How to secure Bitcoins offline using Hardware Wallets

Why Set up an Offline Savings Wallet?

Modern operating systems are highly complexity, leading to a large attack surface. They also constantly leak information without the user’s knowledge or consent.

No matter how many precautions you take, it is very hard to ensure your wallets is reasonably secure on an Internet connected computer.

Because Bitcoins can be stored directly on your computer and because they are real money, the motivation for sophisticated and targeted attacks against your system is very high. Previously, only large organizations had to worry about advanced attacks.

Overview of existing solutions

The bitcoin ecosystem is still relatively young and unfortunately not many user-friendly and highly secure wallets have been developed yet.

Today these are the two best ways to secure your bitcoins against theft:

Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet

1. Using a hardware wallet such as TREZOR, LedgerKeepkey

A hardware wallet has two functions – it stores your Bitcoins in a hardened device that is designed to be simple and highly resistant to the usual range of attacks (viruses, hackers, keyloggers).

2. Create a cold storage wallet using BitKey.

Cold storage wallets generate and stores private wallet keys on a clean air-gapped computer.

Used correctly, an air-gapped wallet is safe from all online threats, such as viruses and hackers. It is however still exposed to offline threats, such as hardware keyloggers, extortion, or people looking over your shoulder.

To spend funds from cold storage securely, an unsigned transaction is generated on an Internet connected computer. An unsigned transaction is akin to an unsigned check. The unsigned transaction is then transferred to the air-gapped computer to be verified & signed with the wallet keys.

Using a cold storage wallet on an air-gapped computer may seem tedious, but remember that security almost always comes at the cost of convenience.

Source: Bitcoin Wiki

Top Hardware Wallets to protect your Bitcoins

For long-term storage of Bitcoins or Ethereum, it’s not safe to store your cryptocurrency in an online wallet or exchange. Even keeping a live wallet on your own hardware is lower risks. You can minimize your exposure to hackers as well as untrustworthy people in your home or office.


What is TREZOR?

TREZOR is a single purpose computer which signs Bitcoin transactions made through a desktop or web-wallet. It makes transactions completely safe even on a compromised or vulnerable computer. TREZOR provides the highest possible security for all Bitcoin and Litecoin users (Dash, Zcash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and all ERC-20 tokens.), even the non-technically savvy ones. Because the use of TREZOR is very easy and intuitive we believe it will help Bitcoin being adopted by common people.


How does TREZOR work?

The mechanism of making transactions with TREZOR is simple as this:

  • 1. Connect the device to the USB and run your wallet software.
  • 2. The device is automatically recognized by your computer as a new USB device.
  • 3. Once the wallet software asks for the master public key, it will show your addresses and their balances.
  • 4. When you want to send some coins, your wallet software creates a template of the transaction and sends it to TREZOR.
  • 5. TREZOR displays a transaction summary and asks you to confirm the transaction by pressing the confirmation button.
  • 6. TREZOR signs the transaction using a private key stored in the device and sends a signed transaction to the wallet software.
  • 7. The desktop software then sends the signed transaction to the Bitcoin network.

How is TREZOR different from an encrypted wallet?

Even using a strong password doesn’t prevent viruses to silently sit on your computer and wait until you want to transfer coins out of your wallet. This is a vulnerable point, because a virus has access to the wallet file and can read your passphrase from your keyboard.

On the contrary, TREZOR never sends private keys to the computer, because when you want to send some coins out of your wallet, TREZOR asks bitcoin software for payment details, signs the transaction internally and then sends back just a digital signature of the transaction. There’s no point where malware on your computer could access the private keys or send away your coins without your permission.

Price: $99

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2. KeepKey

KeepKey is a secure cryptocurrency HD wallet that was launched in 2015. This wallet is easy to setup but also has some more advanced features then TREZOR OR LEDGER, making it a great choice for Bitcoin users!


KeepKey’s pin code and number randomization

1) your wallet is secure from physical theft.

2) that a hacker couldn’t steal bitcoins from your wallet with malware.

