6 Best Hardware Wallets for 2024: Top Crypto Wallets Reviewed!

Hardware wallets have always been the best way to secure your crypto, something that became even more evident after the disastrous events of 2022 that saw customers lose access to billions of dollars after the FTX, Celsius and BlockFi fiascos.

Hardware wallet companies like Ledger and Trezor saw record sales that year as crypto holders fled to the safety of hardware wallets. If you are on the search for a safe way to store your crypto, you have done well to find this article. I hope you find our best hardware wallet picks helpful.

Not your keys…

Imagine this scenario:

Your crypto portfolio is coming along nicely. That BTC you bought a couple of years ago sits slowly powering up its thrusters for another moon shot. You have a healthy amount of ETH, ready for the future of web3. Maybe you have a stack of altcoins that you plan on going all pirate-like with and burying someplace safe for the next decade. You log into your exchange account every so often to see how it’s all doing and ponder your next move, only to find zeros and news headlines reporting that hackers successfully breached the exchange’s defences and your funds are gone.

If you have a few hundred dollars locked up in your portfolio and it’s all kept on a reputable exchange then maybe you don’t have too much to worry about, or maybe you do, look at how many users were caught off guard by the FTX collapse. If you are keeping crypto on an exchange, at least be sure to have all the extra two-factor authentication options enabled and have set up anti-phishing emails if your exchange offers that feature.

The best exchanges have good security procedures in place to protect against hacks and unauthorized withdrawals and spend a lot of money every year on maintaining them, making hacks unlikely. In the unlikely event that the worst does happen, it’s not as though you’ve lost the family silver, though some crypto enthusiasts might be thinking, “psssh, forget the family heirlooms, losing the family Bitcoin is worse!”

While unlikely, hacks are not impossible and have happened before with catastrophic consequences. Many grizzled crypto veterans still shudder to remember the Mt. Gox fiasco, while the BitGrail saga still resonates throughout the space, and more recent events like the KuCoin, Binance, and HTX (previously Huobi) hacks resulted in lost funds for users. And that is just one side of the danger-coin, let’s not forget about human error, mismanagement and incompetence that led to the FTX and Celsius collapses, leaving one to wonder how anyone can trust their funds on any centralized platform.

In successful hack cases, hackers made off with millions of dollars in crypto and investors were left staring in dumb horror at their computer screens. Then the abrupt bankruptcy of Celsius, BlockFi and FTX caused millions of users to simply lose access to their funds overnight. These are the worst examples, but lessons have been learnt and security tightened, yet the threats remain.

It’s worth remembering that if you store your coins on an exchange – no matter how well-regarded and secure it may be – you do not control them. The private keys to your crypto are held by the exchange and if something goes wrong there is little or nothing you can do about it.

For Guy’s take on the best ways to store your crypto, here’s his pick for the top 6 methods for storing crypto:

…Not Your Crypto

The best exchanges make security one of their top priorities. Most insist that users complete KYC (know your customer) procedures when registering. Two-factor authentication is usually required to log in and withdrawals are frequently limited to specific, whitelisted wallet addresses.

Any exchange worth considering will keep most of its funds in cold storage, without access to the internet. The drives with all the users’ private keys are then sometimes stored in secure vaults with air gaps and armed guards. The private keys containing access to the digital gold is treated as securely as though it were the real solid shiny stuff. The top exchanges also have insurance, which means that if a breach does occur, any investors affected will be reimbursed.

You can rest assured though that the hackers won’t have given up. There’s too much money to be made (or stolen) and in some cases, the hackers have some pretty powerful interests behind them. Technology is advancing all the time with the newest, shiniest padlocks ending up looking rusty.

And quite aside from the threat of theft is the question of ownership. You’ve paid for your crypto, you will decide what to do with it, so you should have the keys to it. In these matters, it pays to listen to experience and those who have been knocking about the crypto ranges for a while will tell you that keeping your coins on an exchange is a bad idea.

Hardware Wallets: Take Ownership of Your Crypto

Once you’ve decided to forgo keeping your coins on whichever exchange you might be using, you have three main options. The first is to store them on a mobile wallet – basically, an app for your smartphone, check out Guy’s top picks for the top mobile wallets.

