Trezor vs Ledger: The Battle for the Best Cryptocurrency Wallet Title
In the decade or so that bitcoin has existed for, improper security of one’s bitcoin and other cryptocurrency has resulted in billions of dollars worth of losses. After the Mt. Gox hack in 2013 when a large portion of the cryptocurrency community that left their bitcoin on the exchange lost their money, it quickly became apparent that trusting a third party with huge amounts of money was not a wise decision.
As a result, standalone wallets that put users in control of their money became increasingly common. These existed primarily in the form of computer programs that functioned as software wallets and paper wallets. For the most part, they do the job just fine. However, they could be easily hacked and exploited through malware on the user’s machine.
Trezor vs Ledger
Subsequently, hardware wallets came out as an alternative. They combine the best of both worlds, that is, security and complete control. The Ledger Nano S and Trezor are two of the popular wallets found on the market today.
The pricing strategy for both wallets are relatively straightforward. The Trezor wallet retails at €89, while the Ledger Nano S can be pre-ordered for €79. Both prices are subject to tax and VAT wherever applicable so the final price is likely to balloon. Furthermore, depending on your location, shipping and customs can result in a slightly higher overall price as well.
Prices may be lower on certain websites, including Ebay and Amazon, but buying from such sellers is highly discouraged for the myriad of potential problems that may crop up.p
Why purchasing from a reseller is a bad idea is discussed later on in this article, under the security section. Unless you absolutely know what you are doing, the only way of receiving an original, untampered wallet is to purchase straight from the manufacturer.
Trezor Coupons, Ledger Coupons and Limited Time Offers
As of now, there are no active coupons for either of Ledger or Trezor. Mostly because they can hardly keep with the massive surge in demand over the last few months. Feel free to check back soon as we promise we will list all available coupons and discounts as soon as they become available.
Availability: Trezor vs Ledger Nano S
With the recent jump in cryptocurrency prices attracting a horde of new investors to the market, both hardware wallets faced availability issues for some time towards the end of 2017.
As of the time of writing this article in February 2018, the Ledger Nano S still remains on backorder for another two months at least. You can of course go for the Ledger Blue in the mean time. Trezor’s offering remains officially available immediately through its website or Amazon. If security is a priority, as it should be with cryptocurrencies, going with the choice available right now is always the best option.
Exterior appearance: Ledger Nano S Looks Way Cooler
Speaking about the overall appearance of both hardware wallets, the Ledger and Trezor are quite different. The Trezor wallet is a pendant shaped device with a screen and two buttons facing upwards. On the other hand, the Ledger Nano S resembles a basic flash drive in all but function. The screen on the Trezor is a tiny bit bigger than the one found on the Nano S but it is important to note that you do not have to sacrifice any functionality due to this.
The difference in construction is of little relevance, especially for devices that are primarily meant to be used as a form of permanent cold storage solution. However, in case you needed to carry around either wallet in your back pocket, the Ledger and Trezor will both fit just fine.
What’s in the Box?
The Trezor and Ledger hardware wallets come inside their respective manufacturer-designed boxes, along with a USB cable for connection and strap for safe-keeping. Both boxes will also include some getting started documentation and more importantly, a paper or two with the title “recovery seed” at the top.
The recovery seed is a unique set of words assigned to your particular wallet that will be generated at the time of initialization and setup.
Writing the seed down will allow you to recover the wallet in the future. It is up to you whether or not to make use of the included paper. Some people prefer to write it down elsewhere, particularly because the sheet provided is quite conspicuous in its intended use. Showing that you are the owner of a hardware wallet is almost equivalent to advertising your cryptocurrency holdings to the general public after all.
Supported Operating Systems and Devices
Trezor: Trezor hardware wallet boasts support for almost every common desktop computer platform, including Windows, MacOS, Linux and even ChromeOS through a browser extension. The dashboard for the wallet displays every detail required to control your device. The app is also what you will be using to find the receiving addresses for your wallet. The option for sending any amount of cryptocurrency can also be found here.
It is important to note that an additional $5 accessory is available through Trezor’s website, allowing the device to be used with any Android device you may already own. For portability reasons, such a feature is perhaps indispensable.
Ledger: Like Trezor’s wallet offering, the Ledger Nano S can be used on any computer you may already own. The interface and user experience is almost identical for both. The experience on Android is somewhat similar to that of Trezor, except for a dated user interface that can be easily overcome. The accessory kit needed to use the wallet with a mobile phone is rather expensive in comparison though, at €12.50. The kit, however, includes more adapters and cables than the one provided by Trezor, guaranteeing compatibility across different types of Android phones.
Both wallets will offer you the ability to set a numeric pin code at the time of wallet initialization. It is crucial that you set one that cannot be easily guessed as it is the only thing keeping your cryptocurrency from being stolen in the event that you lose access to the wallet somehow.
During initialization, the wallet will also display a 24 word seed that must be written down and stored in a safe place. If, for instance, your hardware wallet is damaged or you can no longer access it for any reason, these words will allow you to rebuild your exact wallet on another device. Proper and responsible handling of the seed phrase is, therefore, quite essential.
