Blog

Ellipal Hardware Wallet Review

By May 14, 2019 No Comments

Summary

Ellipal is a hardware wallet that pairs with the Ellipal wallet mobile phone app to secure the private keys of your cryptocurrencies on your mobile phone.   Litecoin has been supported since version 1.6, now Ellipal is on version 1.9.4

Why do we need a hardware wallet?

Cryptocurrency wallet private keys can be stored in different media – online, computer, mobile device, a piece of paper, or offline hardware.  We have seen many of the cryptocurrency hacks on exchanges occur when the private keys are stored on connected media.  A hardware wallet protects the private keys by storing them offline, also known as cold storage.  Using a hardware wallet is one of the safest known ways of protecting your private keys.

How does Ellipal device connect to the Ellipal mobile app?

Ellipal hardware wallet uses in-device cameras to scan QR codes as a method to communicate between the hardware wallet and the mobile phone app.   Other hardware wallets adopt different methods such as via USB or bluetooth to connect with the computer or phone.  This makes Ellipal a very secure air-gapped hardware wallet.

What if both my mobile and Ellipal is stolen at the same time?

Ellipal requires users to key in the account password before signing-off each transaction.  Ellipal allows 5 unsuccessful password retries before the device wipes out the seed and resets to factory settings.

What if I forgot my account password?

You can delete the account and recreate another account with a different password using recovery option and the 12 mnemonic words.

Things to look out for

Removing the back cover to install the SD card could be tricky for the first time.  It is like some phone cases where you have to pry it open and it requires some practice.  The good thing is that you do not need to update the firmware that often.

The SD card must be ‘totally blank’ – preferably reformatted before you copy the latest version update files into it.  Follow the instruction video closely.   I tried using an SD card with existing default files and folders on the SD card, however, the device does not process the version update.   I had to reformat the SD card and copy in the update files before it works.  It is probably to protect itself against possible malicious files in the card.

Do not create an account on the mobile phone’s Ellipal app and try to sync to the Ellipal device.  If you first create a wallet in Ellipal App, it is just a normal app wallet that cannot be synced to the Ellipal device.  You have to first create the account in the Ellipal device and sync the account to the Ellipal mobile app.

Great stuff

Ellipal supports 23 different coin types and it has sufficient memory for activating all the coins at the same time. New coins are added regularly through updates.

Supports multiple accounts on the same device.  Each account has its own set of mnemonic recovery phrases.  You can have 5 to 10 accounts on one device, depending on the size of the account (i.e. what coins are activated within the accounts).

The user interface is easy to use due to the mobile-like touch screen interface.   While the screen is still smaller than a mobile phone and my fingers still keying in the wrong letters at times, it is still faster than clicking on a button 20 times just to scroll to an alphabet.

In the works

I tried to create a backup by using my ledger nano 24 words mnemonic phrase on Ellipal.   However, only my Ethereum balance got updated.   The balance for Litecoin and Bitcoin in my ledger nano did not get recovered in the Ellipal.  I understand that Ellipal is still working on the ability to recover Bitcoin and Litecoin from mnemonic phrases of ledger nano and/or other wallets.   Once that feature is available, you can use Ellipal as a backup for your Ledger Nano or other hardware wallet’s balance.

Overall

Overall, the unit feels quite solid and durable.  Its true air-gapped nature, responsive interface, ease of use and ability to create multiple wallets, are its advantages over competing product and also justify its higher price point.

You can order a Litecoin co-brand version of the Ellipal from the Litecoin Foundation shop.

Buy Here

Leave a Reply