Ledger Live Goes Live
I heard something terrible over the weekend.
Someone in my buddy’s crypto circle had his digital wallet hacked. He lost everything.
Imagine that. All of your Bitcoin, Ethereum, or whathaveyou — gone.
That had me thinking: There has to be a better way to secure digital coins. I surely don’t wanna be next...
I researched other ways to hold private keys for my digital currencies, and there are actually several avenues aside from a desktop or mobile wallet. Notably, there are hardware wallets: actual devices that store your private keys.
My time learning about them brought me to Ledger, one of the best hardware wallet producers in the game.
Ledger, a French company, and its new product Ledger Live really provide a whole other way to store and manage your coins.
This week, I’m going to explain the different wallets out there and also delve into Ledger Live, giving you something to think about on how you're storing and managing your investments.
A Breakneck on Wallets
There are five different ways to hold your private key, which lets you manage your digital currencies and enact transactions. I’ll give a quick blurb on each...
Online wallets use cloud-based technology to store your private keys. All you typically need is your credentials, and you’re then able to access your wallet and make transactions. Most online wallets offer mobile app and desktop use, which makes things very convenient.
The biggest disadvantage of the online wallet is that since your information is stored online, there’s the risk of something like a security breach, and your keys are at risk.
Coinbase is a great example of an online wallet, which many crypto investors use.
Desktop wallets use computer programs to store your keys and allow for transactions. They work by allowing users to create an address from which they can begin sending and receiving digital currency.
I’ve talked with people who use desktop wallets, and they’ve each expressed the feeling of having complete control over their wallet and investments while using it.
Exodus and Jaxx are two notable desktop wallets.
Mobile wallets use applications on portable devices and have been said to replace their desktop counterparts.
Mobile wallets offer the same things as desktop wallets, except it can all be done on your phone.
A disadvantage of mobile wallets is that some aren’t compatible with both iOS and Android platforms, so you have to be careful of which one you’re downloading and if your device even supports it.
The biggest disadvantage of handling your wallet on a mobile device, however, is that hackers have managed to get investors to download malicious software, thinking it's a mobile wallet.
So if you prefer using a mobile app, please do your research on where you’re managing your digital currency. Since mobile wallets use the internet, you also must watch out for any hacker activity using the net to access your portfolio.
Infinito Wallet and Citowise are two great mobile wallets.
You can also get your private keys on a printed sheet of paper. This seems to be the most preferred way if you’re buying for the long term or as a gift for someone. The sheet with the wallet information can just be stored safely and referred to when need be.
The biggest advantage here is that the information isn’t online somewhere for a hacker to discover — it's right on that piece of paper, safely tucked away in your personal safe.
The biggest disadvantage, however, is that once you lose that paper with the wallet information recorded on it, you’ve lost your coins.
BitcoinPaperWallet and WalletGenerator are two great places to get your wallet information printed.
That brings me to the last form of wallet: hardware.
Hardware wallets are physical devices that store your private key. They remind me of external hard drives that you’d connect to a computer. Basically, the hardware stores your private key and all your wallet information.
The biggest advantage hardware wallets offer is that they are super secure, as they rarely use the internet. They usually run offline. That gives hackers less opportunity to access your wallet.
Hardware wallets also store your information on the device itself, not on a cloud like a desktop or mobile wallet may.
But like paper wallets, you’re SOL if you lose the hardware wallets, as all of your investment information is recorded on it and nowhere else.
Trezor, KeepKey, and Ledger provide well-liked hardware wallets.
Which brings me to Ledger Live...
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Ledger Live is Ledger’s new product.
Ledger Live is actually a mobile app. What’s cool about it is that it is meant to be an accompaniment for Ledger’s hardware wallets.
So it's like getting the best of a mobile and hardware wallet.
The app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, which is cool because mobile wallets usually support one or the other. Ledger Live users will be able to manage their portfolios on the mobile app regardless of where they or their hardware wallets are.
The mobile app works by communicating with your Ledger hardware wallet by OTG (on-the-go) cable or Bluetooth.
Ledger Live addresses mobile wallets’ privacy issue by incorporating high-level security measures like fingerprint and facial recognition.
Ledger Live is able to store and support over 1,000 different digital currencies. On the app, users are able to check their balances, transaction, and account histories, make transfers, and more.
Using Ledger Live and its hardware gives users the best of both worlds: securely holding your private keys in an offline wallet while having the convenience of consulting your portfolio on your mobile device.
What Does This Mean for You?
The takeaway for you, as a crypto investor, is to re-evaluate your wallets and determine if they’re best suiting you.
I imagine a lot of users are using mobile and desktop wallets. Coinbase is super common. I’d be shocked if anyone is using paper wallets.
I think hardware wallets are really underrated. I mean, it's a physical item that holds your wallet information! You have full control of it, as long as you’re in possession of the hardware. In a decentralized space where it’s ultimately up to you to keep your keys safe, having them somewhere that’s more secure sounds really appealing.
Ledger Live gives users the feeling of having the convenient mobile wallet while still working with hardware.
That guy from earlier? Yep, he lost everything on his desktop wallet. Luckily, he’s been around the block a few times, and he has his portfolio scattered across different wallets of different types. Smart guy.
While his desktop wallet is gone, he still has positions in his paper and hardware wallets at home, safe and sound.
I went right ahead and visited Ledger’s site and picked up some hardware. And all I can say is that since having it, I sleep soundly knowing my investments are more in my control and much safer from hackers trying to take what’s mine.
The more you know,
John Butler, Jr.
John Butler is Token Authority’s contributing editor. He first learned of Bitcoin in 2010 when it was still unknown. Since then, he has seen cryptocurrency and blockchain technology swell in popularity across the globe, making innovators and investors plenty rich. Every week, he brings Token Authority readers compelling information for crypto investing.