Both devices interface with your computer over the USB protocol, which is why the hardware wallets themselves come equipped with a microUSB port on board. Upon connecting to the host computer, the respective manufacturer’s software can be used to control funds on your particular wallet. Every action made during this process will require user intervention at the final step, which includes entering a numerical passcode of certain length.
Ledger vs Trezor: Supported Coins
When it comes to the aspect of the number of cryptocurrencies supported, the Ledger Nano S is the clear winner over Trezor. Despite that, Trezor manages to cover most of the basic coins, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum and ERC20 tokens to name a few. When it comes to newer cryptocurrencies, however, the Ledger platform has demonstrated a clear superiority in that aspect that will be appreciated particularly by traders that hold them.
Trezor Supported Coins
Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) DASH Zcash (ZEC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Expanse (EXP), UBIQ (UBQ), NEM (XEM), Namecoin (NMC), Dogecoin (DOGE) and all ERC-20 Tokens (through My EtherWallet integration).
Ledger has support for some of the other major cryptocurrencies out of the box that Trezor does not, including Neo, Stellar and Ripple among others. That said, not only does Ledger support many more cryptocurrencies than its competitor, but also includes every single one offered by Trezor. Furthermore, historically, Ledger has been known to patch support for new cryptocurrencies relatively quicker than the Trezor development team.
Ledger Supported Coins
Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Zcash (ZEC), Ripple (XRP), Dash (DASH), Stratis (STRAT), Komodo (KMD), Ark (ARK), Expanse (EXP), Ubiq (UBQ), Vertcoin (VTC), Viacoin (VIA), Neo (NEO), Stealthcoin (XST), Stellar (XLM), Hcash (HSR), Digibyte (DGB), Qtum (QTUM), PivX (PIVX) and all ERC-20 Tokens (through My EtherWallet integration).
Ledger’s dominance in this aspect is probably cemented by the company’s stellar track record of helping the cryptocurrency community add third-party support for new cryptocurrencies. In a comment posted to Reddit on January 2017, the CEO of Ledger announced that the company would “waive the fees for code review, publication and support” for XRB related apps on the Nano S platform. He even went on to offer developers help through the company’s official communication channels.
It is possible, of course, to purchase a Ledger Nano S from a reseller in order to circumvent the availability issues that the company is facing. The problem being that this approach brings the usual caveats of higher price than official channels and perhaps most importantly, possible compromise of the device.
A security breach could affect either hardware wallet and the easiest attack vector would be if the hacker had physical access to the device prior to you owning it. For this reason alone, it is recommended that you purchase your wallet directly from the manufacturer website and not common reseller platforms such as Ebay or even Amazon.
In the past, even relatively simple reseller scams have managed to siphon several thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency from user wallets. In this case, the reseller set up a Ledger Nano S before fulfilling the Ebay order, making sure to keep a copy of the wallet’s seed during setup. Once the customer received the Ledger, they would naturally proceed to transfer their cryptocurrency to the device. Since a copy of the wallet’s private key was with the reseller already, siphoning user funds was a trivial process.
Another possible way to lose control of your cryptocurrency on an hardware wallet is by exposing your 24 word private seed on the internet. Given that the seed basically acts as the private key, with the distinction of being easy to remember in comparison, putting those words in a location that might get hacked is as irresponsible as publishing your credit card details for everyone to see.
Ledger and Trezor both recommend writing down your seed on a sheet of paper or some other offline medium. Ledger even offers its own Cryptosteel product that makes your seed resistant to shock, fire and water damage, since the material used for construction is no longer paper. At well over $200 and an unknown availability time frame though, it might be a better idea to maintain two paper backups at different geographic locations.
Both hardware wallet manufacturers have received their fair share of criticism when it comes to security breaches, as is expected with any electronics device that has the sole purpose of being a secure way to store cryptocurrencies. In 2017, it was discovered that a possible hardware level vulnerability affected all Trezor wallets in circulation, potentially revealing a user’s private keys and pin code. Then, in February 2018, Ledger found itself amidst a controversy surrounding a man in the middle attack that its Chrome app was vulnerable to.
Even with the disclosures of possible security breaches, hardware wallets are the secure option to store cryptocurrencies by a wide margin. Since all data related to the wallet never leaves the device itself, it is relatively common to see exploits that take advantage only of physical access to the electronics of the wallet. This is a significant upgrade to desktop wallets that can be easily reached via malware and other virus that may find its way onto a home user’s computer.
Both companies have responded rather quickly to any news story claiming to have found a security vulnerability that affects their products. High level executives of both companies also regularly frequent cryptocurrency communities on Reddit, answering public questions and discussing any relevant details related to the current product’s upcoming features or software updates. Because of that factor alone, Trezor and Ledger have both managed to set a good customer service precedent for potential owners.
So far, both hardware wallet manufacturers have maintained their promise of producing a mass market device that is hardened against hackers, easy to use and largely open source. The key differentiating aspects between Ledger and Trezor then, clearly lie with their respective feature sets and long term strategies.
Going by pure cryptocurrency support, the Ledger Nano S comes out as the clear winner. However, with shipping dates sometimes several months out, the company is clearly struggling to cope with the increasing demand. In such a time, Trezor’s wallet offering is clearly not one that should be underestimated.