Ledger Nano S Overview
How does a Ledger Nano S work?
The Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet that lets you store private keys associated with your various cryptocurrencies offline. This removes the worry of losing your cryptocurrency whilst they are stored online and thus susceptible to hacks. The Ledger Nano S is capable of storing a wide variety of tokens in addition to Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is done through integration with other wallets and apps such as MyEtherWallet, where ERC-20 and Ethereum tokens can be stored.
Which cryptocurrencies are supported?
Ledger Nano S is a multicurrency wallet and is known to store more currencies than its common competitors like Trezor and KeepKey. The team at Ledger are continuing to work on making the storage of other tokens available. It currently supports the following cryptocurrencies and tokens:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Gold (BTG)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Ethereum ERC-20 Tokens
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Zcash (ZEC)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Stratis (STRAT)
- Dash (DASH)
- Komodo (KMD)
- Expanse (EXP)
- Ark (ARK)
- Ubiq (UBQ)
- Viacoin (VIA)
- Vertcoin (VTC)
- Stealthcoin (XST)
- Neo (NEO)
- Stellar (XLM)
- Digibyte (DGB)
- Hcash (HSR)
- PivX (PIVX)
- Qtum (QTUM)
What devices is a Ledger Nano S compatible with?
Ledger Nano S is compatible with Windows 7 and above, Linux, Mac 10.8+. It also supports various software wallets, such as Ledger Wallet Bitcoin, Ledger Wallet Ripple, Ledger Wallet Ethereum, Mycelium, Copay, MyEtherWallet, BitGo, and GreenBits. To start integrating all these different wallets and apps onto your Nano S, install the newly released Ledger Live app.
Apart from the Micro USB Cable, the Ledger Nano S also comes with an OTG Kit. The USB cable helps you connect to devices compatible with standard USB 2.0 or 3.0 connections. The Ledger OTG, on the other hand, helps you connect your Ledger Nano S wallet to the micro USB port of your Android Smartphone or any other compatible Android device. This means you can connect your Ledger Nano Wallet to devices like:
- Desktop computers
- Android smartphones
Ledger Nano S notes that it currently operates in 165 countries. As a hardware wallet, you can effectively use the Nano S so long as it can be delivered to you. It is recommended you buy the Nano S directly from the website as opposed to sites like eBay, where there might be a potential for the device to be interfered with before it reaches you.
Ledger’s customer service is available through its website. You can get in touch with the support team through the ‘support’ widget at the bottom right of the site. Its customer care is available Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm CET. However, they do not offer any call-based support, and there is no indication that they have any direct email either. Its website offers detailed information on security, details on orders and shipping, as well as user and application guides.
The Ledger Nano S is a sleek Hardware wallet that comes in the shape and size of a standard USB flash drive. Its user interface has been designed to be as simplistic as possible, thanks to the in built screen and two physical buttons.
The setup process is fairly straightforward. All you would need to do is select your pin, and you will then be given a 24-word recovery phrase. This is known as the ‘recovery seed’ and you can use it to recover your private keys in case you lose or damage your device.
Sending and receiving cryptocurrencies can be easily done through the recently released Ledger Live app, which integrates a multitude of existing cryptocurrency apps and wallets. To receive your Bitcoin from an exchange, all you have to do is copy the Bitcoin address from your Bitcoin app associated with Ledger Live. You will then head over to the withdrawal page at your exchange and paste your Bitcoins address to receive funds directly to your Ledger Nano S.
How does a Ledger Nano S keep my cryptocurrency safe?
The Nano S wallet gives you integrated security features that ensure you send and receive cryptocurrencies as safely as possible. Some of the notable security features of the Nano S are:
- Offline Storage. As a hardware wallet, your funds stored in the Ledger Nano S will be kept completely offline. This keeps your funds out of reach from hackers. For example, every time you need to confirm a payment on your Ledger Nano S, you are required to press the two physical buttons attached to the device at the same time.
- Secure PIN code. On first set-up, you will be prompted to create a four-digit PIN. This ensures that your device remains secure even in cases where you damage or lose it. One unique feature about your PIN is that after three wrong entries, the Ledger Nano S is wiped and goes back to factory settings. This means the 24-word recovery phrase will then need to be entered in order to recover the coins stored in the wallet.
- Physical Anti-tampering Seal. A new Ledger Nano S Wallet features a tamper-proof tape around the package to ensure that no unauthorised people get access to the device before you do.
- No battery. Since it has no internal battery, the moment the device is unplugged from a computer or phone, it stays offline permanently.
- Recovery Phrase. Ledger Nano S gives you the chance to recover your funds in case you lose or damage the device using 24-word recovery phrase created during setup. The phrase is also necessary when you lose access to or forget your PIN, as it will allow you to recreate a new PIN and access your funds.
- Advanced passphrase option. Following in the footsteps of other notable hardware wallets like Trezor, the Nano S has now introduced the ability to add custom text in addition to your 24-word recovery phrase. In this case, the additional passphrase is used to create a second hidden wallet. While you can use the main wallet for small amounts, it is recommended that you keep the larger amount of your funds in the hidden wallet that is completely under your control with the additional passphrase.
Do I need to download any software?
Although the Ledger Nano S stores coins in an offline fashion, you will need to download the Ledger Live app to make the most out of your Nano S. By using the app, you can manage all the different wallets you have directly, allowing you to manage the storage of multiple cryptocurrencies at one time.
Can I back up my Ledger Nano S wallet?
