Ledger Blue Review – The Touchscreen Hardware Wallet

The Good  |  The Touchscreen and Bluetooth* Ledger Blue is the most advanced hardware wallets available on the market. It is extremely easy to navigate the touchscreen controls and user interface just by tapping on the screen. The Ledger Blue also has the largest multi-currency storage support on a single device (can store up to 10 different cryptocurrency wallets vs 4 or 5 for the Ledger Nano S).

The Bad  |  Price. You will need to fork over nearly $300 for the Ledger Blue. To top it all off, the Bluetooth functionality isn't operational yet (will be made available via firmware update). Size is also an issue, depending upon the type of hardware wallet you prefer. The Ledger Blue is about 5x larger than the Nano S, making it slightly less portable than the keychain sized offering from the Nano S

The Verdict  |  The Ledger Blue is the most advanced and most expensive all-in-one hardware wallet solution available today. If you have a diverse portfolio of cryptocurrencies and altcoins that you want to store in one hardware wallet, the Ledger Blue is for you. You could technically keep it in your pocket, but at the equivalent size of an iPod, we don't see that being realistic.

The touchscreen Ledger Blue is one of the most advanced Bitcoin and cryptocurrency hardware wallet on the market

Ledger Blue Hardware Wallet

The Ledger Blue is the latest iteration in the development of cryptocurrency hardware wallets. After two long years of research and development, we are blessed with a Bluetooth and touchscreen enabled device to store Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and other altcoins outside of potentially dangerous exchanges.

While the TREZOR Wallet and Ledger Nano S gave us the ability to have a bank account on your keychain, the Ledger Blue reminds me of an iPod. It is actually smaller than I thought it would be in real life, but it certainly bigger than the Nano S and TREZOR Wallet. It is not something I would want to keep in my pocket all the time.

Do you need a hardware wallet?

As mentioned in our Ledger Nano S review, hardware wallets are the only way to stay secure when dealing with cryptocurrencies. With the recent increase of cryptocurrency hacks, it is important to understand why it is important to manage your crypto in a hardware wallet. Here are the reasons why you need a hardware wallet.

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    Offline Seed Generation
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    Keeps Cryptocurrency off of the exchange
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    Portable and borderless (bank in your pocket)
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    Recoverable if lost or stolen

“Ledger Blue is the most advanced hardware security gear on the market. It boasts multi-application execution, and packs enterprise-level crypto-capabilities into a lightweight handheld device.”  ~LedgerWallet.com

Ledger Blue Unboxing

What is in the box

  • Ledger Blue
  • microUSB cable to USB
  • Instructions & Recovery Seed 
  • Protective Sleeve

Is the Ledger Blue Safe

Secure your Ledger Blue with a 4 digit PIN code that is required to access wallets and confirm transactions

The Ledger Blue focuses on these four elements of safety and security

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    Secure Element
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    PIN Code
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    Malware Proof
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    Privacy

Security is the fundamental reason behind purchasing a hardware wallet. As good as an offline USB flash drive is, its worthless unless its encrypted.

Malware Proof

If your computer has any type of malicious malware that can record your screen and track your keystrokes could easily obtain your cryptocurrency. The secret to securing cryptocurrency is decreased the chances of someone of something obtaining your master seed.

The Ledger Blue setup and recovery process of your master seed is fully done on the Ledger Blue. This fully secure environment ensures that your master seed is not exposed to any outsiders. Take a look at what John McAfee has to say in this video. Not only is he extremely bullish on crypto, he is equally bullish on the demand for personal security devices and hardware wallets such as the TREZOR Wallet and Ledger Nano S.

Secure Element

The Ledger Blue contains a dual-chip architecture, embedded with an ST31 Secure Element and STM32 microcontroller, enabling a fully isolated environment. Because of this isolated environment, the Ledger Blue allows for new cryptocurrencies or apps without compromising the master seed. The integrity of the onboard firmware can be guaranteed by cryptographic attestation, thanks to the CC EAL6+ certification level

PIN Code

Having a hardware wallet is arguably the best and safest ways to store cryptocurrency. With that being said, It’s important that only YOU can access it. The Ledger Blue requires a PIN to be unlocked. You can choose anywhere from a 4 to 8-digit passcode, ranging from numbers 1 – 9.

We would suggest going with an 8-digit passcode if possible. Four digits is good, but eight digits is better.

Privacy

Privacy is the overarching theme behind the Ledger Blue security functionality. You are not required to give up any information to Ledger, eliminating third party risk completely. Private keys are generated by on the device and never held or known by Ledger.

Your recovery seed is effectively “locked” by the Ledger Blue, thanks to the Secure Element. Installed applications could be a potential security risk to a hardware wallet. The Ledger Blue solves this through its full isolation architecture. This ensures that data from one app cannot be accessed by app installed on the device


Ledger Blue Features

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    Color Touchscreen
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    Bluetooth (soon to be available via firmware update)
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    Multi-Apps
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    WYSIWYS Security

BOLOS Platform

Flexible operating systems are critical for touchscreen enabled devices, or anything with a user interface. Luckily, the Ledger Blue is built upon the Blockchain Open Ledger (BOLOS) platform, allowing for such operating system flexibility.

