With wallets such as Trezor and Ledger dominating the entire hardware wallet space since first being introduced onto the scene in 2014, many crypto enthusiasts feel that there is a dire need for an update in the crypto wallet space and how we store some of our favourite crypto assets.
There is no doubt that crypto adoption, use cases, and technology have gone parabolic since 2014, leaving many crypto hodlers wondering why we are still storing this revolutionary tech on something that looks like a cheap USB stick.
Though there is something to be said for entrusting something that has been battle-tested and withstood the test of time as Trezor and Ledger have, so, if you do want to look into why these two are industry leaders and the most trusted hardware wallets in the world, we have a dedicated Trezor review and a Ledger Nano X review as well.
But, for anyone looking for a newer, flashier, potential next-generation device for crypto storage, the ELLIPAL Titan wallet may fit that bill.
The folks over at ELLIPAL were kind enough to send us the Titan to perform a review, and I have certainly run this thing through the wringer over the past couple of weeks.
In true Coin Bureau fashion, this article is going to contain an unbiased in-depth, honest review. I am going to highlight the positives, dig up the negatives, and help you determine if the ELLIPAL Titan wallet is all flash, or if it can live up to the expectations of what it means to become the next generation of cold wallet storage.
Who are ELLIPAL?
ELLIPAL is a Hong Kong-based company founded in 2018 and are known for their high-quality air-gapped hardware wallets and crypto accessories. ELLIPAL released their first wallet, simply named ELLIPAL, in 2018. They then released its successor, a much-needed upgrade to the original, named the ELLIPAL Titan a year later.
While standard wallets like Trezor and Ledger need to be physically connected to a computer or mobile via cord or Bluetooth, ELLIPAL is one of the first companies to become industry leaders in completely air-gapped cold storage solutions for secure crypto storage.
ELLIPAL were the first movers in the space to create an air-gapped cold wallet that uses QR code communication technology to ensure that the wallet remains completely offline, even during transactions, while other wallets needed to be connected via USB cables or Bluetooth. Here is a great article from ELLIPAL where they explain the concepts and benefits of an air-gapped wallet.
Equipped with a large, coloured touch screen, ELLIPAL Titan users are able to view their coins and NFTs, exchange and stake assets, send transactions while checking market rates and crypto news directly on the synchronized mobile app. The Titan also makes accessing DApps like Uniswap, Compound, and Pancake Swap an absolute breeze as it can all be done through the mobile app.
The cold storage wallet devices made by ELLIPAL look and operate more akin to a smartphone than traditional hardware wallets, which may be a positive or negative depending on your point of view.
Because the corresponding app is on your smartphone, the navigation and app UX/UI is intuitive and familiar to any of us who regularly use smartphones, which is probably just about everyone. Another benefit is the wallet itself feels similar to using a smartphone so there are no real learning hurdles, unlike traditional hardware crypto wallets, which can feel quite alien as they are dissimilar to the tech and apps many of us frequently use.
Another benefit to the Titan is that it is designed in a way that it can be used on the go thanks to the fact that it can be charged, and because the device has a QR code scanner, it can be used conveniently for crypto use and purchases at point-of-sale merchants, something you can’t do with the Trezor or Ledger. The downside is that, as the Titan is the size of a smartphone, it’s quite large and cumbersome vs the Ledger and Trezor which are small, sleek devices.
ELLIPAL’s approach to mobile-oriented hardware wallets supports our increasingly mobile lifestyles. Users of the wallet will need to download the ELLIPAL mobile app on their phone as the wallet itself is completely air-gapped, meaning it is isolated from the internet and other systems.
The reason why an air-gapped device is considered an additional layer of security for cold wallet crypto storage is that it ensures that the user’s private keys are never connected to the internet, meaning it is protected against hacks, malware and viruses.
The ELLIPAL app is a great one-stop app that is capable of multiple functions, a very powerful little crypto management combo indeed. ELLIPAL can be used to transfer, exchange, stake, buy crypto, buy and store NFTs, access hundreds of DApps, all while the Titan and private keys remain completely offline.
What is “Air-Gapped,” and Why Does it Matter?
Much of ELLIPAL’s security lies in the fact that it is air-gapped and does not come into contact with internet, Bluetooth, mobile networks, or any other network connections. While many wallets will rely on Bluetooth or USB connections to connect the wallet to a device with internet to allow the user to interact with their crypto, ELLIPAL relies only on QR code technology.
