If there is something that the recent events reinforced to crypto users, it’s the importance of self-custody (remember: not your keys, not your crypto). In fact, according to Google Trends data, searches for the term “self-custody” reached an all-time high after the FTX mismanagement of funds and bankruptcy caused many investors to lose their assets.
Thus, it is only logical that the safest option to store your blockchain assets’ keys - hardware wallets - are also experiencing a resurgence. Some hardware wallets (or cold wallets) such as Ledger and Trezor had spikes in sales after the FTX debacle. Trezor, for example, shared that it is experiencing a 300% increase in sales revenue.
With that in mind, this article presents the best hardware wallets in 2023 and how they can serve you by providing additional safety for your crypto holdings and operations. In addition, you will learn how to choose the crypto hardware wallet that best fits your goals and needs.
Hardware wallets are physical gadgets with a secure chip that allow you to securely manage your cryptocurrency. They are usually plug-in devices that connect to your desktop, although Bluetooth-enabled devices for mobile are becoming increasingly popular. A cold wallet, different from a hot wallet, is a secure hardware device aimed to keep the user's private keys offline, without constant internet access. It makes them the most secure way to manage crypto because it’s (almost) impossible to compromise the user's private keys. Besides that, most hardware wallets can also work with many blockchains simultaneously, allowing you to securely manage all your crypto assets from one place. Furthermore, most wallet extensions (such as Metamask, Phantom, or Keplr) are really simple to use with your wallet dive, ultimately, making the use of many dApps a walk in the park while retaining the highest standards of security.
Contrary to what many people think, cryptocurrencies are not stored in a secure chip within hardware wallets, as they will always be on the blockchain. Instead, hardware wallets store the user's private keys that give you access to and control of the coins that you own. This way, hardware wallets allow you to store your keys offline, without the possibility for anyone to get them without your permission - unless someone steals the device from you, but even then, the devices are usually secured by a PIN and the mnemonic seed phrase (12 or 24 words used to derive the user's private keys) can be used to restore your wallet on a new device so that you can send them to a secure account before the thief - hence, it is really important that you store the mnemonic seed phrase separately from your wallet device. The mnemonic seed phrase is the most important piece of information and anyone with access to it, ultimately has access to your funds with a crypto hardware wallet, you can easily sign transactions without your private keys ever leaving the device.
On top of that, crypto hardware wallets often have yet another layer of security: an anti-tampering authentication check. This is a verification process that can have multiple steps, demanding PIN codes, seed phrases, or passwords to fully unlock the device.
Most commonly, while setting up a crypto hardware wallet, you will need to set a PIN code, which will enable you to access the private keys in the device. Whenever you initiate the wallet, it generates a 12 or 24-words seed phrase that you can use to recover your funds if your hardware wallet is damaged or stolen. Again, this phrase is the most important piece of information and should be kept somewhere safe, like an actual safe or bank vault.
Here are our picks for the best cold wallets for 2023 and beyond:
As the second-generation hardware wallet from Ledger, Ledger Nano X is one of the most well-known physical crypto wallets (second only to the Ledger Nano S) - and there is a reason for that. It enables users to trade and manage their cryptocurrencies from any device, such as phones, tablets, and desktops. Ledger wallets also support NFTs.
The interface of this hardware wallet is quite easy to navigate, and it can be connected to devices via a USB-C cable or Bluetooth. The Ledger Nano X allows users to install up to 100 blockchain apps and supports over 5000 coins. The device is small, handy, and intuitive, which is why it became so popular and appreciated within the crypto community.
Ledger also recently launched Ledger Stax, a card-sized device for storing and exchanging a range of tokens like cryptocurrencies and NFTs. The design was made by none other than Tony Fadell, the designer of the iPod. Ledger Stax’s design aims to be more user-friendly than other hardware wallets in the market, promising a new user interface for clear and intuitive interaction. The wallet uses a black-and-white E-ink display (similar to Kindle). It also has magnets to stack multiple devices over each other – hence the name Stax. Users can connect the device to their laptops through a USB cable or to their phones via Bluetooth.
In summary, Ledger Stax offers all that Ledger Nano does, but in a more easy-to-navigate interface, visually appealing design, and practical mechanics. For $279, the device is already available for pre-order and will start to be shipped in the first quarter of 2023.
This hardware crypto wallet, authenticator, and digital ID system is a highlight in its category. It allows users to access third-party exchanges and supports over 1800 coins. The Trezor Model T is a completely redesigned successor of Model One with a touchscreen interface, which is considered one of its best features but can sometimes be a little small to navigate.
The wallet supports most major operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. Unfortunately, it does not yet support iOS and ChromeOS devices. Trezor wallet includes a recovery seed phrase to safely recover your assets in case of need. It can also be turned into a Bitcoin-only wallet with built-in firmware.