What is WYSIWYS (What you see is what you sign)

Hardware wallet integrity is also extremely important when deciding what cold storage device you are going to go with. The Ledger Blue utilizes WYSIWYS to help mitigate threats such as:

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    Proof of Presence
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    Man in the middle attacks
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    Malware & Viruses

What cryptocurrencies can you store on the Ledger Blue

The Ledger Blue allows you to store up to 10 different cryptocurrency wallets on the device, as opposed to 4 or 5 for the Nano S

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    Bitcoin
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    Bitcoin Cash
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    Ethereum
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    ERC-20 Tokens (OmiseGo, Cobinhood, etc.)
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    Ethereum Classic
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    Litecoin
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    Ripple
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    Dash
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    Zcash
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    Stratis
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    Dogecoin

New Cryptocurrencies coming to the Ledger Blue

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    Monero
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    Tendermint
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    HyperLedger
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    Sidechains (Liquid)

The flexibility of the Ledger Blue is easily understood if you think about it like a device that can have companion apps installed onto it. Want to store a different cryptocurrency? There is an app for that! For most HODLERs, the Ledger Blue should provide a solution to store nearly any popular cryptocurrency.

Ledger Blue Compatibility and Integrations

If you are already comfortable with a particular software wallet that you have been using, that’s great! Ledger Blue is compatible with the following software wallets:

  • Ledger Wallet Bitcoin
  • Ledger Wallet Ethereum
  • Ledger Wallet Ripple
  • CoPay
  • Electrum
  • Mycelium
  • MyEtherWallet
  • GreenBits
  • BitGo

Usability

First time blockchain and cryptocurrency users may find the Ledger Blue easier to use than a small hardware wallet. I must admit, the first time I transferred digital assets to a hardware wallet I was a bit nervous. Having a keychain sized device to act as my new bank account that I control is a brand-new feeling that everyone should experience.

 The fluidity of the touchscreen and app based dashboard makes smartphone users feel right at home with the Ledger Blue. I imagine the learning curve on the Ledger Blue to be much easier than a typical hardware wallet. Be careful though, I wouldn’t let any children get their hands on it… they like iPhones WAY too much!

Durability

Durability is a key component to asset storage. That and security is one of the main reasons we put our cash in the bank (even though banks rarely have enough cash on hand if you really wanted to empty your bank account). Fiat currency isn’t the most durable asset in the world, but we still use that!

I would certainly be concerned about dropping the Ledger Blue, getting it wet, or running out of battery. Materials used are inclusive of Zamak for the frame and Plastic for the case, while the 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen is made with anti-scratch glass. We think the Nano S might be the more durable of the two, but I’m not sure I’m willing to perform a drop test to be sure!


Ledger Blue vs Ledger Nano S

The smaller Ledger Nano S puts up a strong fight to the Blue due to it's smaller size and cheaper price

The Ledger Blue is a completely different product than the Nano S, and arguably serves a different purpose. It’s almost like going from an old school mp3 player to a touchscreen iPod. Sure, the mp3 player works great, is super small, and can go just about anywhere – but the iPod is in a different league.

Early adopters like myself will enjoy the touchscreen capabilities of the Ledger Blue, as well as the “app” centric feel of the device, similar to any smart phone. I have no problem traveling or taking the TREZOR Wallet or Nano S with me on a daily basis, but I’m not so sure I would take the Ledger Blue in my pocket.

From a price standpoint there is no comparison, the Ledger Nano S wins hands down. The Ledger Blue is close to $150 more than its little brother, the Nano S. It will be hard for some to justify the large price jump to the Ledger Blue, without any clear-cut advantages over other hardware wallets.


Ledger Blue Setup

  1. Hold Power button down for 3 seconds and tap on screen
  2. Backup and write down your recovery words (24 total)
  3. Configure device and select Start
  4. Download Ledger Wallet Manager from Chrome Apps
  5. Store your cryptocurrency! (see our overview on How to Buy Bitcoins!)

The Ledger blue setup processes is fairly straight forward and similar to other hardware wallets. It might be worth fully charging the Ledger Blue as a good first step.

The Ledger Manager can be found in the Chrome Apps

  • Chose a PIN code by tapping on the screen to select each digit
  • Enter your PIN code one last time to confirm 
  • PRO TIP: Setting a PIN longer than 4 digits increases security substantially

Write Down  and Confirm Recovery Phrase

We highly recommend storing your Recovery Seed in a home safe and in multiple locations

  • Write down your recovery phrase
  • Hide your recovery seed in a safe place (fireproof safe, etc.)
  • PRO TIP: Store your recovery phrase in an additional safe or safety deposit box to mitigate total loss
  • Type in the matching word to the corresponding number (e.g. #4 = "alter")
  • PRO TIP: Order is extremely important. You can scroll back and forth on the Recovery Phrase screen to make sure everything is accurate

Ledger Blue - Is it Worth it?

The Ledger Blue is an enterprise-level hardware wallet and cryptocurrency storage device that is the first of its kind. The 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen and Bluetooth (not available for wallet apps at the moment) features are welcomed additions to the hardware wallet space.

I recommend the Ledger Blue if you are looking to store your crypto all in one place. This is because the Blue can store up to 10 different cryptocurrency wallets compared to just 4 or 5 for the Ledger Nano S. You are also purchasing a somewhat future proof hardware wallet because of its touchscreen and bluetooth functionality.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Ledger Blue
Author Rating
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