During their update to version 4.9.0 last month the people behind the widely used crypto wallet service, MetaMask, announced support for Trezor hardware wallets. Their latest update announced support for Ledger devices too. This makes it possible for owners of both Trezor and Ledger wallets to interact with the MetaMask app without revealing their private keys.
As any seasoned cryptonian will already know, your crypto funds are only as secure as you allow them to be. All too many cryptocurrency ‘hacks’ have happened as a result of bad security practices from individuals and this latest update makes it a lot harder for scammers to access your funds through MetaMask.
What is a Hardware Wallet?
Simply put, a hardware wallet is exactly what it sounds like – a physical device which holds the key to your crypto funds. The two most popular wallets in use are made by Trezor and Ledger. The wallets themselves look no different to a USB stick with a small display and that is essentially what they are. The biggest difference to note is the fact that devices such as those from Ledger and Trezor have a simple OS system laying on top of the USB stick. This operating system encrypts the device with a seed phrase and pin number and prevents any access to the private keys stored upon it without one of the two.
You may be thinking it just sounds like a USB with a backup function and pin number, and you’d be forgiven for thinking so. But let me explain why they are a little more than that. If you were to use a standard USB, which you encrypted, you would be exposing your private keys the second you enter your password and unlock the device. With devices such as those offered by Trezor and Ledger your private key stays encrypted.
That is where the value of the hardware wallet is. It is in the simple fact that it never sends a decrypted version of your private key when signing a transaction. What it does, instead, is send out an encrypted copy of the key which means anyone who intercepts the transaction will not be able to steal your funds.
The other notable point of hardware wallets is the fact that they provide a backup function through their seed phrase. If you lose your physical wallet you can always access your funds through the backup seed phrase which you are issued from within the device.
Where to buy Ledger and Trezor Wallets
At present you can buy both wallets from a number of third party resellers however, I would not advise buying them from anyone other than Trezor or Ledger direct. This is due to the fact that there are scammers out there claiming to sell brand new hardware wallets which they have already initialised and backed-up the seed phrase to. This obviously means that, once you send your funds to the wallet, hackers can steal your crypto.
The links below are to the official Ledger and Trezor websites.
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