Ledger Wallet Review (Part 1)

I received a Ledger Wallet From Bitcoin Embassy to do a full technical report on the device. without further ado, here is the log from when I started working with the Hardware wallet until ….

Here is what is included in the package:

IMG_0160

Ledger Wallet Package

It looks pretty neat. The only thing I found weird is the two-factor authentication that is in a form of a card that has the base58 characters mapped to random HEX values, but let see how that works out.

Ledger Wallet - Security Card

Ledger Wallet – Security Card

As the documentation says, first I should go to their website and download the Chrome App. On the launch it asks to insert the Ledger Wallet in USB port. You should do this step on a trusted computer as it asks to input your PIN and adds the pin to the device.

 

Ledger Wallet - Insert USB window

Ledger Wallet – Insert USB window

So here we go starting our new wallet:

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 1.44.23 AM

 

NOTE: Do this step on a trusted computer.

It asks for your PIN twice and then sets up your wallet. It will also show you a set of 24 words as Recovery Phrase that you should write down and keep it in a safe place. That is the only way you can recover your wallet in case you’ve forgotten your PIN.

Now you can use your Ledger Wallet on any device with the chrome app.

So let’s send some funds. By clicking on the Receive tab you’d see the QR and the receiving bitcoin address.

Receive Bitcoin

Receive Bitcoin

It adds the balance as soon as the transaction is broadcasts to the network. As soon as the transaction is confirmed you can use the send option. (It’s possible to use the send option before that but you’d get the error message that the balance of your wallet is too low)

Main Window of the wallet

Main Window of the wallet

You can get the full detail of each transaction by clicking on the operation. However I guess this is a bug, that even though the transaction has been confirmed for 12 blocks and it is not in the unconfirmed balance of the wallet, it is still showing as Unconfirmed on the detailed view.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 12.46.41 AM

So now the exciting part begins, let’s send out a transaction.

Send

Send

It prepares the transactions and brings up the validation window.

Validation Code

Validation Code

Now We should input the values using the Black Security Card. It asks for 4 random characters from the output address (recipient). It should be noted that the characters should be typed in as CAPITAL letters as they appear on the security card.

On inputting all the 4 characters it send out the transaction. It’s a personal opinion but I’d like to get a confirmation window in the end that shows the amount and output address before sending out, but well this works too (Trezor asks too much though).

Sending Succeeded

Sending Succeeded

 

Pros:

  • Pretty simple interface, no jargons or puzzles
  • Easy to use on any device with a USB port and Chrome Installed

Cons:

  • After each transaction you have to wait for that transaction to be confirmed to be able to send more coins, because it waits for the change address transaction to be confirmed to have the balance available to you, unless you have your funds in different addresses.
  • You pretty much need the security card to be around, but safe. So in case you prefer to have its picture in your phone, you should be aware that even that picture could be misused by someone else who might get access to your Ledger Wallet.
  • Apparently it would wipe out your data if you press the wrong PIN 3 times. It restarts the dongle after 3 wrong PINs, but you still can recover the addresses with the Recovery Phrase.

 

Unconfirmed balance after the first transaction

Unconfirmed balance after the first transaction

The next post will be more technical review, I will try to break the software and/or the device 🙂

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