Glacier vs Hardware Wallets

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Many people who choose self-managed storage (as opposed to an online storage service) use “hardware wallets” such as the Trezor, Ledger, and KeepKey to store their bitcoins. While these are great products that provide strong security, Glacier is intended to offer an even higher level of protection than today’s hardware wallets can provide.

The primary security consideration is that all hardware wallets today operate via a physical USB link to a regular computer. While they employ extensive safeguards to prevent any sensitive data (such as private keys) from being transmitted over this connection, it’s possible that an undiscovered vulnerability could be exploited by malware to steal private keys from the device.

For details on this and other security considerations, see the “No Hardware Wallets” section of the design document. As with online multisig vaults, many people do use hardware wallets to store sizeable amounts of money. We personally recommend Glacier for large investments, but ultimately it’s a personal decision based on your risk tolerance and costs you’re willing to pay (in money and time) for security.