“Not your keys, not your bitcoin” is a phrase often used by cypherpunks to encourage newbies to use wallets, instead of exchanges. After all, the ethos of Bitcoin is all about self-sovereignty.
There are a few categories of wallets from mobile wallets, software wallets, multi-sig wallets, third-party custodial wallets, and of course hardware wallets. If you hold a substantial amount of cryptocurrency, it is highly recommended that you consider a hardware wallet for maximum security.
Most newbies will start with an exchange wallet like Coinbase or Binance, then move to a hot wallet (usually a mobile app), and eventually to a cold/hardware wallet, as the need for security increases.
When setting up your hardware wallet, there are 3 items to keep in mind:
Public Address – think of this as the public username for your wallet.
Private Keys – similar to a password to access your wallet.
Seed Phrase – 12 to 24 words to recover your wallet in case you lose your keys.
There are several hardware options on the market today. To save you time, we reviewed ten of the most common wallets on the market.
Ledger – Nano X ($119) & Nano S ($59)
HQ: Paris, France
One of the most popular non-custodial wallets on the market, this is perhaps the simplest wallet to use with a PIN code and a recovery phrase. Ledger wallets integrate a certified chip design to withstand sophisticated attacks, as well as their own operating system. With the Ledger Live App, you can also buy crypto directly, send it, receive it or stake it. Ledger hardware wallets can be used with multi-sig setups through open-source 3rd party tools such as Electrum, Caravan, Lily Wallet, or Casa Wallet. You can start your crypto journey by using a Ledger Live exchange integration to buy crypto, then secure, manage, receive, send and stake your crypto assets. The Nano X can store more than 1500 tokens.
Trezor Model T – $169
HQ: Prague, Czech Republic
One of the most popular wallets on the market, the Trezor Model T provides multi-signature security and comes with a magentic dock for convenience. The device requires a connection to a computer and can be used with Trezor Suite or with 3rd party desktop wallets such as Electrum, Exodus Wallet, Magnum Wallet and Blockstream Green. Trezor supports over 1600 tokens and is the only full open-source hardware wallet that has allowed thousands of people to build their own devices. The parent company SatoshiLabs, named in tribute to Satoshi Nakamoto, was created by long-time Bitcoin miners Marek “Slush” Palatinus and Pavol “Stick” Rusnak.
HQ: Toronto, Canada
Made by Coinkite, this multi-sig, open-source wallet looks like a mini-calculator at first glance. The Coldcard is a Bitcoin-only custodial solution, which uses a MicroSD backup, and provides multiple ‘duress’ solutions such as decoy wallets, pins and lockout timers. Coinkite, as one of the oldest Bitcoin companies on the market, ensuring that this wallet is jam-packed with features and regarded as one of more secure options to store your Bitcoin (no other tokens supported at this time).
Coinkite also makes two other handy products: OPENDIME® ($16.99) and SEEDPLATE™ ($36.99). OPENDIME works similar to a USB key, and is a simple solution for depositing modest amounts of Bitcoin and handing it off to a friend. OPENDIME is currently used in over 100 countries worldwide. SEEDPLATE is literally a plate, acting as a backup of last resort against a flood or a fire. Simply mark the first 4 letters of each seed word from any hardware wallet on the plate, up to 24 words.
BitBox02 by ShiftCrypto – $115
HQ: Zurich, Switzerland
One of the simplest hardware wallet for beginners, BitBox02 boasts a fast setup, microSD backup, in-app guide, and intuitive touch sliders. Just connect this open-source, multi-sig wallet to your computer. The BitBoxApp is available for desktop (Windows, macOS, Linux) and Android, with additional support for many 3rd-party wallets (Electrum, MyEtherwallet, HWI, Specter). The BitBox comes in a Bitcoin only edition and a more advanced version with 1500+ ERC tokens.
OPOLO Cosmos – $199
HQ: Steinfort, Luxembourg
The OPOLO wallet boasts a 3.2 inch touch screen and works with its own desktop app. The wallet is both multi-sig and open source, and works with 110 coins and 200,000 tokens. OPOLO wallet app has two built in coin swap options, that let users to swap any coin or token within the app. OPOLO wallets support a 127 character long password and passphrases, and come with a built in password manager to manage any passwords (gmail, facebook, etc) for maximum security.
Cobo Vault – $99 / $149
Cobo Vault wallet is one of the most secure multi-sig, open-source and non-custodial wallets for Bitcoin. Cobo Vault works with both its own companion app and 3rd party apps, and supports unlimited, simultaneous coin storage for BTC, ETH, BCH, DASH, LTC, ETC, TRX, EOS, USDT, XRP, XZC, IOST, DCR and DOT/KSM as well as ETH, EOS, and TRX tokens. Cobo Vault is QR code air-gapped for maximum security. Notably, this wallet has a fingerprint sensor, and is waterproof and drop resistant.
SafePal S1 – $40
HQ: Hong Kong, China
Perfect for DeFi traders, SafePal S1 adopts an air-gapped signing mechanism, keeping the device 100% offline. The only way to sign and approve the transaction is to scan the short-distance QRcode, which can prevent any online attacks and short-distance peeking. SafePal S1 is embedded with multiple security sensors, as well. Once any malicious attempt is detected by the sensors, the sensor will trigger a self-destruct mechanism and thus the secure element will erase all wallet data, leaving no trace for the hackers. Notably, SafePal allows for buying and swapping within the SafePal App, hooks into CEX like Binance, and provides powerful dAPP support for DeFi with Uniswap and Compound.
SecuX W20 & V20 – $99 & $129
HQ: Hsin Chu City, Taiwan
The SexuX Hardware Wallet uses a web and mobile app, and is powered by a 600mAh lithium battery for up to 7 hours of usage. No computer hook-up required. The V20 wallet features a round aluminum shell to protect the hardware against any rough transport. This wallet is not open-source, but currently supports a wide variety of tokens including Bitcoin, Ethereum, ERC-20, Ripple, LTC, BCH, DGB, Dash, BNB, Doge and XLM. The 2.8” Large Touch Screen makes our the device easy to use and it can hold up to 500 accounts.
Tangem – $20+
HQ: Zug, Switzerland
Tangem cards provide a refreshing alternative to the clunky hardware wallets. Using the Tangem app, hold your phone over the card to discover your wallet. The user’s private key is generated by and permanently stored using cryptography within the chip. Use the app to transact and check your balance. Each Tangem card works with a specific cryptocurrency and currently supports BTC, ETH, XLM, ADA, XRP, XTZ, BCH.
SatoChip – $25
One of the most affordable wallets on the market, the Satochip card looks like a regular chip debit or credit card, and comes with its own reader. The hardware supports multiple software clients, and provides multi-signature security, while being fully open source. Currently supports BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH and all ERC-20 tokens. No mobile app required but you will need to use a software client such as MyCrypto, Electrum or Electron Cash.