Hey friends 👋
It’s been a hard year for crypto enthusiasts. With crypto banks like Celsius and BlockFi filing for bankruptcy, exchanges like FTX “losing” users funds, and scammers on Discord and elsewhere tricking Bored Ape owners out of their non-fungibles, one thing has never been more apparent:
We could all benefit from a refresher on crypto self-custody.
A Refresher on Self Custody
First things first, always remember, not your keys, not your coins. So if you leave your crypto on an exchange or in a custodial wallet, you can lose your crypto at any point.
Of course you can use a software wallet, with your secret recovery phrase: the 12 to 24 random word phrase that serves as the key to access your crypto in its home on the blockchain. This is already a massive step up from custodial storage, but there’s still two big risks:
- user error
- smart contract risk
Fortunately, both of these can be avoided by using a hardware wallet.
What’s a Hardware Wallet?
A hardware wallet is like 2 factor authentication for your crypto wallet. In order to do any transaction, you not only need to sign the transaction in your software wallet, but confirm it on your hardware wallet. This can help prevent user error by adding friction to the process of signing transactions. You can’t accidentally send your funds by tapping too quickly, or sign a smart contract by thinking you’re closing out of a window. The steps become more intentional. And this is a good this.
Now you may have heard people talk about having multiple wallets, sometimes referring to one or more as a vault. The idea here is that one or more hardware wallets serve as storage-only wallets, never interacting with any smart contracts. This is an excellent way to mitigate risk from smart contracts and phishing scams.
By using one (or more) wallets to interact with smart contracts in DeFi, NFT platforms, and Web3 integrations, and one (or more) wallets which you simply send valuable assets to to hold in storage, you’ve essentially created a safe or a vault with very limited vectors for attack.
For those with high value NFTs (ie CryptoPunks, Artblocks, DeekayMotion) or fungible assets (ie ETH, BTC, ZEC) in the thousands, tens of thousands of dollars or beyond, this set up is highly advisable.
Ok so that’s your refresher. Now let’s talk hardware wallets.
New Kid on the Block(chain)
But the most recognized brand in hardware wallets is still Ledger. For example, the iconic Ledger Nano S * has always been easy to recommend for new users and more advance HODLers alike, especially to serve as a vault.
But today, Ledger announced something new. Something really f***ing cool.
Introducing Ledger Stax
Ledger’s newest hardware wallet is completely different from everything else they’ve offered so far. Designed by Tony Fadell, the creator of the iPod and co-creator of the iPhone, the Ledger Stax is designed to be looked at.
The credit card-sized screen uses e-ink technology and curves around the body of the device to display the name of your choice along the spine of the device just like a little book.
Integrated magnets allow the device to satisfyingly snap together with other Stax to create… well… stacks. Get it?
Lastly, wireless charging and bluetooth 5.2 (to connect to the Ledger Live app) allows for a cable free experience.
For a lot of people in crypto, this is the device they’ve been waiting for. What do you think? Will you be getting one? The Ledger Stax * is available for pre-order now and ships early 2023. If you’re interested in buying any ledger products, please use my affiliate links marked with stars (*) throughout this article, or click the links below:
Ok, that’s all I’ve got for you today.
Until next time 👋