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The Ledger Nano S is the most secure way to store your cryptocurrency, thanks to the company’s robust security protocols. Beginner or occasional investors will have peace of mind knowing their assets are secure offline, yet they can easily access their crypto or view their accounts when using the physical device.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
An affordable cold wallet
The private keys never leave the device
Supports more than 5,500 coins and tokens
Limited storage space for crypto apps
Display is small and isn’t a touchscreen
Not as mobile-friendly as other wallets
- The Ledger Nano S is manufactured by Ledger, a leader in cryptocurrency security.
- A proprietary operating system and secure element chip keep crypto safe.
- The setup and installation process is quick and easy.
- It looks like a USB stick, making it inconspicuous.
Eight experts in cryptocurrencies, security, and entrepreneurship launched Ledger in 2014 with headquarters in Paris, France. Since then, it’s grown to over 800 employees with offices in New York, Zurich, and Singapore, along with a production facility in Vierzon, France.
It produced the first Ledger Nano S, a hardware cryptocurrency wallet, in 2016. According to the company, it has sold more than five million hardware wallets in 200 countries.
In 2020, Ledger launched Ledger Live, which works with the Ledger Nano S, and allows investors to trade, swap, and lend cryptocurrencies. In mid-2021, the company announced a $380 million Series C round of fundraising, bringing its valuation to over $1.5 billion.
The Ledger brand is the leader for cryptocurrency security and services.
- Type of Wallet Cold
- Currencies Over 1,100 digital assets
- Purchase Cost $59
- Incorporated Exchange Y
- Device Size 56.95 mm x 17.4 mm x 9.1 mm, 16.2 grams
- Mobile App Android
On June 22, 2022, Ledger announced that it has decided to retire the Ledger Nano S model and replace it with the Ledger Nano S Plus.
Investing in cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and other Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) is highly risky and speculative, and the markets can be extremely volatile. Consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies nor can the accuracy or timeliness of the information be guaranteed.
The Ledger Nano S hardware cryptocurrency wallet provides high-level security via a secure chip and a proprietary operating system. It gives investors control over their private keys and is backed by the largest name in the industry.
Investors can store more than 1,100 cryptocurrencies and tokens on the Ledger Nano S, with 23 cryptocurrencies supported directly by Ledger and the rest supported by installed third-party applications.
- An affordable cold wallet: At $59, the Ledger Nano S is less expensive than several other hardware wallets, making it a good low-cost, highly secure option.
- The private keys never leave the device: Unlike hot wallets through cryptocurrency exchanges, Nano S users hold their private keys. They’re never removed from the device or accessible via the web.
- It supports more than 1,100 coins and tokens: Investors can store popular and lesser-known coins and tokens on the Ledger Nano S device.
- Limited storage space for crypto apps: Most cryptocurrencies require a crypto application, and the Nano S only holds up to six apps, depending on the size.
- The display is small and isn’t a touchscreen: The device screen is less than an inch tall, as the whole device is only 17.4 mm tall (0.685 inches). It features two physical buttons instead of a touchscreen.
- Not as mobile-friendly as other wallets: The Ledger Nano S isn’t equipped with Bluetooth, so it requires a USB cable to connect to a computer or Android device.
The Ledger Nano S supports about 107 cryptocurrencies and more than 1,000 tokens. Although users can’t store fiat currencies on the Ledger Nano S, stablecoins are supported. Investors use the hardware to store popular cryptocurrencies, such as:
- Polkadot (DOT)
- Flow (FLOW)
- Tether USD (TRC20) (USDT)
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- IOTA (MIOTA)
- Cosmos (ATOM)
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Algorand (ALGO)
- Chainlink (LINK)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Binance Coin (BNB)
- Stellar (XLM)
- Cardano (ADA)
- Monero (XMR)
- Tron (TRX)
- Dash (DASH)
- Neo (NEO)
- USD Coin (USDC)
- Compound (COMP)
- Dai Stablecoin (DAI)
- Aave (ERC20) (LEND)
The Ledger Nano S hardware wallet is $59 on the Ledger website. The company occasionally offers free shipping to the U.S. and many international locations. Otherwise, shipping costs may be more than $19. Ledger also partners with several resellers, and you may find the device cheaper elsewhere.
For instance, the Ledger Nano S on Amazon is $59 with free delivery, whereas it’s $55.99 at Walmart (as of October 2022). Shipping times vary depending on where you purchase the device, but typically, you’ll receive it in less than two weeks.
Inside the box is the Ledger Nano S device along with a micro USB-B cable. Packages may also come with sheets to write down your 24-word recovery phrase and a neck strap. Ledger also offers a pack of three devices for savings of up to 21%.
Only purchase devices through verified resellers or Ledger directly. Never purchase a used hardware wallet.
