After you’ve made the choice to be part of the cryptocurrency craze, you’ve acquired Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or other cryptocurrency and you’re HODLing. Now what? Well, your top priority is to protect your digital assets.
Hardware wallets are usually the safest and are the preferred storage method for many cryptocurrency holders. Typically, these wallets connect to a computer via a USB port or a handheld device via Bluetooth.
Both Trezor and Ledger have established themselves as popular cold wallet options. BC Vault is a recently launched product made by a security focused company. They have a few major benefits over Trezor and Ledger that we’ll look into below.
All of these wallets save your cryptocurrency private key in an offline environment, so that hackers can’t steal your private key. For anyone to steal your coins, they’d need to steal your hardware wallet and somehow get you to give them your password and PIN code.
One of the main problems related to handling digital currencies through exchanges is that they are not secure at all. Although some of them offer secure solutions and they take all the necessary steps to protect users funds if they are hacked you are at risk of losing your coins. In addition to it, if they have the possibility to pay users back their funds lost, the process may be somehow troublesome.
Non-custodial cryptocurrency wallets help users deal with their cryptocurrencies in a safer way than custodial wallets could do. However, the best crypto wallets to securely store funds are hardware wallets.
Advantages of Hardware wallets
- The private key information is kept safe within the hardware and is never exposed to the working system.
- Hardware wallets are resistant to any malicious software designed to root out private keys and steal funds.
- If you happen to lose your wallet, you can always recover your coins using a seed recovery phrase or other backup methods (BC VAULT).
- Before spending any coin, the hardware wallet will request you to confirm the transaction on your computer. This ensures no coin is spent without your knowledge.
- Wallets are secured by encryption with a PIN code like debit cards, which adds more security to your digital assets.
- Most hardware wallets are able to support multiple cryptocurrencies.
So which is the best hardware wallet? We think it’s best to let the features speak for themselves.
Trezor hardware wallet was launched in the summer of 2014 by a Czech-Republic-based startup – SatoshiLabs. It was the first Bitcoin wallet on the market and probably the most reputable one as well. It offers a combination of secure cold storage and the ability to spend cryptocurrencies with the same convenience as a hot wallet. It allows you to store your private keys and digitally sign transactions without any Internet connection.
Trezor has many advantages to handle cryptocurrencies. This wallet offers a password manager that allows you to encrypt passwords separately and sync them to your private cloud. It offers Secure Admin SSH Access that protects users’ access to their servers. Finally, the wallet allows users to safeguard online accounts and identities using 2-Factor Authentication.
Trezor is also offering other solutions to more advanced users, including an indestructible stainless steel wallet alternative to the paper backup. This is the best way to store the Recovery seed in case your wallet is lost. This is also an advantage because its competitors do not offer similar solutions to this product. Nevertheless, it has a price of €131, making it difficult for a traditional user to acquire both a wallet and a “Cryptosteel” solution.
Ledger Nano S Review
The Ledger Nano S hardware wallet is the brainchild of eight experts from a France-based company called Ledger. Launched in 2014, Ledger is a very secure alternative for storing and managing cryptocurrencies. The Nano S offers a variety of nice features. In addition to the already appealing design, the hardware wallet based on the BOLOS platform is a small cryptographic wonder with high-security features like BIP39 Seed (12 to 24 words) and 4-digit login PIN code.
Ledger has been expanding in the market during the last few years and it was able to attract many new customers. Offering a large number of virtual currencies and Ledger Live were two of the most important decisions the company took and that allowed it to gain a larger market. In general, Ledger has usually offered cheaper products than Trezor, which is also very important for users.
BC Vault Review
BC Vault was created because established hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger do not focus 100% on their issues. For example, Saleem Rashid posted a major Ledger security issue on his website. Bitcoin Magazine also reported an article about the Wallet.Fail demonstration . The response from Ledger & Trezor appeared pretty soon, but they weren’t exactly what the crypto community was expecting. That’s why BC Vault came to life, so your funds can be secured by a team focused solely on security.
Moreover, each BC Vault is shipped pre-loaded with a private key, encrypted as every wallet on the device. The key corresponds to a public address that owns 1.0 BTC. Break it and those funds are yours. This reminds us of the ESG glass story – which put $3 million in cash in a bus stop and whoever could break it – could take the money home. The money is there even now.
Moreover, BC Vault is protected by a global PIN and a password – both needed to access your funds. You can see more details about how to set it up in the video. Another interesting thing that needs to be mentioned about BC Vault is the fact that they don’t even use BIP39/44 and its the first commercially available multi-crypto wallet with secure backups by default. The private keys are encrypted and stored in a state of the art store medium – Ferroelectric RAM. FRAM has retention of data measured in decades and supports many more write cycles as traditional Flash storage.
BC Vault has been trying to offer a third hardware wallet solution for individuals to store their virtual currencies besides the traditional options of Ledger vs Trezor. As a newcomer to the space, BC Vault was able to attract users’ attention and receive support from the community. Nowadays, BC Vault became a third player in the hardware wallet market in the crypto industry.
User Interface And Design
In terms of design, the wallets are practically the same. All three are small and compact. They should comfortably fit in your pocket and be usable in one hand. However, Ledger Nano S has a slight advantage, in the sense that it boasts a stainless steel casing which is pretty robust. Trezor is made out of plastic but is more compact than Ledger Nano S.