KeepKey vs. TREZOR

  1. The design of the two devices also differ
  2. KeepKey is aluminum, and heavier.
  3. TREZOR is plastic and lighter.
  4. TREZOR is more drop-proof than KeepKey.

Does KeepKey Work with Altcoin?

KeepKey can be used to store Litecoin, DASH, and other altcoins. It’s up to software wallet developers to integrate support–the device itself is compatible with any altcoin.

Price: $99

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3. Ledger Nano S

The company founded in January 2015, Ledger is a French startup that combines the strong expertise of its co-founders in security, smartcard, cryptography, and embedded hardware.


The Ledger Nano S is hardware wallet, supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and altcoins to hold different assets. Like KeepKey or TREZOR, it can be used even on a computer that is infected with malware.

Your private keys are never held or known by Ledger or a third party: they are hard locked in the Secure Element. With Ledger Nano S, your wallet remains decentralized, you are your own bank.

Ledger Nano S ensures only you can access your accounts by requiring a 4 digit PIN code each time it is plugged to your computer.

When you setup your Nano S, the wallet generates a recovery phrase. The recovery phrase is a complete backup of your wallet.

On a normal Bitcoin wallet, like an iPhone wallet, the recovery phrase is displayed on your phone’s screen.

Since your phone is connected to the internet, it’s very possible that someone could hack into your phone to 1) steal your bitcoins or 2) snatch your recovery phrase.

When you own bitcoins, storing and protecting them is your own responsibility. The Ledger Nano S is accessible to all, and secured, thanks to highest banking industry standards. Your account can be backed up and restored if your Nano S is lost or stolen. You can use your Ledger Nano S on any computer, PC, Mac or Linux. Anybody can install and use it without technical skills.

Price: 58 Euro

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Hardware Wallets: Keep your Bitcoins Safer than ever

There are many of ways to secure your bitcoins. While a big portion of the cryptocurrency community resorts to keeping their coins on an exchange, this is a very unsafe practice. Using a local wallet reduces the risk of losing your Bitcoins considerably. However, local wallets can still be reached in extreme circumstances where an hacker/attacker has access to your computer.

Using a hardware wallet, in the other hand, is a highly secure and comfortable way to secure your Bitcoins. Why? Because it has major advantages in terms of security in comparison with the standard software wallets. A hardware wallet is a special device that stores the user’s private keys, working as a physical bitcoin wallet. It’s part of the so called “Cold Storage” methods, meaning you keep a reserve of bitcoins offline, making it impossible for hackers to reach it. With hardware wallets, one would have to physically take it from you in order to steal your Bitcoins and even then, they would have to know the PIN code/password


  • Extremely secure.

The hardware wallet ensures that the signing of a transaction is done inside the device itself, offline, making it very difficult to steal the private key.

It’s immune to computer viruses that steal from software wallets.

Most of the time the software is open source, making it possible for the user to validate the entire operation of the device and its legitimacy.

  • Easy to use.

The hardware wallets are usually very user friendly and prevent human errors. They have the advantage over paper wallets, which make you redeem them every time you need or want to spend some bitcoins, spending time and running risks on the transaction.


  • Expensive.

It’s not the cheapest way to secure your Bitcoins, and in 99% of cases you won’t really need one. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • Risk of loss, damage or theft.

If you lose or damage your hardware wallet you can lose access to your bitcoins if you didn’t have a backup or restorative seed. In case of theft it will be hard for the thief to access your data, but it is still a risk to be accounted for.

Hardware Wallets:


The Trezor wallet was developed by SatoshiLabs and it currently costs $99. It uses a deterministic wallet structure which means it can hold an unlimited number of keys (BIP 0032/BIP 0044) and it also is an opensource project in which technical decisions are discussed and revised with the wider developer community.

There are only two buttons on Trezor, to confirm or to deny the action, so using Trezor is as easy and as intuitive as it can be. Users can also backup the entire Trezor contents on a small piece of paper and use this backup to regain access to all their coins in case of disaster, loss or theft.