The ELLIPAL Titan is equipped with a camera allowing users to scan QR codes, using the wallet to confirm and sign transactions initiated on the mobile app. Using QR code technology ensures that the device never needs to come into contact with any connections that could be exploited by hackers.
ELLIPAL Titan Review: Features
The ELLIPAL Titan rings in with a price tag of $169.00 and comes equipped with the world’s first fully metal case for a crypto wallet, ensuring it is robust enough to survive drops and bumps. The Titan is also tamper-proof so nobody can break into the wallet without destroying the inner components, helping to protect the user’s crypto against physical attacks.
The ELLIPAL team were kind enough to send me the Titan for this review and the ELLIPAL Mnemonic Metal which is awesome!
I am a huge fan of using fire and waterproof metal solutions for protecting our recovery phrases, because let’s face it, a piece of paper is WAY too fragile to be trusting our future access to crypto with. We endorse crypto seed protection so much here at CB headquarters, that we also offer a Coin Bureau branded metal seed wallet in our merch store which works quite differently to the one sold by ELLIPAL if you are looking for an alternative, but either way, I cannot recommend metal seed phrase products enough.
We cover the best ways to keep your seed phrase protected in our article on How to Keep your Crypto Safe. If you are someone who stores your secret recovery phrase online or on paper, please stop right now and go check out that article.
The Titan is certainly an upgrade to its plastic predecessor, boasting resistance to dust, bumps, and water. The case measures 118x66x9.7mm and weighs 138g. The Titan comes with a 1400mAh battery with a standby battery life of 259 hours according to the team at ELLIPAL.
To prevent physical and supply chain attacks during the delivery of the product, the ELLIPAL Titan features state-of-the-art anti-tamper and anti-disassembly features. When the device detects a breach, the cold wallet will clear all internal data and leave the device unusable. Feel free to check out the brute force Titan test experiment that highlights the anti-tamper features of the Titan.
Here are the Titan’s core features:
Display: ELLIPAL has a 3.97-inch colour touchscreen, high sensitivity, and excellent graphics.
Buttons: This wallet has one side button that is used to power up the device.
Material: It is built with an aluminum alloy, which is dust and water-resistant.
Size: The size of this wallet is 118 x 66 x 9.7 mm.
Camera: It comes with a built-in camera of 5mpx.
Battery: ELLIPAL has a 1400 mAh battery that has a standby time of 259 hours. You can charge the battery using a USB cable.
The ELLIPAL Titan package comes with a USB charging cable and charging stand, a guide, a warranty card, a card for writing down the backup seed phrase, and a micro-SD card for updating the firmware on the device.
As with any hardware wallet, make sure you are purchasing through the actual ELLIPAL website itself or Amazon as they are a verified seller for ELLIPAL, and never buy second-hand hardware wallets as many users have been separated maliciously from their crypto after realizing the original owner still held the private keys to the wallet.
Partnering with Moonpay and Simplex, users are able to purchase crypto directly in the wallet app in 173 supported countries and a partnership with Changelly and Swift allows users to exchange their favourite cryptos directly within the wallet as well, meaning that funds never have to leave the security of the wallet.
ELLIPAL supports an impressive 46 different blockchains and over 10,000 tokens, making the Titan one of the best choices for crypto enthusiasts who want to hold some of the most obscure Altcoins.
The ELLIPAL Titan also supports wallet connect, which is a platform that connects wallets with DApps, giving ELLIPAL users the ability to interact with popular third-party DeFi and crypto platforms.
While there are multiple DApps already pre-loaded for use within the ELLIPAL Titan, users can use the QR codes and scanner to connect with over 100 DApps including popular DeFi lending platforms such as Aave and Compound Finance, while also giving users the ability to access popular Dex’s such as SushiSwap and Uniswap.
One of the major benefits of ELLIPAL over the Ledger or Trezor wallet is that you can access DApps on the go without needing the device to be plugged into a computer, and unlike the Ledger Nano S, which has issues with lack of storage space, the Titan can hold hundreds of a user’s favourite crypto assets.
Setting up the ELLIPAL Titan
As the Titan is a hardware wallet with no internet connection, the device needs to interact with a user’s mobile device. The app is currently available for both Android and Apple. Users will need to download the ELLIPAL App from either the Google Play Store or Apple App store, the Titan will provide a QR code that the user can scan with their mobile when first setting up the device to ensure they download the correct app.
Once the app has been downloaded, users will be prompted to scan the QR code generated on the wallet screen with their mobile to ensure the devices are synced, then the user can go ahead and create an account for the wallet. The account is simply so the user can identify his or her account, there is no KYC needed for account setup.
