ELI5 Ledger Nano

Ledger Nano is a family hardware wallets that earned their fame for being reliable, sturdy and affordable. Ledger’s also were some of the very first hardware solutions for secure cryptocurrency storage.

As folks realized that they’d become their own bank, security became a concern.

It turns out that storing money at home isn’t as simple and worry-free as some had predicted. (There’s a reason why banks became such large businesses!)

Enter the Ledger Nano

Introduced in 2014, this sophisticated little dongle was an instant success. With ICO’s and tokenization of assets, Ledger Nano was a big hit with crypto investors.

It even became a fashion statement at some point. Sitting at a restaurant and setting a Ledger Nano atop your legacy portfolio would grab instant attention from Tokyo to San Francisco.

Currently, the Nano S model can store 23 cryptocurrencies. It is extremely secure, being based on a specially designed secure chip. If someone were to break the Ledger Nano open and try to wiretap its internal communications, all they’d obtain is encrypted electronic signals.

Currently the Ledger can store up to 18 simultaneous applications. Which means it can run several popular cryptos’ software internally.

The Ledger uses a key recovery phrase instead of raw numbers. Memorizing and reading raw keys is impractical, or impossible for most of us mortals.  Recovery phrases are easier to get right. Of course this method is also vulnerable, because if you happen to lose the keywords, you’ve lost the possibility of recovering a lost or broken device. Another risk is pre-configured phrases.

Months ago a scheme involving Ledgers was discovered.

Scammers would open Ledger boxes and pre-configure a keyphrase for their customers. The user wouldn’t notice that the phrase had already been set up and would use the device while the scammers monitored the deposit address. When a significant deposit was made, the scammers would empty the address using the private key recovered from the keyphrase. Unfortunately many crypto investors fell for this scam.

It’s therefore important that you check that the Ledger Nano box hasn’t been tampered with when you receive the device. Any pre-configured keyphrase indicates tampering and the device should be immediately returned to the seller.

The Ledger Live app runs on your PC and is able to communicate with the Nano USB dongle. Using this app it’s easy to make payments and manage the device via a friendly user interface.

Ledger Nanos have a retail suggested price of U$ 59. They’re affordable and offer enormous value for the money. If you’re a serious crypto investor, one of these cool gadgets is a must-have.

Cryptographic Specs

Message Digest: RIPEMD160, SHA224, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512, SHA3, SHA3-XOF, KECCAK, BLAKE2B, Grøstl

Cryptography Key, with key generation: DES (56, 112, 168 bits), AES (128, 192, 256 bits) ECC (256 bits), RSA (1024, 2048, 3072,4096 bits) RSA encryption with PKCS1 v1.5, PKCS1 OEAP, NOPAD schemes

HMAC Signature: HMAC-SHA256, HMAC-SHA512 RSA Signature with PKCS1 v1.5, PKCS1 PSS schemes

Elliptic Curve Signature: ECDSA/EC-Schnorr (SECP256K1, SECP256R1, Brainpool256R1, Brainpool256T1), EdDSA (Ed25519) Elliptic Curve

Diffie Hellman: ECDH (SECP256K1, SECP256R1, SECP521R1 Brainpool256R1, Brainpool256T1, Curve25519)

Symmetric Cryptography: DES, Triple-DES, AES with ISO9797M1, ISO9797M2, NOPAD schemes

Random Number Generation: RND, Prime RND (hardware support TRNG), NIST SP 800-90A CTR DRBG

Ledger Hardware

Connector: USB Type Micro-B.

ST31H320 (secure)

Certification: CC EAL5+.


Official Ledger Website

Ledger Nano at Bitcoinwiki

About the Author
Published by Crypto Bill - Bill is a writer, geek, crypto-curious polyheurist, a dog's best friend and coffee addict. Information security expert, encryption software with interests in P2P networking, decentralized applications (dApps), smart contracts and crypto based payment solutions. Learn More About Us