Coldcard is an innovative hardware wallet that enables users to send, receive and store their Bitcoin securely.
Its impressive roster of features makes it a one-of-a-kind choice. Coldcard’s native PSBT (partially signed Bitcoin transactions) technology allows individuals to complete transactions even offline and their two-part PIN code adds another layer of security; plus, specialized chips are employed solely for secure seed word storage.
With its few but practical features, Coldcard truly stands out from other wallets on the market that have significantly diversified to support all sorts of altcoins.
In this article, we will look at the key features, benefits, and drawbacks of the Coldcard wallet and provide a comprehensive review.
TLDR of Coldcard Wallet Review
Here is a quick breakdown of the essential features you need to know about Coldcard.
- The Coldcard wallet is a Bitcoin-only hardware wallet that offers users an easy-to-use and secure way to store their bitcoins.
- It uses a specialized chip to secure the user’s seed words, and all of the firmware code is open source.
- The open-source nature of the wallet makes it easy for users to modify the source code to fit a bespoke experience. It also enables users to check for any possible vulnerabilities in the source code.
- The wallet is air-gapped, making it a cold wallet, meaning it is not connected to the internet, making it more secure than other wallets that support multiple altcoins.
- It also features an NFC chip that makes it easy complete transactions by simply taping the wallet against your phone.
- Additionally, it is lightweight, but some users might have a hard time navigating its user interface.
History of Coldcard
The Coldcard hardware wallet was founded in 2018 by Coinkite, a Canadian company specializing in Bitcoin security since 2012. Based in Toronto, Canada, the company has been devoted to developing the most secure Bitcoin wallet possible.
According to Rodolfo Novak, the founder of Coinkite, the Coldcard wallet was created out of a need to provide Bitcoin hodlers with a cutting-edge, secure device that would give them more independence and freedom in managing their digital assets.
The first version of the Coldcard wallet was launched in 2018, and since then, the wallet has gained a significant following among Bitcoin enthusiasts and developers. The wallet has been praised for its open-source firmware, which empowers users to verify the device’s security, and its air-gapped nature, which means it can be used offline to provide isolation from the internet.
The Coldcard wallet has also been rated highly for its minimalist design and the ease with which users can generate and store their Bitcoin seed phrases. In addition, the wallet supports native P2PKH, P2WPKH, and P2SH-P2WPKH transactions, as well as the capability to work alongside several Bitcoin software wallets.
Today, Coldcard continues to be headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and its commitment to smart and secure Bitcoin solutions continues to set it apart in the hardware wallet market.
Basic Setup of the Coldcard Wallet
Here are the steps to set up a Coldcard wallet:
1. Assemble the Coldcard Wallet: The Coldcard wallet comes with the device, a microSD card, a USB cable, and a backup card. First, assemble the wallet by plugging in the USB cable and inserting the micro-SD card into the port on the side.
2. Choose a PIN and write down your seed words: When you turn on the wallet for the first time, you will be prompted to create a PIN. After setting the PIN, you will be given 24 seed words to write down on the backup card. Make sure to store the backup card in a secure location.
3. Enter seed words: Once the backup card is created, you will need to enter your seed words into the Coldcard device to confirm you have them written correctly. If entered incorrectly, your wallet may be lost forever.
4. Connect the Coldcard wallet to your computer: Plug the Coldcard into your computer and format the microSD card. Once formatted, download the firmware update and install it to ensure the wallet is running on the latest version.
5. Create a wallet: After updating the firmware, you will be prompted to create a new wallet, select a name for it, and choose a spending password. The spending password is used to sign transactions and is separate from the PIN.
6. Transfer Bitcoin to your Coldcard Wallet: Once your Coldcard wallet is set up and your new wallet is created, you can transfer Bitcoin from an exchange, another wallet, or your own personal stash. Make sure to double-check the address for accuracy.
Your Coldcard wallet is now set up! Remember, always keep your seed words and backup card in a secure location, and never share your PIN or spending password with anyone.
The Coldcard wallet keeps things simple with only the most essential features you will find in a hardware wallet.
One of its most practical features is its size. The wallet is shaped like a basic calculator as opposed to the USB drive shape of most hardware wallets. This makes it easy to carry without drawing too much attention.
The Coldcard wallet also supports multiple wallets, meaning users can generate several wallets and manage them all from the same device. Several popular third-party Bitcoin wallets support Coldcard.
Therefore, you have the convenience of accessing your Coldcard wallet even if you are using other crypto wallets.
What’s more, Coldcard is open source, thus making it easy for users to review the firmware and verify its security. It is also air-gapped, which means it can be used offline to provide isolation from the internet. This makes it much more secure than online wallets, that are vulnerable to hacks.
Is Coldcard Safe?
Yes, Coldcard is safe. It implements top-level security measures, from air-gapping to a PIN and spending password, to ensure your funds are kept secure.
Additionally, it is an open-source wallet that allows users to review the device’s firmware and codebase for added peace of mind. As always, it is important to remember to keep your seed phrase.
Compared to most hardware wallets, Coldcard is a bit pricey. However, if you have large amounts of Bitcoin in your portfolio, getting a wallet such as Coldcard will give you a great deal of peace of mind, knowing that your funds are safe. Coldcard wallets start at around $160.
The Coldcard wallet is an excellent choice for crypto users who are looking for a secure and user-friendly hardware wallet to store their Bitcoin. It’s easy to use, open source and offers some of the best safety measures you can take for keeping Bitcoin offline. While it leans more on the pricey side, the cold storage benefits it affords its users are worth the asking price.