KeepKey Wallet Review: An Amazing Hardware Wallet

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Although dated, the KeepKey wallet’s combination of features and low price make it a worthwhile budget option.

In more than a decade since Bitcoin was launched, the number and variety of cryptocurrencies available has increased dramatically, as has their value, leading to the emergence of cryptocurrency hardware wallets, secure devices that store many different types of crypto.

ShapeShift’s KeepKey was one of the first hardware wallets on the market and remains a popular choice to this day. The KeepKey wallet was considered a premium option at launch but now sells for $49 (or even less, if you look for a discount code).

Can KeepKey keep up with the current competition? Let’s find out.

KeepKey Review: Build Quality and Design

KeepKey features a robust design aesthetic that will appeal to those who prioritize form over function. The exterior of the case is composed of anodized aluminum, while the screen is surrounded by a polycarbonate shell. It’s well built, with a reassuring heft that you’d expect from a device built from premium materials.

On the back, the KeepKey has a matte finish and a prominent KeepKey logo.

Compared to other hardware wallets, the KeepKey is certainly large, measuring 38mm x 93.5mm x 12.2mm and weighing 54g. It’s more than twice the size of its main competitors, the Ledger Nano S and the Trezor One, making it significantly less portable. However, the KeepKey’s bulk means it can accommodate a relatively large 3.12-inch OLED display.

Despite its size, KeepKey is clearly designed with minimalism in mind, as the only other notable features besides its large screen are a single button and a microUSB port. Like most hardware wallets, the KeepKey lacks an IP rating, meaning it would be wise to keep it away from water or excess moisture.

KeepKey Review: What’s in the Box?

The KeepKey wallet comes in a cellophane-wrapped box, sealed with a holographic security label proving the contents have not been tampered with. Inside the box, you’ll find the KeepKey device, plus a 1-meter (3-foot) braided USB cable and a warranty booklet.

KeepKey also comes with a single recovery card, which is used to record the 12-word recovery phrase provided when initializing the device.

KeepKey Review: Ease of Use

Like most hardware wallets, KeepKey is designed to be easy to use. In fact, beyond the initial setup process, you should rarely need to touch KeepKey after connecting it to your computer.

Instead, the vast majority of interactions are handled on the Shapeshift beta website or through the KeepKey client app. Both are intuitive to use and will be immediately familiar to anyone who has used the Exodus wallet, as Shapeshift has a very similar layout.

Through the ShapeShift platform and the Keepclient desktop app, you can directly manage your assets, initiate transfers, exchange cryptocurrencies, and more. Anything that involves moving funds or changing security settings requires confirmation on the KeepKey device.

The KeepKey device itself has a single button, which is used to confirm selections made on the connected computer. Overall, KeepKey is one of the simplest wallets we’ve tested, making it suitable for those who want to skip the learning curve but still benefit from the security that comes with cold storage.

KeepKey Review: Getting Started

Like most hardware wallets, KeepKey has a relatively quick setup process before it can start working.

To get started, you’ll need to connect KeepKey to your computer using the supplied microUSB cable and navigate to the ShapeShift website. Here, you will need to link your device to the KeepKey website to begin the device initialization process.

During this process, you’ll need to choose a label for your device, select a PIN, and back up your recovery phrase. For anyone familiar with the Trezor wallet, KeepKey uses a similar system to set up the device’s PIN, displaying a numerical grid on the KeepKey screen, along with a blank grid on the computer that you’ll use to select your PIN sequence.

Once you’ve confirmed your PIN, KeepKey will display your 12- to 24-digit recovery phrase. This can be used to recover your wallet should you ever lose access to your KeepKey devices and as such should be kept completely confidential. Once you’ve recorded your recovery phrase, it’s just a matter of holding down the KeepKey button until it displays a check. When you’re done, your device addresses will be synced and you’ll be redirected to your dashboard on the ShapeShift website.

Note: Unlike most hardware wallets, KeepKey does not require you to validate your recovery phrase during setup. Because of this, it is important to be sure that you have recorded the correct phrase before using the wallet.

KeepKey Review: Features

One of the standout features of KeepKey, and potentially one of the main reasons anyone might consider purchasing one, is its integration with ShapeShift. It means that users can send and receive a decent variety of cryptocurrencies directly to their wallet, as well as directly exchange one cryptocurrency for another.

