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3 Bitcoin Wallets That Are Iron-Clad, Ultra-secure and Affordable

Ledger Nano X - The secure hardware wallet

3 bitcoin wallets that are Iron-Clad, Unhackable and Time-Tested- CoinZodiacAre you worried that your bitcoins might getting stolen?

Constantly second-guessing your wallets authenticity?

That means you’ve accumulated a significant investment in Bitcoin and you want to make sure that your wallets are secure.

Very smart people have specific methods and strategies to keep their bitcoin safe. I will show what you need to know, the best safety practices and the hardest wallets to break-in.

Storing your wallet on an exchange site like Coinbase or any other large trading platforms where you buy your BTC is never a good practice.

If they’re Not Your Keys, they’re not your Coins. That’s a mantra you should keep in mind if you’re new.

Don’t second guess, Bitcoin is very new and different from what you already know and use every day. It’s still very early in this space.

To give you a perspective of how early it is, imagine 1994 during the internet boom. Yeah, that’s right. That’s why it pays off to HODL bitcoins properly.

We’re so used to custodians (banks) keeping our money safe that we’ve come to accept the economic uncertainties and the monstrous cost that comes with storing our wealth in nationalized currencies.

Fiat money is highly subjected to the whims of political forces.

In 2016, citizens of India were given just 4 hours to turn in their wads of cash as their Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave an abrupt order that would render 1,000 and 500 rupee notes worthless.

With a broad-stroke, his shocking declaration rendered 86% of the cash in India unusable. Hundreds of people died trying to turn in their worthless fiat money.

The feeble, disabled, elderly were forced to wait in line for hours just to withdraw some money. A baby dies being denied treatment because the hospital refused to accept the outlawed currency notes.

There is no greater terrorism than going to war against your own people.

Citizens living in Greece, Cyprus, Iran, Syria, India, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, Turkey, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Brazil and Ukraine are all embroiled in some form of domestic or international currency war. And the people living in these countries are the hostages. 

If you ask “Why should I care? I’m not experiencing any of that.” Well, that’s because your economy isn’t being looted from the inside out yet.

The problem with centralized governance of money, is that you can never quite predict when the next politician is going to take it upon themselves to rob and loot in order to obtain cash to redistribute to their followers among the poor.

Money is the lifeblood of the people and yet it is a plaything for politicians.

Which is why, the historical average life expectancy of any fiat currency is 27 years.

But people are smart.

Over time they learn to hold on to good money by getting rid of the bad. In any economy, the good or hard money tends to be the one that has the strongest purchasing power or the lowest monetary supply growth rate.

This is called Gresham’s law. And we’re constantly seeing this play out all the time. In countries like India, Venezuela or Zimbabwe; the moment people get their hands on harder money, they will find innovative ways to hide, bury or save it.

That’s because the harder money will preserve their wealth far into the future while the bad money tends to be dispensed away as quickly as possible because inflation eats away its value every week.

Over time, you will notice that the bad money drives away the good money.

The people who are left stuck with piles of worthless toilet paper will see themselves losing most of their wealth.

So it is important for you to understand the concepts of hard money early

Today we’re seeing large swaths of Bitcoin adoption in these countries purely because people are suffering from the effects of bad money.localbitcoins-venezuela

We’re essentially witnessing Gresham’s Law in action.

When people get their hands on bitcoin, they’re going to HODL!

They’re going to bury that so deep, to ensure they have the good money saved for their children, for their future. And they’re going to trade the bad money for bitcoins.

Nowadays, all money is bad money compared to Bitcoin.

For the first time, Bitcoin is helping individuals solve a huge problem by allowing them to store value in a realm that cannot be bent easily to the demands of systematic compulsion.

It renders every government’s autocratic capacity to monopolize money obsolete.

There is a ruthless need for a new currency that does not rely on any one government. That currency should be decentralized, open, public, neutral, borderless and censorship-resistant.

Should you believe that Bitcoin is that currency, your first investment should not be in buying them, but in spending time understanding how to store and own bitcoins securely.  

Now that you understand the HODL philosophy, let’s dive straight into securing your bitcoins.

For those of you unfamiliar with the HODL philosophy, it’s an intentional misspelling of the word “Hold” that is commonly repeated during turbulent periods in the cryptocurrency market.

Over time, HODL has become synonymous with investors abating fear, and not selling in times of market despair.

Remember, this is a new era of regaining your independence from banks and the government. Its now your responsibility to adopt good practices and choosing your wallets carefully in order to protect your wealth.

