A Beginner’s Guide to Hardware Cryptocurrency Wallets ft. JuBiter Blade

Raghul Chandrasekar
May 30 · 7 min read

Its been a crazy week for cryptocurrency traders. This pic perfectly summarises it:

Image Source: Paybis

According to the cyrpto-subculture, the best strategy for making some money off of crypto is simple¹: buy the dip + HODL (hold on for dear life)²

Lets look at the 2nd part of the equation: HODLing. Where should one hold their crypto assets? Definitely not in exchanges. Unless you want to be like Bob here.

Created using Imgflip

Cryptocurrency exchanges are super unsafe. They are not meant for holding assets; they merely facilitate trading of assets. So where should you hold them? In wallets.

Cold Wallets

There are various types of cryptocurrency wallets. The safest is a cold-wallet i.e a wallet that is not connected to the internet. If it is connected to internet, then there is a non-negligible chance of your monies getting stolen. Consider getting a cold wallet if you are planning to HODL or if you have a large amount of crypto assets.

There are different types of cold wallets: paper wallets, brain wallets and hardware wallets.

Paper wallets are dangerous. Avoid them.

You do not need a brain wallet (you remember the seed in your brain) unless you are trying to flee a country where the annual inflation rate is 1.7 million percent and the military personnel at the border seize any money that you have.

For most people, a hardware wallet is the best option. JuBiter Blade is one such hardware wallet.

Lets see how it works.

Getting Started

Before you begin, power on the device and make sure there is sufficient battery left. If not, use a 5V adapter to charge the Blade.

Once you have charged the device, you can get started with creation of the private key i.e the actual wallet on the blockchain. In this process, you will be asked to setup a PIN and you will be given a recovery phrase. You can choose the length of the recovery phrase: 12/18/24 words.

Write these words down carefully in a piece of paper. JuBiter Blade comes with 2 recovery cards for you to write this phrase on. Write the recovery phrase down in both the cards.

Recovery Cards

Note: The numbers are in a horizontal fashion on these cards! Do not start writing the words down one below the other, its one beside the other.

The importance of physical and non-digital copy of the seed cannot be stressed enough. The Jubiter website says “Consider your recovery phrase compromised once you make a digital copy of it, even if you do it on an offline device such as a copy machine or a digital camera.”

Once you have noted them down, JuBiter Blade will ask you to confirm the words in the phrase. Post that, give it around 30s and your wallet will be ready to use! But there is one more thing you need to do before you can actually use this hardware wallet.

Pairing with the companion app

Download the companion JuBiter Wallet App from App Store/Play Store. (Link).

You can find the steps to pair with the app here.

  1. Turn on the JuBiter Blade and turn on bluetooth on your mobile device. Pair your JuBiter Blade with your mobile phone.

2. Now, open the app and choose ‘Hardware Wallet’ and proceed with the steps on screen. The app will start looking for a Blade device. Once found, tap on it and it will connect with the Wallet.

3. At this point, the app will ask you to choose the cryptocurrencies that you want to create a wallet for. The Blade only supports the following cryptocurrencies so you will only see these options:

Choose as per your need, give it a few seconds and you’re done!

You can see the wallet address for each of the cryptocurrency in the app.

Transferring money to the wallet

You now have everything setup to move your crypto assets from the Exchange to the wallet.

The destination address will be the Wallet address that you see in the mobile app. You can also view it in the JuBiter Blade directly.

Take caution if you are using the Wallet address shown in the app. Since your mobile is susceptible to attacks (as it is connected to the internet), again, there is a non-zero probability that the wallet address in the mobile app has been manipulated to the attacker’s desired wallet address.

Hence, it is better to verify that the address displayed in the app is the same as the address shown in the JuBiter Blade. You can either manually verify this or you can connect your Jubiter blade to the app via BT and then let the app verify it for you.

Note: Whenever you try to connect the Blade to the mobile app, do not try to connect it via the BT settings in the mobile device. Assuming you have already paired the Blade before, simply turn on the Blade and turn on BT in your phone. Now open the app -> choose the cryptocurrency you want to transfer to the Blade -> tap on ‘Receive’ -> click on ‘Check the address’. The app will automatically connect with the Blade and verify the address as in the above picture.

On your exchange, go to the holdings section and click Withdraw or Transfer. It will ask you for the destination address. In there, you can enter the address that you see in the mobile app or on Blade for the corresponding cryptocurrency.

Example from WazirX

Note: You need to pay a withdrawal fee for this to be processed.

Transferring Money from Wallet

Unlike the previous step of transferring money to the wallet, you cannot do this without the mobile app.

First connect the Blade with the mobile app via BT. Open the app and enter the recipient’s address, amount to be sent and the miner fee.

You will need to authorize the payment on the Blade. Verify that the address being displayed in the blade is the correct address. If it looks ok, press OK on the Blade and your transaction will be processed in a few minutes.

Restoring the Wallet

Say you forgot the PIN or your Blade gets damaged or stolen or lost. What now?

Remember the recovery phrases you wrote down? Yeah, that is to save your ass when something like this should happen.

Remember: The money itself is not in the Blade. Blade only hold the private key to the address on the blockchain that holds your money.

To restore the wallet, simply enter these recovery phrases in your new Blade.

If you do not want to purchase another one, you can even restore the wallet using hot-wallets (software based) like Electrum. Since the recovery seed generated by the Blade is compliant with BIP39 standard, you can use it to recover your assets using any other BIP39 compliant wallet service.

Best Practices

Since we are talking about money that is mined, stored and traded virtually, we need to take some extra precautions.

  • Keep the PIN hard to crack/non-easily guessable. If you lose the wallet, the PIN is the only thing protecting your assets. The wallet/device gets automatically locked after 5 incorrect entries of the PIN.
  • Use a pencil instead of a pen to write down the recovery phrase on paper
  • Keep the 2 copies of your recovery cards in two different places for redundancy. One in the locker in your house and another in a safety vault in your bank or in your office for example.

Thoughts on JuBiter Blade

Software

The app is really simple and intuitive. The creation of the hardware wallet is easy; the usage of the wallet is also easy.

The walkthrough in the mobile app and the guides on FEITIAN’s website are easy to understand and sufficiently illustrated.

Hardware

The Blade’s 4 buttons and 0.96 inch OLED display teaches us a lesson in resourcefulness. Its pretty amazing how much can be done with just these.

The JuBiter Blade feels premium af. The alloy metal casing gives it such a dense, sturdy feel. The buttons are tactile and click-ey.

Summary

Do not HODL your cryptocurrency in the exchange. Use a hardware wallet.

For a hardware wallet, I recommend the JuBiter Blade (note the limited cryptocurrency support before purchasing). You can purchase it here. Use the code Raghul-20 to get 20% off on your purchase!

Footnotes

[1] Simple does not mean easy. Plus, timing the market is one of the worst investment strategies because it is impossible. Unless, of course, you’re Elon.

[2] I am unqualified to give investment advice. I am not responsible for any losses you incur. Please consult with your investment advisor.

Thanks to Subasini for reading drafts of this.

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