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What is a Ledger Nano S?

What is a Ledger Nano S?

The following blog post is a transcript from the below YouTube video. Checkout Jackson Palmer

"Lets talk about the Ledger Nano S....... The Nano S is a hardware wallet made by a company called Ledger; and there primarily based out of France. But they also have an office in San Francisco. It comes in a conveniently sized package, which reminds me a lot of a USB flash drive I might have been carrying around 10 years ago. In that vein Ledger included all the accessories your would need to carry it around just like that. To plug it into your computer you simply swivel around the Nano S from the metal shielding its in, then using the included micro usb cable to connect it to your computer. Now just like my criticism of the Trezor, I’m not a huge fan of having to lug around a micro usb cable to just plug in my hardware wallet. Especially in this case where Ledger made the Nano S look like a flash drive which if it was a storage device 10 years ago you’d be able to plug it straight in without a cable. So that loses it a point in terms of portability when you’ve just got it on your keychain. You cant use it without that cable. That being said unlike the Trezor it does fit on your key chain a lot more comfortably and you don’t really notice it in your pocket when its there.

Setup is similar to any other hardware wallet. You start by entering a numeric PIN and confirming it and you’ll need to use this PIN every time you want to unlock the wallet and use it in the future. After your PIN is setup the Nano S will generate your seed phrase, which will then ask you to write down in a secure place. Very similar to other hardware wallets.  After you’ve written it down in a safe place it will actually ask you a little quiz about some of the words. Just so it can confirm you didn’t write down any wrong. Once your all setup you’ll see the installed apps on the Ledger Nano S screen. This is actually different from other hardware wallets. In that you have to install these apps which correspond to different currencies you want to use on the device. The apps installed on the physical device then actually work in tandem with chrome apps on your computer to manage the wallets. There are a few different chrome apps that you’ll have to install to use the Ledger Nano S. Theres one for Bitcoin and Alt Coins, one for Ethereum and another for Ripple. Theres also an app called the Ledger manager which is what you use to install different type of currencies and apps on the device.

To start using the wallet you simply select the coin or currency you want to use on the physical device itself. Then you open the corresponding app from chrome. Of course you’ll need the Ledger Nano S plugged into the computer at this time. The UI (user interface) and user experience is really top notch, and I found it one of the nicer wallet experiences out there. Its simple, minimalistic and easy to navigate around to manage your wallets. At first I did find it a little confusing that they just didn’t bundle up all these chrome apps; the Bitcoin, Ethereum, ripple  and the alt coins all into one app.

Cause I did feel like I was bloating up my chrome a little bit by having to install 4 different chrome apps or extensions. But the cool thing about the Ledger Nano S being completely chrome based on the management side is that you can take the Nano S to any computer that has chrome and start using it straight away.

Theres no desktop apps to install, and chrome is pretty much installed on most computers these days. As with any hardware wallet when your performing a transaction all the cryptography is taking place on the secure element on the device. That signed transaction instantly gets sent back to the chrome app which broadcasts it to the network.

One thing to note that all though the device does have a an Ethereum app that you can install; that doesn’t get you access to ERC20 tokens out of the gate. Like most hardware wallets out there they have partnered with myetherwallet so you can use the hardware wallet to connect to that service.

Setup is actually a little confusing here compared to the other wallets. You first have to go into the Ethereum app on the hardware device and enable something called browser support. This actually tripped me up a little bit at first cause I was plugging it in trying to figure out why it wasn’t working. A quick google search told me that I had to enable this option. It just wasn’t very clear upfront. From there on out you simply select the Ledger option on myetherwallet, login and then you can use myetherwallet just like you would for any ERC20 token.

One area the Ledger Nano S does score bonus points is that it does support Dogecoin with its default apps. This is really hard on other hardware wallets without doing a bunch of hacking around, so good stuff Ledger for supporting Dogecoin. In addition to Dogecoin it also supports a bunch of other cryptocurrencies out there which makes me think that it actually is the best hardware wallet for multi currency support.

One problem I did find with the Ledger Nano S though is that it has very limited flash memory. What this means is that you can only have around 3 or 4 cryptocurrency apps installed on the hardware device at any point in time. With each app corresponding to a coin or cryptocurrency that quickly becomes an issue because if you wanted to access 10 different coins from the app you can’t. I actually ran into this issue when trying to install a Dogecoin app. I had to choose whether to un-install Litecoin, Ethereum or Bitcoin. Just to get enough space on the device to install the Dogecoin app. This really isn’t ideal but I’ve heard that Ledger may be working on a fix from a software side. Although its kind of a hard problem to solve when its a hardware limitation of the flash memory.....

All in all I think the Ledger Nano S is a great hardware wallet. Which leads the pack when it comes to multi currency support. I will say that it's slightly hampered though by the limited flash memory; and only being able to have 3 or 4 cryptocurrency apps installed on the device at any one point in time. So by all means you can go multi currency and theres a wide range of coins the device supports by default. Just be aware that when your carrying it around you’ll only ever be able to have 3 or 4 of those wallets handy at one time......

If your looking for a solid secure multi currency wallet that will support all the broad range of coins out there then the Ledger Nano S is definitely or you. If your looking for something a bit more portable and are happy with only supporting 1 or 2 cryptos like Bitcoin & Litecoin then you might want to look into something different like the Digital Bitbox. Because it can plug into a computer without requiring a micro USB cable. It's really a trade off of what your willing to sacrifice. I will say that the Ledger Nano S has the best currency support out there. Thats my review of the Ledger Nano S..."

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