No one else should do that for you.

It should be treated with the same care as you would with your banking details and passwords.

The Basics of Bitcoin Wallets

Some Things You Should Know Beforehand

Most bitcoin wallets use seed words as a backup.

Usually 12 or 24 random words are given to you when you first setup your wallet.

Your #1 priority should be in keeping those words safe. If anyone has access to them, they can steal your bitcoins!

There are literally hundreds of wallets in the market that allows you to store and keep your bitcoins.

They’re generally divided into Cold Wallets and Hot Wallets.

Not all of them are perfect bitcoin wallets. There’s always a trade-off.

The easiest way to describe them is this: hot wallets are connected to the internet while cold wallets are not.

Generally, I hold my Bitcoin on both cold and hot wallets because I intend to use them differently.

Hot wallets are like checking accounts, its easy access, you can use it to instantly send and receive bitcoins on the go; while cold wallets are bank vaults, it doesn’t offer you the convenience and flexibility, but it does offer you iron-clad security.

People who have bitcoin keep a small portion in their hot wallets for everyday purchases like buying coffee or sending money to their friends. They keep the vast majority in their cold wallets.

Bitcoin allows you to transfer money anywhere in the world, even to remote places directly via peer-to-peer. Without any intermediary involved, it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg just to send money across the internet.

For the very first time, the banks are being disrupted by a decentralized network that cannot be bribed, controlled or manipulated in any way.

With such empowering features, users and owners are now fully responsible for the security of their own bitcoins. That’s why it’s important for you to understand the best and the worst elements of custodial or non-custodial wallets.

  1. A custodial wallet is where you entrust a service or an entity to hold your bitcoins for you.
  2. Non-custodial wallets give you full control and sovereignty over your bitcoins.

Bitcoin was designed as a non-custodial solution for the people.

Bitcoin itself is highly secure, but the on and off-ramps that create bridges to and from the bitcoin network is highly insecure. Unfortunately, these exchanges are the places where 99% of the people are getting their initial exposure to Bitcoin.

And that’s where most of them are leaving it.

Related: 5 Things to Watch If You Leave Bitcoin on an Exchange

Unlike your national currency where the central bank can print it out of thin air, there will only be 21 million bitcoins (BTC) in the world

Like it or not Satoshi Nakamoto can never print more of it, even though he’s the head honcho.

When you consider a store of value which is much rarer than gold, that cannot be duplicated or inflated over time in any way, you have to treat it very differently from how you would treat your paper money.

In fact, you have to treat it closer to what you would have if you had gold tucked under your bed.

How to Store Your Digital Gold?

Well, a lot of people start off getting involved with Bitcoin on cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase, so generally many would just buy and then leave it on a custodial wallet (hot wallet).

That is generally a very bad idea!!

If you watch closely, people living in countries like India, Venezuela, Greece, Cyprus, Argentina or Zimbabwe can teach everyone a thing or two about misplaced trust.

Experience taught them a very tough life lesson about trusting third parties with their money! It happens suddenly and catches millions of people off-guard.

Nowadays, if they get their hands on hard money, they’ll immediately keep it tucked away.

Centralized exchanges have caught many unsuspecting traders and investors off-guard too.

Major security breaches like the infamous Mt. Gox, saw individuals lost hundreds, if not thousands of bitcoin overnight.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident.

Here are 35 of the Worst Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacks of All Time.

  1. June 2011: Mt. Gox ~$8.75 million stolen
  2. October 2011: Bitcoin7 ~ $50,000 stolen
  3. March 2012: Bitcoinica ~ $228,000 stolen
  4. May 2012: Bitcoinica ~ $87,000 stolen
  5. July 2012: Bitcoinica ~ $300,000 stolen
  6. September 2012: Bitfloow ~ $250,000 stolen
  7. May 2013: Vicurex: $160,000 stolen
  8. June 2013: PicoStocks: $130,000 stolen
  9. November 2013: PicoStocks: $3,000,000 stolen
  10. February 2014: Mt. Gox: $460,000,000 stolen
  11. March 2014: Cryptorush: $570,000 stolen
  12. March 2014: Poloniex: $64,000 stolen
  13. July 2014: Cryptsy: $9.5 million stolen
  14. August 2014: BTER: $1.65 million stolen
  15. October 2014: MintPal: $1.3 million stolen
  16. October 2014: KipCoin: $690,000 stolen
  17. December 2014: BitPay: $1.8 million stolen
  18. January 2015: 796exchange: $230,000 stolen
  19. January 2015: Bitstamp: $5.2 million stolen
  20. February 2015: BTER: $1.75 million stolen
  21. April 2016: Shapeshift: $230,000 stolen
  22. May 2016: Gatecoin: $2.14 million stolen
  23. August 2016: Bitfinex: $77 million stolen
  24. October 2016: Bitcurex: $1.5 million stolen
  25. February 2017: Bitthumb: $1 million stolen
  26. April 2017: YouBit: $5.3 million stolen
  27. December 2017: EtherDelta (DEX): $270,000 stolen
  28. January 2018: Coincheck: $500 million stolen
  29. February 2018: Bitgrail: $187 million stolen
  30. June 2018: Coinrail: $40 million stolen
  31. July 2018: Bancor (DEX): $23.5 million stolen
  32. Sept 2018 Zaif: $60 million stolen
  33. Jan 2019 Cryptopia: $17 million stolen
  34. Feb 2019 Quadriga CEO Death: $150 million lost
  35. May 2019 Binance: $50 million stolen