These mobile wallets give you more control over your crypto and allow you greater freedom to use it to pay for goods and services. They do, of course, have one major downside, which you will probably have spotted: they’re still connected to the internet and therefore vulnerable to attack.

The second option – and the one most likely to appeal to anyone born before about 1970 – is a paper wallet. Yes, paper… I seem to remember it now. Here you print out your private keys (usually in the form of a QR code) and keep them somewhere safe. There are benefits to doing it this way, of course. If you intend to hodl your coins for years to come then putting the keys in a drawer and forgetting all about them will stop you from ever spending or selling them.

As long as the piece of paper is kept safe and not lost or stolen, or put in the recycling by a well-meaning partner who has finally lost patience with you for not clearing out the study, then all should be well.

The third option is the one which concerns us today and is by far the best for those who hold a decent amount of crypto and want to keep it safe. Whether you’re a minnow or a whale or somewhere in between (a barracuda?) then a hardware wallet is what you should be using to store those coins, hence why we put together this article on the best crypto wallets to help you figure out which is the best choice for you.

What is a crypto hardware wallet?

Hardware wallets are physical devices with a secure element that store your private keys offline in a secure manner and keeps them safe from any outside attack. They can be plugged into a computer, or connected to a mobile device to enable users to manage and spend their crypto, but all aspects of any transactions and validations are done on the device itself. Even if the device being used is infected with malware or is otherwise compromised, the hardware wallet remains secure and nobody else can get access to the private keys.

Each of the wallets mentioned here today comes with the vitally important feature of being able to back up your wallet so you will be able to restore your wallet, and your funds, should you lose or damage the wallet that stores your private keys, so please follow good crypto security etiquette 101 and always ALWAYS be sure to back up any wallet you use, software or hardware. Keeping those recovery seed phrases stored safely will likely be the only way to recover your funds should something go astray with your crypto storage method of choice.

I highly recommend checking out our article on How to Keep Your Crypto Safe for a comprehensive article on all the best practices and steps you can take to ensure you are using crypto in the safest and most secure manner possible. We also have an article: How Does a Hardware Wallet Work if you want to get into the nitty gritty.

Top 6 Best Hardware Wallets for Cold Storage Solutions

There are a number of hardware wallets on the market and choosing the right one can be tricky. That’s why we’ve put together a handy guide to our top hardware wallets below. There are a few things to weigh up before choosing which one is right for you and we’ll consider all of these in relation to each wallet:

  • Security: Although hardware wallets are the safest option out there, some are more secure than others.
  • Coins supported: All hardware wallets will store BTC, ETH and most other top cryptocurrencies. However, if your portfolio includes some lesser-known altcoins, then some wallets may not be suitable.
  • Price: If your portfolio is relatively small then chances are you won’t want to pay top dollar for a device to store it on. As with any product, prices for hardware wallets vary.

One final point to remember when buying a hardware wallet is to always buy it directly from the maker. There have been a few instances of unscrupulous types buying a wallet, extracting the seed words and then reselling the device. When the unsuspecting buyer then loaded their crypto onto it, the scumbags were able to remove their funds using these seed words.

Avoid buying your wallet from eBay or anywhere else where it might have been interfered with and order straight from the supplier’s website. Most of them also offer free shipping, unless you happen to live somewhere particularly exotic.

So, armed with this knowledge, in no particular order, let’s take a look at the best hardware wallets on the market.

If you are interested in mobile or software wallets you may want to check out our Top 8 Mobile Wallets article.

Overall Best Hardware Wallet: Trezor Safe 3

Making our first mention on this list of the best crypto wallets is the Trezor Safe 3, the newest device by leading wallet manufacturer Satoshi Labs.

Before the Safe 3 was released, this spot went to the Trezor Model T, the flagship product on offer from the guys over at Trezor. The Trezor brand is a creation of Prague-based company Satoshi Labs (Trezor means ‘vault’ in Czech) and the first crypto hard wallet was launched back in 2013.

