Trezor Wallet Review 2018
As a cryptocurrency investor, I’ve come to understand the importance of properly securing my digital assets. On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer. But if you think about it, we don’t really pay much attention to cybersecurity.
However, if you really wish to become a cryptocurrency investor, you need to acquaint yourself with hardware wallets. There is simply no better way to safeguard your digital assets than to use a hardware wallet.
What I like and Dislike about Trezor
What I like:
What I dislike:
With that in mind, I want to use this article to talk about Trezor. Trezor is a hardware wallet. I want to explore not just the upsides of using Trezor, but to really provide an objective view of the wallet. I want to explore both, its pros and its cons and do my best to give you an objective picture of Trezor.
Summary of Features
Trezor hardware wallet is available in two models, the Trezor One (89 €) and Trezor Model T (149 €). However, it does cost more than other trezor alternatives.
Ease of Use
The wallet is certainly not difficult to use, but it does require a bit of time to properly understand all of its security features.
As far as security is concerned, the Trezor wallets offer impregnable security if all of its features are utilized as intended.
Trezor is remarkable in terms of the number of altcoins it supports. If you are interested in diversifying your digital investments, it can be the perfect wallet for you.
The Company Behind the Trezor Wallet
Trezor.io is owned by a Czech Republic-based private company called, Satoshi Labs. The company is an innovating presence in the cryptosphere since 2013. It was the first company to offer a cryptocurrency-specific hardware wallet.
The company is also behind the CoinMap initiative, the first-ever cryptocurrency merchant map. It is an incredible tool that allows cryptocurrency users to actively find businesses and venues that accept cryptocurrencies around the world.
First Look: Trezor Review
Trezor hardware wallet is a USB-based cryptocurrency wallet that doubles as a cold-storage for safely securing our digital assets and hot-wallet for easy access to our funds. But more importantly, it achieves this without exposing our private keys while we go online to retrieve our funds.
The wallet also supports a surprisingly wide variety of different cryptocurrencies. Aside from the major large-cap cryptocurrencies, it also supports ERC-20 tokens such as namecoin, ethereum classic, dash, dogecoin, etc.
The most refreshing thing about this wallet, at least in my opinion, is that it can also connect with other web-based wallets such as Copay, Mycelium, etc.
The wallet also has a built-in password manager and the all-important 2-step authenticator, all of which I will go through in this review. So let’s get to it.
Trezor Review: The Unboxing
Trezor comes in a compact box. The first thing you will notice is the effort you need to put into opening the box. I mention this for a reason. The way it is packaged, it is nearly impossible for someone to open the box and restore it to its original condition. This ensures that it is near impossible for your to get a device that has been tampered with.
Inside the box, you will find the small device. A rather small USB cable. You could spend a bit extra to get a longer USB cable. There is also a key chain, seed code card, a user manual, and some stickers. You can watch the youtube video to get a better look what you’ll be getting.
General Features and Specifications
As you might know, Trezor is a hardware wallet and its primary purpose is to keep your private keys and your digital assets safe and away from malicious actors. You might have heard that hardware wallets are essentially a glorified version of tradition cold storage methods. But that’s not entirely accurate.
Unlike most cold storage methods, which is essentially storing your private keys offline, Trezor allows you to access your cryptocurrencies and make payments without actually exposing your private keys to a potential cybersecurity risk.
How Does it Work?
The hardware wallet is basically a mini-computer that is designed specifically to protect your private keys from both online and offline risks. It achieves this by keeping the private keys behind an impregnable firewall even when the device is connected to the internet.
Since you have to physically confirm each and every transaction using the physical button on the device, hackers simply cannot access your cryptocurrencies without having access to both the physical device and the software interface.
What this means is that, even if your computer is infected with a malicious software, you can connect your device without any risk of losing control over your funds.
Another very important feature is the device’s ability to backup and allows us to recover the data. For instance, let’s say you somehow misplace or break the device. In such a case, you can simply recover the data on another wallet.
This, in my opinion, is tantamount to an effective security system. It not only protects our funds from outside forces but also safeguards us from our own mistakes.
Coins and Tokens
Via Computer or Mobile
Via Trezor Device
Via Computer or Mobile
Via Trezor Device
Via Computer or Mobile
Via Trezor Device
Encrypted on Cloud
Encrypted on Cloud
Encrypted Via GPG
On Device Encryption
Micro SD Card Support
Security Features and Privacy
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Trezor offers the highest degree of protection against, both physical and cyber theft. However, with that in mind, I want to dive a bit deeper into how exactly are our digital assets kept safe and how we can effectively use the device to its fullest extent.