Ledger Nano S Plus is a cheaper Ledger wallet than the Nano X, but still a great choice. It’s an upgraded version of the Nano S model with a bigger screen and more memory to make its usage more convenient. It has a certified security chip implemented to guarantee the highest level of safety. Like the Nano X, it can have up to 100 apps installed and supports over 5000 cryptocurrencies.
Like other popular Ledger products, the Nano S Plus offers NFT-related services. The users can send and receive NFTs, visualize their collection, and make sure it’s securely stored. No wonder the brand calls this model “the world’s most popular wallet” because it provides a great overall user experience.
It’s a hardware wallet with a 1-year warranty, 24/7 support, and multiple safety mechanisms. It not only has a multi-layered security sensor but also a self-destruction feature! What’s interesting about this wallet is that it can’t be connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, or even cable. Only air-gapped signing is available, which means the storage is offline at all times.
SafePal S1 is credit-card sized, but it supports 48 blockchains and unlimited amounts of tokens. It has a built-in camera for QR code scanning and a battery life of 20 days. It’s quite an interesting product with great functionalities for crypto enthusiasts. Together with the SafePal app, they create a secure environment for blockchain transactions.
This cold wallet has biometrics authentication, which means you can use its built-in fingerprint scanner for faster transaction signing. It’s a very convenient functionality that works great together with the D’Cent wallet’s big, OLED screen. All the details are displayed on it to ensure you know exactly what you’re doing with your assets.
The creators of this hardware wallet took care of backup and recovery to make sure crypto coins are secured in every possible scenario. It supports more than 2800 currencies and connects via Bluetooth or USB. The D’Cent wallet also has a dedicated app available on iOS and Android to ensure seamless crypto management.
An elegant and stylish wallet that resembles a credit card and comes in two colors - black and gold. However, its looks are not the only benefit you get from purchasing the Ellipal Titan wallet. It has a large screen that provides a great user experience and supports air-gapped signing which means it’s a true cold wallet without any connection to the online world.
The design is based on metal components which make the wallet resistant to external conditions and offline attacks. If the system installed within the wallet detects any suspicious activities, it wipes all the data for extra protection. The same goes for 2-factor authentication which is an additional security layer. It’s a very safe wallet that reduced internet connection to zero with firmware updates also done offline with an SD card instead of a USB cable.
The most advanced model of SecuX wallets connects with a desktop app and mobile via Bluetooth or cable. It works with all operating systems, which is perfect for users that like to do their operations on various devices. Its interesting, round design and large touchscreen come together with high-quality security measures, including a case with a tamper-proof seal that makes it impossible to intervene with the device without leaving proof.
It supports over 1000 tokens and allows the user to take full control of their portfolio while using the wallet. With a built-in security chip and dynamic keypad for PIN entry, SecuX V20 offers a high level of safety. It’s probably the best SecuX wallet.
CoolWallet Pro resembles a credit card not only in its shape but also thinness - and it even has a screen. That makes it extremely easy to carry it around and hide it in a safe place. It uses a Bluetooth connection and works with iOS and Android for “the on-the-go crypto experience.”
This hardware wallet has numerous functionalities dedicated to users that do their operations with DeFi protocols. It connects with exchanges, supports NFTs and DApps, enables various exchange transactions, and works with many crypto services. Although it supports only 150 tokens, it has the potential for investors that want to diversify their portfolios.
This hardware wallet has its own dedicated web platform to control assets and get data-based insights about the user’s crypto transactions. With support for over 40 coins, KeepKey doesn’t offer the broadest capabilities from all cold wallets, but it’s still a solid option. For example, it enables limitless wallet addresses and customizable transaction speeds.
Due to the number of scam apps that were created to steal from KeepKey users, mobile access is not available anymore. However, the security measures within the wallet are still high-quality, including backup, recovery, and manual transaction approval. The web app also allows users to exchange their crypto assets.
Last but not least, there’s a niche hardware wallet that becomes more and more appreciated by the community. What’s interesting about it is the innovative, secure OS installed within the device that’s supposed to provide the highest level of safety for crypto assets. With the air-gapped signing, NGRAVE ZERO has the potential to become the first choice for many.
Encrypted, recoverable backup called GRAPHENE is also a novelty. It’s a plaque made out of stainless steel that is extremely immune to external conditions like water, high temperatures, or corrosion. It can be split into two parts to be hidden in different locations, which guarantees that it’s almost impossible to steal the user’s private keys.
Everyone will find something for themselves among these ten wallets we discussed above. Pick one that meets your needs and expectations! Either way, make sure to use a cold wallet to manage the majority of your digital assets - it definitely pays off!
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Please note that none of this is to be considered financial nor investment advice. We highly advise you to always do your own research (’DYOR’) before interacting with any of the projects or tools we write about. Crypto is a highly dynamic and fast paced environment with lots of moving parts that can quickly change.