When you leave your valuable bitcoins (as you can see DEXs aren’t completely immune to attacks) on an exchange, you’re also leaving it to uncertainty.

Incidents such as this prove the dangers of trusting any exchange, decentralized or otherwise.

Its fine if you are planning to use bitcoin on a daily basis by storing small amounts on your mobile phone or while trading on an exchange.

If you’re treating it like cash, its fine.

However, If you plan to store a substantial amount of your wealth in bitcoins, you should ONLY use Hardware Wallets. You could use paper wallets, but it isn’t recommended for most people simply because it has too many technical steps.

The greatest enemy to security, on the front-ends where users are operating, is complexity.

We all have the Dunning-Kruger effect. In security this could be fatal. We all have domains in which we think we know, but don’t. Our ignorance of what we don’t know makes us cocky, we take risks we don’t even understand, because… we don’t have enough knowledge to evaluate the risks.

We all suffer from Dunning-Kruger. In security, however, it [can be] fatal. In security, it [will] cost you your funds. You don’t know the risks that you can’t evaluate.

Hardware wallets are recommended even by network security experts like Andreas Antonopoulos, who has been a long time Bitcoin advocate. Watch this 12″ video to understand why:

Q: So is a Hardware wallet a cold or a hot wallet?

A: Cold Wallet

Q: Why do most people recommend a cold wallet?

A: It’s NOT connected to the internet.

Q: Why are Hot wallets unsafe?

A: You have to trust third parties. The whole idea of Bitcoin is so that you can regain your independence from intermediaries or bankers and not just replace the status quo with new faces that acts like banks.

The hot wallet on your laptop or your mobile phone is constantly accessing the internet, sending and receiving data packets sometimes even without your knowledge. For the average user, it is highly unlikely that you can be 100% certain that your phone/laptop is clean from malware.

Q: Are hardware wallets perfectly secure?

$5 wrench attack by https://xkcd.com/538/

Yes. The primary purpose of a hardware wallet has always been to protect users and funds against malware attacks, computer viruses, and various other remote dangers. Theoretically, you can even use it on a laptop laden with malware, but there’s always a relatively small probability of “$5 wrench attacks

Ledger Nano X - The secure hardware wallet

Standard Hardware Wallets

A hardware wallet is pen-drive like device that is kept offline but can be plugged into a computer when you need to transact. Hardware wallets are tough to crack because the private keys are stored within the device, and never revealed out in the open, even to you.

It’s ultra-secure because only you and you alone can ever approve a transaction because you have to confirm each one by pressing a button on the device.

#1. Ledger

The Ledger Nano S is an industry standard for hardware wallets.

And it still is till this day.Special Bundle deal: Ledger Nano S + X

Pros

  • The Most Popular 1,326,201 Sold Worldwide as off August 2018
  • The Most Affordable Hardware Wallet € 79 (~$98)
  • Supports 30 major different Cryptos, can install up to 6 apps at any one time.
  • Ledger Live, a new desktop application that shows all your crypto accounts in one place.
  • World Class Support and Team – quickly replies to feedback and complaints. Constantly improving.

Cons

The Ledger Nano X is the new Bluetooth version of the Nano S. It now offers Ledger users great mobility and convenience.

ledger nano x and mobile

Need to Know:

  1. Only Buy from the Official Website and Not from third party vendors. Cases like these has happened.
  2. There is no anti-tampering sticker! Its no use having one to protect your device because it can easily be faked.
  3. You have set your pin and write down your own 24-word recovery phrase. Don’t accept one that already comes with the 24 recovery phrase.
  4. Even if you lose this device, you won’t lose your cryptocurrencies. You can buy a new device and restore using your own 24-word seed phrase.

