The first important Trezor review was published three years ago on Bitcoin Magazine. Trezor was the first hardware wallet that would allow users to secure their private Bitcoin keys through a dedicated external device. Back in the day, software wallets were the only real alternative to the cloud ones, which is why Trezor, by being an innovation, had no competition.
What about today? In 2017, there are at least three popular alternatives to the device, which leads us to the question: Is Trezor still relevant today?
The answer is definitely yes. Three years after its release, Trezor is still getting positive reviews from users and companies alike. In fact, Trezor became some sort of golden standard for cryptocurrency hardware wallets.
The main reason why Trezor stays strong is its active and hard-working developer team. The device changed and improved a lot since its release back in 2014.
Over the years, Trezor team was working hard on improving the device. For instance, while Trezor was initially designed as a Bitcoin wallet, it now supports the following coins too:
Bitcoin Cash / Bcash
+ More coins are planned to be added in the near future
The list is impressive and is only one area where Trezor improved over the years.
Trezor team proved to be attentive to the community. They always implement the requested features, even if some take months to be developed and tested before they go mainstream.
One of them is Advanced Recovery. AC is an optional feature that replaces the Standard Recovery when enabled. It “completely obfuscates the letters entered on the computer”. In other words, instead of writing words, you will be inputting letters on the PIN-pad. Thanks to the changing layout of the PIN-pad, the computer (and the possible malware within) will never know what letters you are typing in.
Trezor is a compact device that can fit inside a small pocket. It is connected to the PC via USB. The device is available on the official website for 89 Euros. It is important that you buy your device from trezor.io and not from a third-party seller.
Trezor can be stolen or lost, but this will not compromise your money by any means. Thanks to the HD feature, you are the one in control of your keys. During the first setup, the wallet will give you a unique 24-word seed that you can use to get access to your funds from another device. The seed is hard-wired to the wallet and it cannot be accessed from the PC, which makes Trezor immune to hacker attacks and malware.
Note: Make sure you write down your unique seed on a piece of paper and keep it somewhere safe. You will be able to see your seed only once and there is no way it can be restored if lost.
Again, you can still restore your funds in case your Trezor is damaged or lost. In order to do so, you can use either Electrum or Mycelium. From there, you can transfer the funds to a different wallet, if you want to.
With Trezor, you will have to press a physical button every time you want to confirm a transaction. Hackers can steal info from your PC, but they cannot press a physical button for you, which is why Trezor keeps your wallet 100% secured against them.
Privacy-wise, SatoshiLabs have no ways to track their devices once those are sold. This is also the reason why you should keep your 24-word seed written down on a piece of paper in a safe place – not even SatoshiLabs can restore it if lost.
The safest way to set up your Trezor is by using the chrome extension on an offline computer. Ideally, the computer should have a freshly-installed OS. MyTrezor.com is yet another way you can set up the device, though offline installation is safer.
During the short setup procedure, you will set your PIN code, device name and password.
Once done, you will be able to link your Trezor to your Mycelium wallet. The process is straightforward and easy. The only requirement is to have the latest version of Mycelium on your Android device.
You’ve probably heard many times about how centralized trading and wallet platforms were hacked, resulting in thousand users losing their cryptos. One of the latest massive incidents happened in July 2017, when one of the most important exchangers in Asia got hacked.
Bithumb, a company that processes 55.1% of South Korean exchange operations became victim of a hacker attack. This resulted in losses $870,000 worth of Bitcoin. Hackers managed to gain access to the PC of an employee of the company; from there, they’ve obtained access to 3% of the wallets that were hosted in the cloud.
Sadly enough, there is no way to prevent that kind of incidents. Even giants like Yahoo, Visa and Google have their servers hacked from time to time despite them investing millions dollars every year in cyber security. There is simply no way a company can guarantee 100% security of their servers and office computers. C’est la vie.
What are the other alternatives to custodial wallets? In other words, is there a way to keep your cryptos safe?
Custodial vs. Non-Custodial Wallets
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Custodial wallets are those that involve a third-party holding your keys. Exchangers, as well as cloud wallets belong to this category.
How do you identify a custodial wallet? Any service that (a) can be accessed through a browser and (b) requires only your login and password to get in are custodial wallets.
Custodial wallets are the easiest ones to use, mostly because you operate one the same way you’d operate a PayPal or Skrill account. That kind of wallets do not require its users to download any software or have a beefy PC to store the keys. In order to log in to a cloud wallet, you only have to introduce your email and a password. No fancy 24-word passphrases are required.
Now, the pros of a custodial wallet end there. Custodial wallets hold blockckain-based currencies, but they completely miss the pros blockchain technology offers. In other word, the selling point of the technology is in its decentralization. Custodial wallets are centralized, which makes them a poor option when it comes to security.
What about Low-Scale Hacking?
All of the above means that it is probably a good idea to avoid using custodial wallets. In other words, exchangers should be used as such, not as wallets. Even the best dedicated cloud wallets should be used to store small amounts of crypto – nothing more than the pocket money you use on a daily basis. The rest should be kept in a non-custodial wallet.
The story does not end here, though. By using non-custodial wallets you avoid falling victim to big and bold hacks, such as the one that happened in July of this year. That being said, it is estimated that low-scale hackers steal even more money from cryptocurrency holders. Those are little thefts that happen every day and they usually do not reach the scale to appear on newspapers.
I am talking about malware and keylogger infections.
Both malware and keyloggers are non-beneficial software that is installed on your computer without you noticing it. The prime role of this kind of software is to steal your passwords and pass-phrases, which is why the malware tends to act silently. It won’t hinder your PC performance or throw in a dozen unwanted toolbars. It will simply silently steal your personal info and send it to hackers.
Same happens with keyloggers – some people live with a keylogger for ages without knowing that their passwords and other private info are being leaked every day. Due to the nature of the keylogger, Antiviruses have a hard time detecting that sort of malicious software. In fact, some security experts say that one can never be sure that their PC is free from malware and keyloggers – unless it is a computer with a freshly-installed OS and no internet connection.
How do keyloggers and malware get into my PC? You might ask. John McAfee talks about that in the video I’ve posted in the beginning of the article. There are indeed other ways your PC can be infected too which is why, again, one can never be certain that their PC is malware/keylogger-free.
Wallet Safety on an Infected PC
If there is no way to know whether your PC is clean or not, then how can you be certain that the hackers won’t steal your pass-codes?
Hardware wallets were made to address this issue. Hardware wallets are not here to make transactions faster or easier. In fact, they do all the opposite. The only benefit a hardware wallet offers is safety.
The wallet fills the role of some sort of two-factor authentication. You do your transactions on a PC- or Mobile-based client. However, the transaction won’t be allowed until you confirm the action on your hardware wallet first.
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The wallet has a chip that holds a unique key. This key cannot be accessed from the PC, which is why no one can hack into your wallet, get the required authentication and confirm a scammy transaction.
Trezor was the first ever released hardware wallet, and it still remains the golden standard for those devices.
To answer the question: everyone who owns cryptos can benefit from keeping them on a Trezor. Keeping your funds on a software or cloud wallet does not necessarily mean that your account will be hacked tomorrow, but if you are really into safety and want to prevent any unpleasant surprises, then Trezor is here to get the job done.
Trezor is one of the hardware wallets that are evolving by the day. I enjoy reviewing and recommending only the best equipment to you, so there is no way I could miss Trezor.
The wallet stood the test of time – it started as the innovator and over the years it became the standard. I tend to trust products that have been able to evolve through the years and remain relevant so long after the release. What do you think about Trezor? Do you own one?
Thank you for reading. As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.Subscribe and stay tuned for further updates!
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