Ledger Nano S Review (2023): Do I need to upgrade?

Ledger Nano S was first released in 2016 with more than 3 million units sold around the world. Ledger announced that they will retire the Nano S in June 2022. This is to let its new and improved version, the Nano S Plus, take its place going forward. Even though Nano S will stop production, firmware upgrades for it will keep rolling out in the future.

The final (and special) edition was called Ledger Nano S Final Edition. It came with a POAP card that allows you to claim an exclusive NFT created by the artist “what is real?”. However, it is sold out.

We recommend you get the upgraded Ledger Nano S Plus as it has added DeFi and NFT friendly features. Check out our review of the Nano S Plus here.

The Ledger Nano S Plus retails for USD$79.

CLICK BELOW TO BUY!

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Key features of the Ledger Nano S

  • Top of the line security to keep your cryptocurrencies safe and secure from hackers.
  • Affordable price- suitable for beginners who want a cheap and reliable hardware wallet.
  • Unique staking features so you can EARN cryptocurrency whilst keeping them secure. Learn more about staking here.
Ledger Nano S

Staking and Earning

Ledger Live allows for staking a growing number of coins, including ETH (Ethereum), SOL (Solana), ATOM (Cosmos) and DOT (Polkadot). Users can lock up their cryptocurrencies and in return they get interest. This feature expands Ledger into more than just a secure place to store your cryptocurrency. It can even help you grow your digital assets.

Depending on the coin, staking can be done natively on Ledger Live, or through a dedicated wallet. For example Yoroi Lite for ADA (Cardano). Staking is done in 3 simple steps for coins that can be staked on Ledger Live.

First, freeze your assets by logging onto Ledger Live. Choose the relevant account for the asset you wish to stake and click “earn rewards”. A popup window will appear. There you will be allowed to select the amount in your wallet you wish to freeze. Secondly, vote for your validator(s) who will be making the blocks on your network. The cryptocurrency earned by making these blocks will be redistributed to voters. Lastly, claim your rewards by clicking “Claim” in your relevant account. Rewards are claimable every 24 hours.

Swapping

Ledger has released a Ledger Swap feature which allows users to exchange their cryptocurrencies through Challengly, Wyre, Paraswap and 1inch. You send your cryptocurrency from your device to the exchange, which will then send you back the swapped cryptocurrencies.

To swap you will need: Ledger device, Ledger Live, the app for the crypto you want to swap and receive, and the exchange app.

Lending

Ledger is working with Compound (COMP), Aave (AAVE) to allow users to lend DAI, USDT and USDC through their decentralised finance (DeFi) protocols. The purpose of doing this is that the lender could earn an interest on their loan. Ledger Live has also integrated with Alkemi Earn. This is a lending-borrowing protocol that utilizes a permissioned liquidity pool of digital assets comprising ETH, wBTC and stablecoins. The purpose of which is to generate yield for liquidity providers.

There are numerous benefits when using Ledger to lend:

Control: You have control and proof that the crypto you lend and generated interest belong to you. When you lend on Compound, you receive cTokens as proof of ownership of lent cryptocurrencies and generated interest. You can redeem your assets and interest by sending cTokens back to the smart contract.

Security: cTokens are stored on your ledger hardware wallets.

Convenience: Compound’s lending features are available directly through Ledger Live.

You can lend crypto using Compound or Aave and Ledger Live in 3 simple steps. Firstly, on Ledger Live’s Manager, install the application for the cryptocurrency you want to lend and create an account. Secondly, enable your account to authorise Compound/Aave’s smart contract to interact with your account. Finally, select the amount of cryptocurrencies you want to lend and issue a transaction to Compound/Aave. Verify and approve the transaction on your device.