 

#2. Trezor

There are two types: Trezor One and Trezor Model T

Pros

  • Model T Hardware Wallet comes with a Full-color touchscreen
  • Supports 9 major different Cryptos (BTC, LTC, BCash, BTG, Dash, Zcash, NEM, ETH, ETC)
  • No need to add or delete apps like Ledger. All included within interface.
  • Trezor One cost €89 for one (Save € 22 with a 3-pack for Trezor One on Trezor’s Website)

Cons

  • Trezor One € 89 and Trezor Model T € 149 (Huge User Interface Differences)
  • Number of supported coins is far less than Ledger Nano S.
  • Website shows over 500 coins & tokens which is misleading because the rest (ERC-20 tokens)

Need to Know:

  1. Only Buy from the Official Website and Not from third party vendors like eBay or Amazon. Threats like these can happen.
  2. There is an add on accessory called Cryptosteel which stores your 24-word recovery seed in Stainless-steel to protect from Water, Fire and other weathering elements.
  3. Open Source, devices have no serial numbers, offers more privacy because you can buy on Trezor’s website with BTC.
  4. Even if you lose this device, you won’t lose your cryptocurrencies. You can buy a new device and restore using your own 24-word seed phrase.

 

#3. ColdCard Wallet

coldcard wallet

The Coldcard Mk2 hardware wallet is a Bitcoin-only hardware wallet for advanced users. It comes highly recommended from more technically savvy Bitcoiners.

It includes advanced features such as a random number seed generator and a self-destruct feature.

You can generate a 24 word seed completely offline which is a great feature for paranoid users. Creating your own a seed with the roll of a dice is also a very cool feature for Cypherpunks.

Pros

  • NO specialized software required.
  • NO companion ‘app’ on your computer, works with the major wallets already (Electrum or Wasabi wallet).
  • Open source
  • Physical numbered-buttons

Cons

  • For Advanced users

Security tip

For anyone looking to get a hardware wallet for the first time, do not ever buy it on Amazon, eBay or from any 3rd party re-seller. Just don’t.

The 24 word recovery phrase and extra passphrase functionalities enable a range of security setups. You may use them to design the security strategy that meets your personal situation.

Please do not over-complicate things, the best security setup is one that you master and can execute with confidence!

The Quest for the Perfect Bitcoin Wallet

There is no such thing as a perfect Bitcoin wallet.

But if you ask me what is the gold standard for securing your bitcoins for non-technical people? Hardware wallets like The Ledger Nano S…

Hardware wallets are best for most. They make it really easy, very secure for anyone to store their keys. Don’t listen to anyone bragging about this and that level of security, “you should do this… etc” or else…..

Different people will have different risk models and tolerance for technical complexity.

If you’re trying to follow someone else and their security procedure that far exceeds your technical skill, you may introduce a more serious risk of losing your bitcoins. Your level of ambition may exceed your current skill level.

And you could mess it all up.

So keep it simple. Get a hardware wallet and make sure you backup those 24 word recovery phrases. 

While most people are thinking about theft or break-ins, that is actually not the biggest risk.

The biggest risk is that you lose your 24-word recovery phrase, forgetting where you keep it, no-back ups, damaged by moisture, fire, termites, natural disaster, etc…

We’ve only just begun…

In the world of Bitcoin, there’s so much more to delve into. That’s why I created The Zodiac Collection, that tells the story of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency revolution from every angle you can dream up.

There’s a lot of exciting stuff to read — I’ve selected a few of the stories, to start with, below.

To read a curated list of the most important crypto news stories each morning, subscribe for FREE. It will be everything you need to know, in your inbox, every day. No brainer 🙂

I certainly don’t want to overload your brain with the library of Bitcoin resources we have here.

Here are some special picks:

Ledger Nano X - The secure hardware wallet
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Winson Ng

I Started hearing about bitcoin only in November 2017. As a solo-preneur who has build around the Maverick Philosophy, I found bitcoin to be just the tip of the spear. I watched to see who was getting into it, some of the smartest entrepreneurs who has made their fortunes being the first movers allocated portions of their investment portfolios to Bitcoin. I studied and realized that if it worked, bitcoin was going to be the first global decentralized currency. And that has never existed before. Ever. I was Hooked!

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