Yes. This can be done with the use of the recovery seed, which is a 24-word phrase created on your Nano S’ first startup. Write down these words in the recovery sheet provided and keep it in a safe, secure space. In the event that you lose access to your wallet, you can simply recover your funds by entering the recover phrase in another compatible device.
Can I use it anonymously?
Yes by virtue of the fact that this is a hardware wallet, the Ledger Nano S is completely anonymous. When creating transactions to or from your wallet, all that will display on the blockchain is the amount of tokens transferred, as well as your wallet address, which does not identify you.
Are there any extra fees for using my Ledger Nano S wallet?
No. There are no additional fees for using the wallet apart from the initial cost of the device itself. However, you might be charged a given percentage for transaction fees when moving your funds out of the wallet. This will, however, be dependent on the cryptocurrency you are transferring and is used to pay miners who verify the relevant blockchain.
For instance, when sending Bitcoin from your Ledger Nano S wallet, a fee rate will be determined for each transaction. This is not charged by Ledger but by standard transaction fees that the Bitcoin protocol requires for each transaction, which goes towards rewarding miners for their work of verifying transactions.
Are there limits to the amount of cryptocurrency I can deposit and withdraw?
There are no deposit or withdrawal limits for the Ledger Nano S. Being a hardware wallet, the Ledger does not really store the cryptocurrency, but your private keys associated to them. As such, the transaction is not stored in the wallet but instead recorded on the publicly visible blockchain, proving your ownership of the coins.
How much does a Ledger Nano S cost?
The Ledger Nano S is available on Ledger Wallet’s official website, going for £89.99. This easily passes as one of the most affordable hardware wallets in the market currently. If you are looking to use your Ledger Nano S on your android device, then you can include the Ledger OTG kit that is sold separately at £12.99.
What are the differences between the Ledger Wallets available?
Apart from the Nano S, the Ledger Company is also responsible for the less popular Ledger Blue hardware wallet. The Ledger Nano S comes across as a basic, easy to use, cost-effective hardware wallet, whilst the Ledger Blue is effectively a hardware wallet with the same security features that looks and operates like a modern smartphone tablet, making it the more luxurious and user-friendly of the two. Their differences are outlined further below:
Ledger Nano S
- Less expensive option (£89.99)
- Supports more coins (NEO, TRON, ARK, ZENCASH, and more)
- More portable
- Two physical buttons to confirm transactions
- Features a coloured touchscreen with a 3.5-inch display
- Stores fewer coins than the Nano S (does not support NEO, TRON, ARK, ZENCASH, and more)
- More expensive option (£249.99)
- Premium feel
- Bluetooth compatible
What extra features does the Ledger Nano S have?
Ledger Nano S firmware
Ledger’s open source firmware allows for further upgrades and expansions for future growth, e.g. the introduction of compatibility with other tokens not currently capable of being stored.
This distinctive feature in the Nano S acts as a protective cover to the wallet and prevents the screen from physical damage.
Cryptosteel is a physical device that can be used to record your recovery seed and wallet address. It is made of steel to make sure your seed is safe from the elements.
The Ledger Nano S clearly stands out with as a top hardware wallet. Although it has increased in price, the improvements made with recent firmware versions, as well as the introduction of the Ledger Live app gives the Ledger Nano S better functionality than other hardware wallets currently on the market. The Nano S is also a much more affordable option (£89.99) compared to the Ledger Blue (£249.99), and yet still allows for the storage of more coins than the Blue.
The backup and recovery features that come with the Ledger Nano S make it an extremely desirable option to store cryptocurrencies safer by ensuring your private keys are secured offline (in cold storage). Despite some functionality options requiring a connection to the computer (through a USB), security features such as requiring you to press on the two physical buttons used to sign transactions ensure that your wallet is malware protected, even though your computer might not be.
Although first-time users might have a slightly tricky time getting to grips with how to use the device, the Nano S comes with an instruction manual and is a much easier option to secure cryptocurrency than a much more complex cold storage solution like paper wallets.
Ultimately, even though users looking at wallet options might be resistant to the base price of the Nano S, it’s easy to see why it along with the Trezor One are the most sold hardware wallets in the crypto world right now.
- Update your Ledger Nano S’ Firmware. This is the first step before you initialize your device to ensure that it is updated with the latest firmware. This update will mean vital security improvements and additional features. The process may take up to 15 minutes as per the installation guide.
- Connect your ledger Nano S. Plug in your wallet into your computer using the provided USB cable and follow the prompts that pop up in the small screen. Here, you can choose to create a new wallet, or better still, import a Bitcoin or Ethereum account. Above the display screen are two buttons meant to help you select and validate specified prompts.
- Choose a PIN code. Choose a complex but memorable 4-digit PIN code. This is what you will be requested to enter each time you connect your Ledger Nano S wallet. Make sure you memorize this PIN since three successive wrong PIN codes will reset your wallet back to factory settings where you will need to use the 24-word recovery phrase.
- Backup your 24-word recovery phrase. You will need to copy the 24-word phrase into the recovery sheet supplied together with your wallet and this should be done in order of their appearance. This gives you the guarantee that even if you misplace or damage your Nano S wallet, you can still get access to your funds through this recovery method. Remember, you will be requested to select some of the words, just to confirm that you have copied them. Always keep this recovery sheet in a safe and secure place.
- Install the Ledger Live App. Once you see the notification, “Your device is now ready”, your Nano S is now configured. After this, you can download the Ledger Live app, which will help you introduce more functionality and storage options to your Nano S. You can also use the app to keep a tab on the balance in your account.
- Get using your Ledger Nano S. Your wallet is now ready to receive and send cryptocurrency!