I’ve had a curiosity about crypto ever since I first heard about Bitcoin, back in the day. At the time it was a hassle to get them. I remember jumping through hoops to get the equivalent to 25EUR, the amount I was ready to spend, and never see again.
It was money to throw away. I recall thinking about money my grandma would give me when we visited, stored away in a piggy bank, never to be seen again. It would be a surprise when/if I ever saw it again.
And surprised I was, when I found out, years later, that it had blossomed into WELL over that. I bought an iPhone, and had a lot of money left. I spent that money, of course.
These days I have little money in crypto, just enough to try these things. I got the Ledger Nano S hardware wallet, and I’m ready to “own my keys”.
First impressions below, I’m only starting with this one.
Setting it up was a breeze, as expected. Plug it in, pick a PIN code, write down the seed phrase words, confirm them, and you’re in. Then install the apps for the currencies you want to store (BTC and ETH in my case), and get some of it in there.
The first part is managed on the wallet, the managing crypto side is accomplished with the help of the Ledger Live app. You’ll download it from Ledger’s site.
The model I picked, the S, has no bluetooth and no battery, so you do have to connect to the computer to get most of the things done. They have another model, the X, that costs twice the price of this one, and you get a few extra features. I didn’t need those, and was also a little scared, as there are a lot of people complaining about quality control issues with this model.
The apps allow you to check your balance, on the computer and iPhone, as long as they’ve been synced. It’s enough for me.
First things first, let’s get some coins on the wallet. This is where things can start to get tricky.
I’m used to dealing with Coinbase, happy with it too, so that’s where my fortune is stored. Sadly, I call it fortune out of delusion.
Anyway, you go to Ledger Live, say you want to receive some BTC, get the wallet address, copy that, confirm on the physical wallet, and paste that into Coinbase. The coins are sent to the account managed by the Ledger. A couple of minutes later you’ll find them there.
Repeated the same process for the ETH. It worked. Easy.
As long as you don’t misplace the wallet or, as a last resort, the seed phrase, they’re safely stored. That’s the main point.
On to the issues, as there are some. Not Ledger induced ones, but what have I found already?
I’m a very tiny fish in the crypto world. I like to follow the “only invest what you can lose” rule, so there’s not much in my wallet.
Crypto is also marketed as a way to stop paying banking fees, but there’s no way to escape the crypto fees! Network fees, gas fees, credit/debit card fees when purchasing, transfer fees, there are a TON of fees in the crypto world.
I transferred 100€ to the wallet, equal parts of BTC and ETH. On the Bitcoin front I had to pay 0.24€ to send. Reasonable. But, with ETH, the fee came to 5€! That’s 10%! It’s a huge fee.
I’m also used to Coinbase’s easy purchasing process, I can get 10€ worth of anything to add to my vault. That’s a cool way of getting you to spend money, bit by bit.
Ledger has partnered with Coinify for the purchase and selling part of the business and there’s a minimum there: 60€ for purchases and €125 for selling!
Not much, granted, but makes me think twice before making a purchase and, at the moment, I’m not even eligible to get my funds out, as I don’t have the minimum on any of the accounts. I would need to transfer the amount I want to withdraw back to Coinbase, and cash out over there. And add another fee to the whole thing while doing that. These can add up if you’re not careful.
Sometimes I’d get a little money out of the account for some random purchase, and that’s not happening now. It’s a great way to store money, safely, but not perfect if you like to play with it, converting to another crypto, and back to another one. Coinbase, on the other hand, is perfect for that.
Of course, if you have more money invested, the safety of the hardware wallet becomes even more alluring, and you probably have no issue with the minimum amounts for the transactions with Coinify. For me, at the moment, that’s something I have to think about.
I’ll use it as long term storage, maybe the prices will go up again in a crazy way, and then I’ll be fine. And I’ll keep transferring the little profit I want to keep to the wallet. In BTC, never again in ETH.