Users can either create a new wallet, recover a previous wallet by entering a 12, 15, 18, 21 or 24-word mnemonic phrase, or import private keys individually. The ELLIPAL Titan can even scan QR codes from paper wallets for seamless paper wallet imports.
It is highly recommended that users select a password that will be hard to guess as you would not want anyone with access to the wallet to be able to access your funds. The password will need to be entered any time the user wants to send funds, while access to the wallet itself can be secured by setting up a directional swipe pattern that will need to be entered correctly to gain entry to the device.
If creating a new wallet, the ELLIPAL Titan will then generate a 12-word seed phrase which is very important that it is written down and stored someplace offline and secure, or in the metal mnemonic seed phrase protector.
If a user loses or breaks the wallet, this seed phrase will be the only way to recover the funds so this is a crucial step. As with any hardware or software wallet, ensure the seed recovery phrase is kept offline and do not share it with anyone as anyone with access to the recovery phrase has access to the funds.
During the set-up process, users will also need to choose between a general or SegWit address type, with SegWit being the option that most users would choose. Once the setup has been completed, the user will once again need to open the app on mobile and connect each wallet for the separate cryptos they wish to hold or transact in by scanning the QR code for each separate crypto asset.
Luckily the ELLIPAL Titan has an “auto-play” feature which will automatically cycle through all the QR codes for each asset loaded onto the wallet so the user only needs to keep the QR scanner on their mobile app open and it will pick up each QR code for the assets that the user wants to be added as they are auto scrolled through and displayed on the ELLIPAL Titan.
Setting up the Titan was really easy and took only around five minutes to sync everything to the mobile app. Of course, it took another 5 minutes to double, triple, then quadruple check that I had the recovery phrase written down correctly and about 15 minutes to secure the recovery phrase in the ELLIPAL Mnemonic Metal. This was time very well spent as these are key for the safety and security of any funds kept on the wallet.
Using the ELLIPAL Titan
While users will be able to view their crypto account on their mobile app, the hardware wallet will need to be present for crypto transactions or making changes to the account. Receiving transactions to the wallet can be made by scanning the QR code on the Titan, or simply pasting the receiving address copied from the app into the sending platform, as is the same for any crypto wallet.
To send transactions from the ELLIPAL Titan, transactions are initiated within the mobile app, and once the transaction details are entered, a QR code will be generated on the mobile device which will need to be scanned by the camera on the wallet to sign and confirm the transaction.
This sends all the information needed to the hardware wallet which then generates a second QR code which is scanned by the mobile app which completes the transaction verification. It is at this point the user will need to enter the password before the transaction is sent if they chose to set up this second layer of security
After sending and receiving transactions and taking the Titan for a test drive, I found the process straightforward, intuitive, and the wallet’s core functions are very user-friendly.
ELLIPAL Titan Review: Pros
The ELLIPAL Titan is easy to use, beginner-friendly, and users love the large touchscreen, which many feel is an improvement over the tiny touch screen of the Trezor Model T or the two tiny buttons on the Ledger. The fact that the wallet is air-gapped gives it an additional layer of security and being able to stake multiple assets and access DApps directly within the app is very convenient.
The Titan did feel very high quality, which was evident the moment I held it in my hand. The metal casing made me confident that this device could easily withstand bumps, drops, and probably even a drop-kick out of my third-floor apartment window.
The Titan instantly felt much higher in quality over my Trezor, strictly speaking in terms of materials and design. As much as I love my Trezor, every time I pull it out of its hiding spot I feel like I am handling something as fragile as an egg and the cheap plastic feels like it might break if I sneezed on it or looked at it the wrong way.
One of my favourite things about the Titan is that thanks to the mobile app, the wallet can be used to access over a hundred DApps and the world of Web3. The Titan offers the convenience of a software wallet, as all this can be accessed directly from one mobile interface, but with the security of a hardware wallet. This is, in my opinion, a massive benefit over the Trezor or Ledger as they cannot provide nearly this level of convenience as they need to be plugged in and on a PC to access DApps, often through cumbersome and complex third-party applications.
The Titan embodies trustless trust, a core ethos of crypto. Titan users are in full control of their own assets and do not need to trust any custodial authority. Users do not even need to trust the BIP 39 mnemonics-generated recovery phrase that comes with the Titan as users are free to import a previously created or used recovery phrase. ELLIPAL’s QR code is in open data format, publicly verifiable as open source and QR code technology ensures the private keys remain offline.
