Sideloading the Radix Ledger Nano App onto Ledger Nano S

Introduction

The Radix Desktop Wallet for macOS, Windows, and Linux provides a convenient way to hold and transact any token issued on the Radix Public Network – including its native XRD token. Many users, however, also like the additional security provided by a hardware wallet.

For these users, the Radix Desktop Wallet can connect to a Ledger Nano S hardware wallet and create a special hardware wallet account within the Wallet app. This account’s private key is protected by the Ledger Nano S – even if the Desktop Wallet or the PC it is running on is untrusted or compromised in some way. For this account, all transactions must be approved and signed on the Ledger device while connected to the computer running the Desktop Wallet.

Ledger hardware wallets work by running individual “apps” on the device for each network/token. Each of these apps contain all of the logic needed to derive accounts (from its internal protected seed) and read, display, and sign transactions for the network. So to add support for Radix to your Ledger and use it with the Radix Desktop Wallet, you will need to load a Radix Ledger app onto your device. We are working with Ledger HQ to get the Radix Ledger app listed in their “Manager” in the Ledger Live app as soon as possible. This will make it extremely easy to load the Radix ledger app – but it requires extensive review by Ledger HQ (the company that builds the Ledger device) and so typically takes a little time for brand new networks like Radix.

For those who are eager to use their Ledger device with the Radix Desktop Wallet right away after our mainnet launch, this guide provides an alternative method to install the Radix onto a Ledger Nano S via a process called “sideloading”.

We’ve also provided a video walkthrough of the sideloading process on MacOS. If you encounter any difficulties with these instructions, please visit the Radix Discord server and the #support channel there where Radix or community members can help out.

About Sideloading

Sideloading means directly downloading the Radix Ledger app to your computer, and from there loading it onto your Ledger device without using the Ledger Live application. Because sideloading requires no support from Ledger HQ, it is the typical approach for very new integrations on Ledger devices like ours.

Ledger HQ provides a method for sideloading apps onto Ledger devices – but it is a very manual process using unix-based tools that require a bit of getting “under the hood” of your computer. The process will probably feel comfortable to a software developer, but for others it will feel a bit strange. We’ll do our best, however, to lead you through it step by step. And in the end, you can rest assured that once the app is loaded onto your Ledger, it will not brick your Ledger and it will be just as secure as installing via Ledger Live.

(As an alternative, for those who are simply looking for a good secure method to initially receive XRD tokens and stake them, we have also published a guide of good practices to use a software wallet securely without a hardware wallet.)

Let’s get started.

Prerequisites

Okay, before you start, make sure that you have done the following steps.

You may also want to go ahead and install the Radix Desktop Wallet and create your first account. Then you’ll be ready to go to connect your Ledger after you’ve completed the sideloading process.

Once you have these steps out of the way, it’s time to start sideloading!

For MacOS users, continue to the MacOS Sideloading Instructions.

For Windows users, continue to the Windows10 Sideloading Instructions.

For Linux users, we expect you’ve already got some familiarity with command line work and will be comfortable following a process similar to what’s shown in the MacOS instructions.