The Ledger Nano S has become one of the most popular hardware wallets with serious cryptocurrency geeks because of its capacity and versatility.
Note, I own 5 of these (and I have ordered the Nano Ledger Blue, the big brother to the Nano Ledger S) right now and I do use it pretty much every day.
The Nano S’s biggest selling point is its capacity for storing several different altcoins including Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, Zcash, DASH, Stratis, and Dogecoin. Some of those currencies cannot be stored on the Nano S’s most prominent competitor – the TREZOR.
The Nano S is small, lightweight (it only weighs 16.8 grams) and easy to carry in your pocket or purse. For example, it is longer than most hardware wallets at 98 millimeters.
One popular feature is the tiny screen which allows users to operate the device without a computer. Like Ledger’s other products, the Nano S is designed for portability – it even comes with a key chain.
What is the Ledger Nano S?
The Ledger Nano S is a hardware wallet that allows for 2.0 USB vault storage of cryptocurrencies offline. Like a number of such solutions, it is designed to be easy to carry, hide and use because it is foldable.
Current models of the Nano S work with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. You will need to have a Windows 7 or above or Mac 10.8 or higher to make Ledger Nano S work. Being Linux compatible allows Nano S to work with other Linux based operating systems such as Google Chrome.
The Nano S is manufactured by Ledger which also markets another popular smaller and cheaper hardware wallet called the HW.1. Combination packs of the Nano S and the HW.1 are available through Amazon and Amazon Prime and Ledger. A touch-screen model by the same company is coming out called Nano Blue by the end of this year.
A touch-screen model by the same company is coming out called Nano Blue by the end of this year.
Some users have reported having a hard time setting up the Nano S, because the Google Chrome extensions it comes with are a little cumbersome. Although the same users report that the device has robust safety and security features.
These are reports I wholly agree with as I regularly use my Nano Ledger S.
However, the Nano S is very easy to use once it is set up. You simply plug it into a computer like a USB stick. That makes it an ideal solution for travelers and persons that might have to use a borrowed computer.
The private key (the piece of code that allows you to access your crypto currency stored at a specific address) is kept securely on the device itself and access to this requires you to input a 4 to 8 letter pin, with the device wiping after 3 failed attempts.
If the device breaks or you lose it, you can recover your wallet (with the same address any crypto you’ve stored there) on another Nano Ledger S by initializing it with a special 24-word seed phrase you write down when first setting up the wallet. This phrase lets you ‘reconfigure’ any new Nano Wallet to link to your same wallet. If this key is stolen or compromised, so is your nano
What does the Ledger Nano S Do?
The Nano S is designed to facilitate payment and storage of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ehtereum Classic through companion apps. These are supposed to allow you to send and receive payments via the device – if it is plugged into a computer connected to the internet.
The Nano S is also supposed to enable payments via other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies but they are not named on its website. The Nano S also supports the FIDO© Universal Second Factor Standard, which is designed to simplify payment via online solutions including Gmail, Dashlane, DropBox and GitHub. There are also companion apps that allow you to build solutions that can utilize a number of other standards.
Accounts are backed up and owners are provided with a recovery sheet (paper wallet) that is designed to provide easy restoration of accounts on any Ledger device or compatible wallets. This is supposed to enable you to access your altcoins if your wallet gets lost, stolen or destroyed.
An obvious danger here is that the bad guys would be able to access and steal your cryptocurrency – if they got their hands on that sheet. This means it would be a good idea to store it in a safe or safety deposit box.
Not as Rugged as the TREZOR
The biggest drawback to the Ledger Nano S is that it is not as rugged or as durable as the popular TREZOR. That means it might not hold up during a lot of travel or survive natural disasters or harsh environments.
The Nano S is not waterproof like the TREZOR, and its folding design is more prone to breakage. Some news articles indicate that the Nano S is more likely to break or malfunction when dropped or knocked around. That means it might not work if you put it in your luggage.
This means the Nano S is not a good solution for somebody who wants to carry a wallet around all the time. It might not survive the wear and tear associated with everyday life or travel. A few people have complained that the folding design will break if you use it a lot.
