You’ve made the plunge and bought your first Bitcoin. After days/weeks/months or maybe even years of deliberation, you’ve decided to finally pull the trigger. You’ve likely heard about the horror stories of hacks and the huge amounts of cryptocurrencies being stolen from users. The obvious question is, how do I safely store and secure my precious Bitcoin?
If you haven’t already read our blog on why hardware wallets are the answer to that question, please check that out here. This article is going to focus on how to ensure that you are indeed purchasing a safe, genuine and untampered hardware wallet.
Due to the fast-growing popularity of cryptocurrencies during 2017/2018, the popularity of hardware wallets also grew exponentially. This meant that we saw a rapid rise in the places you could purchase these devices from as opportunistic individuals took advantage of the meteoric rise and supply shortages globally. Coinstop was Australia’s first reseller of hardware wallets, starting in 2016, and by the beginning of 2018, we were joined by upwards of 30 other ‘resellers’ spanning across many different platforms.
Whilst competition is certainly healthy and great for the consumer, dealing with such sensitive devices, it’s imperative that you are certain that your newly purchased wallet is genuine and does exactly what it is supposed to, nothing more, nothing less. There are a few ways to safeguard yourself from the risk of losing your hard-earned coins.
The term ‘authorised reseller’ often gets thrown around quite easily but holds a great deal of responsibility. Being an authorised reseller means that the devices you are stocking are genuine and directly imported from the manufacturer, whether that be Ledger, Trezor or other. Whilst you can certainly purchase your devices direct from the manufacturer, that may mean paying in a foreign currency and waiting for extended shipping times. Purchasing from a local authorised reseller allows you to pay in Australian Dollars, enjoy faster shipping times, support local businesses and perhaps most importantly, speak directly to a team in the same time zone, often crucial when seeking before/after-sales support.
The easiest way to ensure you are buying from an authorised reseller is to check the manufacturer's page to confirm. Some examples:
Trezor - https://trezor.io/resellers/
BitBox - https://shiftcrypto.ch/buy/
If the website you are visiting is NOT listed here then we would recommend looking for a different place to purchase your wallet. What might be a small discount on purchase price could easily turn into a massive loss in funds. It’s just not worth the risk.
Popular marketplaces like eBay or Amazon are often honeypots of uncertainty. Whilst some authorised resellers do advertise on these platforms, these are places where you will find the highest concentration of ‘scammers’. You may come across a fantastic deal that seems too good to be true, and that’s exactly what it might be. Fake hardware wallets can be easily manufactured to look very similar to the real thing, but of course, have some nasty changes which will see your digital assets be stolen. Don’t be fooled and stay far away from these deals.
Whilst the cryptocurrency space is still young and maturing, you will ultimately come across a number of scammers who will try to find a way to exploit you. When purchasing a hardware wallet it’s always good practice to double and triple-check that the source of that wallet is genuine and real. Don’t be afraid to send an email to the company you might wish to deal with to get a feel for their legitimacy, ask them why they might not be listed on the manufacturer's website. Ultimately, we are talking about your personal funds and as the saying goes, ‘better be safe than sorry’.
If you are looking to purchase a genuine hardware wallet, please reach out to us via email or on our social channels, we’d be more than happy to walk you through your journey and help answer any questions you might have.