Don’t get us wrong, the Trezor Model T is still a fantastic choice and is great for anyone looking for touch-screen capabilities, but we decided to replace it with the Safe 3 as it comes with a more secure element and higher security rating. We cover it in detail in our Trezor Safe 3 Review. The Trezor Safe 3 also comes in at a much lower price. More security and lower cost? Win-win

This top-of-the-line secure hardware wallet comes in at $79 and supports over 8,000 crypto assets. Trezor has been audited by third-party security researchers and boasts a long-standing successful track record. Since the release, there have been no known instances of successful remote hacks resulting in loss of user funds to date. Trezor is widely considered the safest crypto wallet on the market.

Trezor can be used with the online Trezor web wallet on desktop or mobile, or via the downloaded Trezor suite app on desktop.

Trezor can also be integrated with web 3.0 wallets such as Metamask and has also formed a unique partnership and integration with the massively popular software wallet Exodus, combining the convenient features and the user interface of the Exodus software wallet with the security of the Trezor hardware wallet. You can read more about that in our Exodus Wallet Review.

Trezor offers three hardware wallets, the less robust and cheaper Trezor One, the Model T, and the Safe 3. One of the most obvious benefits of the Model T and Safe 3 over the Model One is that you have more coin support. The Model T is more secure in a sense that sensitive information such as the pin code and recovery phrases are entered directly on the Model T’s touch screen keeping all sensitive information off the computer, unlike the Trezor One. The Safe 3 has the benefit of the secure element.

A full list of coins supported by the Trezor One, Trezor Model T and Safe 3 can be found on the Trezor Asset Support page.

Trezor is compatible with the major computer operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, and works with Android and IOS for mobile via the Trezor Suite Lite app.

Setting up Trezor devices is also pretty quick and very user-friendly. All you will need to do is install the bridge and ensure that the firmware is up to date and that should be it. While the Model T is the premium device offered by Trezor, many users do not feel that it is worth more than double the price of the Trezor One. After using all three devices, we find the Safe 3 is the best option, balancing price and security.

For anyone new to the space, it is worth pointing out that Trezor is highly respected and trusted within the crypto industry and what many feel is a game changer in building trust is that all the code for the Trezor wallets has been released and is completely open source.

Not sure how to set up your Trezor? Watch Guy’s step-by-step video guide below!

👉 How to Set up a Trezor!

Best Hardware Wallet For Backup & Recovery: Cypherock

The number two mention on our list goes to an innovative newcomer, Cypherock.

What excites us about Cypherock is that it does away with the antiquated method of storing a recovery phrase on a piece of paper, removing a significant single point of failure risk, while still empowering users with self-custody and trustless storage.

Cypherock deploys the most rock-solid and ingenious method of backing up and recovering a wallet that we’ve encountered in the industry, both removing the single-point-of-failure vulnerabilities and decentralizing the recovery method using Shamir’s Secret Sharing.

We won’t go into too much detail on the workings of it here as we cover the device in depth in our Cypherock Review, but the TL;DR is that as long as you have any 2 of the cards, or 1 card and 1 device, you will be able to recover your funds and ordering additional cards and devices is also possible, creating a robust backup solution.

Now, anyone who just read that may have some alarm bells going off. Fear not as anyone who comes across your cards and/or device will not be able to do anything with them without your pin code, as long as the pin code for the device is only known by you, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

There is another concern that may put people off this device upon first look, but the Cypherock team are a step ahead here as well. Many crypto users are hesitant about using a wallet that does not use the typical BIP39 recovery phrase method.

The fear is that if Cypherock goes out of business, users will not be able to recover their funds with another wallet. Fortunately, Cypherock users have easy access to their recovery phrase should they choose to access them to recover into most other wallets that use the BIP39 standard. Furthermore, if your device breaks AND Cypherock goes bust, there is also a mobile app in development that will allow you to recover your funds as long as you still hold onto 2 of the cards.

They really have thought of everything.

Other notable features are that Cypherock can manage private keys for up to 4 wallets, making it like a seed-phrase vault for your software wallets. The wallet has been audited with impressive findings by Keylabs, the security team that cracked into Ledger and Trezor’s security and the wallet itself is open-sourced while the technology behind the cards remains proprietary.

The device will feature an inheritance system to pass crypto onto loved ones and it is one of the only hardware wallets that is capable of supporting portfolio management for multiple wallets, making it ideal for families or friends who want to share a wallet or for Web3 business owners that need to keep personal and business funds separate.