Although the hardware wallet can be used with the ShapeShift exchange to trade assets directly on the device, users will need to register as a ShapeShift member to do so. This is free and is only required for users who want to use the built-in sharing functionality.

The KeepKey wallet is compatible with most major operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It can also be used with OTG-compatible Android devices via an OTG cable, but this requires connecting KeepKey to a compatible third-party wallet like Mycelium.

Since KeepKey is one of the oldest hardware wallets still sold, it lacks many of the features now considered standard in modern wallets, including a color screen, wireless functionality, and an internal battery. Unlike many other hardware wallets, including those made by Satoshi Labs and Trezor, KeepKey lacks 2FA and U2F functionality and therefore cannot be used as a two-factor authentication device.

As such, the KeepKey wallet is largely restricted to its primary function as a cold storage device. Anyone looking for premium features will have to look elsewhere.

KeepKey Review: Supported Crypto Assets

The KeepKey wallet natively supports 348 different blockchains. As it stands, the following blockchains are supported by KeepKey:

  • Supported Assets: 7217
  • Supported Blockchains: 348

See all here https://www.keepkey.com/coin-support

Although KeepKey supports a good variety of cryptocurrencies, there are some notable omissions from its list, including XRP, Bitcoin SV (BSV), EOS, Monero (XMR), and Tron (TRX). ShapeShift sometimes adds support for other digital assets, but new additions seem to be few and far between at present.

The KeepKey wallet also supports MyEtherWallet, allowing users to store all ERC20 tokens directly on their devices. The full list of supported cryptocurrencies can be seen here.

KeepKey Review: Security

Like all other hardware wallets, KeepKey is designed to keep your funds offline, a security method known as cold storage. This keeps your funds safe, even if the device KeepKey is connected to is infected with malware. To help achieve this, the device features a secure microcontroller that is used to isolate privacy keys from any online attacks.

To add an extra layer of security to the KeepKey wallet, you can also set up an optional passphrase for the device, which is essentially like a 13th word added to the 12-word recovery phrase provided during setup. Adding a passphrase is equivalent to creating a new wallet on the device; None of the 12-word phrases will be transferred, but it can still be accessed by initializing the device and entering a blank password.

Unlike most other hardware wallet makers, Shapeshift is notably secretive about the other security considerations present in KeepKey hardware. Because of this, it is not possible to fully explore how well-protected the device is. A recent security flaw identified by Kraken may allow an attacker to extract the 12-word encrypted seed, which could then be decrypted by brute-forcing the PIN.

Although Shapeshift says the device only works with a PIN of up to 9 digits, we found that it could be configured with a longer PIN; During our setup, we were able to create a 12-digit PIN without any issues. This would make it much more difficult to break the PIN.

Enabling a passphrase protects the device against the attack identified by Kraken, while the device remains secure against all known online attacks. In any case, it is advisable to ensure that your device is stored securely, as the aforementioned Kraken exploit requires physical access to work.

KeepKey Review: Verdict

Anyone storing a significant amount of cryptocurrency should consider purchasing a hardware wallet. In their current form, they are simply the most secure way to store cryptocurrency. However, exactly which hardware wallet you choose depends on your specific needs.

Overall, KeepKey is arguably one of the most basic hardware wallets on the market. It lacks premium features like a touchscreen interface and Bluetooth connectivity but includes built-in sharing functionality thanks to its ShapeShift integration.

KeepKey lacks support for more than a few prominent cryptocurrencies, which may make it unsuitable for those with a diverse portfolio, particularly one that includes privacy coins.

That said, these flaws are largely offset by its low price. With discount codes bringing the price down to just $24.50, KeepKey is easily one of the cheapest hardware wallets on the market, and clearly doesn’t directly compete with more feature-packed, but also more expensive wallets like the Ledger Nano X or Trezor. Model T.

Instead, KeepKey is designed for those on a limited budget or with a relatively small wallet that doesn’t warrant the cost of $100+ for some other wallets. With that in mind, KeepKey is one of the best hardware wallets available in its price range, and it’s certainly worth checking out while it’s on sale.

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