Bitcoin Wallets

Trezor Wallet Review

We use a Trezor to store all non invested Bitcoins for Bitcoin Millionaire. I first posted about buying a Trezor on Bitcoin Gambling Reviews as we were so excited to get one and I have never looked back since.

A lot of top Bitcoin Casinos and people with significant Bitcoin holdings use a Trezor to store their Bitcoins. Considering the dark past of some Bitcoin web wallets it really does pay to use a Bitcoin hard wallet to store your coins and they are not that expensive.

A Bitcoin Trezor can be purchased through the banner below.

Trezor promotional ad

At a glance

Trezor is the brand name when it comes to hardware wallets and for the longest time has been associated with users who want to store significant amounts of Bitcoin in a cold wallet. Developed by Czech company SatoshiLabs, its name when translated into Czech (and most Slavic languages) simply means “vault”.

Prized for its reputation in high-end security and flexibility with web wallets, Trezor’s hefty price tag (when compared with other competitors) doesn’t seem to deter experienced and new users from obtaining the best protection for their digital assets.

Useability

One of the key differences between Trezor and its main rival Ledger, was in the design. While more expensive and deemed more robust, Trezor has always had a clunkier and clumsier feel that the sleeker Ledgers.

Trezor has an intuitive interface that makes it quickly accessible even for newbies, which is quite an achievement considering that extra security usually translates into poorer useability. One of the easiest methods of installation is via Google Chrome Trezor bridge. Download, install and follow instructions for a quick setup and you’re ready to go.

If you’re a more advanced user, you can also setup directly from the Trezor website or by using the command line.

Trezor can be used for most major third-party wallets such as Electrum and even supports other altcoins such as DASH and Litecoin. One disadvantage of Trezor is its inability to support Ethereum, however, considered by many to be the largest altcoin in use, although SatoshiLabs claim that they are working to make this possible.

Security

Trezor’s edge over its competitors has always been its innovative use of a “second screen” on the device itself which would confirm the receiving address of your transaction, or show you your seed generation, keeping it separate and safe unlike other hardware wallets which would display such things on your computer screen. While Ledger’s latest offering also features this, Trezor will always be remembered for this single useful security feature.

Trezor also claims to give users “plausible deniability” based on its security designs: open source across the stack, standard microcontroller use and implemented PIN and multi passphrase encryption (a third feature which even Ledger still doesn’t have). Because none of the Trezor devices have serial numbers, even SatoshiLabs themselves have no way of tracking your actions. Users’ privacy of course relies on the actual wallet used within Trezor.

In short, while competitors may have come closer and closer to matching Trezor’s reputation for hardcore security, Trezor is still the king of secure hardware wallets. The marked difference in cost may put off most normal users but for those with substantial amounts of Bitcoin, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Ledger Wallet at a glance

When it comes to hardware wallets (wallets that are physically separate devices from your computer), there have only really been two brands out there in the market. Ledger wallets, for the longest time, have arguably been the marginally inferior choice among most Bitcoin users due to its previous lack of a “second screen” on the wallet device that allowed users to visually confirm the correct receiving Bitcoin.

That’s no longer an issue with Ledger’s latest offering in the form of the Nano S, and is packed with enough new features to measure up to its old rival, Trezor. That, and the fact that it has always been the cheaper option (the latest model is about 30% cheaper than a Trezor model) will ensure Ledger remains strong in the market for a very long time.

Useability

As hardware wallets go, there’s not much issue in using one. It feels, carries and works very similarly to a USB drive – but its diminutive nature simply means you just have to be careful not to lose (literally) your Bitcoins!

The Ledger Open SDK is also promising, in the sense that it has a lot of potential for developing many new and dynamic applications for the hardware wallet. Ledger already receives a lot of praise for its Chrome extension, which helps users to avoid reusing addresses and to create as well as manage multiple accounts. You can also use Ledger as a form of 2FA authentication via FIDO U2F open authentication standard for many accounts, including Google and Dropbox.

Ledger’s current advantage over its main rival is that it is the first hardware wallet that supports both popular chains of Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.

Security

Unlike older Nanos, your wallet seed and PIN are now generated directly on the device, improving security and bringing it to the same level as Trezor in this particular aspect. The latest Ledger offering also provides support for multi-passphrase management (though not directly as a password manager), for example, through linking it to a Dashlane account.

One main point on security is Ledger’s use of Secure Element, which basically means that Ledger runs on a microkernel on top of which applications are run. This means that applications are run in isolation and away from the kernel, ensuring that a bug in one app is unable to compromise another. This design also claims to protect users from interdiction attacks, whereby end users can determine better that they are interacting with genuine devices

While many users will feel that Secure Element finally makes Ledger the more attractive security option when compared to Trezor, detractors (including Trezor themselves) say that the use of close-source by Secure Elements is in fact a higher security risk and merely replicates a smart card security as opposed to smart security design.

Whether or not that difference in philosophy will matter to most Bitcoin users, what is clear is that hardware wallets are increasingly adept at improving security, and Ledger is in no shortage when it comes to genuine security innovations.

Blockchain.info at a glance

One of the most popular Bitcoin wallets is the official web wallet of Blockchain.info. It’s one of the most widely-used wallets due to its ease of signing up, web access and mobile access , a few factors that will appeal greatly to new users of Bitcoin. This said, it may not be the ultimate choice for experienced users who want full control of their own Bitcoins and security.

Useability

Because of its direct web access and its availability as a mobile app, Blockchain.info’s wallet is probably one of the more convenient methods of accessing and spending your Bitcoins. As long as you have your wallet ID, you can enter it via a web browser connected to the Internet to access your funds. That does mean you have to store your wallet ID somewhere on your desktop or mobile, however, although the use of browser caches can help you get past this.

Some mobile users also face a rather annoying problem of not being able to copy and paste Bitcoin addresses within the mobile app. So unless you have photographic memory, the simple act of sending someone Bitcoins using the Blockchain.info app is going to be a pain in the crypto-ass.

In the past, however, high traffic to the website has caused overloading and server issues, leading to users being unable to access their wallets for substantial periods of time. Lately, performance seems to be improving but if you’re a user, then you’ll always have to contend with server performances from their side. This means that you do risk not being able to use your Bitcoins on demand.

Security

Blockchain.info is one of the oldest companies to offer a free wallet solution and maintains a high level of trust within the Bitcoin community. Because your wallet is stored online on their servers (although you still control your backup phrase for recovery), this does mean that users have to trust Blockchain.info so this hybrid solution may not be your long-term wallet options if you want to control all your own information and privacy (including data on your transactions).

If you’re keen on using Blockchain.info, then do remember to make full use of enhanced security features offered from its Security Center (accessible once logged in). When creating your wallet, you will already be asked to verify your email address, which is used in the login process. You’ll also be asked to create a 12-word backup phrase which you must keep safely in the event you need to recover your wallet. You can use an IP filter to also block access from TOR-linked IP addresses  commonly used by would-be intruders.

It then allows you to add two extra layers of security on top of that (highly recommended!). The first is wo-factor authentication (2FA) for which you’ll require a mobile phone and active number which you own. If you use the mobile app, you can set a 4-digit pin code which will be prompted every time the app is accessed.