With wallets such as Trezor and Ledger shadowing the 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 absolutely parabolic since 2014, leaving many crypto hodlers wondering why we are still storing this revolutionary tech on something that looks like a cheap, poorly made USB stick. Well, for anyone looking for a newer, flashier, potential next generation for crypto storage, the Ellipal Titan wallet may be exactly what they are looking for. In this article I am going to drop the gloves and give my in-depth, 100% unbiased review on the Ellipal Titan, highlighting the positives, digging up the negatives, and making sure I cover everything you need to know on whether or not the Ellipal Titan is all flash, or if it can live up to the expectations of what it means to introduce the next generation of cold wallet storage.
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Who are Ellipal?
Ellipal is a Hong Kong-based company founded in 2018 that makes and distributes 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 Ellipal Titan a year later. Ellipal are the industry leader in air-gapped cold storage solutions for crypto storage. Equipped with a large, coloured touch screen, Ellipal Titan users are able to view their coins, exchange and stake assets, send transactions while checking market rates and crypto news directly on the synchronized mobile app at the same time. The cold storage wallet devices made my Ellipal look more akin to a smartphone than the hardware wallets that many of us are accustomed to.
Ellipal creates mobile-oriented hardware wallets allowing users to use the wallet on the go, without needing a computer. 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.
What is “Air-Gapped,” and why does it Matter?
Much of Ellipal’s security lays 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 comes with a camera allowing users to scan QR codes, using the wallet to confirm and sign transactions initiated on the mobile app. The technology within the Ellipal was designed in a way that it does not support any connections, leaving the device impenetrable to network hackers, malware and viruses.
Ellipal Titan 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 Titan is certainly an upgrade to its plastic predecessor, also boasting resistance to dust 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.
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, a guide, a warranty card, a card for writing down the backup seed phrase, and a couple of stickers which I would be hesitant to place anywhere that people can see it as you don’t need to advertise to the world that you are a crypto holder. Also included is the safety adapter which can be connected to the bottom of the Ellipal that has the micro-USB port for charging the device and inputting the micro-SD card that is needed 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. Be sure that the foil on the packaging has not been tampered with when you first receive your wallet to ensure that you are the first person opening the packaging.
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. Holders of Cosmos, Tezos, Polkadot, Kusama, and Cardano will also be able to stake their funds easily and conveniently from directly inside the wallet, making staking a breeze. Ellipal supports an impressive 41 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 code 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.
Setting up the Ellipal Titan
As the Titan is a mobile wallet with no internet connections, the Titan needs to interact with a users’ 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 barcode that the user can scan with their mobile when first setting up the Titan 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. 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 complete, 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.
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
Pros, Cons, and Conclusions
The Ellipal Titan is easy to use, beginner-friendly, and users love the large touchscreen and see that as a big 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 wallet is very convenient. The Titan is fully portable with a battery life that allows the Titan to be used in any setting without the need to be tethered to a computer. The portability and durability are also great as I feel like I treat my Trezor as preciously and carefully as if it were an already cracked egg, and I feel like my Ledger could break if I look at it the wrong way. Being able to toss a hard metal wallet in a bag on the go and not worry about it gives users peace of mind.
The ability to offline sweep paper wallets and the ability to import variable-length mnemonic phrases is a big win for the Titan. 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. I have read conflicting reports regarding the battery life, while a few users and the Ellipal company boast a very impressive battery life, which would make sense as the wallet would be similar to having a smartphone on airplane mode which can make a phone battery last for days, a few users have reported that their Titan could not hold a charge overnight even with the screen off, so it seems like there is a battery issue that Ellipal needs to address. The Titan also has the option of enabling an added security feature called a security keyboard that shuffles the keys so if anyone is watching a user input sensitive information, they would not be able to simply mimic the movement.
Some of the cons with the wallet are that the default Bitcoin address generates the BIP 44 Bitcoin address that begins with the number 3 instead of the new and widely accepted BIP 84 Bitcoin addresses that begin with bc, which could lead to more expensive Bitcoin transactions for users. Another surprising deal-breaker for many 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. 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. There are also multiple complaints about the magnetic charger not staying connected and constantly falling out, leaving the wallet difficult to handle while plugged in and charging. There is also a lack of a true secure element to store the keys and manage signing, leaving potential attack vulnerability if someone were to gain physical access to the device, so be sure to use a very hard to guess the password to prevent unauthorized user access.
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, and the wallet has no support for test net 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 test nets 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 the final con I would have to nit-pick is the price. The Ellipal Titan is one of the more expensive hardware wallets available on the market and it lacks many of the features that are supported by its competitors at a lower price point.
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 into 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 test nets 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 good 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 similar or even cheaper cost. If the team at Ellipal were able to add what I would consider to be pretty basic features such as multi-sig support, Xpub access, and the ability to generate new payment addresses then this wallet would rank much higher on our list of top five hardware wallets.