The Ledger Nano S is one of the most popular hardware wallets for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the world. It’s also one of the best entry-level cold wallets for people just getting into Bitcoin. Ledger itself is a French company that helped pioneer the hardware wallet space when it launched in 2014. The Ledger Nano S, its first product, quickly took off as the de facto wallet of choice for crypto enthusiasts thanks to its ease-of-use, security, small device size, and affordability.
The Ledger team regularly updates the Nano S and it now supports over 1,100 different digital assets. It also connects with Ledger’s proprietary desktop software called Ledger Live, which makes checking your balance incredibly easy. To date, Ledger has sold millions of wallets in over 165 countries with 100+ resellers spread around the globe.
By: Arthur Crowson | Dec 12, 2019 | Modified May 25, 2020
|Platforms supported:||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Cryptocurrency supported:||Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum (1,100 others)|
|Pin Code Supported:||Yes|
Hardware wallets can seem a little confusing to new crypto users but you can think of them as keys. Once you slide your Nano S into your computer it essentially unlocks your cryptocurrency so that you can see your balance or make a transaction. You never have to worry about your device getting hacked because it’s not connected to the internet. Every crypto transaction needs to be confirmed by physically pressing buttons on the Ledger Nano S.
The Ledger Nano S is a fantastic choice for anyone just getting into cryptocurrency because of it’s bargain-basement price and the superb features that come along with it.
The Ledger Nano S offers an excellent value in the crypto world.
Because the Nano S is not connected to the internet it’s essentially impervious to getting hacked. There’s a reason that cryptocurrency experts always tend to recommend “cold storage” for storing crypto.
The wallet requires you to add a 4 digit pin code that you must enter every time you access it. Your funds are still safe even if your device gets physically stolen, so long as the 4 digit pin is not known. Upon 3 incorrect pin tries, funds on the Ledger Nano S get wiped automatically. Don’t worry! Your funds are still accessible to you even if they get wiped on the device, thanks to a 24 word phrase.
The Nano S also gives you a “back-up plan” in the form of its 24-word recovery phrase. So long as you have a piece of paper with the 24-words that make up your recovery phrase, you can always recover your crypto.
The device is also relatively easy to use. It comes with a built-in display, which helps functionality immensely. The Ledger Nano S is simply one of the best hardware wallets in the world for anyone new to cryptocurrency.
The Ledger Nano S was built primarily with Bitcoin in mind but the Ledger team has rolled out a number of updates that provide support for a staggering number of cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin work best with the Nano S because there’s built-in support for Ledger Live (Ledger’s desktop interface) but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to just those cryptos. You can install compatible wallets on your Nano S allowing you to choose from over 1,100 different digital assets.
Here’s a list of the top 10 major cryptocurrencies supported by the Nano S:
In terms of security, just moving away from online wallets to hardware-based wallets is one of the best decisions you can make and Ledger goes above and beyond.
The Nano S has been fully certified by French cybersecurity agency ANSSI. It has a special chip onboard that stores your private key and signs transactions.
So long as you keep your Nano S safe, your cryptocurrencies will also be safe. Even if you lose the device, funds can be accessed from your 24-word recovery phrase.
It is extremely important that you purchase your Nano S from a legitimate reseller or the company’s website. Purchasing a counterfeit hardware wallet could be the equivalent of giving thieves a key to your house. The counterfeit wallet could have malicious modifications that allow hackers to access all the funds stored on your hard wallet.
That’s why all Nano S boxes are sold with a special seal sticker that shows they’ve never been modified.
The Nano S offers support for Windows, MacOS and Linux.
It should be noted that Nano S does not have built-in support for Android or iOS mobile devices because it still runs on a micro-USB cord.
You can buy a kit from Ledger that converts the device to USB-C so that you can use Android but you’re out of luck if you have an iPhone.
The limited capacity to store a diverse portfolio of cryptocurrencies is perhaps the most glaring omission of the Nano S. You won’t be able to store more than 5 or 6 cryptocurrencies on the Nano s, due to its small storage capacity.
Other missing features are the lack of Bluetooth connectivity and an in-built battery.
To get Bluetooth you’ll have to upgrade to the more expensive Ledger Nano X. The Nano X has even more features than the Nano S but it’s also twice as expensive. The absence of a built-in battery means you have to plug the Nano S into your computer to get it to do anything.
Some of the newer, more fully features crypto wallets include built-in batteries and Bluetooth for a completely wireless experience.
The Ledger Nano S is one of the safest ways in the world to store cryptocurrency.
Unlike online wallets the Nano S is not connected to the Internet until you plug it into your computer, and even then, there are added layers of security to give you access to your funds.
The cryptocurrency industry has plenty of examples of exchanges getting hacked and people losing millions of dollars but the Nano S lets users put security into their own hands.
Ledger also has an exceptional reputation in the crypto community. Just make sure you purchase your device from a certified reseller.
Fortunately the Ledger Nano S features a back-up protocol if you lose your physical device.
When you set up your Nano S it will give you a 24-word back-up pass phrase, which it calls a seed. That seed lets you resurrect your wallet.
You should always write down your recovery phrase and store in a safe area (separate from your Nano S). Many crypto experts store a couple copies of their recovery phrase in different locations.
The Nano S does not support phone compatibility out of the box.
If you have an Android 7+ device then you can purchase a separate USB-C converter that will allow you to use your phone with the Nano S.
If you’re an iPhone user then you will probably want to look into the Bluetooth-enabled Nano X.
The Nano S is one of the safest ways to hold crypto but nothing is 100% secure. Here are the common (although unlikely) ways that a Nano S could be compromised. You’ll notice that a number of the issues stem simply from user error:
Yes. Although there are size limitations on the number of wallets that can be installed on the Nano S at once.
Generally you can only fit 4-6 apps on the device due to its relatively small hard drive (the more expensive Nano X gets a much larger HD). You can install and uninstall wallets without losing any coins.
You can also utilize other wallets to get support for over 1,100 different digital assets.
No. Although you probably wouldn’t want to store millions on a single device. The experts generally use a series of security redundancies (many devices) to help alleviate the risk of losing their entire balance.
To transfer Bitcoin using a Nano S you simply plug your device into your computer, follow the security prompts and connect it to a desktop wallet like Ledger Live.
In Ledger Live you can simply click the “Send” tab and enter the address where you want to send your coins.
You’ll need to confirm the transaction on your Nano S but overall it’s a relatively simple process.