First and foremost are our private keys. A private key is basically what determines ownership and access to bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency. Unlike many of the web-based online wallets, Trezor allows is to maintain complete and absolute control over our private keys.
If we so choose, we can, at any time, export our private keys to another wallet, or simply keep it securely behind the vault that is Trezor.
Seed Code and Reliable Backup & Recovery
I mentioned earlier that you can recover the data on your Trezor wallet if it’s stolen or lost. Let me explain how this works. When you open the device for the first time, it requires you to set up a 24-word code, called seed.
The code is generated using RNG, random number generator. The seed is generated while the device is offline. The seed will be displayed on the device’s screen and this will only happen once.
You should write down the seed and store it in a secure location. It is extremely important that you keep this code safe as it will allow you to recover the contents of your device in the case of an emergency.
After you’ve generated your seed, you will be required to set up a PIN code. This PIN code will be required for each and every transaction. So in the case that your wallet does end up in the wrong hands, they would not be able to access your funds without having access to the PIN code.
Moreover, after every incorrect PIN code entry, the device will enter a waiting period. This waiting period increases by a multiple of two with every incorrect PIN code entry. This acts as a safeguard against randomly guessing the PIN code using a computer software, as making 30 random guesses would theoretically take around 30 years.
Although adding a passphrase is not required to use the device, you can nonetheless, add a passphrase to the seed code for an added layer of security. If you do choose to add the passphrase make sure it's something you can remember as you will not be able to recover the device using the seed without the passphrase.
Lastly, there is also a 2FA mechanism built into the device. For example, if you intend to send some bitcoins, you enter the PIN code after which you will be required to physically authenticate the transaction using the device.
Despite all of the security measures, the 2FA mechanism ensures that even if a hacker is able to access your device remotely and somehow even acquired your PIN code, they will be unable to access your funds without the ability to physically authenticate the device.
Every time you turn the device on, the bootloader, which boosts the device, will verify the firmware signature. The device will only work is the original firmware is in place and signed by SatoshiLabs. This will prevent you from using the device in the case of a corrupted firmware.
Although it is very unlikely for someone to remotely tamper with a device’s firmware, the firmware verification mechanism prevents even against the improbable.
Ultrasound Hardware Protection
On the physical side of the spectrum, the Trezor device is ultrasonically welded. Yes, I know sounds a bit over the top. But this is really important as it prevents the device from being restored after it has been broken.
What this means is that if someone tries to physically open the device in order to tinker with its hardware, the device would simply stop working.
Trezor is quite remarkable in the degree of privacy and autonomy it offers to its customers. The company has absolutely no way of tracking its customer’s actions. Moreover, the wallet doesn’t a its own unique serial numbers. This means Satoshi Labs can’t keep track of its wallets after it has been shipped to its customers.
Let’s move away from the security features and explore the implications of its use. What do I mean by that? Well, if you’re going to use Trezor you will want to know if its compatible with your computer’s OS. You will also want to know if it will work with your current wallet or wallets if you prefer to have multiple wallets.
As far as operating systems are concerned, Trezor will work with all three of the major operating systems, namely, Windows, OS X, and Linux. On the mobile side of things, the wallet is only compatible with Android devices and that too if the mobile device has a USB host. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support iOS, but that’s only if you’re using Trezor’s own wallet client. You can use iOS with third-party clients.
The company recommends using either Chrome or Firefox. The wallet was developed primarily for working on these two browsers. This, however, doesn’t mean that it won’t work on any other browser. But the company doesn’t guarantee full functionality.
Trezor Supported Coins
The following cryptocurrencies are supported by the Trezor wallet:
You can look at the full list of Trezor supported coins by heading to the company’s official website.
The company recommends that we use Trezor’s own Wallet. However, we are in no way restricted to its own wallet client. If you wish, you can continue using the wallet client you prefer as the hardware wallet fully supports a number of other client wallets. The following is a list of wallets compatible with Trezor:
It is important to note that none of the third-party wallets will allow you to access full functionality. For example, you can set up your device using Electrum but not with Mycelium. For more information, you can visit the official SatoshiLabs website.
Trezor is also compatible with a number of third-party services such as payment processors and cryptocurrency exchanges. The following list of services are either partially or fully compatible with Trezor:
Third-Party Wallet Recovery
In case you find yourself in a situation where you need to recover the contents of your Trezor wallet, you obviously can’t wait for a new wallet to be delivered to you. Obviously, if you need to recover your wallet, it's definitely an urgent matter.
