The wallet is roughly the length and width of a stick of gum and about a centimeter thick. It has a built-in display and two physical buttons. After opening the packaging, you download the corresponding app, Ledger Live, from Nano’s website.
After confirming that the wallet worked with the iOS app, I mostly used the Windows app in my testing. I like to use a computer instead of my iPhone for “important” tasks such as paying bills and managing money, but that’s a personal preference. If you’re more of a phone person, you want to choose a wallet that offers full mobile support.
After you’ve installed Ledger Live, you plug the Nano X into your computer or pair it with your smartphone. The app then instructs you to create a four- to eight-character PIN on the device itself, using the two physical buttons to scroll back and forth on the display and pick each numeral.
(The hardware wallets we tested all have physical buttons, which are also used to confirm any transactions you make in the app.)
You will have to enter the PIN every time you connect your Nano X to your computer.
Next comes the most cumbersome part of the setup process: the creation and confirmation of a 24-word recovery phrase.
All wallets use such a phrase. Ledger recommends that you write it down on a small piece of paper included in the Nano X packaging. I’d go one step further and suggest you place it in a very secure location, like a small safe or fireproof security box. If someone were to obtain it, they’d have total access to your crypto.
To create the recovery phrase, the Nano X shows you 24 words, one by one, on its built-in display. After you’ve viewed the words, you’re asked to confirm them. The Nano X literally asks “What’s word 1?” and gives you a choice of four words. You need to pick the correct one to verify it. Do that 23 more times and you’re good to go. Phew.
Now, if the Nano X is lost, stolen, or damaged, it’s no big deal. You can simply buy a new one and sign in to it using the 24-word recovery phrase. In fact, you can use the phrase with any wallet that adheres to a “chain code” standard known as BIP-32.
With setup complete, you can begin to use the wallet, perhaps buying some crypto from an exchange and sending it to your wallet. That way, your digital assets are stored securely offline with your device rather than on the exchange.
Sending and receiving crypto is pretty easy.
Continuing with the Ledger Nano X example, in the Ledger Live app, you simply select the “Receive” option on the left hand side, copy your wallet’s bitcoin address (which is a jumble of 34 characters) to your clipboard, then confirm on the device that you’re ready to receive. After that, you go to your exchange, paste in your Nano X address, and send the bitcoin on its way. That’s basically it.
In a few minutes, you get a confirmation in Ledger Live (and typically via a follow-up email from your exchange) saying the bitcoin was sent successfully.
Sending crypto from your Nano X to an exchange is similarly easy. In the Ledger Live app, you select “Send” on the left hand side, paste the bitcoin address and amount you want to send into a pop-up window, and confirm the send on the Nano X itself.
The process for doing just about anything with the Nano X (and the other wallets I tested) follows that pattern. You initiate a transaction in the app, then confirm that transaction on the crypto wallet.