The Cypherock device is not the cheapest on the market, but it does come with a couple of perks. As we mentioned, the device can be shared safely between users, lowering costs for a household. Also, the device comes with a really nice case that is splash-resistant and protects against Electromagnetic waves, acting like a Faraday cage and protecting the device in case of EMPs. Talk about being apocalypse-ready. Faraday cage devices can cost a pretty penny, so this is a nice value-add.

The cost is $159 but Coin Bureau readers can enjoy a 17% Discount Using our Cypherock Signup Link!

The device supports over 8,000 digital assets, making this a great choice for altcoin enthusiasts.

Most Secure Cold Storage Wallet: NGRAVE ZERO

The NGRAVE ZERO is a very promising and interesting newcomer in the crypto hardware wallet space, boasting to be the most secure cold wallet ever made, and we can’t argue with them there as they back up that impressive claim. This next-generation hardware crypto wallet has already gained a lot of attention from crypto users and investors such as Woodstock Fund, Morning Star Ventures, DFG Group and more.

What makes this wallet so secure is that it is 100% air-gapped, and is the only crypto wallet in the world that reaches the highest security certification standard possible, EAL7 (vs Ledger’s EAL5), and is also RoHS and CE certified like the Trezor, achieving a higher security standard than any of the competition. This fancy piece of kit also has a light sensor, biometric scanners, pin protection, and is tamper-proof, resulting in a wallet that is more secure from a tech perspective than any other crypto hardware wallet.

While you would think a hardware wallet with such comprehensive and advanced security features would not be very user-friendly, the NGRAVE team have actually done an incredible job with the UX/UI of the device, and I actually found it more user-friendly than either my Trezor or Ledger. Another thing I really enjoy about the ZERO is that it is made from military-grade premium materials with a metal case, making it far more robust than the plastic hardware wallets on the market today.

While this is the most secure and best air gapped crypto wallet available, the ZERO actually does something even more impressive than just state-of-the-art security and a brilliant user experience. The NGRAVE team have worked in close collaboration with a world-leading institution in nanotechnology, the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC), along with a research group for applied cryptography, The Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography (COSIC) to ensure high-security standards, but is was their work with Jean-Jacques Quisquater that really turned heads.

Jean-Jacques is one of the most well-respected cryptographers in history. He was actually cited as the #2 reference in Satoshi’s original Bitcoin Whitepaper and teaches as a professor of cryptography. Jean-Jacques, along with the NGRAVE team have created something truly revolutionary in private key generation, recovery, and security, and created what they refer to as the “Perfect Key”. The Perfect Key along with the NGRAVE GRAPHENE make up the first ever recoverable recovery phrase without exposure to third-party risk, and is the only wallet in the world that avoids recovery phrase interception risk from third parties or wallet manufacturers.

The price of the NGRAVE ZERO is a bit on the steep side, but if you don’t mind splashing out, on top of the insanely high robust security features of the ZERO, another one of my favourite features is that the private keys do not come pre-installed on the device, unlike Ledger and Trezor, and can be randomized upon setup, meaning you can be sure that you are the only one who knows them. For me, that peace of mind is worth the higher price point:

  • $398 (398 EUR)
  • 15+ Coins Supported

There is way too much to unpack in this article about all the features the NGRAVE ZERO, which is why we have done up this dedicated deep-dive NGRAVE review for you to check out. I definitely recommend having a look as this very well could be the next generation of crypto storage and the “perfect key” really is a breakthrough in recovery phrase recovery and cryptography. The only thing stopping the ZERO from being higher on the list is the simple fact that it has not been battle-tested and withstood the test of time like the Trezor and Ledger, and not all the features have been rolled out yet.

Here at the Coin Bureau, after getting our hands on the NGRAVE ZERO and using it ourselves for a while, we have become so impressed with this device that we swung a deal with the NGRAVE team to give our community a 10% discount if they check out with the code “COINBUREAU” or purchase through our NGRAVE link. Nice!

Best Hardware Wallet for Long-Term Storage: BC Vault

BC Vault has created a truly unique and highly secure crypto wallet, which is why it deserves a spot on this list. We listed it as the best hardware wallet for long-term storage, but the BC Vault has a lot more than just that going for it.

