Ledger Nano S describes itself as "the original hardware wallet”. The product has built up a strong reputation as one of the best ways to manage and secure crypto assets. Ledger is also the company behind Nano X, but this review will solely assess the Nano S device.
Setting Up Your Ledger Nano S Wallet
1. Order/Buy Ledger Nano S Wallet: Since this is a hardware wallet, you can't download this wallet, and you have to buy it online or in-store. Nano S is an excellent storage device to keep your investment safely offline. Once the device is delivered to you, then it's time to initialize its hardware solution.
2. Initial Set-Up: First, you have to configure the Nano S as a new device by choosing the tick for "yes," and pressing both buttons together. You will then be asked to create a PIN code and create and confirm a recovery phrase for security reasons.
3. Receive and Send Cryptocurrency: Your device is now basically ready to send and receive cryptocurrency. However, before you attempt to do this, it's essential to confirm that your firmware version matches the latest version shown on the Ledger website. You can also attach a passphrase to the device via Settings > Security > Passphrase.
Pros & Cons
Ledger Nano S Supported Coins
There are a vast number of cryptocurrencies supported, and it's completely impossible to discuss all of them! So below, we will mention just a few.
Being the first cryptocurrency and the most popular, Bitcoin is supported by almost every wallet solution. The coin has the highest market cap of all digital assets.
Ethereum has established itself as the second most valuable and one of the most widely used cryptocurrencies and has a market capitalization three times the size of any coin other than Bitcoin.
Ripple has proved popular with banks and the traditional financial market due to its value in cross-border payments. This popularity has seen it sit in the top three most valuable cryptocurrencies on coinmarketcap.com.
Tether is a cryptocurrency that was previously backed by the United States dollar, but on March 14, 2019, it changed the backing to include loans to affiliate companies.
Bitcoin Cash is an offshoot of Bitcoin, which has proved hugely popular. The cryptocurrency is ranked well within the top 10 coins by market capitalization and may climb higher in the future.
Litecoin was one of the most notable cryptocurrencies in the early days of the crypto market but has since been overtaken somewhat by the likes of Ripple and Ethereum. Nonetheless, this peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and open-source software project remains popular and features a very dedicated community.
Cardano is a blockchain-based distributed ledger and smart contract platform, which has similarities with Ethereum. While it isn't as big as Ethereum, it has still attracted a large market and following.
Lumen is the native cryptocurrency for Stellar, an open-source blockchain payment system. Stellar is a decentralized protocol for digital currency to fiat money transfers, allowing cross-border transactions between any pair of currencies.
Monero is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that uses an obfuscated public ledger, meaning that anybody can broadcast or send transactions. Still, no outside observer can decipher the source, amount, or destination.
Dash is an open-source cryptocurrency. It is an altcoin that was forked from the Bitcoin protocol. Dash also features its own autonomous organization run by a subset of its users, referred to as 'master nodes.' The currency permits transactions that can be untraceable and is one of the most hotly-tipped cryptos.
This is an open-source, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract functionality, which isn't as big as its cousin, Ethereum, but still has its fair share of devotees.
As its name would suggest, Bitcoin Gold is a hard fork of Bitcoin, which is intended to change the proof of work algorithm associated with Bitcoin so that it is more accessible.
Ledger Nano S Compared
There are many cryptocurrency wallets on the market, but the Nano S was one of the first, and the very first model from Ledger, to feature its own screen and keys. While others have since come along with similar provisions, this is still a big plus point.
One area where the Ledger device differs from many other wallet solutions is not being an open-source solution. However, its specifications are wholly transparent and detailed, with all cryptographic operations being deterministic.
Ledger Nano S also links passwords to another PIN, an enhanced security feature that has won the wallet plaudits. The design of the device is also compact, and it can easily be attached to a bunch of keys if needed. But, for those who feel this wallet isn't for them, there are plenty of other hardware wallets they can choose from.
History of Ledger Nano S
The company Ledger launched in 2014, with eight crypto enthusiasts making up the team behind the company. The individuals had backgrounds in embedded security, cryptocurrencies, and entrepreneurship.
Early in 2015, it introduced the Ledger Wallet Bitcoin Chrome application – a Google Chrome application that interacts with hardware wallets to create an integrated system that can process and manage cryptocurrency transactions.
And in 2016, the Nano S was released – the company's first multi-currency hardware wallet.
Twelve months later, in September 2017, Ledger announced support for the increasingly successful Ripple on Nano S. The move followed a significant price rally in the value of what is now the third-largest cryptocurrency.
In 2018, Ledger released both the Ledger Wallet desktop and mobile applications, which have proved to be hugely popular.
And in January 2018, the Nano S firmware was updated, bringing new cryptographic algorithms, security improvements, and additional features to what was already becoming an industry favourite.
Today, the company has over 130 employees in Paris, Vierzon, and San Francisco, and has established itself as a big name in the crypto field.
Performance, Features, and Functionality
The Ledger Nano S is notable for having a screen armed with two navigation buttons on top of the device, which works together to help you access all of the wallets' functions. The operating system also works slickly, guiding users through the setting up of the device. Connecting the wallet to a computer is made easy by using a micro-USB cable.