I would like to note that much of ELLIPAL’s source code is open and verifiable by the community on Github, but the firmware is not open-source. This is cause for concern among some in the crypto community but is not unheard of. The leading hardware wallet brand Ledger also has not open-sourced their firmware, so for me, this is not a deal breaker. For users who are concerned about this, I recommend Trezor as the most reputable hardware wallet with 100% open-source code.
The ability to offline sweep paper wallets and import variable-length mnemonic phrases is also a big win for the Titan, making this device incredibly multi-functional and versatile. The import private key feature also allows for the recovery of assets sent to the wrong address such as if you mistakenly send VET to your ETH address without compromising the security of the wallet.
As for security, I like that the device can be protected with a password and pattern protection with a gesture pin. There is also the option to set up alternate accounts with a passphrase, a similar feature offered by Trezor.
ELLIPAL Titan Reviews: What Could be Improved?
Some of the cons with the wallet are that the default Bitcoin address generates the BIP 44 address that begins with the number 3 instead of the newer and widely accepted BIP 84 Bitcoin addresses that begin with “bc.”
This is quite lame in my opinion as it should be an easy update and most wallets had this new Bitcoin address format supported within a week or two after it was developed. Not having this address format can lead to more expensive Bitcoin transactions for users.
Another surprising deal-breaker for some advanced crypto users is that the ELLIPAL wallet does not give users access to their own Xpub keys, which leaves this wallet not operable with many apps and does not give users the option to import “view only” wallets. There are quite a few wallets that do not allow users to access their own Xpub keys, which is probably for the best, to be honest as average crypto users are unlikely to need to access this sensitive information.
Various crypto payment gateways use Xpubs to generate new payment addresses for various checkouts, so this limitation of the wallet should be considered. The Titan also does not generate a fresh address for UTXO coins and does not have multi-sig support.
Users who are interested in privacy coins will be put off as the Titan does not offer Monero support at the time of writing.
One major complaint that has been addressed was that many users complained about the magnetic charger not staying connected to the device. The Titan now comes with a charging stand, and I have not read, or encountered any issues now. The stand is solid and works well, so well done there by the ELLIPAL team for resolving that little snag.
As the Donjon team from Ledger found, there is a lack of a true secure element to store the keys and manage signing, leaving a potential attack vulnerability if someone with sophisticated hacking software were to gain physical access to the device, so be sure to use a hard to guess the password to prevent unauthorized user access, and secure the physical device as well as possible.
Security-minded users may be put off by the Titan’s ability to only generate a 12-word seed phrase instead of a more secure 24- word phrase, though they can import a 24-word seed phrase if they choose. The wallet also has no support for testnet coins for any blockchain networks, the lack of ability to add a custom RPC could be a deal-breaker for users who are interested in running testnets or testing coins to learn how certain networks function.
The ELLIPAL does have a limitation in that it uses a non-standard way of re-using Bitcoin addresses, unlike the Trezor or Ledger, which could cause some problems for users who may want to import a seed phrase from another wallet. The ELLIPAL Titan does not allow for full node support via any third-party software, and I also encountered multiple issues with the touch screen not being very responsive to my touch. I had to repeatedly hit the same buttons before they would register. A minor annoyance, but still worth mentioning.
So, am I trusting the ELLIPAL Titan with my crypto?
Definitely! While my Trezor is still my #1 wallet for long-term hodling Bitcoin and Ethereum, I have had a great time using the Titan with many of my other ERC20, BEP20, and layer 1 tokens not supported by Trezor.
I feel confident in the security of the ELLIPAL, and the fact that I can access all the DApps that I normally use a software wallet for I now use on the Titan instead. I have always used my Trezor for my long-term hodl-stash and use a mix of software wallets to access different DeFi and Web3 applications.
Over the past week, I have been withdrawing many of my assets from my software wallets onto the Titan for staking and DApp access, which has been such a great feeling as I am significantly reducing my risk by not exposing as many funds to software wallets. I really enjoy that the ELLIPAL Titan is providing me with the perfect mix of software wallet convenience with hardware wallet security.
I think it is great that the ELLIPAL is a multi-use wallet with so much versatility. It provides the utility of a software wallet, can be used for crypto payments on the go, all with the peace of mind of a hardware wallet. The Titan definitely has a long-term place in my crypto storage strategy and I love that I can ditch many of those less-secure “hot” software wallets I’ve been using over the past few years. This device has been a big win for me.
ELLIPAL Tital Review: Conclusion
The ELLIPAL Titan is a fantastic wallet if you are looking for something mobile and secure that can be used on the go without the need to be tethered to a PC.