Trezor also introduced a unique way of PIN entering, preventing keyloggers from recording it even when entered on a compromised computer. An encryption passphrase can be set on top of the PIN protection.


  • Easy to use;
  • Open source;
  • Great community behind the product;
  • Can hold an unlimited number of keys;
  • Comes in 3 different colours: white, grey and black.


  • Somewhat expensive


Ledger Wallets

Ledger offers a wide variety of hard wallets in order to meet users’ distinct needs. Ledger wallets come in big and small formats, with and without a screen. They seem to be a very dedicated team and offer good quality products at very low prices compared to the competition.

Ledger HW.1

Ledger HW.1 is a low-cost Bitcoin hardware wallet on a small smartcard device. It costs $18


  • Small
  • Cheap


  • No screen
  • Not open source.


Ledger Nano

Very similar to Ledger HW.1 but slightly larger, the size of a standard USB stick. In fact, the both are identical in terms of functionality, but the Nano comes integrated into a steel case.

Ledger Unplugged

It is a Bitcoin wallet on a credit card sized Java Card. It has advantages over it’s Ledger counterparts: it’s wireless and ergonomic, it fits on a regular wallet, and it’s open source.The only downside it’s the price, being slightly more expensive($36).


  • Wireless;
  • Ergonomic;
  • Open source;
  • Price, it’s cheaper than other.


  • Price, it’s a cheap credit card size wallet but it’s still more expensive than the other ledger options.

Ledger Nano S

Ledger Nano S is a Bitcoin, Ethereum and Altcoins hardware wallet, based on robust safety features for storing cryptographic assets and securing digital payments. It connects to any computer (USB) and embeds a secure OLED display to double-check and confirm each transaction with a single tap on its side buttons. It cost $72.


  • Multicurrency;
  • OLED small screen;
  • Size.


  • Price – 58 Euro



Ledger Blue

The Ledger Blue is the latest generation product from Ledger, result of more than two years of research and development. It boasts multi application execution, and packs enterprise-level crypto-capabilities into a lightweight handheld device designed and crafted in France. It is architected around a Secure Element, featuring a touchscreen and USB & Bluetooth* connectivity.


  • Led color screen;
  • Touchscreen;
  • Bluetooth connectivity;
  • Flexible – runs other apps on top of the firmware;
  • Multicurrency support.


  • Size – largest ledger product;
  • Price – although the price is not yet listed, it will be the most expensive ledger product.



CoolWallet is a credit card sized Bluetooth device that stores and secures your bitcoins and private keys. It fits in your wallet and works wirelessly. It costs $119. Every Bitcoin transaction must be manually confirmed and approved through its e-paper display and button. CoolWallet only acknowledges the paired smartphone. If someone steals the CoolWallet they are not able to steal any bitcoins without the smartphone device. Using recovery Seed can restore all your bitcoins in case of a lost device.


  • Waterproof.
  • Cool look
  • Secure


  • Expensive



Keepkey is a USB device that stores and secures your bitcoins. It is priced at $99. With Keepkey every transaction you make must be reviewed and approved via it’s OLED display and confirmation button. It has a unique recovery feature utilizing a rotating cipher to restore private keys with a BIP 0039 recovery seed. Keepkey is available at Amazon and Newegg and can be purchased using PayPal and Bitcoin. With Ledger wallets your private key is securely stored, never leaving the defice. These wallets and PIN-protected, allowing your bitcoins to remain safe even if you lose the device.


  • Nice design.
  • Opensource;
  • Multi-currency (chrome extension supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin);
  • Shapeshift support(allows quick conversions between supported cryptocurrencies).


  • Somewhat expensive.