Ledger and Trezor both have two physical buttons that are used to confirm or deny the action. Moreover, each fully utilizes its screen which shows transaction information. It is worth noting that Trezor’s display is slightly larger than Ledger’s screen. However, that doesn’t have an impact on performance. The wallets come in the form of a tiny attachment to the USB port. You can connect your device to a PC, smartphone or any other device using the USB cable.
Ledger’s weight is 16.2 grams and its dimensions are – 98mm x 18mm long x 9mm thick. The Trezor Wallet weighs 12 grams and is definitely smaller (30mm x 60mm long and 6mm thick), which makes it more portable and easier to carry in your pocket.
BC Vault on the other hand is a bit different. The sizes are 100mm x 57mm x 10mm (3.937’’ x 2.244’’ 0.394’’). The weight is a bit more than an average Trezor or Ledger, with 41 grams. The operating temperature can be between 0 and +60 Celsius grades and the device has an OLED screen of 61.5 mm (128×64) pixels. The bigger screen is a major plus for BC Vault as it makes reading the address and confirming a transaction way easier than it would be by using a Ledger or a Trezor.
You can connect the BC Vault to your laptop by using a USB type-C cable and the best part about it is that it has an additional slot for a Micro SD which comes included with the device.
What’s inside the Trezor, Ledger and BC Vault retail package?
- Trezor device
- USB cable
- User manual
- Two recovery Seed Cards
Ledger Nano S
- Ledger Nano S device
- Start manual
- Keyring, lanyard, and other resources
- Recovery card
- USB cable
- The BC Vault One hardware crypto vault
- USB-C cable
- User manual
- 1 GB microSD card
Using The Device
Both Trezor and Ledger support a variety of operating systems (OS). They work with Windows, Mac and Linux Operating Systems. You will need to connect the devices to a computer via a micro-USB cable. Also, they both support nearly all Android devices. Trezor has a Google Chrome extension that features a standalone device management. The extension allows applications and websites to communicate with a Trezor device. BC Vault is not different at this. The new vault for cryptocurrencies have an application for OS X, Windows and Linux. Moreover, the BC Vault is supported on a wide variety of browsers such as: Firefox 52+, Chrome 50+, Opera 51+, Safari 11+ and IE 11+ (all new version). Moreover, with the launch of BC Vault 1.2.1 – the web daemon of it now allows 3rd parties to integrate the BC Vault functionality in their webpages.
On the security part, it feels that new is sometimes better. BC Vault gained an advantage here by not using BIP39/44 and instead stores the private keys on a Ferroelectric RAM – which has more writing cycles supported than a traditional flash storage. You can also do secure backups either to an Encrypted MicroSD (there’s a 1 GB one included ) or in the form of printable QR codes.
On another note, both Ledger and Trezor use deterministic wallets – which means that multiple wallets on the same device can be tracked back to the same seed. BC Vault doesn’t do that. They use non-deterministic wallets – so wallets cannot be mathematically linked. Each wallet is generated using a true RNG (random number generator). The RNG is initialized with a gyro sensor by shaking the BC Vault at the setup. Also, on a Ledger you have the same passcode for any wallets that you’d try to login. BC Vault is a bit different here, you can have more than 2000 unique wallets, each encrypted with additional and different passwords – basically, it’s almost like a MultiSig.
For the Bitcoin wallet, BC Vault supports both SegWit and Legacy – same as their competitors. The difference is that using BC Vault – you can use it as a single wallet.
Both Trezor and Ledger support most of the popular digital currencies. At the time of this writing, the Trezor’s and Ledger’s list of supported digital coins include:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Bitcoin Gold
- Ethereum Classic
- ERC-20 Tokens
Ledger Nano S Supports:
The Ledger Nano S cryptocurrency wallet offers you the possibility to store a large number of cryptocurrencies rather than just a small selected group from the top 10. It is possible for users to manage 22 coins with your Ledger device and the Ledger Live application. Many other cryptocurrencies can be handled with external compatible wallets.
- Bitcoin Gold
- Bitcoin Cash
- Ethereum Classic
- ERC-20 Tokens
- Binance Coin
- USD Coin
In the future, new cryptocurrencies could be added to this hardware wallet that would allow individuals to store their funds safely. In general, Ledger has offered support to a larger number of cryptocurrencies compared to Trezor.
BC Vault Supports
There are a lot of cryptocurrencies supported by BC Vault. All the ERC-20 native tokens are supported by BC Vault. The total number of these raises to more than 177,000 – though in circulations and daily usage – there are a lot less. Other cryptocurrencies that are natively accepted by BC Vault are:
- Bitcoin Cash
- BINANCE COIN
- Dynamic Trading Rights
Trezor Model T – $169 / €149
Trezor One White – $79 / €69
Ledger Nano X – $133 / €118
Ledger Nano S – $67 / €59
Ledger Blue – $309 / €272
BC Vault – $149 / €131
Our overall feeling is that all the hardware wallets mentioned above are worth trying. Each have a few unique things that makes them special. We personally use one of each to keep a portion of our crypto investments there and we’re happy with all of them.
Cryptocurrency hardware wallets are a very important tool for crypto investors that want to remain safe in case of hacks or attacks to crypto exchanges or wallets. The best way to be the owner of your digital assets is by having a hardware wallet and having full control of your virtual currencies.