Security Features

Ledger Nano S features 2 hardware chips: ST31H320 & STM32F042

One of the key reasons to buy Ledger hardware wallets is the firms reputation for security. Cryptocurrencies hardware wallets are like bank accounts – they contain full access to funds and need banking grade security. Ledger Nano S contains two hardware chips:

  • Secure ElementST31H320 (secure) is independently certified CC EAL5+ and stores the private key and signs transactions
  • Operating systemSTM32F042 chip is responsible for Ledger’s BOLOS proprietary Operating System.

Secure elements are separate pieces of hardware (second layer of security). Secure elements have their own storage and limited functionality that hackers cannot breach.

Even if hackers or malware compromise your computer, the Ledger will still keep your cryptocurrencies secure. Devices like the Trezor One and Trezor Model T have chosen not have secure elements. And so only have a single layer of security.

The Nano X, Nano S Plus and Nano S are the only cryptocurrency hardware wallets to receive CSPN (First Level Security Certificate) certification. This is issued by the ANSSI (National Agency for Information Systems Security). The certification scheme evaluates multiple aspects of a device’s security. For example firewall, identification, authentication and embedded software by putting it through multiple attack scenarios.

Similar to the Nano X, users can also protect their funds using a PIN code and passphrase. The PIN code is to generally unlock your device to use it. Whilst you can also set up wallets protected by a passphrase in addition to your primary PIN code.

If someone threatens you to unlock your device, you can give them the PIN code to access wallets with fewer funds. Meanwhile, passphrase protected wallets contain the bulk of your crypto assets.

Ledger firmware version 1.6: security enhancements

With firmware version 1.6., the security of the Nano S has been further enhanced.

  • 24 words recovery phrase confirmation has been simplified and shortened. Now for each of the 24 words of the recovery phrase, users will only choose among 4 words. Therefore making it much easier to get through the process;
  • The Nano S now has the Control Center feature that was originally on the Nano X. Allowing for functions such as accessing settings, locking device or deleting applications possible directly on the device;
  • Added support for Bitcoin Taproot upgrade;
  • Added support for the seed derivation algorithm EIP-2333. Thus allowing you to securely sign a deposit contract transaction for Ethereum 2.0 on your device;
Before the firmware update. The power consumption is in a predictable pattern.
After the firmware update. The device consumes power in an unpredictable pattern and inverts the PIN code display.

After the update, we find that being unable to enter PIN code digits in order anymore may be slightly inconvenient. However with cryptocurrencies, security always comes up top over convenience. And with the added partial screen inversion, we see that Ledger’s bounty program is not just a PR stunt. Ledger actually looked into submissions and made the security improvements even when the suggested hack was only hypothetical.

Ledger Hack?

In July 2020, Ledger confirmed they suffered a data breach. An unauthorised third party had accessed Ledger’s e-commerce and marketing database. Ledger collaborated with forensic firm Orange Cyberdefense and determined that the data breach affected around 292,000 customers and exposed approximately 20,000 customer personal records.

Ledger had reported the matter to authorities and are working with Orange Cyberdefense to investigate.

Subsequent the breach, users have reported receiving phishing emails and texts. These emails and texts ask users to download a new version of the Ledger software. Clicking the email link redirects users to a fake Ledger site. If users download the “update”, it asks for their Ledger’s recovery phrase but is actually malware. The attacker uses the entered recovery phrase to recover the user’s wallet and sends the user’s cryptocurrencies to the attacker’s wallet. For a full explainer on how the phishing attack works see the report from Kraken.

Phishing email sent from info@ledgersupport.io address (Image credit: Kraken)

Therefore this incident was a “data breach” rather than a “hack”. More importantly, this breach had no link or impact on the Ledger hardware wallets or the Ledger Live app. Cryptocurrencies stored on the Ledger devices have never been at risk.

Even before the firmware update, the Nano S scored full marks on security. We also note that the hack does not affect the Ledger device itself, so our scores remain unchanged.

