TREZOR One Hardware wallet review and comparison
Last updated: 11/12/18
TREZOR One is probably the oldest surviving hardware wallet around and for a good reason. In this review I’m going to cover everything you need to know before deciding if this wallet is right for you.
TREZOR One review summary
The TREZOR One is a battle tested hardware wallet that supports a wide variety of cryptocurrencies at an affordable price. The company behind the TREZOR One (Satoshi Labs) is considered a pioneer in the Bitcoin industry. Additional security measures such as PIN codes and passphrases make this hardware wallet as close to “hack proof” as you can get.
If you want a detailed review about the TREZOR One keep on reading. Here’s what I’ll go over:
- What is a hardware wallet?
- Company overview
- TREZOR One supported coins
- Setting up the TREZOR One
- Price Tag
- Can TREZOR be hacked?
- TREZOR vs. Ledger (personal experience)
- Conclusion – Is it worth the price?
Don’t like to read? Watch my TREZOR One video review instead
When you look at the various options for Bitcoin security, the more secure the methods is – the less flexibility you have in spending your coins. For example, storing your coins on a secure paper wallet, which is considered pretty safe, allows you only to deposit coins. When you want to withdraw them you will have to find a Bitcoin wallet and export your private keys.
TREZOR One is an offline Bitcoin wallet. It holds your private keys and knows how to sign a transaction without the need to connect to the internet. TREZOR seems to give you the best of both worlds as it acts as a highly secured cold storage (i.e. offline) device but still allows you flexibility when wanting to spend your coins.
The device is pretty small and you can carry it around on your Keychain or even in your pocket. So you can store your Bitcoins offline on the TREZOR One and whenever you want to spend them just connect your TREZOR One device to any computer and you’re good to go.
The TREZOR One uses a limited USB connection – just like your computer mouse or keyboard. A mouse tells the computer where it is, but the computer cannot move the mouse. So only Bitcoin transactions can go from the computer to Trezor and back. This is why even compromised and infected computers can be used with TREZOR safely.
TREZOR One is manufactured by Satoshi Labs. Founded in 2013 the company is responsible for several well known Bitcoin projects including:
- TREZOR wallets – Including the TREZOR One and TREZOR Model T.
- “Slush” pool – A popular Bitcoin mining pool named after Marek Palantius (aka Slush), the CEO of SatohsiLabs
- CoinMap – A map showing places accepting Bitcoin worldwide.
The company is an active participant in the Bitcoin community and is highly respected among veteran Bitcoiners.
TREZOR wallets in general support 700 coins and ERC-20 tokens. The main supported coins are:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Dash (DASH)
- Zcash (ZCH)
- Stellar (XLM)
Ripple (XRP), Monero (XMR) and Cardano (ADA) aren’t supported at all. Also, many coins (ETH, for example) require the use of an external wallet and can’t be interacted with TREZOR’s basic wallet.
A full list of supported coins can be found here.
Setting up TREZOR One is pretty simple. You hook up the device to the computer, install a “bridge” which allows the TREZOR to communicate with the computer and follow the instructions.
Choosing a PIN code
A PIN code will be used to identify that you are the actual owner of the TREZOR each time you plug it into a computer. The setup process uses a cleaver combination of both the TREZOR One’s screen and the computer in order to make sure it will be pretty damn hard to steal you PIN. It will ask you to click the relevant numbers on your computer screen like this:
Meanwhile the display of the actual numbers is only visible on your TREZOR:
This way even if someone is monitoring your keystrokes they won’t be able to know what your PIN is. When you are setting up the TREZOR One for the first time, you’ll have to enter your new PIN twice. Notice that the numbers shown on TREZOR change between the entries.
Jotting down the TREZOR seed – your master private key
Next you will be prompted to write down your recovery seed. Your seed is a list of secret set of words that you will use to recover your money in case you ever lose your TREZOR One or break it. The device will show you a list of 24 words which you will need to write down.
This seed isn’t unique to TREZOR. If for some reason TREZOR goes out of business, for example, you can still use this seed with other popular wallets (e.g. Electrum) to recover your Bitcoins. The use of these words as a backup method is somewhat of a Bitcoin standard,.
Remember – this list of words = your Bitcoins. If anyone gets a hold of it they can easily steal your money. Make sure to keep it safe. One suggestion for keeping your seed phrase safe is using a device such as the Cryptosteel.
You’re good to go!
Once you finish the setup you will need to connect the TREZOR One to any computer and access wallet.trezor.io – This is the wallet interface for the TREZOR One. From there you will be able to send Bitcoins to whoever you like.
At the time of writing, the TREZOR One costs $80 (VAT excluded) which makes it one of the cheapest hardware wallets around (surpassed only by the Archos Saft-T Mini). You can also by a pack of 3 TREZOR Ones together and save another $20 for the bulk order.
One of the great things about TREZOR is that there’s no “username” or “password” for your account. Your credentials are your TREZOR device. So if someone doesn’t have physical access to my device there’s no way they can access my account.
But if someone could get access to your device ?
The “Evil Maid” attack is a name given for an attack that is made physically (not remotely) on a computer that is left unattended. The attacker has the ability to physically access the computer multiple times without the owner’s knowledge – just image that you had a house maid that was evil :)
For extreme protection – set up a passphrase
In case of an “Evil Maid” your seed and private keys are at risk. TREZOR has solved this by allowing you to add an additional passphrase protection. This means that you will remember a phrase that will be used for accessing your Bitcoins. The passphrase shouldn’t be written down anywhere and should be memorized.
How about extortion ?
When all things fail, physical force can be the last thing that will be used to get access to your Trezor, also known as the “5 dollar wrench attack” as explained in the following image:
For this scenario you can use different passphrases – each one leading to a different amount of coins. So you will “give away” the decoy passphrase leading to a small amount of coins while keeping the majority of your coins secure.
So is TREZOR 100% full proof secure ?!?
No. Nothing is, but it’s as close as it gets. One thing that TREZOR can’t protect you from is phishing attacks. This means that someone can try and fool you by having you send Bitcoins from your TREZOR to a wrong address.
However, this is not a device malfunction – it’s more of a human malfunction. You need to make sure that the person you are sending your Bitcoins to is who they say they are ( here’s my own experience with phishing). For detailed information about possible TREZOR threats and how they are being dealt with, refer to TREZOR’s security threats section inside their FAQ.
There are many hardware wallets around but the two leading ones are the TREZOR One and the Ledger Nano S. Personally I use both wallets so it’s easy for me to compare the two. Let me start by saying that there isn’t much of a difference between the two and that both are excellent products.
TREZOR wins in terms of company reputation and its low price tag (20% less than the Nano S). The Ledger Nano S on the other hand wins in terms of the number of coins it supports, including XRP. Also, Ledger’s wallet interface (known as Ledger Live) is much more robust than TREZOR’s.
If I’d had to choose one I’d actually choose the Ledger Nano S but as I said in the beginning, the way I see it, it’s a tie.
It’s worth mentioning that the TREZOR T is another hardware wallet by TREZOR that has a built in touchscreen but is also more expensive. You can read my full TREZOR T review of it here.
My experience with the TREZOR One was extremely pleasant. The setup was easy, the device is intuitive and the security measures seem pretty robust. I was also very impressed with the company’s team as they seem to be very skilled professionals in the field of Bitcoin security.
Anyone who’s serious about their Bitcoins’ security should get a hardware wallet, and the TREZOR One is a solid choice at a decent price.
Have you had any experience with the TREZOR One? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.