Here are a few boasting rights that only BC Vault can claim:

  • Supports millions of coins & tokens– Device can support 2,000 unique wallet addresses and hundreds of chains. This significantly outperforms industry leaders Ledger and Trezor.
  • Seedless Cold Storage– BC Vault has developed a recovery method that does not rely on third-party trust and is more secure than traditional recovery phrases, (though recovery phrases are optional).
  • Ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM) chip that can function for over 200 years, making this the only hardware wallet suitable for multi-generational use.
  • True random number generator and non-deterministic algorithms create private keys– Devices such as Trezor, Ledger, ELLIPAL and most wallets come pre-loaded with private keys, meaning a level of trust is involved. Private keys on the BC Vault are user-generated for ultimate anonymity.
  • Real Security– The company behind BC Vault are not your average “crypto bros.” They are a Cybersecurity firm that has been operating for over 20 years and are responsible for the cyber security of many major firms. They also host the biggest security conference in the Adriatic region.
  • Separate Pin and Password Protected Accounts– BC Vault is the only wallet we are aware of that can be safely shared between friends and family members. Up to 2,000 accounts can be created and pin/password protected.

Another perk of this wallet that we love, is that each of the millions of supported assets are natively supported, meaning you do not need to connect to third-party programs to manage assets, as is the case with many Ledger and Trezor “supported” assets. We cover why this is an important distinction in our BC Vault review.

BC Vault has a quote on their site:

“ Wallets are for Pocket Money, Vaults are for Safekeeping”

Which highlights the security of the Vault. The device has the following dimensions: 100mm x 57mm x 10mm (3.937” x 2.244” 0.394”) and has achieved the following security certifications:

  • CE (EN 55032:2012, EN55024:2010, EN 61000-3-2:2014, EN 6100-3-3:2013; EN 60950-1 :2006 + A 1:2010 + A2:2013 + A 11 :2009 + A 12:2011)
  • RoHs (same certification held by Trezor and NGRAVE)

The team at BC Vault are so confident in their security that each device comes pre-loaded with an account that can access 1 Bitcoin. If any user can crack the security of the Vault, they can keep the Bitcoin. To date, nobody has managed to nab it.

The backup of the wallet is handled by an encrypted SD card, which can only be decrypted with the pin and password selected by the user, making this safer than the traditional recovery seed phrases written down on paper. If someone accesses the SD card, they cannot access the funds without your pin and password. For those who prefer the traditional recovery method, a recovery phrase can also be accessed and written down.

Similar to Trezor and Ledger, primary use of the device occurs with the device plugged into a computer via USB and the BC Vault program is opened. This is in contrast to wallets like ELLIPAL and NGRAVE, which are used in conjunction with a mobile app.

  • Price: $138 
  • Supported Assets: Millions of coins, tokens and NFTs

If you want to learn more about what makes BC Vault one of the most secure wallets in the industry and how the backup + recovery method is revolutionizing cold storage, check out our in-depth BC Vault review.

Most User Friendly: Tangem Wallet

The Tangem Wallet is another innovative newcomer in the space. This highly secure and convenient wallet solution also eliminates the single point of failure risk that comes with traditional recovery phrases.

We tested this wallet out for ourselves and found it to be not only the easiest wallet to use, but even the setup only took three minutes and there was no need to write a recovery phrase down or punch letters into a metal plate like some of the other mentioned on this list.

The Tangem wallet comes with a corresponding mobile app that is used for initiating transactions and the Tangem wallet itself is a credit-card-sized device with no screen or buttons, making it incredibly durable. To initiate transactions on any one of the over 8,000 assets supported, users only need to tap the NFC-enabled card to the phone with the Tangem App installed, enter a pin/passcode and you are good to go.

Similar to Cypherock, recovery is possible as long as a user has access to one of the cards, the app and their pin/passcode. The recovery process is incredibly simple and can be done in minutes. Alternatively, for those who prefer the traditional backup and recovery method, Tangem users can access their recovery phrase, making it possible for those who prefer the old backup and recovery method with the new innovative and seamless transaction methods offered by Tangem.

Security is an important consideration when choosing a hardware wallet, and Tangem would not be on this list if their security did not check out. The wallet’s chip is EAL6+ certified, the highest available and the chip is highly resistant to dust, water, extreme temperatures, X-rays and electromagnetic pulses.

