This article will walk you through how to transfer your Polkadot coins off of Coinbase and onto your own personal Ledger Nano S or X device. Owning your Polkadot on your hardware device will be the first step toward allowing you to stake your Polkadot and earn passive income. I have no affiliations with Ledger or Coinbase, and this isn’t financial advice.
Own your coins
When you buy Polkadot on an exchange, that exchange owns your private keys- so essentially all you have from Binance or Coinbase is an “I owe you”. You have to trust them to cash the coin out for you when you’d like. Literally hundreds of millions of dollars of cryptocurrency are sitting around on exchanges like Coinbase, so there’s a heavy incentive for bad actors to try and hack the exchange and steal coins. A quick Google search of “crypto exchange hack” should be populated with enough results to show you that your crypto is far safer on a hardware wallet. Unfortunately the crypto space is still full of scammers. Hosting crypto on your own hardware wallet can have tax advantages as well, depending on where you live. For a deeper dive on the benefits of hardware wallets, check out my article on the top 5 reasons to own one. The two main hardware wallet brands today are Trezor and Ledger- both make outstanding products that will store your crypto for you. Of the two, Ledger currently directly supports the storage of more cryptos, meaning it relies less on third-party applications for interface and instead uses its own interface, Ledger Live.
Coinbase was the very first exchange I ever used when I was first getting started, and I’m glad it was because the interface is so simple and user-friendly. Coinbase is also a publicly traded company in the United States, which means the company has passed strict regulatory restrictions and has to have a level of customer service that isn’t offered by other exchanges in my opinion. For instructions on how to set up a Coinbase account and how to buy crypto on Coinbase, follow the links.
If you’re not familiar, Ledger Live is your Ledger hardware wallet’s web interface that you can use to manage all of the assets on your Ledger device. If you haven’t yet set up your Ledger device, head over to Ledger.com/start and follow the four steps outlined.
Steps to send Polkadot from Coinbase to your Ledger device
- Open Ledger Live and add a Bitcoin account to your Ledger by clicking on the Accounts on the left hand side menu of Ledger Live and selecting the add account button in the top right hand side of the screen.
- Ledger Live will prompt you to select which asset you’d like to add an account for. Choose Polkadot, which is about 7-8 items down the drop-down menu. Then select Continue.
- If the Polkadot app is not yet installed on your Ledger device, Ledger Live will ask you to approve the app install. You’ll need to open the Polkadot app on your device by hitting both of the buttons on the Ledger device. Once installed, Ledger will say “Account added successfully.” Select Done.
- Now you’re ready to receive Polkadot on your Ledger Nano X! Click Receive on the main left hand side menu of Ledger Live. Ledger Live will give you a pop up asking you what currency you’d like to receive. Select Polkadot from the drop down and then Continue. The ledger will display your public Polkadot address. You’ll need to hit the copy/paste button on the left hand side of your address to copy it to your clipboard- you’ll paste this address when you send from your Coinbase Polkadot wallet. Do as prompted and confirm that the address displayed on your device screen matches that of the Ledger Live prompt.
Now it’s time to send your Polkadot over from the Coinbase interface to your wallet. Make sure you don’t hit Ctrl+C to copy anything else, since you just copied your Ledger Polkadot address to your clipboard. Click the Send/Receive button on the top left hand corner of the Coinbase UI. Click Send on the pop-up box and under the ‘Select Asset’ drop-down select Polkadot.
- Paste your Ledger Polkadot address into the ‘To’ line in the box. Select Send All or enter the amount you’d like to send in your local fiat currency to your Ledger wallet. In the ‘Memo’ section I recommend you make a note that you’re sending Polkadot to your Ledger Wallet. This note will stay with Coinbase and you’ll be able to see what the transaction was when you look at your transaction history. If you have Two-factor authentication set up, you’ll need to enter your code based on whatever app you’re using on your phone for 2FA to confirm the transaction. Coinbase will then confirm the transaction and give you a time frame for finality, which is usually 2 to 5 minutes with Polkadot. Within the allotted time you should see the Polkadot arrive in your Ledger wallet. If this doesn’t happen immediately, don’t panic! Polkadot transactions in can take a little bit, especially if the network is busy.
That’s it! Now you actually have physical custody of your Polkadot. This transaction exists immutably on the blockchain, and nothing can change it. Since you hardware wallet stores your private keys, it will always be able to verify that this Polkadot belongs to you. The above process is pretty much the same for all supported cryptos by the Ledger Nano wallet- once you’ve done it one time, you’ll know how to do it again and again. Note that if you want to stake your coins to earn passive income, you’ll have to send your crypto to a staking pool using the ‘send’ feature on the Ledger Live software.