Security is the top reason people buy a Ledger wallet. The company exceeds industry standards for security, including tamper-resistant Common Criteria (CC) EAL5+ certified Secure Element (SE) chips on Nano devices and your private keys stay on the secure chip.
Moreover, Ledger uses Secure Element chips and a proprietary operating system (OS) called Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System (BOLOS).
Ledger devices undergo an independent audit from the French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI). At the user level, there are additional security measures as well. For instance, to purchase altcoin, users must physically push both buttons on the device simultaneously, making it uncrackable by a cyber-criminal. The hardware wallet requires a minimum four-digit pin code and users get a 24-word recovery phrase to store in a safe, offline place.
In 2020, the company’s customer data was accessed via the Shopify database. The breach didn’t expose crypto wallets to danger but made users’ names, addresses, and phone numbers public. Ledger has removed more than 170 phishing websites and communicates regularly with customers regarding personal security.
The main difference in security between Ledger and competitors, such as Trezor, is that Ledger’s firmware isn’t open-source, meaning users can’t independently audit the firmware’s security.
Setup and Use
The Ledger Nano S is fairly simple to set up and use. Users must download Ledger Live to their computer or mobile device and choose the option to set up a new device. From there, the application walks users through the process, including a guided security checklist.
Once set up, investors use the Ledger Live app to perform most actions and confirm transactions by physically pressing both buttons on the Ledger hardware wallet. Although the screen is small, it works well for the limited interaction required. However, if you need to enter your 24-word recovery phrase, it can be tedious to scroll through the alphabet to find each letter.
Always store your recovery phrase in a secure, offline location.
For occasional investors with a few coins, Nano S is easy to use and beginner-friendly. But, many cryptocurrencies require software, and the Nano S only holds a few programs at once, meaning you’ll have to delete an app to install another one. Although your crypto is secure and remains on your device, the lack of storage creates some usability issues.
Ledger overwhelmingly receives high ratings for user satisfaction. Typically, complaints stem from the lack of Bluetooth or security protocols. In short, slightly less convenience is the price paid for top-notch security. Others also expressed concerns about the amount of storage on the device. But, the size and limitations are noted on the Ledger website, and users wanting more storage may prefer the Bluetooth-enabled Nano X.
If there’s a problem with a Ledger device after purchase, users must complete an online return form within 14 days of receiving the hardware wallet. The company offers a robust help center, chat support and multiple social media channels where you can reach out for help.
Ledger Nano S vs. X
The Ledger Nano S and X provide the same security levels and support the same cryptocurrencies. The main difference is that the Nano X has Bluetooth, meaning you can connect it to the internet and access your cryptocurrency from anywhere with an internet connection. Additionally, the Nano X provides much more storage, with room for up to 100 crypto apps compared to 20 or fewer on the Nano S.
|Ledger Nano S||Ledger Nano X|
|Type of Wallet||Cold||Cold|
|Currencies||Over 1,100||Over 5,500|
|Device Size||56.95 mm x 17.4 mm x 9.1 mm; 16.2 grams||72 mm x 18.6 mm x 11.75 mm; 34 grams|
|Mobile App||Android||Android and iOS|
Ledger Nano S vs. Trezor One
The Ledger Nano S and Trezor One are both well-known hardware wallets with strong security levels. While the Nano S resembles a flash drive made with stainless steel and plastic components, the Trezor One has a unique shape and is made from plastic. At first glance, Trezor One appears to support more coins. However, it doesn’t work with popular altcoins such as Cardano (ADA), Ripple (XRP), or Monero (XMR). Moreover, Trezor is open-source, which is a plus because anyone can inspect it and discover vulnerabilities, but Kraken could also break the hardware wallet when alone with the physical device for 15 minutes.
|Ledger Nano S||Trezor One|
|Type of Wallet||Cold||Cold|
|Device Size||56.95 mm x 17.4 mm x 9.1 mm; 16.2 grams||60mm x 30mm x 6mm; 12 g|
The Ledger Nano S is a secure hardware wallet resembling a USB flash drive, and it’s among the best Bitcoin wallets. Although it supports tons of cryptocurrencies, many assets require users to download a third-party app, and the wallet has limited storage for apps. The Ledger Nano S is perfect for beginners or occasional crypto investors who want to store their assets offline safely. However, active traders wanting mobile access to their cryptocurrency may prefer a Bluetooth-enabled device.
We evaluated the Ledger Nano S by looking at the number of supported currencies and crypto software applications, the overall cost, and ease of use. Furthermore, we examined the security of Ledger devices and the company, looking for potential safety concerns for users who misplace their device or connect it to the internet via a USB cable.
Correction, November 9, 2021: A previous version of this article misstated that Ledger wallets have never been hacked.
Ledger. "Ledger Blog."