This is why you don’t necessarily need to have another Trezor device in order to recover your account. You can use one of the following wallets to recover your Trezor wallet:
Price Comparison and Trezor Alternatives
Costs are an important consideration in our decision-making process. I am sure everyone would agree with that. However, context is also important. In this context, we have to understand the cost in terms of the reward. The reward here is not mere gratification. The reward here is mitigation of loss.
If you’re buying bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency, you’re making an investment for future reward. Buying a hardware wallet is not just a simple cost, it's also an investment, an investment against the potential future risk of loss. A loss that is completely avoidable. With that in mind, I personally believe investing in a hardware wallet is a sound investment.
Let’s look at the cost of Trezor and compare it with its direct competitors:
As you can see, all of these wallets are priced within a similar range. KeepKey and Model T feature a color touchscreen, which increases its price relative to Trezor One and Ledger Nano S.
However, we can’t ignore the fact that Trezor is a bit on the pricier side compared to Trezor alternatives. For example, its simpler version is 10 euros more than its direct competitor, the Ledger Nano S. Similarly, Model T costs a bit more than KeepKey.
The reason why Trezor is a bit more expensive is due to that fact that Trezor was the first ever hardware wallet and it has made considerable upgrades since its initial launch. For example, Trezor One is pretty much a mini-computer, whereas the Ledger is single purpose chipset.
Similarly, KeyKeep was considered as a port of the original Trezor, just with a touchscreen. However, with the introduction of Trezor Model T, which is the latest device, it is the most upgraded and state-of-the-art hardware wallet on the market.
A Quick Setup and Initialization Guide
There are three main ways to set up a Trezor wallet. You can either use myTrezorWallet or the Trezor Chrome Extension. MyTrezorWallet is Trezor’s own web wallet interface. The Chrome extension is an app that can be used to set up your wallet while offline. Let’s go over the steps:
1) Step one involves connection your wallet to a computer.
2) After connecting the device, you will be required to install the latest firmware.
3) Once the firmware has been installed, disconnect and reconnect the wallet.
4) You will be required to give your device a name.
5) After you’ve set up your device’s name, you will have to set up a PIN code.
6) Next, your wallet will generate the seed code, a combination of unique 24-words. You will want to write this down on the recovery seed card provided with the wallet.
7) Lastly, you will enter the PIN code to access your new hardware wallet for the first time.
Review and Testimonials
Below you will find a few testimonials from Amazon about the wallet. I will obviously recommend that you go and read as many user experiences to get a better idea.
Although an overwhelming number of reviews are positive, I can’t help but notice that one issue that people have with Trezor wallet is its plastic casing. Unlike Keepkey, which is made completely out of metal and glass, Trezor is made out of plastic and feels a bit flimsy.
At the same time, you won’t find a single negative review where the reviewer had a problem with the wallet’s security features. The wallet’s primary purpose is to keep your cryptocurrency safe and it does that spectacularly well.
A Few Important Questions Before Getting Trezor
Question: At what point should I get Trezor wallet?
Answer: If you’ve bought $100 worth of cryptocurrencies, then it wouldn’t make sense to spend another $100 to buy the wallet.
Question: Should I get the Model T or Trezor One?
Answer: As you can see from the specifications table above, Trezor One lacks a number of features that Model T has. However, if cost is a major consideration, you should definitely opt for the cheaper Trezor One. Both of these wallets provide impregnable security against theft and other unforeseeable events.
Question: Can’t I just use a normal cold storage as my wallet?
Answer: Yes, you can certainly do that. That’s what all of us early cryptocurrency adopters did. However, cold storages are not completely safe. There is a slight chance that your device might get affected by some kind of malicious software while you access your funds. With the advent of hardware wallets, even that small risk was eliminated with these special-purpose devices.
My Final Opinion
As an early adopter of cryptocurrency, I can say with considerable confidence that the advent of dedicated hardware wallets has been an incredible step up from traditional cold-storage methodologies.
As for my opinion on Trezor, I must admit I am a bit biased considering that it was the first hardware wallet. But even if I put my personal feelings aside, I feel that Trezor does stand out a bit from its competitors. I will admit, however, the higher price tag is a bit difficult to justify and if that’s a big part of your decision-making process, I can completely understand that.
With that in mind, I would still like to say that Trezor alternatives such as KeepKey and Ledger hardware wallets are also great options.