Security: 5/5

Multi-Currency Support

Supported Coins on the Ledger Nano S

Ledger has one of the most diverse support for different cryptocurrencies such as Algorand (ALGO), Solana (SOL) and Chainlink (LINK). With their open policy to development from project teams, the Ledger Nano S supports 1800+ different assets. Many of these assets like Vechain or NEO are not found on competitors like the Trezor Model T or KeepKey. Thus making Ledger the only hardware wallet available for many coins.

One of the initial weaknesses of the Nano S was that it only fit 2-3 apps on the device. However Firmware Version 1.6 allowed users to install 5-11 apps (depending on the type of app installed). This will certainly answer the prayers of a lot of average cryptocurrency holders who generally hold around 5-10 different coins.

If you need more apps, you can uninstall the ones you’re not using and reinstall them later. Uninstalling apps won’t delete coins and all account information will remain. The newly released Ledger Nano X fixes this problem by increasing the internal memory to 2 MB.

Ledger’s firmware update directly addressed a significant weakness in the Nano S. Whilst it still can’t beat the Nano X in terms of multi-currency support, it is good enough for most traders. For this reason, we give our thumbs up and bumped the score up from 4/5 to 4.5/5 for multi-currency support.

Multi-Currency Support: 4.5/5

Hardware Design

Ledger Nano S compared with Nano X

Ledger Nano S has two hardware buttons – located on the top of the device. These two buttons allows us to access menus (hold both buttons), make selections (press both buttons). And even input recovery phrases (use buttons to scroll). We found that entering PINs and recovery phrases to be tedious with only 2 buttons. Perhaps a touchscreen or additional buttons could have helped?

With the update 1.6, the Ledger Nano S has an improved display UI. So, the device displays the full cryptocurrency address without the need to scroll. This allows for easier verification of the target destination. The Nano S uses a USB micro-B interface for charging and connecting to the PC.

With its plans to continue its firmware upgrades in the future, clearly the Ledger will never fully abandon the Nano S.

Hardware Design: 3.5/5
Ease of Use: 4/5

Why Use a Hardware Wallet

With traditional currencies, you, the user, are the most important person. If you have ever lost your bank card, you can always go to the bank with some sort of identification and request for access back to your account.

Cryptocurrencies, however, don’t care about the physical person but rather the private key associated with the wallet. You use the private key to verify the account and transactions. Anyone with access to the key can send funds, so you must keep it safe. Additionally, you cannot reverse cryptocurrency transactions.

Hardware wallets can protect you against these things. They add an extra layer of security by storing the private key on the device itself. The only way to hack it would be to have physical access to the hardware wallet or the backup phrase.

Ledger Nano S Worth it in 2023?

In short, the answer is: not really. Ledger has retired the Nano S and even the Ledger S Final Edition. Both are no longer available for sale on the official site. This means that the only places where you’ll be able to buy them are 3rd party sellers or second hand. We highly advise against both options because someone might have tampered with the device.

Mind you, Ledger will continue to support the Nano S’s firmware so it stays up-to-date. If you were lucky enough to buy the Nano S while it was still available, it is still worth using. Unless, you want the upgraded DeFi and NFT features. If not, your only choice is to get a Nano S Plus. Although this costs an extra 20USD, they did add upgrades to make it worth your while.

The Ledger Nano S Plus retails for USD$79.

CLICK HERE TO BUY!

Learn how to properly setup your Ledger Nano S with our guide.

Product Specifications (Technical Specifications)

Ledger Nano S Product Specifications:

Processors ST31H320 (secure) + STM32F042.
Compatibility 64-bits desktop computer (Windows 8+, macOS 10.8+, Linux) excluding ARM Processors. Also compatible with smartphones (iOS 9+ or Android 7+) via OTG cable.

