Yes, we can say it: the crypto world is the Wild West. Between phishing attempts, scams, fake Twitter accounts that sell you dreams. It’s hard not to fall into the trap at least once. That’s why it’s important to secure your cryptos. In this article, we come back in detail to Ledger, in particular the Ledger Nano S Plus.
- What is Ledger?
- The Ledger Nano S and how it works
- How does the security of the Ledger Nano S Plus work?
- Frequently asked questions about the Ledger Nano S Plus
- What if I lose my seed phrase?
What is Ledger?
The Ledger Story
Ledger is a company that was founded in 2014 by several experts in the world of cryptos and security. Among them are the co-founders of the House of Bitcoin (2013), namely Eric Larchevêque and Thomas France. It also includes the founders of two other startups (CTChip and ChronoCoin).
From 2014 to 2016, these were the beginnings of the startup. It should be noted that at that time, the crypto world was nothing like the one we know today. Few players were still positioned on the market, Vitalik Buterin was just starting to develop Ethereum, and institutional investors were watching Bitcoin from afar. Ledger’s main competitor at the time was Trezor, which is still in place today.
From 2017 to 2018, the startup really began to grow. In March 2017, Ledger raises €7 million. The future unicorn also takes advantage of the 2017 bull run to raise funds for its development. In 2018, it raises €75 million, which puts it in 3rd place among French startups raising the most funds.
From 2018 to 2020, it’s a time of trouble. And yes… the bear market is back. In 2019, the company is forced to cut positions (this is often the problem of startups that grow too fast). 10% of the workforce is forced to go elsewhere.
This does not prevent Ledger from signing partnerships with large companies, such as Engie.
In 2020-2021, it’s the Covid period. People are confined to their homes and are becoming massively interested in crypto. And, who says more people says… bull market! Bitcoin soars to $69,000 in November 2021 and the markets go wild.
In this euphoric period, the year 2021 saw the consecration of Ledger, which truly became a French unicorn with a valuation of more than 1.5 billion dollars. The company now employs 800 people worldwide.
But, why is Ledger recognized worldwide?
Ledger, the global leader in crypto security
Ledger, simply offers to protect your cryptocurrencies with a cold wallet. As a reminder, a cold wallet is a digital wallet that is not connected to the Internet. Unlike a “hot wallet” which is connected to the Internet, it is therefore impossible for a hacker to access your funds, as he has no means of access.
By what kind of magic is this possible? How can I manage my crypto funds if I don’t have access to the Internet? Cryptos work well with the Internet, right?
Actually, Ledger‘s wallet works either via Bluetooth (invented in 1998) or by connecting the wallet directly with a USB cable. It is never connected to the Internet. And most importantly, the private key NEVER leaves the Ledger.
Ledger is currently the number 1 in its field. Other competitors have also positioned themselves on the crypto security market, such as Trezor, but they pale in comparison to Ledger. And, let’s remember once again that Ledger is French! (cocorico)
The Ledger Ecosystem
Ledger, it’s not just some kind of USB key that will protect your crypto. They also have a whole ecosystem around securing your crypto wallet.
First of all, in order to use their “cold wallet”, you have to use Ledger Live. Ledger Live is an application that will allow you to use your Ledger wallet.
It gives you control over your cryptos (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Solana and many more). We strongly recommend you to go to the official website to download the official version of the application.
Ledger also offer a platform to educate yourself around securing your cryptocurrencies and NFTs. This is the Ledger Academy.
It is an excellent source of information about the world of Blockchain in general. Part of this article is actually taken from the Ledger Academy. You’ll find tips on how to secure your cryptos, but not only that!
Finally, Ledger recently launched a podcast, soberly titled On the Ledger. In this podcast, many actors of the Blockchain ecosystem are invited, each week, to debate around a particular topic. The guests are of high quality and the exchanges are always interesting. A mine of information! Be careful, though, the podcast is in English only.