The wallet is open-source and has been independently audited by Kudelski Security and Riscure, with both results confirming that the firmware has no backdoors or vulnerabilities. It is also not updateable, meaning the team cannot sneak in malicious or unwanted code (looking at you, Ledger).

The Tangem team also understand the importance of avoiding single point of failure risk, so even if the company goes bust, no Tangem servers are involved with sending and receiving transactions, so users do not need to rely on Tangem as a company to use the device or restore their funds to another wallet.

We also appreciate that Tangem is one of the most budget-friendly wallets on the market, with the 3-card set coming in at just $69. Coin Bureau readers can also enjoy an additional 10% off if they use our Tangem Discount Link.

Some members of the Coin Bureau team were so impressed with Tangem that the wallet has become one of their wallets of choice. You can find out more in our dedicated Tangem Review.

Best Hardware Wallet for DApps + DeFi: ELLIPAL Titan

Last but not least on our list is the air-gapped crypto wallet, ELLIPAL Titan. The Titan also makes the list as one of the best cold storage wallets that works in complete network isolation for true offline cold storage. The ELLIPAL Titan comes in at a cost of $169, more than the entry-level Trezor One and Ledger Nano S, but the hefty price tag may be worth the cost for some crypto users.

This hardware wallet has the most extensive coin support on this list and is sealed to ensure that it is dust and water-proof, also coming with an anti-tamper feature that will delete all of the private keys should someone try and physically break into the device to tamper with it. The device itself is secured via a passcode, so users should be sure to use a strong passcode with this device and store the Titan someplace safe as you would with any hardware wallet.

The ELLIPAL Titan is kept completely separated from network connectivity, with enhanced security in the form of only relying on QR codes to transfer data. The ELLIPAL cannot be connected to any connections such as USB, Wifi or Bluetooth, protecting your crypto against remote and network attacks.

ELLIPAL impressively supports a mind-blowing 46 different blockchains and 10,000+ crypto assets, and even allows users to stake assets, earn interest, access a plethora of DApps and DeFi protocols, and even buy or exchange crypto through the apps that can be accessed on the corresponding mobile app.

  • Price: $169
  • Coins Supported: 46 Blockchains, 10,000+ coins and tokens. Full list of assets can be found on the Ellipal Coin Support page.

Some of the cons with the wallet are that the default Bitcoin address generates the BIP 44 Bitcoin address that begins with the number 3 instead of the new and widely accepted BIP 84 Bitcoin addresses that begins with bc, which could lead to more expensive Bitcoin transactions for users.

Another deal-breaker for some users is that the Ellipal wallet does not give users access to their own Xpub keys which leaves this wallet not operable with many apps and does not give users the option to import “view only” wallets. Various crypto payment gateways for eCommerce use Xpubs to generate new payment addresses for various checkouts, so

Security-minded users may be turned off by the Ellipal’s ability to only generate a 12-word seed phrase instead of a more secure 24-word phrase, though a 24-word phrase can be imported. The wallet has no support for testnet coins for any blockchain network, the lack of ability to add a custom RPC could be a deal-breaker for users who are interested in running test nets or testing coins to learn how certain networks function.

After using this wallet myself for a few months I do need to say that the Titan has become a permanent member of my hardware family purely for the ease of Web3 and DApp access. I cover this in more detail in our ELLIPAL Titan Review, but the best thing about the Titan is it has the DApp functionality, access and convenience of a software wallet, but the high security of a hardware wallet. Accessing DeFi on the Titan is easier than I have found with any other hardware wallet.

Thanks to the Titan, all the funds I used to keep in software wallets for staking and using DeFi protocols like Aave, Compound, Uniswap, Trader Joe and DODO I now access easily on the Titan, and I sleep far better at night knowing my funds are more secure on the Titan than they were in my software wallets. I was so impressed with the Titan that we convinced the folks over at ELLIPAL to provide Coin Bureau readers with a 10% discount if they use our ELLIPAL Link in case they wanted to pick this little gem up for themselves.

Notable Exclusion

Anyone who has been in the crypto industry for more than a week has probably heard about Ledger and you may find their exclusion from this list odd.

