just like most of its competitors, KeepKey offers the option of using an additional word (passphrase) on top of your pre-existing 12, 18 or 24-word recovery phrase to create an additional ‘hidden’ wallet. Effectively, if you choose to create an additional passphrase, after entering your PIN and recovery phrase, if you leave the passphrase field blank you will gain access to your normal wallet, whereas if you enter the passphrase correctly you will access your ‘hidden KeepKey wallet’.
Do I need to download any software?
Yes, you will need to download and install the KeepKey client app on a compatible device to help you successfully use the device. This can be downloaded from the Chrome web store as an add-on to your Google Chrome app.
Can I back up my KeepKey wallet?
Yes, KeepKey offers an effective backup option through its 12-word recovery phrase. On initial setup, you will be provided with a set of 12 individual words. Write these down in the correct order and keep them in a secure place. In case you lose or damage your wallet, you can use this 12-word phrase to recover your funds and private keys by using them on another compatible wallet. Note that the KeepKey wallet also allows for the additional options of having 18 or 24-word recover phrases if you wish to do so on setup.
Can I use KeepKey anonymously?
Yes, as a hardware wallet, the KeepKey device is anonymous. When you send or store cryptocurrencies on your KeepKey, all that will show on the blockchain is your wallet address (a public key). Your private keys are kept secure along with your device, so just be sure to keep your recover phrase and PIN safe.
Are there any extra fees for using my KeepKey wallet?
Apart from the initial cost of the KeepKey wallet itself, there are no extra fees for using the wallet. However, you might incur some fees when moving your funds into or out of the wallet. These are standard transaction fees that go towards rewarding miners for verifying transactions on the relevant coin’s blockchain, and thus the fee depends on the cryptocurrency you are moving. The fees are not associated with the wallet but with the crypto itself.
Are there limits to the amount of cryptocurrency I can deposit and withdraw?
No, there are no deposit or withdrawal limits for cryptocurrencies on KeepKey. As a hardware wallet, the device does not store your cryptocurrency but rather the private keys associated with them. The movement of your funds are recorded on the blockchain.
How much does a KeepKey cost?
You can buy KeepKey from its official website at $129 (£98). However, if you are a customer within the UK, you will need to pay shipping charges which means that the KeepKey effectively costs $157 (£119). You might be able to find better prices on Amazon at times, but make sure you’re buying from KeepKey or a licensed seller.
What are the differences between the KeepKey wallets available?
KeepKey only manufactures one model of hardware wallet currently. However, depending on where you live, you might have the option of either buying the limited edition gold model or the standard black and aluminum model. There is no difference in how either model operates.
What extra KeepKey features does the KeepKey wallet have?
KeepKey hopes to optimize its user interface and security through various other extra features. This includes the following:
The wallet features a single button, which is used to confirm or decline transactions, providing extra security from hackers.
The aluminum case that comes with the wallet gives the wallet a sleek look and gives the screen protection.
This allows the device to incorporate any further updates the development team push out, e.g. compatibility with additional coins, etc.
KeepKey is an intuitive and easy-to-use hardware wallet. It has a simple, sleek and premium design. Despite being slightly larger and bulkier than its rivals at the same price range (TREZOR and Ledger Nano S), this is simply a trade-off for its clearer, bigger screen.
The ShapeShift feature is very useful in allowing users to exchange currencies whilst only using the KeepKey device. However, the KeepKey currently does not support as many cryptocurrencies as its competitors. Furthermore, it still relies on users to use a Chrome-based app, as opposed to other hardware wallets that have their own specialised apps.
Keepkey has earned its status as a top hardware wallet, but making the choice between which hardware wallet to buy essentially comes down to what features users feel are more important to them. You won’t have any issues with security with a KeepKey, and so long as you’re ok with it’s slightly more limited range of cryptos, then it’s a great option.
How do I set up my KeepKey wallet?
Before you get started on the setup process, make sure that you have the following with you:
- KeepKey Wallet
- USB cable (Included in package)
- Latest chrome browser version
- Your recovery sheet card (Included in package)
- Pen to note down the recovery phrase
How to set up a wallet with KeepKey
Once you have these, here are the steps to set up your KeepKey:
- Download the KeepKey Client. Head over to your chrome browser and download the KeepKey Client App. You will find it in the Chrome web store. Open up the app once downloaded.
- Plug the wallet into the USB port. Using the USB cable provided in the box, connect your KeepKey Wallet to your computer.
- Start the firmware update. Update the firmware by following through the guide from the KeepKey Client. This process usually takes around 30 seconds.
- Creating a recovery phrase. You will now be provided with your 12-word recovery phrase. This will come in handy in the unfortunate situation where you damage or lose your wallet, and need to recover the funds associated with it. Remember to write down the recovery phrase on your recovery sheet card, and make sure to keep it in a secure place. (Note that you can opt for an 18 or 24-word option instead if you wish for additional security).
- Label your KeepKey wallet. This can be anything you want.
- Set up your PIN. Choose a 6-digit PIN using numbers between 1 and 9.
- PIN Confirmation. Enter your PIN again to ensure it is correct. Try to remember your PIN or keep it written down in a safe and secure place.
- You are ready! Your wallet is now fully set up and ready to receive and send cryptocurrency!