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How to Use a Cold Wallet (Ledger)

Complete guide on using cold wallets, step by step...


Introduction

What is a cold wallet?

A cold wallet, or hardware wallet, is a device used to securely store private keys offline (seed phrase). These wallets do not connect to the Internet, which means they are not vulnerable to any computer- or cell phone-related viruses. For this reason, cold wallets are considered a more secure storage method than online wallets or "hot wallets" (e.g., MetaMask).


What is a private key?

Think of a private key as a real key that allows you to unlock your encrypted funds. It is the only real way to prove that you own your coins.


Private keys consist of a long and complicated list of letters and numbers. To make things easier, most wallets will generate what is called a seed phrase or recovery phrase.


Seed phrase and/or recovery phrase consist of a set of 12 to 24 words that represent a private key. It is extremely important to store your private keys/recovery phrases securely. If you lose access to your Wallet or Account, you will need the seed words to regain access. If someone comes into possession of your seed words, they will be able to access the funds in your account.


Because cold wallets are offline, they are used with another device (such as a computer or smartphone). Cold wallets are so secure that even if they are connected to an infected smartphone or computer, the private keys they are storing will never be compromised.


Nowadays, there are several cold wallets or hardware on the market. For this guide, we are going to look at how to use a Ledger wallet.


There are two different Ledger wallets available: the Nano X and the Nano S. Both devices are easy to use, support all major coins and tokens, and can be managed via a mobile or desktop application. It's up to you to decide which one to choose. To help you decide, some of the main differences between the two are listed below.




In this tutorial we will see how to set up and use the Nano X Ledger, but the process is similar for both.


First step.

Start by charging your device. Once your device is charged, press and hold the black button for about 3 seconds to turn it on.


The silver button can be used to scroll right, while the black button can be used to scroll left. To select or confirm, press both buttons. If you hold down both buttons, you will be taken to the control center of the device. Here you can view the battery charge, turn off the device, and change settings, such as Bluetooth.


A welcome message should appear on your device's screen. Press the silver button to scroll to the right until you reach the 'set up as new device' page. Press both buttons to select.



You will then be prompted to choose a 4-8 digit pin for your Ledger. The silver button will increase the digits, while the black button will decrease the digits. If you make a mistake and want to delete a digit, there will be an 'x' icon available for you to select after entering the first digit. Pressing both buttons will validate a digit. After entering the last digit, scroll through the different options until you reach the tick icon ☑️ . Press both buttons to select.


On the next page, you will be asked to confirm your pin. Next, you will be asked to write your 24-word recovery sentence. You will be presented with one word of the retrieval sentence at a time. Here, you can use one of the recovery phrase cards provided to write each word.


You should make at least two physical copies of your recovery phrase (do not store it online or on a hackable device) and keep these copies in a very safe place.


After that, you will need to verify your seed phrase. This process is tedious but necessary to make sure your recovery phrase is written correctly.



Setting up Ledger Live Desktop App

To download the Ledger live app, go to the Ledger website https://www.ledger.com/ledger-live. Again, it is very important that you download this app only from the official website.



Once this is done, open the application and click on "get started."


After accepting the terms and services, you will be asked to select the type of ledger device you have. On the next page, select the 'set up a new Nano X' option.



A series of pop-up screens will appear giving you some basic information about how the Nano X works. Click on "lets do this." The Ledger app is very intuitive and clear in guiding you through the following steps, but we will go over them briefly here as well.


The first two steps involve creating a pin for your Nano and writing your recovery phrase, which we have already discussed.



You will then have to complete a short quiz that will ask you some questions that relate to hardware wallets.


Next, the Ledger app will verify your Nano X to make sure it is authentic.



Here you will need to connect your Nano to the computer using the supplied cable and unlock the device by entering your pin. You will also need to 'allow Ledger manager on your device' by pressing the black and silver button at the same time.


Once this is done, you should have access to the app!



Installing the different crypto apps

Before you start, always remember to check if there are any updates to be made. Next, you will need to install the apps for each of the cryptocurrencies you want to manage with your Ledger wallet. The app is what allows your Ledger to use its private keys to interact with the particular blockchain network to which your cryptocurrency belongs.


You can access the app catalog page under the manager tab. Select the apps you want to install.



Note that not all cryptocurrencies can be managed directly through these apps, as some require the use of additional third-party software. For more information on this, click here.


Once you have done this, you can add some accounts. You can have multiple accounts for each cryptocurrency (e.g., one for savings, one for trading). Each account will have its own private key that is linked to and derived from your Nano's private key (i.e., your Wallet recovery phrase).


Start by clicking on the "add account" button next to the app you just downloaded.


The app will sync with your device and you will be prompted to open the app on your device.




On the next page, you can rename the account. Next, click on 'add account' followed by 'done'. Now when you click on the 'account' tab on the left side of the screen, you will be able to see the account you just created.


To remove an account, simply click on the account and select 'edit account'.



In the pop-up screen that appears, press "delete" and then "confirm."


Note that when you delete an account from the app, you are not deleting the app from the device itself; it will just be removed from the app view. In other words, you will always have access to that account as long as you have access to the device. If you decide to add an account again for the same token, it will have exactly the same address.



Sending and receiving on Ledger

Receive


Start by clicking on "receive" in the menu on the left side of your Ledger Live app. Then use the drop-down menu or type in the name of the account you want to credit. Click 'continue'.


You will then be prompted to unlock your Nano and verify that the address displayed on your device is the same as the one displayed on the Ledger Live app.


Once this is done, you can copy this address and share it with the sender.


Send


To send crypto from your Ledger, click 'send' in the menu on the left side of the screen. Select or type in the name of the account from which you want to send funds.


Next, you will need to enter the recipient's address. Double check that the address is correct before proceeding. Click "continue."


Enter the amount of cryptocurrency you want to send. If you want to send all the funds in your account, click on "max." You will then need to select a network fee. The higher the fee, the faster the transaction will be processed. Click "continue."


After this, you will need to unlock your Nano and follow the instructions to review and accept the transaction. You can follow this transaction until it is confirmed by clicking on 'view details'.



Connecting a Hot Wallet (MetaMask) to Ledger

Ledger supports over 50 different types of hot wallets. For this tutorial, we will see how to connect a MetaMask wallet to Ledger.

Since MetaMask is an Ethereum-based wallet, you will first need to add an Ethereum account to your Ledger app.



Click on your profile icon in the upper left corner of your MetaMask portfolio. In the drop-down menu that appears, click on 'settings'.


Under the 'advanced settings' tab, scroll down to the 'preferred Ledger connection type' section and select 'Live Ledger'.




Click on your profile icon again and select 'connect Hardware Wallet'. On the next screen, select the ledger icon and press 'continue'.


This will open a link that takes you back to your Ledger Live app. Click on 'open.' You will then be prompted to open the Ethereum app on your Nano and connect and unlock the device.




Once this is done, return to your MetaMask Wallet. A screen should appear where you will be able to add one or more Ledger Ethereum accounts to your MetaMask Wallet.



Click on "unlock." When you click on your MetaMask profile icon, you will be able to see the Hardware Ledger accounts you have added.



Now when you use your MetaMask Wallet, you can use your Ledger to approve transactions. This essentially means that you can add the security of a cold wallet to your hot wallet.


We always recommend using a cold wallet, in the crypto and NFT monto it is very common to receive hacks or link your wallet to a scam site!

Security comes first!



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