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Yes, you read right, unlike common belief, due to naming, all crypto wallets do not hold any coins at all! yes, 0 coins.
What your wallet stores, is your private keys to your address(es) that enables you when instructing (sending coins) at the related Crypto Blockchain Network to basically transfer from that address(es) a certain amount of coins to the recipient address. This is the reason why you do not need your wallet to be active to receive coins, however if you want to send coins to someone, you will need to use your hardware wallet as you will have to sign the transaction with your private keys stored in it.
Private keys need to be secure at all time and secret, if someone gets hold of your private keys, they can empty your address holds.. and this what happens most of the time with phishing scams, compromised online wallets and exchanges that store your private keys God knows where!
Your best solution to secure your private keys is to store them at a remote place and not to know them at all if possible!
Here where hardware wallets come handy, Hardware wallets from Trezor and Ledger generate your private keys in the device itself, they do not expose them to the outside world, and whenever you need to send coins, the device signs the message with a hash created from the private keys and sends the message instruction, thus the keys never leave your device.
Nor the keys can be compromised, as they are virus and hack prone, see below article on such a case.
In anyways, to hack a hardware wallet, it needs to be physically accessible and in the unlikely event of tampering, the marks of physical damages will be evident on those devices.
Coin forks are events where a Network splits in two, due to various reasons (mainly no consensus is reached among the group of developers, and each goes its way) Bitcoin and other coins forks are becoming more an more common, and will become a leading trend in 2018 called IFOs (Initial Forks Offerings).
When a fork happens, the network splits in two, and you keep your Bitcoins in the original Network, as much as the same amount of holdings at the time of the split in the new Network, so in Bitcoin cash example if you had 2 Bitcoins at the moment of the fork, you would end up having 2 Bitcoins AND 2 Bitcoin Cash.
Why is it important for a Hardware wallet holder?
A very important point to understand, is that most exchanges and online wallets that hold your private keys, will not support the forks for various reasons (mostly for greed) this means you will either never get your split coins or will get them at a very reduced values.
Ledger and Trezor supported till now all forks implementations and will continue to support them, thus your full investment will be safe!
Your hard earned money deserves to be secured properly, do not fall into free wallets or online wallets/exchange wallets that do not provide you with security or control over investments! Buy a hardware wallet now and sleep well at nights :)
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