In previous years, Ledger has made our lists for the best hardware wallets, but their fall from grace in recent years has been quite monumental, and consequently, we no longer consider Ledger a top 6 pick. They are still a well-respected and reputable hardware wallet maker but after recent blunders, many crypto users, including the Coin Bureau team no longer consider Ledger devices a secure pick for the following reasons:

Closed-Source– Normally this isn’t enough to exclude a wallet from the list, but their recovery blunder showed the entire crypto industry what can be hidden in closed-source software.

Data Breach– In 2020, Ledger experienced a data breach, where malicious hackers stole personal customer information. This led to targeted phishing attacks and social engineering attacks against Ledger users.

Bluetooth Functionality– The Ledger Nano X features Bluetooth to connect to a mobile device. Most leading hardware wallet manufacturers create devices that are air-gapped and completely isolated from external connectivity and communications for security reasons. While there have been no known Bluetooth exploits to date, many cybersecurity professionals, including us as the Bureau, do not want to use a crypto wallet that has external communications enabled via Bluetooth or any other form of wireless data transmission. Bluetooth connectivity is an unnecessary potential attack vector in our opinion.

Recovery Service Nightmare– This was a significant controversy that turned thousands of users away from Ledger and outraged the crypto community, with industry thought leaders CZ, Mudit Gupta at Polygon, CoolWallet’s Michael Ou, and hundreds of others chiming in to express their disapproval. In 2023, Ledger announced a recovery service that allowed Ledger users to recover their wallets.

This involved trusting third parties with private keys and led to worries that governments could subpoena for access to private keys, data leaks could lead to private key theft, and most importantly, it went against the very ethos of decentralization and self-custody. The worst part was that Ledger users did not even know this type of update could be rolled out and updated onto existing devices, highlighting trust concerns over closed-source software.

In response to this, Ledger backpedalled on the release, made it optional, and open-sourced their code in an attempt to put the fire out, but the trust had been broken and damage was done. The initial response from the Ledger team and CEO was also quite appalling, showing blatant disregard and disrespect for existing Ledger users who did not want this feature.

Ledger Connect Exploit– In 2023, a hacker attacked the front end of multiple DApps using Ledger’s connector, resulting in Ledger users losing over $480,000 in digital assets. The exploit was made possible by a hacker inserting malicious code into the Github library for Ledger’s Connect Kit after phishing a Ledger employee for access. This event further highlighted Ledger’s lack of security protocols.

Ledger Live Tracking Users– App developer and privacy advocate REKTBuilder claims to have discovered a device check in Ledger’s code that allows them to track users and know which networks and apps the user has installed and accessed. As crypto users are often privacy advocates, this is yet another stumble by Ledger that goes against the very ethos of what hardware wallet manufacturers should stand by.

Due to the reasons highlighted, we can no longer consider Ledger as a top hardware wallet.

Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe

It is worth mentioning that Trezor has been an industry leader for many years, being tried and tested, passing multiple security audits and setting the bar for cold wallet security. They have deserved the top spot on the podium, but that does not necessarily mean that their security is superior, or even that the products are better. After all, we see old tech get surpassed by new and better tech all the time, think no further than the iPod replacing the Discman cd player or Netflix replacing BlockBuster, but many users find the successful long-standing track record and the strong reputation of Trezor comforting.

The other mentions on this list do not yet stand up to the reputation of the “grandfather of hardware wallets” and have not been around as long, so be sure that you are confident in the security of the wallet that you choose and do your own thorough research before deciding to trust your funds to any crypto wallet.

Whichever wallet you choose, you still need to mitigate against the risk of it falling into the wrong hands. All wallets have pin codes, as well as options for access and recovery. It goes

Technology can keep us safe only up to a point. If someone manages to get hold of both you and your hardware wallet, then there’s not much that can be done to then stop them forcing you to hand over your pin code or seed words with the aid of a weapon and some threatening gestures (a $5 wrench attack if you want the technical term).

There are two steps you can take to reduce this risk though. One is a hidden wallet feature that enables you to set up extra wallets on your device which only you know about. Many wallets offer this feature, though it’s a bit on the fiddly side, and if you forget the passcode to access the hidden wallet you are out of luck.

And the other? This step is the simplest of them all: keep your crypto on the down-low and don’t go flashing your shiny new wallet about. After all, do you really want anyone knowing how much XRP you loaded up on back in the day?

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