Ledger Nano X Review
by Scott Wehman
- Larger Screen
- Multi-signature Capabilities
- Higher Cost
Who Should Buy a Ledger Nano X
Crypto investors who want a wallet with multi-signature support
Crypto investors who own many coins
Crypto traders who make frequent trades
What Are Hardware Wallets Good For?
The purpose of a hardware wallet is to store your coins in what is known as 'cold storage'.
By using a cold storage method you are keeping your coins in a wallet who's private keys are not on a device that is connected to the internet, so they cannot be compromised by a hacker.
In the past, we used paper wallets to serve this purpose, but that is no longer considered a best practice (you can ready why in our blog post on paper wallets).
Instead we use hardware wallets as the preferred method of cold storage for cryptocurrency.
Thankfully, they are fairly easy to use, are not too expensive, and are far more reliable than a paper wallet.
Basics of the Ledger Nano X
Table of Contents
Ledger was founded in 2014 as a company that sought to compete with Satoshi Labs and their line of Trezor hardware wallets.
Ledger claims to have sold over 1,500,000 hardware wallets in more than 165 countries as of the time of this writing.
Ledger executives, such as founder Eric Larchevêque and CTO Nicolas Bacca are very active in the crypto communities on twitter and reddit and are very responsive to questions and concerns around the safety of their hardware.
Nano X vs Nano S?
It is worth noting, though, that with this added Bluetooth capability may perhaps come with some added risks. Users of the Nano X should be aware of these risks and make their decision after weighing these against convenience.
Users may also be relieved to know that Ledger has responded to these claims and assure users that, given the architecture of the Nano X's secure element, there should be no issues.
And, of course, you can always fallback to using the provided USB-C cable if you remain unconvinced.
Packaging and First Impressions
Handling and managing cryptocurrencies are inherently paranoia-inducing tasks, so its always nice to find a well packaged product that helps make you feel reassured.
You want to be as sure as possible that no one has tampered with the hardware.
Like the Nano S, the box is shrink-wrapped in plastic and neatly printed with clear branding.
There is no security sticker as the device itself is checked for authenticity each time it pairs with its dedicated software (Ledger Live).
The box contains:
Lanyard & Keychain
Backup and Info Cards
The box is a bit more premium, a nice upgrade from the Nano S box. .
Nano X Construction
CC EAL5+ Secure Element
Backup via BIP39 Recovery Seeds
Paper is an inferior and unacceptable medium for storing your seed phrase.
Multi-Signature on the Nano X
Device Activation via Ledger Live
Once Ledger Live is set up, a passcode must be created and your recovery seed words will be presented for you to back up.
These must be confirmed before you may proceed to installing any apps or creating any transactions.
This step is of paramount importance. Take the time to back this phrase up properly - this is where the Billfodl comes in.
Why leave risks unaddressed when near catastrophe-resistant stainless steel can protect your seed words?
Restoring a Wallet from Seed Words
This part won't happen when you are setting up your wallet.
You only need to do this in the unfortunate event the Nano X is lost, stolen or damaged permanently.
Thankfully, if you ever do need to restore a wallet on a Nano X, it is quite easy.
Once you begin to input characters, the display eliminates letters which won't result in words from the BIP39 official wordlist.
Since only the first 4 letters are related to your seed data, the choices are constrained further making quick confirmation quite easy.
Confirming the Device is Genuine
At this point it's a good idea to conduct the "genuine check" which confirms your Nano X is legitimate.
This is a feature which uses the official Ledger Live software and can be utilized at any time.
Adding Device Apps & Accounts
Wallets and accounts are only able to be installed once a specific app for that specific cryptocurrency has been added. Installation is fairly painless and takes only a moment.
The most obvious limitation of the Nano S is it's ability to store only 4 or 5 apps at once.
The Nano X blows this limitation out of the water: you can install up to 100!
You will find the account setup, portfolio, send/receive functions and the manager on the menu located on the left hand side of the Ledger Live application.
This is where you will manage accounts and give them names for easy reference.
The practice of referring to a wallet address as an “account” is helpful to newcomers, however may lead newer users to address reuse, a practice which is considered unsafe because of the privacy loss.
Transactions on the Nano X
After the apps and wallets have been set up, you're ready to begin
sending and receiving coins.
Using Ledger Live, transactions are created in and confirmed on the Nano X device itself.
Review of transaction data is improved on the Nano X.
The new screen allows you to see the full address on one line, and you can choose to select which item (amount, destination address and fees) you're viewing instead of waiting for each one to appear and scroll.
It's a small, but notable improvement over the Nano S.
Confirmation of the address is completed manually and only once you physically press both buttons on the final screen.
After transactions are complete, you may copy the details to the clipboard and there are block explorer links available as well.
The device is designed to log on its own after a period of inactivity as a security feature.
You may disable the Ledger Live software from timing out or requiring a password to log in - though this is not recommended.
Account Overview and History
In the main menu, Ledger Live calculates a countervalue for your entire holdings.
You may choose from several fiat currencies, BTC or ETH.
The balance is displayed over spans of a week, month or year.
Your transaction history may be exported in CSV format from the settings menu you can also export making accounting of your coins very simple.
- Bitcoin Cash
- Binance coin
- And over 1000 more!
OS and Hardware Support with Ledger Nano X
Key Feature: the Nano X Screen
Using Ledger Nano X Privately
While either are easily seen as high-quality cold storage devices, the Nano X may be more most useful to active traders on the go.
Additionally, the buttons, display screen and connectivity options are nice extras to have if cost is no barrier.
The time saved with the improved display will certainly add up and eliminate the annoyance of waiting to confirm an entire address or wait for other information to be displayed.
The quality of life improvements of the X come at a premium, but it may be worth it to you, provided you understand the additional potential risks that come with the Bluetooth feature.
Storing your keys offline with a Ledger hardware wallet and keeping seed words backed up in a stainless steel Billfodl is a great two-pronged defense in keeping your coins secure.
Keeping a backup phrase in a medium impervious to flames, floods, crushing or other forms of destruction is the most secure method toward ensuring reliable access to your funds in the case of an emergency.
Pro vs Con
- User friendly
- USB-C cable
- Improved display
- Device must be connected for all operations
- Multi-signature Support
- Device times out after a period of inactivity (thanks to one of our founders)
- Passphrase support
- Ongoing development from Ledger
- Increased Cost
- Closed Source
- Doesn't validate change addresses on the device itself
- Connection and Disconnection order unclear at times
- Indirect encouragement of address re-use