The Ledger Nano S and how it works
The Ledger Nano S is part of a range of products offered by Ledger.
In 2016, the Ledger Nano S began to be marketed. However, the features are still small, and it is only possible to put in a few cryptos. Therefore, Ledger releases a new product in 2019: the Ledger Nano X.
Equipped with more memory, it also allows you to connect via Bluetooth.
In 2022, Ledger decided to combine the two models into one, equally powerful: the Ledger Nano S Plus.
The Ledger Nano S Plus has, as its name suggests, “more” stuff than its companion, the Ledger Nano S.
Indeed, this one now has more space to put more cryptocurrencies. The screen is larger and better lit. It offers a great ease of use and is perfect for beginners, but also for the more experienced.
Its small size allows it to be carried easily and anywhere (well be careful though, you never know!)
The natively supported cryptocurrencies are the following: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), EOS (EOS), Stellar (XLM), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Nano (NANO).
The Ledger Nano S Plus is available for €79 on the official Ledger website. We strongly recommend you to buy it only on the official website and not on other websites like Amazon, for obvious security reasons.
How does the security of the Ledger Nano S Plus work?
So, this Ledger Nano S Plus, concretely how does it work? Let’s get into the technical details, if you don’t mind.
Ledger uses an operating system called BOLOS. This operating system integrates a secure chip (called “secure element”) to allow secure access to your funds. The Ledger Nano S is certified by the ANSSI (national cybersecurity agency).
When you buy a Ledger and activate it, it will generate a key pair: a private key and a public key. To use a simple metaphor, the public key is your mailing address (mailbox), and your private key is the key that opens your mailbox. But, unlike in real life, if you lose the key to your mailbox, you can still access its contents: this is the magic of the seed phrase.
A seed phrase is a 24-word phrase that allows you to recover your cold wallet in case of theft or loss.
These 24 words are taken at random from a predefined list of easily pronounceable and unambiguous words. These words are in English (of course). It is important to keep these 24 words safe and to keep several copies (preferably elsewhere than on your computer).
To access your device, you will also need a 4 to 8 digit PIN code.
At the moment, Android and iOS mobile devices are not supported. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it offers less possibility of having your private key hacked.
Frequently asked questions about the Ledger Nano S Plus
What if I lose my Ledger Nano S Plus?
Don’t panic! If you lose your Ledger, you can always recover access to it with your seed phrase. So remember to secure your 24-word recovery phrase. It is your only backup in case of loss of your Ledger key.
What should I do if I have forgotten my PIN code?
Remember that if you enter the wrong PIN code 3 times in a row, your Ledger will reset, this is a security mechanism to prevent someone from guessing your PIN code after many tries.
If you get it wrong 3 times in a row, you will still be able to access your funds with your seed phrase, on another Ledger device.
What if I lose my seed phrase?
If you lose your seed sentence… Things are more annoying (editor’s note: you are dead and so are your cryptos). It is the most important security element that you should not misplace or lose because if you lose it, you lose your only backup for your cryptos.
So the question is not “What should I do if I lose my seed phrase?” but rather “How can I make sure I don’t lose my seed phrase?” We’ll do a detailed article soon with some little-known but very effective tips.
It’s better to keep your seed phrase on your computer, then?
Hmmm… Bad idea. As we saw before, your seed phrase gives you access to your cryptos, whether you have access to your cold wallet or not. So, if someone manages to get his hands on your seed phrase, it’s game over.
So is it a good idea, in this case, to store your seed phrase on a device that can be hacked? Not really. The safest thing to do is to store your seed phrase on a physical element (paper or other).
With great power comes great responsibility. Remember: not your Keys, not your Coins. As long as you don’t have the hand (or the key) on your cryptos, you don’t really own them. Ledger offers you the opportunity to be in control, safely.
Coming from a teaching background, I’ve become passionate about the world of Blockchain. I’m eager to learn more and share the fruit of my research through my articles.