[Review] Ledger Nano S (hardware wallet)

The Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet…

  • What’s a hardware wallet?
    • safe place for your Bitcoin, altcoins, and identity.
  • The Nano S hardware itself
    • Lovely “vires in numeris” engraving on one side
    • Can apparently be driven over by a truck
    • Though not a “feature” of the device, it has at least some amoutn of water resistance
    • Keychain/lanyard it came with are OK, but seem pretty cheap; wouldn’t trust them too much
  • The Nano S hardware’s software
  • Ledger’s desktop software
    • Chrome/Electron apps
  • Easily recovered
    • BIP 39 (mnemonic field)
    • BIP 44 (derivation path)
    • Plausible deniability features
  • Supports BIP 32 (hierarchical Deterministic Wallets) (aka HD wallets)
  • Wallets for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, DASH, and more
  • Works as a hardware key for Universal-2-factor (U2F) authentication
  • Works on Android phones with the OTG adapter
  • Works with lots of third-party software (Mycelium, Copay, Green Bits, etc)
  • Use for multisignature wallets
  • Use as authentication for local machine (i.e. locking down sudo or desktop login)
  • Use as a password manager
    • Not yet, but on Ledger’s roadmap
  • Use for signing messages
  • Use for encrypting/decrypting messages
    • i.e. use a public key to encrypt a message, decrypt a message using the private keys on the device
    • Not sure on how to do this yet
  • Ledger keeps the roadmap pretty public; great for seeing upcoming features.
  • Ledger devs have been very responsive in the Ledger’s slack channel
  • Competing devices
    • Ledger’s other devices
    • SatoshiLabs Trezor
    • KeepKey
  • Secure element vs open source
  • Available on Ledger’s website
  • Available on Ledger’s OpenBazaar shop