Gadgets

Hands-on with Ledger’s Bluetooth crypto hardware wallet

The French Startup Ledger unveiled a new hardware portfolio at CES this week. Although the device was only shipped in March, the company let me play with a prototype version of this device. The Ledger Nano X looks like the use of the Nano S, but on a mobile phone.

When the company's previous material portfolio was first launched, it was before the cryptocurrency boom, before Ledger raised 75 million . And the user experience was not great.

You had to install several Chrome applications to manage multiple cryptographic currencies, switch between applications when you wanted to access your balance and manage your cryptographic assets. But things got much better when the company released Ledger Live on macOS, Windows and Linux.

With this new application, you can finally view the balance of your wallet and manage multiple cryptographic assets from the same desktop application. The next logical step was mobility. And you have to get a new hardware portfolio for that.

The Ledger Nano X looks more or less like the Ledger Nano S, but slightly larger. It has the shape of a USB key and has a small screen to confirm transactions on the device. There is a small battery of 100 mAh and a slightly larger screen. The battery should last a few months when you do not use the wallet and about 8 hours of active use. The microUSB port has been replaced by a USB-C port. The buttons are now on each side of the screen and not on the device.

After pairing the device with your phone, you can control everything from your iOS or Android phone. You can install applications on the Nano X ledger, access your portfolios and send crypto-currencies. On iOS, you can lock the application with the help of a password and possibly a face ID or a touch ID.

When you need to validate a transaction on your Ledger Nano X, your phone will be paired with your Ledger device via Bluetooth. You can then view the transaction information on your general ledger and approve the transaction on the device itself.

What makes Ledger so secure is that your private keys never leave your Ledger device. Transactions are signed directly on the device. Your private keys are never sent via Bluetooth and your cryptocurrency remains safe even if your smartphone is compromised.

Ledger now uses a secure element ST33, slightly more secure than the previous version ST31. Now, there is only one chip connected directly to the screen and buttons, which reduces the risk of compromising the information on your screen.

The screen is now twice as large, which allows you to view full public addresses without displaying scrolling. You can now install up to 100 different cryptocurrency applications. You can still connect the device to a computer and also use the desktop application. The device costs 120 € (138 $).

Disclosure: I own small amounts of crypto-currencies in small quantities.

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