Connector
USB micro-B
Security Certification CC EAL5+
Size Size: 56.95mm x 17.4mm x 9.1mm
Weight: 16.2g
Supported Assets1100+ Supported assets
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Security rating
Multi currency support
Hardware design
Ease of use
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Angela loves cryptocurrency, technology that improves our lives...and food. Anything that merges these worlds together is even better.
ledger-nano-s-reviewComing into 2020, the Ledger Nano S has its biggest change yet - a 40% discount to $59 USD, making it much more accessible and competitive in the hardware wallet space. It is perfect for beginners and a solid device even for your typical crypto trader with 5-11 cryptocurrencies. The latest firmware update really brings the device up to date with 2020 and shows the company is still standing behind the Nano S as a solid device in its lineup.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Hello BoxMining,

    If I get a second Ledger NanoS to leave with my wife in case mine gets lost, do I set up the second device the same way as the first one?

    And my BTC/ETH is on both wallets and I can transact from either one? Will they sync automatically and track my balances? Pl advise.

    Enjoy your shows – thx!

    Ravi
    10/12/1955

  2. Hello sir, Today I come to you because you made this video and I decided to buy the Ledger because you inspired me to dos so and get one as a Hard wallet. It looks like you really know allot about this particular wallet and I really need your help.

    Today I come seeking some much needed help and maybe you can shed some light into my dilemma. I have a Ledger nano s, It had transactions on it totaling over 3k in BTC and it suddenly didn’t show any of the transactions, all of them disappeared. I went to their website and cleared the cache, reinstalled the application on my mac I followed every scenario possible to resolve the situation but all my ledger showed was a 0 balance. VERY DISTURBING. Finally it worked all my transactions showed on my ledger and I thought problem resolved “NOT”. 2 days latter I go back to deposit more BTC on my Ledger and it shows a 0 balance again. NOW I’M FRUSTRATED. So I decided to retrace all the steps i did before and after all of that it still showed a 0 balance so i decided to send myself a 1 transaction to see if it would show up on my Ledger. It does but that’s the only transaction it shows. I have tried to reinstall the application again, cleared the cache wrote emails to LEDGER for 3 consecutive days and I’m still waiting for a response. I need to get the Ledger to recognize all my previous transactions and permanently remove my money /BTC to another device since I can’t trust the Ledger. I implore you to please help. Do you know how to help me solve this dilemma or of anyone that can?

    PS

    I enjoy all your videos and and always learn something new. Maybe this particular situation will serve as a learning experience.

    Thanks in advance

  3. It might be important for new uses to know the receiving address will change with every transaction,however coins sent to the old address will still be received safely.

    Watch your you tubes regularly,thank you for advice,very helpful for beginners .Cheers Mark

  4. i do not understand .do i need physical money to buy a bit coin or just set up an account and mine for the bitcoin.
    how to own one?if i pay some agent the physical money to buy cryptocurrency the agent keeps the money?
    do not know how it works for first time buyer.

  5. 1. I’ve sent LTC to my ledger BTC address.
    2. The same address was created in LTC network.
    3. How can I access this coins using private key from my BTC wallet?

    Can anyone help please. Ledger support team has not been helpful seemed silent.

  6. Very Helpful setting up Ledger wallet ,would enjoy knowing more about purchasing Ripple XRP specifically . Ii do not have prior experience in purchasing Crypto currencies .

  7. recently I have seen many complaints about the Ledger Nano s App manager failing to work with the downloaded apps. In my own experience I have been fighting to get my new unit to operate at all. I had to reset the password to clear out the system to do a new install/Configuration.

    I noticed you first added a small amount of Bitcoin to your Bitcoin account and THEN went to ass the App manager, and then you added new apps for other coins. Is there a spcific reason you initialized the bitcoin wallet app with some Bitcoin first? If so please explain in some detail.

    I’m going to go back and reset everything again and first add some Bitcoin IF the unit will initialize and open the transfer window. None of the programs will open.

    One other question, does the FIDO 2fa have to be initialized for the NANO S to function properly? The FIDO 2fa is different from the 2 factor authentacator offered in the Ledger web site. It can be found in the Apps listed in the apps available for the NANO s. My unit came with it installed.

