Owning a hardware wallet is widely considered a must if you plan to invest in cryptocurrencies. However, knowing where to buy one and how to verify its authenticity can be challenging for newcomers.
This resource covers the importance of buying from a trusted source and the risks of not doing so.
Ways to Safely Buy a Hardware Wallet
There are only 2 places you should be buying a hardware wallet from: the manufacturer’s official website or an authorised reseller approved by the manufacturer.
There are currently 2 primary hardware wallet manufacturers: Ledger and SatoshiLabs. (Trezor wallets are made by SatoshiLabs.)
For a list of authorised Ledger resellers grouped by region, visit Ledger’s official website: https://shop.ledger.com/pages/retailers
For a list of authorised Trezor resellers, visit the official Trezor website here: https://trezor.io/resellers/. Here, you can filter by country and click through to your desired reseller’s website.
Authorised resellers are companies which have officially been endorsed by the manufacturer to sell their products.
Before you buy a hardware wallet—regardless of whether it is via the manufacturer’s official website or an authorised reseller—ensure you’re on the genuine website and not a phishing copy of the site.
If you choose to buy a hardware wallet from some other source, you risk losing everything you put on it. There are a few common online scams which will trick users into buying compromised hardware wallets, resulting in the user losing all their cryptocurrency.
Never Buy Pre-Owned Hardware Wallets
If you find that the manufacturers and local authorised resellers are out of stock—which can happen during bull markets or other periods of short supply—the best course is typically to simply wait for stock levels to replenish.
The alternative of going to Amazon, eBay or Facebook Marketplace and buying a 2nd-hand one—or one which appears brand new but is perhaps slightly cheaper—could be a very expensive mistake.
To entice desperate buyers in times of stock shortages, scammers will often sell devices on popular online marketplaces at a slight discount or even advertise it as a 2nd-hand wallet and list it considerably cheaper than new devices.
What buyers don’t know is that these devices are often pre-seeded, meaning the scammer has the wallet’s private keys and is hoping the buyer will simply start using the pre-seeded wallet.
It’s also possible that 2nd-hand hardware wallets or ones sold by un-authorised resellers have been tampered with. Although rarely encountered, it’s always a possibility that can be avoided by buying from an authorised source.