This article will detail how to set up a Ledger Nano S as a brand new device. If this is the first time you’ve ever configured a Ledger Nano S, then this is the guide for you.
If you already have a Ledger Nano S and are looking to configure this one as a backup instead of a brand new device, you should read Restoring a Wallet onto a Ledger Nano S Using Recovery Phrase instead.
So you’ve finally got your hands on a Ledger Nano S. You’ve done the unboxing. Let’s get it up and running so you can safely store your valuable cryptocurrencies.
Setting Up Ledger Nano S as a New Device
By doing this, you will be creating a brand new private key and it will be in no way associated with any other private keys you may have created before, and will be in no way associated with any other Ledger Nano S devices you may have.
You’ll need to plug the Ledger into a USB port, as it needs to draw power over USB to run.
We’ll choose to “Configure as new device” — using the right hardware button which corresponds to the ✓ mark.
Protecting the device with a PIN
Setting a PIN is mandatory. You can edit the PIN later if you want to change it.
Press both buttons, which acts as an enter key press, to begin choosing a PIN.
The minimum PIN length is 4 digits, but you can use up to 8 if you prefer. You’ll need to enter this PIN every time you connect this device so as usual, there is a compromise to be made between more convenience (shorter PIN) and higher security (longer PIN).
⚠️ Just as with any PIN, it is sensible to avoid easy to guess combinations. As since each digit entry begins with 5, you should avoid using
5555 as it is the easiest one to enter.
If you make a mistake, you can cycle all the way through the numbers until you find the delete option.
Once you’ve entered the minimum of 4, it will change to a ✓. But you can just cycle passed the ✓ and add more numbers if you want to use a longer PIN.
Once you’ve entered the PIN, and chosen the ✓ option, you’ll be asked to repeat the process again to confirm your PIN.
The device will now tell you the recovery phrase. You must store this securely.
⚠️ The recovery phrase is vitally important. If you lose physical access to the Ledger Nano S device, or it breaks, you will need the recovery phrase to restore access to your funds. If you lose your device and don’t have this phrase, you will permanently lose all of your cryptocoins.
The recovery phrase uses the industry standard BIP39/BIP44 protocols. It’s a very clever system. In a nutshell, the recovery phrase is used as a seed for generating everything else, including all of the wallet initialisation and private keys generation. Because it does so deterministically, it means you can perfectly recreate the setup in multiple places, so long as you know the seed. Which brings me to my next warning.
They who knows the recovery phrase, owns the wallet.
⚠️ Anyone with access to the recovery phrase, has control over your coins. If someone gains access to the phrase, they can recover your wallet onto their own device and transfer all of the coins out.
The device will give you 24 words which make up your recovery phrase. It will then test you by asking for 2 of them back to help ensure you really did record it.
For each word it shows you, make a secure note of both the word and the corresponding number. When safely recorded, use the right hardware button to move onto the next word. Once you’ve reached word #24, press both hardware buttons together to progress.
It will randomly select two numbers (between 1 and 24) and ask for you to choose the corresponding word by scrolling left/right through the options.
Once you have confirmed receipt of your recovery phrase, your device is now configured as a brand new setup.
Download Ledger Live (Ledger’s software aplication that runs with the cold wallet) and begin using your Ledger Nano S.