    Thank you

  8. I’m just sending this note to the file because I have been reading many complaints tonight. Many people are having problems with the App Manager. It seems it isn’t properly communicating with the device. Example: I can upload and down load applications but can’t get the to be recognized by the App Manager once installed. The systems keeps asking for a password to unlock my device. I swept the whole device by failing 3 times with the password. Then I set up a new password and 24 word phrase. I have seven sheets with 7 24 word phrases. I am about to do it again and see if initializing the Bitcoin wallet app fist will help. The if necessary I’ll try activating the FIDO 2FA. That is a 2 factor Authenticating app that works inside to Nano S to add another layer of security. It has to be activated out side the App Manager. I thought this may be the issue, but at this point I’m guessing at every angle I can to make it work.

    Good luck with your challenges.

  9. I am trying to update my Ledger Wallet to 1.4.1. When I try to do so the instructions on the web site say to select OSU. I don’t know if this means Operation System Update or something else. I see no selection like this on my wallet. Does anyone know how to update the Wallet from 1.3.1 that is loaded on it? I’m frustrated.

  10. Thank you for your tutorial video on setting up the Ledger Nano S, however I am not certain I got it all. I am a super beginner, working on Coinbase and Poloniex websites where my wallets are held. How do I get my wallets from those sites to my Nano S? Thank you

  11. Thank you for your tutorial video on setting up the Ledger Nano S, however I am not certain I got it all. I am a super beginner, working on Coinbase and Poloniex websites where my wallets are held. How do I get my wallets from those sites to my Nano S? Thank you

  12. You can use ADA with ledger but you have to use a 3rd party interface to access the coins. I use an add on for firefox called Yoroi and connect my ledger to access my coins from Yoroi.

  13. Hi John. I sympathise with you as I have experienced the same problem. I have tried all suggestions on the web and have communicated with Ledger themselves. All to no avail. I’m afraid I have lost both my BTC and just can’t understand how this can happen. I feel positive there is something wrong with the Nano. If you are able to work out a solution to your problem I would really like to hear from you.

  14. We bought the Ledger Nano S in 2017 – tried logging in after receiving an email notification from Ledger that our data had been hacked a couple of weeks ago. Two weeks later and countless emails with Ledger “support” (no phone support), still can not upgrade the firmware to get this device working again on Ledger Live after barely using it. This wild goose chase after paying about $100 for it and having our Ledger PII data hacked two weeks ago. Just don’t.

  15. It’s garbage and support will not respond.
    I received the nano S on friday, installed what few apps it would actually hold (less than 6), which means you can only store crypto for installed apps = 5 currencies total for me. After installing the apps, I started the firmware update and it never completed. The device is bricked and ledger will not respond. Today is tuesday and I doubt that I will ever get a response. What a waste of money!

  16. Hey
    Can anyone confirm that Nano S with 1.6 provides an improved display UI where the full cryptocurrency address is shown without scrolling? Couldn’t find this on the official changelog and its 1 of the reasons why I’m considering it over the X.
    Thanks

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  18. Investing in bitcoins is one thing, making money from it passively while holding is another. Axisoption ,com pays her users 10% of the value of the crypto you send in and store on their wallet platform.

  19. I bought a Ledger Nano S in January, 2017. I used it successfully to buy/sell/send/receive from my Windows 10 desktop for some time using the Chrome Extensions (Ledger Manager, Ledger Wallet Bitcoin, Ledger Wallet Ethereum) through June, 2018. I hadn’t used it since.

    I recently tried to use it and was unable to. Now the various Chrome Extensions no longer work as you are supposed to use the desktop based program “Ledger Live” however it won’t work with my Ledger Nano S with firmware 1.1.5.

    Also, I’m unable to update my Nano S firmware – there is nothing on the Ledger site about upgrading firmware for versions before 1.2.

    So – upshot, I have no (obvious) way of accessing my crypto currencies with my Ledger Nano S. I do have my Nano S 24-word recovery phrase and my Nano S pin.

    I submitted a support request with Ledger about a week ago with no response.

Comments are closed.