The Nano S would definitely not be a good wallet to take on your camping trip or vacation. Although it is an adequate solution for somebody who just wants a wallet to stick in the safe, the drawer or a safety deposit box.
However, it’s unlikely that you are going to be abusing your hardware wallet for the most part.
Who Makes the Nano S?
The Nano S is manufactured by a French company called Ledger SAS. Ledger manufactures hardware wallets and offers enterprise cryptocurrency solutions for big businesses and the rich.
Ledger currently manufactures and markets two popular altcoin wallets; the HW.1, and the Nano S. It claims these wallets can store and support up to 13 cryptocurrencies. The company recently introduced a special product called the Ledger Wallet Ripple designed to support that currency.
Ledger claims to have sold 300,000 hardware wallets to customers in 165 countries. It also sells wallets through 100 resellers around the globe. The company is planning to start selling a larger and more sophisticated hardware wallet called the Ledger Blue on October 31, 2017.
Where to Find the Ledger Nano S
Another drawback to the Ledger Nano S is that it can be hard to find. The Nano S is often sold out at both Amazon and Amazon Prime. Even when it is available, the Nano S can be pricey.
The lowest price for the Nano S on September 7, 2017, was $75 at the Bitcoin Store. Unfortunately the supply there was sold out so orders would not be shipped until October. Other prices ranged from $167.42 to $234.
Amazon Prime customers could order a Ledger Nano S on the same day for $142 but it would not be stock until September 15. The lowest price for Nano S, on Amazon on September 7, 2017, was $109.99 from a supplier called cryptoHWwalletCOM. The wallet was on back order at that store, just like it was at Amazon Prime.
Basically people are buying Nano’s and flipping them for 2x to 4x the price on Amazon. You can get one from Amazon, but you’ll pay for it.
Better prices can be found at Ledger’s website where the device retails for €58 ($69.59). Unfortunately, they are often sold out there as well. Therefore it might be a good idea to shop around and order early. They typically sell out of each batch they make right away and then it’s a 2 to 4 month wait for the next batch.
An interesting advantage to the Nano S is that it is sold in three packs online. That makes the device a good solution for businesses or families that want everybody to have a hardware wallet they can carry.
Strangely enough, the Ledger Nano S can be harder to find and order than the more expensive TREZOR. Some users might end up having to order a three-pack or combination pack just to get one.
I’ve ordered at least 5 different Nano Ledger S’s — 4 from Amazon.com and 1 from the official Nano Ledger website. The Amazon was the way to go as all the Ledgers came to me within 3 days of the order, though I paid 2x the price for 3 of them and 4x the price for one of them. I’m still waiting on my order to arrive from the official store and it looks like it will be 1 month before they ship.
Note that there are concerned that Nano Wallets could be ‘hacked’ if you order them from a 3rd party (like on Amazon). The Nano website has a video and instructions though on how to verify if the device has been tampered with. My devices from Amazon have worked just fine, so while this is a valid fear, it’s probably unlikely to happen. Still, if you want NO risk, then order from the official store.
Hard to Use
The Nano Ledger S is hard to use because of the small screen. This can be very hard to see, and some owners have had to resort to a magnifying glass to be able to enter their security codes or see their currency.
For me though, this wasn’t an issue. I could see some people may have some problem here though. It’s not something you can’t overcome though.
Many altcoin owners prefer the TREZOR to Nano products, because it is more like a calculator with larger buttons and screens. The Ledger S is more like a USB drive that you plug in and use via a computer.
Most people opt for Ledger S because it will operate with several cryptocurrencies that the TREZOR will not support.
I mainly use it for my Ethereum based tokens, but it does also support Bitcoin, Dash, Ripple, Stratis. Apparently, NEO (formerly Antshares) support is being added shortly.
Overall, it is a bit clunky to use the Ledger to store your coins. But it’s doable, just not user friendly (but then again, crypto in general is not).
You can opt to use the MEW (MyEtherWallet.com) linked to your wallet, accessing your coins through the interface on or you can use your official Nano Software. If you want to send Ethereum based tokens to your leder, you’ll need to use MyEtherWallet though, not the official software.
A Great Basic Storage Solution
The Nano Ledger S is an excellent option for somebody who just wants a storage solution to keep in their home, office or safety deposit box. It is not as rugged as the TREZOR, but the Nano Ledger S can be cheaper if you shop around for it.
