There are hundreds if not thousands of cryptocurrency wallets available. A few years back there were only a select few. Choosing the right wallet could be a daunting task for some people. However it shouldn’t be that difficult. There are several factors which must be considered before using a Bitcoin wallet. Some of the points to consider before using a wallet are:
- How secure is the wallet
- Branding, (this might seem a bit materialistic but in an industry where trust is probably the most important factor a trusted brand name goes a far way).
- The purpose of the wallet ( holding long term, day to day use, or for some other purpose)
- ease of use and practicality
- the number of features that are available with the wallet
Bitcoin Wallet Types
There are 4 different types of BTC wallets, 5 if you include exchanges which will not be included in this article. These wallets vary a lot in terms of security, practicality, and features. Let’s start of with the most basic wallet.
Bitcoin Paper Wallet, read further for new update
A cryptocurrency paper wallet is literally a piece of paper. Every Bitcoin wallet including paper wallets have 2 addresses. On the front of the paper wallet, the left side has what is called a public address and the right side has a private address. The public address will be used for most day to day operations such as sending and receiving cryptocurrency. The private address is used for things such as if you lose the wallet as long as you have the private key the wallet can be restored with your funds intact. This is also the reason the private wallet also referred to as the private key should not under any circumstances be shown to anyone. If you can restore your wallet with the private address this means anyone who has the private address can restore your wallet and steal the Bitcoin.
A paper wallet is generally a very secure way to store Bitcoin because it is completely offline. Cybertheft would not be an option to steal Bitcoins from a paper wallet. However a paper wallet does have some negatives. A suggestion would be is to make a couple of copies and keep them somewhere safe. Another reason for making copies is that essentially it is a piece of paper. If the paper gets wet, falls out of a pocket, or for some reason it catches on fire, if you do not have your private key your cryptocurrency will be lost forever.
One thing to note before deciding on a paper wallet is that it isn’t very practical. Receiving Bitcoin into a paper wallet can be done. However sending crypto from a paper wallet requires another step. Since the paper wallet is offline in order to send funds from a paper wallet there needs to be some sort of interface. Most mobile and desktop wallets come with an import function. This function allows a person to import the crypto from a paper wallet into a mobile or desktop wallet. When importing from a paper wallet all funds must be imported. You cannot import partial funds unlike all the other wallet types which allow you to send partial amounts.
For these reasons paper wallets aren’t very practical. However if holding Bitcoin is the only thing you are looking for in a wallet, a paper wallet is great. Paper wallets are also completely free to download from most paper wallet generating sites. Paper wallets from diffreent providers will look different however the functionality will all be the same.
Paper wallet generating sites may store your keys online. Therefore I cannot suggest paper wallets any longer.
Mobile and Desktop Cryptocurrency Wallets
For practical use no wallet beats a mobile wallet. Most mobile and desktop wallet are completely free and relatively secure. This is where branding and reviews would come into play. If a wallet has zero reviews, negative reviews, or is brand new, stay away from it. On the other hand some very well known wallets have had security issues as well. Therefore research must be done when choosing a wallet
There is an argument to made which type of wallet is more secure. In my honest opinion both desktop and mobile wallets are as secure as the user. For instance personally I use a mobile wallet for most of my crypto needs. However I have many security measures in place on both my phone and my desktop. I do not visit unknown sites and I do not use either for personal use. The more apps, the more contacts, connections, and sites you visit the more riskier your devices are. This is what i mean by the devices are only as secure as the user.
If what I wrote sounds scary it’s not that bad. Most people access their banking through online portals like the internet and applications. Having a Bitcoin wallet on either a phone or computer is similar to this. I always emphasize security because whether its banking, cryptocurrency, or just personal information. These are somethings I never want in unknown hands.
Mobile wallets are very practical since they can be taken anywhere. They are very easy to use and can be downloaded for free from the Google play store or IOS store. Desktop wallets lose the practicality fight because of the size. Not everyone carries a laptop or desktop everywhere. Either than the practicality issue both mobile and desktop Bitcoin wallets offer similar features.
These features differ with each wallet company. Some of these features include:
- the ability to store multiple different coins
- swap from one cryptocurrency to another
- the ability to purchase or sell cryptocurrency directly from the wallet
- some wallets have built in apps and even built in browsers
Too many features can also be overwhelming, confusing and may also cause security issues. Personal preference should determine which wallet to use.
These are mobile and desktop wallets that I have personally used and like for various reasons. I’ve probably used well over 30 different cryptocurrency wallets and only a few of them I still use.
The best mobile wallets in Canada.
The Blockchain wallet can be used from a desktop or can be downloaded on a mobile device from the Play Store or the IOS store. It is one of the first wallets that I used back in 2013 and still use today. The company is great, the features are simple and convenient. The wallet is pretty basic. There are a few coins to choose to store, send, and receive cryptocurrency and they have recently added the ability to purchase cryptocurrency from the wallet. There maybe another feature I missed but I simply use the wallet to send, store, and receive Bitcoin.
The Exodus wallet used to be strictly desktop more recently they have added numerous features such as a mobile version and the ability to exchange cryptocurrencies with a few taps of a button. The wallet is great in terms of security, and features. The Exodus wallet has the ability to store over a 100 different virtual currencies. A new feature allowing a user to manage their assets offline through the use of a hardware wallet is now available. The wallet also comes with a portfolio manager with charting data. There is 24/7 customer support available from Exodus, which is really excellent considering most online exchanges only offer an automated Zendesk response.
3. Trust Wallet
The Trust Wallet is Binance’s official cryptocurrency wallet. Binance being one of the largest exchange by trading volume in the world. The wallet is a relatively new player which I have peronally used for around a year now. The cryptocurrency is stored locally not online with several layers of security protection. The wallet is also compatible with the native segwit, erc20 and bep2 coins. Native segwit being the most recent version of Bitcoin address types. Multiple digital assets are available to store. In terms of features there is no wallet that I know of that compares.
- the wallet comes built in with web3 browser which allows the app to connect with Dapps (decentralized applications)
- the wallet supports a variety of cryptocurrencies
- there is a decentralized exchange built into the wallet
- the dapps offer a variety of use cases for your cryptocurrency such as lending, staking, games and more
Hardware Bitcoin Wallet
Hardware wallets are the safest way to store cryptocurrencies. They are offline, easy to carry around and very secure. A couple of good hardware wallet brands are Trezor and Ledger. A third company that has been making a name for itself is Keepkey. Each company offers a handful of different hardware wallets. The difference between the wallets is minimal.
All 3 wallets have the capability to store multiple assets. Each company has a different downloadable software for their users to manage their cryptocurrency. A connection is necessary to a computer or mobile device in order to send cryptocurrency from a hardware wallet. The recent addition of bluetooth connectivity to some of these hardware wallets has made it easy to connect to mobile devices.
The downside to using a hardware wallet is that some people may find it difficult to setup and use. Despite the fact that there are many tutorials and instructions online many people have trouble using these devices. Another point to consider is that hardware wallets unlike the other wallet types are not free. Prices can range from around a hundred dollars to a few hundred dollars. However a few hundred dollars is relatively inexpensive to pay for the safety of a persons assets.