It should be noted that it is one of the most affordable hardware wallets on the market, which has contributed to its popularity. Despite this affordability, it remains a feature-packed device, supporting Bluetooth connectivity and holding up to 100 apps at any time. This means that you can send and receive transactions at any time.
Its physical design is also sturdy and heavy, meaning that this is a genuinely mobile wallet, which can efficiently deal with everyday conditions.
The user interface consists of four main elements. The left-hand panel features the menu and accounts, with buttons for application controls held in the top bar. You can navigate through the various sections of the system via these menus.
There are sections included for sending and receiving cryptocurrency, as well as portfolios, exchanges, and accounts. There is also a big list of preferences included with the device, meaning that you can tweak the wallet to your taste.
We should also mention that there is a main viewer section that enables you to interact with Ledger Live. Other useful settings such as network status and password locking are also readily available, and overall the user interface is uncluttered and easy to use.
Is Ledger Nano S Safe?
The Nano S is a safe device with the highest security standards possible, having been built into this wallet system. It features a certified secure chip, with the custom operating system helping to secure the device.
The wallet uses two layers of protection - ST31H320 (security) and STM32F042 (OS) chips that store your private keys and sign transactions as separate pieces of hardware. Users require PIN codes to unlock their devices, and passphrases are also used.
Encryption and authentication are used widely across the project. The quality of security provisions built into the wallet is underlined by the fact that it is the only hardware wallet available that has been certified for its security by ANSSI - the French cybersecurity agency.
This is undoubtedly one of the most secure hardware solutions on the market. You can store your cryptocurrency safely and rest assured your assets are entirely protected.
Security Features Review
The quality of security in the Nano S is such that there remains absolutely no record of any such device ever being hacked remotely. The multiple layers of protection make this device practically unbreakable, meaning that it is an ideal way to store cryptocurrency.
However, users still need to be vigilant, ensuring that all PINs, seed phrases, and other security provisions are offline at all times. A dedicated mechanism such as CryptoTag can be particularly helpful with this goal.
How to Store Your Crypto Coins in Ledger Nano S
Storing coins is pretty straightforward, so this section of the review will talk you through the process.
Log in to your exchange account.
Enter the 2FA code sent to your phone.
Return to the dashboard.
Select Accounts, select your Bitcoin wallet and click Send.
Type in the Bitcoin Ledger address when prompted.
Start the Ledger Live App, enter your password, and then click Receive.
Select your Bitcoin wallet and click Continue.
You will be asked to enter your PIN-code and verify your address.
Double-check all addresses.
Enter the amount to send.
After some minutes, the transaction will show onto your Ledger Live interface.
Is Ledger Nano S for Me?
With many wallet solutions available, whether or not the Nano S suits you may depend on your proficiency level.
I'm a Beginner
The wallet is undoubtedly one of the most user-friendly options for storing, sending, and receiving cryptocurrency. Its user interface is slick, and its software has been steadily improved over several years. Furthermore, it is particularly safe and secure, and would undoubtedly make an excellent solution for any beginner to the cryptocurrency market.
Advanced users will also benefit from the wallet, due to the range of options, features, and customization capabilities of the hardware device. It has established itself as one of the most popular wallet solutions, and this is undoubtedly justified considering the quality of the package that it delivers.
Fees and Costs
There are no set fees for the Nano S, and costs can be set when transactions are created. The amount of fees set by users then affects the processing speed of the transaction involved.
To make the process as transparent as possible, Ledger Live dynamically estimates three levels of fees or allows custom fees for advanced users such as:
High: the transaction will roughly be included in the next block (about 10 min for Bitcoin)
Standard: the transaction will roughly be contained within 3 blocks (about 30 min for Bitcoin)
Low: the transaction will roughly be included within 6 blocks (about 60 min for Bitcoin)
For Ethereum and Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies, network fees are set by the gas price and the gas limit – gas being in the term used for computational transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Ledger Nano S has many strings to its bow. It delivers a customizable and slick package, makes fees as flexible as possible, and delivers some of the best safety provisions in the entire industry. It has been around for a long time now, and there is no doubt that it deserves its esteemed reputation.
However, it should always be noted that investing in a cryptocurrency carries some risks, even though the reputation of this wallet is completely flawless. Investment in cryptocurrencies has made a lot of people a lot of money, but it is possible to lose money, so this should be considered.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a significant consideration for many users, considering that Bluetooth is often associated with security compromises. However, in this case, the concerns are unfounded. All private keys continually remain on the secure chip inside the device, meaning that Bluetooth communication never exposes the device to any additional security threats. And in the unlikely case that the transport was to be compromised, it would be impossible for attackers to extract private keys.
Yes, if users have any concerns about the Bluetooth connection included with Ledger Nano S, then the device can instead be utilized via a USB cable that is boxed with the device. This particular option can be accessed via the Control Centre.
Ledger Nano S does need to be paired with a desktop computer or smartphone to check account balances and complete secure transactions. In the case of desktop computers, a system with at least 64-bit Windows 8, macOS 10.10, or 64-bit Linux is required, while iOS 9 or Android 7 is needed for smartphones.
One of the most obvious reasons is that Ledger Nano S is the most affordable hardware solution on the market, while still offering many of the qualities and features of Ledger Nano X. However, such decisions will always be down to personal preference.