Ledger Nano X Review: Safe from Prying Eyes

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If you mean it about owning digital currencies, you need a hardware wallet. Just like your pocket wallet stores physical currency, a crypto wallet stores your digital currency. It protects it from hackers, but is conveniently available when you need it. As far as wallets go, the Ledger Nano X strikes a good balance between simplicity and security. Although it is suitable for beginners, it offers a high level of security in an offline wallet.

When you buy digital currency, you are not buying a physical item. There is no coin or note, as you have with traditional currencies. When you buy a cryptocurrency, you are actually buying a pair of public and private keys, both generated cryptographically on the blockchain. These keys are unique. The private key unlocks your publicly stored portion of the blockchain, which you can spend anywhere that carries the coin.

This is hard for most of us to wrap our heads around, so we tend to buy and store our digital currencies on exchanges like Coinbase. But the problem is that we don’t have the private keys to this money. Without private keys, you don’t really control it. At the same time, if you have your keys, you should keep them securely locked away and not just stored on a hard drive. This is where the Nano X comes in.

What you really have

If you buy crypto through an exchange or brokerage, like Coinbase or Kraken, it stores your private keys for you. A crypto brokerage is conceptually similar to a bank, but with some very important differences, most notably that your crypto brokerage is not insured by the federal government.

In this scenario, you are at the mercy of the exchange. If the exchange is hacked and your private key is stolen, you’re out of luck (and money). Sometimes exchanges also disappear overnight, whether they file for bankruptcy or the founders decide to skip town with everyone’s digital currency. All this and more has happened, repeatedly. The simple truth is that if you don’t have your private key stored on a hardware device under your control, you don’t really have any cryptography.

The Ledger Nano X is a secure hardware wallet that stores your private keys. It looks like a spinning USB stick, with a small screen on the front, mostly because of that is a USB stick with a screen on the front.

Just buy your Nano X directly from Ledger. Any other source could be compromised. The Nano X is available on Amazon from what appears to be a legitimate Ledger store, but I still highly recommend buying directly from Ledger. The company offers free shipping, so there is absolutely nothing to gain by buying from Amazon, and you introduce considerable risk by doing so.

When it first arrives, the first thing your Ledger Nano X will do is guide you to download the companion app, Ledger Live. There are versions available for almost every platform, and I tested it on Linux. Once you’ve installed the app, plug in the Nano X and the app will ask you a few questions designed to make sure your device hasn’t been tampered with on the way to you. If anything looks suspicious, stop and contact Ledger.

Assuming everything checks out, the next step is to generate a “seed” sentence of 24 words, which are actually just some random words. This is what the Nano X uses to protect and lock your cryptocurrency private keys. The Ledger app makes it easy to generate the opening phrase and even forces you to check and verify it. This is the most important part of your Nano X. Don’t miss this sentence. If you have significant amounts of money in your Nano X, I recommend that you put a copy of this opening sentence in a safety deposit box or similar safe place.

From here to there

Photography: Ledger

Once your Nano is set up, it’s time to withdraw your cryptocurrency from any exchange account you’ve been using. To do this, you’ll use the Ledger Live app to set up an “account” for each coin you own. This creates a public key to send your cryptocurrency.

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