When you have cash, you can protect it by leaving in a bank or storing it in a safe or a vault. That’s not the case with cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. Since cryptocurrency isn’t a physical item, you can’t store it in a safe or a bank. The only thing that protects your investment is the protection of your private keys, the strings of alphanumeric characters that give you access to your money.
A great solution to protecting your private keys is a hardware wallet, such as Keepkey. Since cryptocurrency requires you to transact on the Internet, hackers, malware and viruses can make it possible for criminals to steal your private keys and thus, steal your money.
A Keepkey hardware wallet can protect you by storing your private keys securely and keeping them away from hackers even if your computer is compromised.
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Read on for the full Keepkey review.
Keepkey Hardware Wallet Overview
The Keepkey hardware wallet is a small physical device, about the size of two flash drives. It’s slightly larger than models from competitors, and that allows for a larger, easier-to-read display. The Keepkey connects to your computer via a USB cable.
Keepkey can work with many major software wallets, including Electrum, MultiBit and Mycelium. You can also use it with the included app for the Chrome Web browser. The Keepkey works with Windows, the Mac OS, Linux and Android.
As with other hardware wallets, you set up the Keepkey by installing the app and connecting the device to the computer via the supplied cable. The first time you do this, the software will automatically detect that the device needs to be configured and will prompt you though the setup steps.
This will involve updating the firmware to the latest version, creating a PIN, and writing down the 12 words that the device will show you. These 12 words are your “recovery words” and you can use them to restore your accounts on a new Keepkey if your device is lost, damaged or stolen. The 12 word phrase is shorter than the 24 words used by competing products, but there’s no difference in process. Write the words down on the provided card, store the card away in a safe place, and you’ll be in a position to restore your Keepkey should you ever need to do so.
The Keepkey works much like other hardware wallets and with the use of the Chrome app or any of the compatible third-party software wallets, you can use the device to make trades with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin and Dash. At the moment, the device supports Ethereum, but not Ethereum-derived (ERC-20) tokens. This feature will be added soon and is now available in beta versions of the latest firmware.
Each time you plug in your Keepkey, you’ll need to enter your PIN as a security measure. You’ll also need to press one of the buttons on the device to confirm any transactions. As with all hardware wallets, the Keepkey stores your private keys on the device itself and those keys are never shared with any one or exposed to the Internet. The Keepkey was designed without an operating system, which makes it extra-secure against hackers.
An interesting feature found in the Keepkey that is not found in other hardware wallets is the built-in “Shapeshift” feature. Shapeshift is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows you to make trades from one type of cryptocurrency to another without having to create an account or log in. You simply specify which currency you want and which one you want to trade to get it.
The use of Shapeshift is usually done in a Web browser, but the site has an API that the Keepkey uses to allow you to make trades directly on the Keepkey itself. This makes it very easy to trade one type of cryptocurrency for another with minimal fuss.
I like the fact that the Keepkey has a larger size and a display that’s easier to read than other similar devices, but others might be put off by the somewhat larger size. It’s not exactly cumbersome, but it’s not tiny, either.
There are a couple of things about the Keepkey that may strike some people as drawbacks. It just depends on your own needs. One is that the device only handles a relatively small number of coins compared to other hardware wallets. While it does handle the most popular coins, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum, it does not yet handle ERC-20 tokens, and there are literally hundreds of those that other hardware wallets can handle.
The Keepkey also doesn’t currently work with the popular MyEtherWallet online wallet. On the other hand, it does work with other third party wallets.
The price of the Keepkey is also a bit more expensive than the competing Ledger Nano S and Trezor. On the other hand, it has a simpler and easier-to-use user interface, a simpler (12 words vs. 24 words) recovery list, and a larger display.
The problem with cryptocurrency right now is that there still isn’t a “one size fits all” solution when it comes to either hardware wallets or software wallets. For that reason, many cryptocurrency investors opt to buy more than one hardware wallet, and most people who have a portfolio of any size will likely also have several software wallets, as well. That’s just the nature of the market right now.
The Keepkey team is working to update the device on a regular basis and will be adding support for more coins in the near future, including ERC-20 tokens.
Pros and Cons of Keepkey Hardware Wallet
- Easy to use
- Works with the most common crypto coins, including Bitcoin and Ethereum
- Larger display makes it easy to read
- Built-in Shapeshift makes exchanging cryptocurrency even easier
- Works with fewer coins than competitors
- Slightly more expensive than other models
Keepkey Hardware Wallet Summary
The Keepkey hardware wallet is a well-designed, easy-to-use, affordable hardware wallet that will allow those who buy and sell the most common cryptocurrencies to do so safely and securely. The device is easy to set up and comes with an application (an extension for Chrome) that is less complicated than that of some of their competitors.
The built-in Shapeshift feature makes it very easy to trade one kind of coin for another without having to use an exchange. With further firmware enhancements, the Keepkey will have additional features added over time.
The Keepkey wallet is recommended.