A person that does not need a waterproof or drop-proof wallet will be well served by Nano Ledger S. It is not a good alternative for someone who needs a portable wallet, or the ability to move large amounts of cryptocurrency around outside the internet.
Keeping cryptocurrency offline in a Nano Ledger S will keep it safe from hacking and cyberattack. Although it might be vulnerable if connect the device to public computers.
The Nano S is one of the best basic storage cryptocurrency solutions for average people because it is easy to use and compatible with computers. If you just need a secure place to store your cryptocurrency offline – the Nano S should work for you.
A big advantage to the Nano S is that it will store some of the lesser altcoins such as Ripple. People who are experimenting with those coins would be well advised to use a Nano S as a backup storage solution.
Which is Better Ledger Blue or Ledger Nano S?
Persons with bigger budgets might be better off buying the upcoming Ledger Blue. The Blue will be a larger device with a big easy to read touchscreen, USB & Bluetooth connectivity and enterprise level encryption.
Ledger calls the Blue a “personal security device” but a good way to think of it will be as a tablet for storing and using cryptocurrencies. The big advantage to the Blue is that it will have a screen large enough for an actual human being to read. Like a smartphone or a tablet, the Blue is designed for multiple security apps so its protection can be updated as needed.
Serious cryptocurrency geeks should consider buying the Blue in addition to the Ledger Nano S. Until it is available the Nano S will provide a good basic storage solution for cryptocurrencies.
Unfortunately, the Ledger Blue will not come cheap it is supposed to start selling at €229 ($274.79) on Halloween 2017. If you want to ensure that get one, Ledger is taking preorders for the Blue. It is not clear when that device will be available on Amazon.
Some Advice for Nano S Users
The Nano S is not as tough or as Rugged as its Czech rival the TREZOR. Unlike the Nano S, the TREZOR is waterproof and designed to withstand dropping and hard knocks.
That means the Nano S might not survive if carry it in your pocket or put it in your luggage. Therefore if plan to carry your wallet around in your purse or pocket it would be a good idea to buy the TREZOR instead. The TREZOR would be better in your luggage because suitcases and bags can get thrown around by the baggage handlers at the airport or the train station.
Other threats include water damage, heat from fires, theft, and natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Any catastrophe that can damage your home might hurt your wallet.
Persons storing the Nano S at home or work should invest in a safe or waterproof lock box. Security safes sell for as little as $56.08 or less on Amazon, these contrivances will not stop a burglar, but they can protect your wallet from fire or a building collapse.
Lockboxes which have no lock are even cheaper. If you are willing to shop around you can sometimes find lockboxes and safes for less than $10 at thrift stores or garage sales.
Make sure that any safe or lockbox that you buy is fireproof, airtight and waterproof. If not water or insects might get in and damage or destroy your wallet.
Those who are afraid of theft should consider placing their wallet in a safety-deposit box. These are available at many banks and through vault companies. You will have to pay a monthly rental fee for a deposit box, but it will have added layers of security in the form of the vault, alarms, and guards.
The Ledger Nano S is a good basic storage solution for cryptocurrency but it is not tough enough to serve as a safe. If you just need a place to keep some altcoins you will be well served by the Nano S.
As someone who uses the Nano S every single day and who owns 5 of them, I highly recommend the Nano S. It’s the best way to protect your cryptocurrency from theft. Many of the big exchanges have gone under due to hacking; it’s very easy to lose your cryptocurrency from theft, either through phishing sites (fake sites that look like the real online crypto wallets or exchanges), or outright malware on your computer that can steal your crypto wallet private keys / passwords.
The Ledger S is safe from all that and is an absolute MUST buy for any crypto investor or trader. I recommend you keep MOST of your crypto coins stored on the Ledger S and only keep what you need to trade with on the exchanges.
It’s cheaper than the Tezor and other wallets, smaller, and it has support for MORE coins than the competition. This makes it a big win in my opinion. Get it. If you can’t wait, buy it on Amazon, or if you don’nt mind waiting 2-4 months, order it from the the ledger website for 1/2 to 1/4 of the cost of Amzon.