Why I Need A Hardware Wallet

Two things recently happened that compel me to search for a cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet. First, I recently discovered all of my cryptocurrency investments are WAY above their purchase price. Second, I was unable to log into my Kraken exchange account.

I’ve never had a problem logging into Kraken before. I figured I must have fat-fingered a digit. I carefully guided my index finger for a second attempt.  When this also failed, I double-checked my hand written note to confirm the login and password. It’s been a few weeks since my last login, so maybe I misremembered my login or password. When that third attempt failed, I felt sick, fearing the worst.

Reaching Kraken’s customer support from OUTSIDE of your account is almost impossible. The Customer Service link sits on the trading dashboard AFTER YOU LOG IN. I tried www.kraken.com/help and got a 404 Error. I tried https://www.kraken.com/help and got a 520 Error. I tried the extensions /CustomerService and /CustomerSupport without success. I googled “Kraken Customer Support” and found a link on Reddit. I clicked that link and logged a generic “locked out of my account” request for help. Within a few hours an email arrived requesting more detailed information to confirm I am the rightful owner of said account. This gave me pause.

The email looked exactly like other messages I’ve received from Kraken customer support when they assisted me with various issues. But panic consumed me: Could this be a clever hacker cloaking themselves to look like legitimate Customer Support? I attempted several more times to log into my account unassisted, but without success. I miserably relented and submitted my vital stats to this seemingly benevolent stranger.

For 3 sleepless nights, I imagined someone effortlessly draining my account. Kraken’s customer support email finally arrived, claiming they have no record of my log in attempts. This seemed impossible and did nothing to relieve my stress. After a momentary mental meltdown, I thought to re-examine the Post-It note harboring my Kraken login and password. I realized I could be misreading one character. I tried another login which succeeded – and I confirmed my portfolio remained as I left it several weeks ago.

Seriously, what IS stopping unscrupulous online pirates from posting fake Customer Support links on a community sites to spoof support emails until they have the info to access your account and steal your coins? How long before you realize you were scammed?

This motivated me to get my crypto portfolio off of the World Wide Hackers Buffet and into a hardware wallet where it can reside in peace and prosperity offline.

Googling “hardware wallet” yields countless blog reviews about the same 3 hardware wallets: TREZOR, Keepkey, and Ledger Nano S. At this point, I must confess my skepticism of bloggers. First I’m damn sure they did not buy these items, they were furnished by the manufacturers. I’m also sure they get paid to say nice things about the products they “review” (i.e. promote) so their opinions are not fully objective. Second, it appears most Bitcoin bloggers either ARE or WERE tech professionals – so what they find “easy” will befuddle a civilian like me.

Now I’m going to research these 3 hardware wallets to decide which best fits my needs before I succumb to paranoid exhaustion.

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Editor

Just a regular schmo with a long held fascination for Bitcoin, alt coin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain. I am not a coder and not in finance. This blog chronicles my frustrations, mistakes, observations and *occasional* victories as I navigate the digital cash marketplace.

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