Reasons to consider buying a Hardware Bitcoin Wallet

Before you can get to own and use Bitcoins, you need to have an e-wallet that will not only enable you to store your precious coins but also make it possible for you to use them in making transactions. There are various kinds of digital coin wallets. The two main categories are the digital and physical wallets. We want to check out the physical wallets, particularly the hardware wallets,  and why you should consider using them to store your coins


What is a hardware wallet?
Well, a hardware wallet is a small computerized device or smart card that manages your private keys. They are offline devices, which makes them some sort of a cold storage option for storing cryptocurrency.
These hardware wallets are run from your computer through their own Apps, the connection is usually done through a USB cable from the computer. All you need to do to get the device ready for use is to install the app, set up your security and come up with an encryption code.
You might find that hardware wallets are better in several ways to most other options like mobile wallets and web based wallets. Here are some reasons you should consider using hardware wallets.

Hardware wallets are safer
The fundamental principle behind the idea of hardware wallets is a complete isolation of your private keys or cryptographic codes from internet-enabled devices like mobile phones and personal computers which can be hacked quite easily. We all know how vulnerable PCs and mobile devices can get. In comparison, paper wallets are quite secure until you factor in that you have to import your private keys to your computer whenever you want to use your coins. You may think that password encryption is enough but boy, have you considered that there is malware smart enough to sit snug waiting for the compulsory decryption phase and sweep all your coins?
Paper wallets are only good when they are complimentary to hardware options, i.e. as a means of back up from where you can go to quick recovery in the event of a loss.
Hardware wallets themselves generate the private keys, which make them invincible to the malware or thieves. Some of the hardware wallet devices provide a unique way of entering the PIN, which deters keyloggers from being capable of recording it. It is also possible for you to setup an encryption passphrase in addition to the standard PIN protection.

Immune to virus attacks
Hardware wallets are not susceptible to malware attacks. They are secured by higher levels of encryption in addition to the fact they are completely isolated to online affairs. Wallets that require you to download an application may succumb to attack from viruses or other malware and spyware. As long as all the security measures are well implemented, then a hardware wallet will be completely secured at all times. You can actually use some of the hardware options like Trezor on a virus infected computer without the fear of leaking even a single key. The strong point of the construct of these hardware wallets is that transaction signatures are performed on a separate device that is restrictive on command prompts that can be intercepted by the computer’s central processing unit.

They are portable
Hardware wallets are very portable and therefore can be carried along to whatever destination. This way you minimize chances of tampering or being destroyed by irresponsible individuals. What this also means is that you can access your private keys anywhere in the world from your most secure storage. All you will need is a compatible device like a computer and you are good to go.

Hardware wallets are more reliable than any other type of wallets. For instance, when using TREZOR, once you have initialized the device, it generates a recovery key. The beauty of this is that all the contents of your device can be restored using another TREZOR device or a compatible wallet with a recovery seed. This comes in handy in the event your device gets lost or destroyed.
The fact that you don’t have to rely on any wallet service providers makes hardware wallets even more reliable and convenient. Wallet providers can be unreliable in more ways than one. For starters, they depend on software, and we all know that software can malfunction anytime leaving you stranded and unable to transact.
Ease of use is the quality of every reliable technology. There is no point having a very complex gadget or idea if you are looking to solve a problem. Hardware devices only need you to connect them to your PC and it will do all the heavy lifting for your cryptography. You can use the gadgets with utmost confidence even on a foreign computer.

In conclusion

There are several hardware wallet options for storing your Bitcoins. It goes without saying that not all wallets are created equal. You have to review several of them and see which one will serve your needs best before you can settle on buying. Currently, Ledger Nano S is the most popular Hardware Wallet. Trezor is also commonly used.

Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet

Ethereum Hardware Wallets

Did you just buy Ether and now want a secure Ethereum hardware wallet for your Ether?
This post will show you the 3 best options to choose from, sorted by lowest price to highest price.

Ledger Nano S

The Ledger Nano S is the cheapest of the three hardware wallets for Ethereum.
At 58 euros, it comes out to about $65 not including shipping.
The Nano S stores your Ether offline in a secure environment. When you want to make a transaction sending Ether, the device signs your transactions and transmits the signed transaction to your computer.
The good thing about the S is that is has a screen. This means you can verify all outgoing transactions on your S’s screen. Even if your computer is hacked, your S’s screen will remain secure and verifies that the address and amount you’re sending are correct.


