What Is a Hardware Wallet and Why Do I Need One?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you’ve probably heard about Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies. Perhaps you’ve heard of the crazy rise in the price of Bitcoin, reaching highs upward of $25,000 AUD. Maybe you even bought some because you didn’t want to miss out on what could be the next breakthrough technology and investment opportunity. 2020 is shaping up to be a massive year for cryptocurrencies so whether you are a newcomer or a crypto veteran, we all have one thing in common - the important need for safe storage of our digital assets.

What is a hardware wallet?

A Hardware Wallet is a physical device, similar to a USB stick, that holds your crypto private keys offline, eliminating the risk of malware, keyloggers, computer viruses, or other risks that software wallets and exchanges are vulnerable to. Keeping your private keys offline through cold storage is the most secure way to manage your cryptocurrencies. However, hardware wallets are still new and not as user-friendly as other options, due to their set-up process and some feature limitations.

What makes them so good?

Hardware wallets allow you to store, receive and send digital assets in a user-friendly interface, making them the complete security solution. As mentioned, hardware wallets create and store your private key within a dedicated and secure physical device. Upon set up of a hardware wallet, the device will create the private key and provide you with a recovery phrase - usually either 12 or 24 words. It’s these words that will be required to recover your wallets should anything happen to your device, such as loss, damage or malfunction. 



Another pivotal feature of hardware wallets is when you wish to send money out of your wallet the hardware wallet will prompt you to confirm the transaction by pressing one of the physical buttons on the device. This is an important step to stop a common attack known as a man-in-the-middle attack. Should your computer be infected with a virus that would allow remote access to your wallets, a would-be attacker will not be able to successfully remove any assets from your wallet without being present in the same room as the device to press that confirmation button. A simple but effective countermeasure to stop you from being targeted.


Ledger, Trezor or something else?

Now you know why hardware wallets are so important, but how do you choose which hardware wallet is the best? Whilst there is some room for personal choice (colour, size, brand), it’s important to not stray too far from the comfort of proven brands.

Ledger and Trezor are by far the two most respected and trusted manufacturers of hardware wallets. Having sold well over 3 million devices between them to date, these two wallets are setting the standard when it comes to usability and security of your cryptocurrencies. 

As the popularity of hardware wallets have grown, so have the competitors entering the market. Here at Coinstop, we get requests almost daily from new and prospective manufacturers all over the world. Whilst we would love to stock them all, we have to be sure that we are providing our customers with only the best and safest wallets out there. We are always researching and reviewing samples being sent to uncover what might be that ‘next best thing’. Since the beginning of 2020 we have listed a number of new wallets that we've tested internally and have deemed fit for use. The Ellipal Titan, Bitbox02 and Secux wallets are just some of the newcommers to Australia's leading provider of hardware wallets and security devices. If you have any specific requests please don’t be shy in reaching out via email or on our socials to send your recommendations.