The Titan passes all the security requirements, giving users confidence in the safety of their funds. The Titan is a good consideration for users who want to be able to interact with their funds on the app and wallet itself, making it easy to explore and use different DApps, unlike the Trezor where everything needs to be accessed via third-party API on a computer interface.
The ELLIPAL Titan is perfect for crypto users who do not have advanced needs such as using testnets and adding custom RPC networks. For basic crypto users who are just looking for an easy way to interact with their crypto, I do think the ELLIPAL Titan is a great choice, but the lack of ability to access the Xpubs, along with the other limitations that I have mentioned makes the Titan not worth the price in my opinion as there are better wallets available for a similar or even cheaper cost.
If you don’t mind shelling out the cash and are looking for the most convenient hardware wallet on the market then the Titan is the optimal choice. For those looking to save a few bucks, dollar for dollar, the Ledger Nano S Plus gets my pick for the best budget-priced hardware wallet. If you aren’t looking for convenience or crypto use on the go and are primarily concerned about security above all else, then I would suggest the Trezor or NGRAVE ZERO.
The ELLIPAL team deserve a nod for providing fantastic asset support, supporting more assets than most of the competing wallets. If they were able to add what I would consider to be pretty basic features such as multi-sig support, Bitcoin addresses starting in “bc,” Xpub access, and the ability to generate new payment addresses, then this wallet would rank higher on our list of top five hardware wallets.
ELLIPAL Titan FAQs
Is the ELLIPAL Titan Safe?
Yes, the Titan hardware wallet is completely air-gapped and private keys are always kept offline, removing the #1 risk to cryptocurrency, which is malware attacks and remote hack attempts.
The Titan also comes equipped with anti-tamper and anti-disassembly features so that when a breach is detected it will clear all internal data and render the device unusable. In this event, the wallet user can simply use their recovery phrase on another wallet and safely recover their funds.
To highlight the safety of the Titan further, Ledger’s Donjon team, who are industry leaders and experts in identifying security flaws, raised some security issues and concerns with ELLIPALs original wallet. After raising these concerns to the ELLIPAL team, ELLIPAL were quick to respond, react, and address the security vulnerabilities and patched them with the release of the Titan and further firmware updates. You can read more about this on Ledger’s Donjon Vulnerability study of the ELLIPAL Titan
Is the ELLIPAL Titan Better than Ledger?
From a pure security standpoint, this is debatable. Ledger has been battle-tested and has withstood nearly a decade of hack attempts and has never been compromised. Ledger also holds an EAL5+ security certification, a benchmark in crypto wallet security certifications.
To my knowledge, the ELLIPAL has also not been successfully hacked remotely, but it does not have the lengthy track record or adoption of Ledger, meaning it has not been tested as thoroughly or put through the wringer.
Many users consider that the fact that ELLIPAL is air-gapped makes it more secure than the Ledger Nano X, and I would agree as the Ledger Nano X has Bluetooth functionality, which is an attack vector and potential security vulnerability. That is the biggest reason I don’t use a Nano X, but the Ledger Nano S has no Bluetooth, so security between the Titan and Ledger S may be more comparable.
I find the reputation and security certification of Ledger encouraging and more trustworthy, strictly due to their high level of respect and contribution to the crypto space, but find the ELLIPAL far more convenient and easier to use. Thanks to the mobile app and access to the world of hundreds of DApps directly from the app and without needing a computer makes me prefer the ELLIPAL Titan from a user perspective. The ELLIPAL also has better asset support as users do not need to worry about running out of storage like on the Ledger.
Is the ELLIPAL Titan Better than Trezor?
Trezor has the same sterling reputation as Ledger and holds a CE and RoHS security certification. It has nearly a decade of a flawless security record, something the ELLIPAL cannot claim as it is a far younger product, so it has not been battle-tested.
Again, for the long storage of my most beloved assets, I prefer sleeping soundly at night using the Trezor as it holds the certifications and a successful track record. But from a user-friendly and useability point of view, I am ecstatic by the fact that the ELLIPAL Titan has reduced my reliance on software wallets. The Titan is my main go-to and #1 pick for any assets that I want to expose to the world of DApps and Web3, it is far superior to the Trezor in that regard and has far better asset support.
The post ELLIPAL Titan Review 2022: The Leader in Secure Air-Gapped Hardware Wallets appeared first on Coin Bureau.
Review, Air Gap, crypto storage, ellipal titan, ellipal titan review, Hardware Wallet, hardware wallet review
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