TREZOR was the first Bitcoin hardware wallet with a screen. TREZOR started support for Ethereum via MyEtherWallet in February 2017.
TREZOR costs $99 and like the S, TREZOR stores your Ether offline in its secure environment.
TREZOR also offers a really cool password manager feature. The device encrypts your passwords in its secure environment and then decrypts when you want to login online.
One thing I like about the TREZOR is it appears to me to be the most drop-prone hardware wallet. It is very light and made from plastic, although still offers an elegant design.


KeepKey is a slightly more expensive Ethereum hardware wallet than the Nano S at $99.
Like the Nano S, KeepKey stores your Ether offline in a secure environment.
The main difference is the Nano S uses smartchip technology, while the KeepKey is more like a mini computer.
Another difference is KeepKey has a larger screen and a more “premium” feel. The KeepKey’s screen is glass and it has a sleek aluminum body. Although it looks nicer and feels more secure, the KeepKey may be more easily broken if dropped although we have not tested.

Who’s the Winner?

If you are on a budget, there is no doubt that the Ledger Nano S is your best option for an Ether hardware wallet.
The added features of the TREZOR make it somewhat different than the other two. While the KeepKey’s “premium” feel is the only thing really separating it from TREZOR.
If you are mining Ethereum, then a hardware wallet will be your best bet for secure payouts.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will answer the most common questions about Ethereum wallets and Ether hardware wallets.

I don’t want a hardware wallet, what are some free ones?

MyEtherWallet is a free open-source Ether wallet. Just remember that online, software wallets are much less secure for storing Ether than hardware.

How do I get an Ethereum address?

Once you download or buy an Ethereum wallet, you will be presented with an address in the wallet software.

How do I fund an Ethereum wallet?

To fund your Ether wallet, you need to buy Ethereum from an exchange. Once you buy, you can withdraw the Ether to your wallet.
This is a step you should always take! NEVER store your Ether on an exchange!!!

How do I send Ethereum?

Once you have Ether in your wallet, you just need to get the address you want to send to and make the payment.

How long does it take to send Ether?

Ether payments are fast although less secure than Bitcoin payments.
You can get a confirmation in maybe 12 seconds, although ideally you should wait a bit longer than that for more confirmations.

What is Ethereum cold storage?

Cold storage means that your Ethereum private keys are stored and created offline. The easiest way to do this for beginners is to use a hardware wallet or paper wallet.

What is an Ethereum paper wallet?

Using something like Ethaddress you can make a paper wallet. A paper wallet is an Ethereum private key printed and stored offline. This is a form of cold storage.

Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet

Should I keep my Bitcoin in Coinbase or Ledger Nano S ( Hardware Wallet)?

Unlike most exchanges, Coinbase is insured (How is Coinbase insured?). There is also some risk (I would think) of not getting your money in the case of a major hack, despite the insurance

There are still risks

  • Your computer is hacked and Coinbase password is stolen
  • Coinbase company goes bankrupt
  • FBI or other enforcement agency confiscates coins
  • Your computer or cell phone is stolen while you are logged in and thieves then steal your coins

Presumably, this is small, but who knows.

If you do use Coinbase, I would be sure to turn on as much 2FA as possible. For instance, you should enable second-factor authentication with an app like Google Authenticator. An alternative is to use SMS for authentication, but this surprisingly turns out to be very unwise. (Hackers Have Stolen Millions Of Dollars In Bitcoin — Using Only Phone Numbers).

If you have a lot of holdings, you might also look into a Coinbase Vault (Coinbase – Buy and Sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin).

The Nano is simple to use, holds a variety of currencies, and is inexpensive. Personally, I consider this method to be less stressful, though I would be comfortable storing large holdings on Coinbase as well (if I had any). I would not consider storing much currency on any site other than Coinbase.

You have two options

So, If your Amount is small use Coinbase only, and if you have huge investment then store it in Hardware wallet like Ledger Nano S, Trezor etc.

Buy Ledger Nano S now