If you are on this page, it means two things: one you are looking for more information about bitcoin wallets or you just landed on this page not knowing what bitcoin is all about. Either way, you are going to learn a lot about wallets!
NOTE: Many of these wallets also support other cryptocurrencies. This is due to constant upgrades and development due to cryptocurrencies gaining more attention.
What is a Bitcoin Wallet?
The first question we should ask ourselves is “what is a bitcoin wallet”? We all know about the normal physical wallets that are holders for ID cards, bills, passports, and credit cards. Bitcoin wallets are not like the physical wallets you are viewing them to be (although they are wallets and acts just like the physical wallets). So the big question is “what exactly is this weird bitcoin wallet”?
A bitcoin wallet acts just like the regular wallet only allowing you to store bitcoin in the bitcoin wallet. A bitcoin wallet also provides a way of sending bitcoin over the internet (something your leather wallet can’t do). In other words, a bitcoin wallet stores data. And what exactly is this data the bitcoin wallet is storing? The data are private keys that designate your bitcoin holdings. So now that we have understood what Bitcoin wallet means let’s move straight to talking about wallet choices.
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Just like the physical wallets, there are also different types of bitcoin wallets to use. Although each wallet type has their benefits and downsides, you can choose any wallet type depending on your choice. I have categorized the wallets into three separate groups: software wallets, web wallets, and hardware wallets.
If you are just starting with bitcoin, you might want to try the web wallets. The web wallets don’t require any executable downloads; they are also available anywhere in as much as you have a browser and an internet connection. They also have the simplest user interface that makes the process easy and straightforward for newbies.
Here are some web wallet choices for you to consider.
- Blockchain.info – Blockchain was one of the first web wallets to take a significant share of the bitcoin market. However, with the emergence of Coinbase, blockchain.info has been deteriorating over time. However, it is right to say that it still provides an easy and straightforward service that can be used comfortably by users of different experience levels.
- Coinbase – One of the biggest web wallet brands in the bitcoin market. Its service has great management, strong technology, unparalleled reputation, plentiful funding, and rigorous regulatory compliance to keep the website as near to the cutting edge as possible. Coinbase also comes with lots of benefits for newbies. Most importantly, Coinbase is well-known and supports other cryptos such as Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. With Coinbase, you can register and get started without any hassle at all. For instance, you can set up multiple wallets per account and purchase bitcoin with the same account that use used to make a wallet.
- BTC.com – BTC.com is unique regarding its optimized user interface. It has a very simple to use user interface. Another great thing about BTC.com is that you can get started very fast and the BTC.com will back up your private key (to guarantee recovery in case of an emergency). You also can download mobile wallets for IOS or Android. The only setback is the lack of custom transaction fees. Regardless, BTC.com is a perfect web wallet for newbies.
- Counterwallet – Used by newbies and many other people. Counterparty (on counterwallet.io) is a service built on top of the bitcoin blockchain which allows non-technical users to trade and create any bitcoin-based token. Counterwallet has a plain and simple user interface that supports multiple bitcoin wallets. The unique thing about Counterwallet is the fee dial that lets the users decide on how much they can spend on transaction fees. It is right to say that Counterwallet does everything you want it to do while looking a little bit stale than the average web wallet.
Now that we understand all of the web wallets, let’s move to the software wallets. Software wallets consist of a large group of different wallet types. For instance, software wallets can be wallets that you run on your laptop or desktop and also an app on your smart phone. We can also say that web wallets are also software wallets because a website is also a piece of software. So we can say that software wallet is an application that you can run either on your smart phone or computer.
- Electrum – a Python-based software wallet that provides a collection of useful power features without any need to run on a full node. With Electrum, you can create invoices, change addresses, set transaction fees, determine expiration, etc. electrum balances convenient resource and installation with power, which is an excellent way for the average user to delve into more Bitcoin uses.
- Bitcoin Core – Bitcoin Core is the most important software wallet you will find on the internet. Bitcoin core comes attached to a core node and it will give you all the features you desire. It builds on the native client by providing you with the option of handling all your tasks through a GUI (graphics user Interface). If you are seeking a wallet that will give you a balance between access and power, Bitcoin Core is the wallet for you.
Phone Software Wallets
Software wallets for your phone let you handle Bitcoin transactions swiftly without hassle. It should also be noted that a phone wallet might be the least secure way of storing your bitcoin so they are usually used to store a little amount of bitcoin. The last thing you want is to lose your life savings because of Apple’s or Google’s security issues which is why the phone wallets are usually used to store a small amount.
The Phone Software wallets are categorized into two: the Android Wallets and the iPhone Wallets.
- If you want the best Android wallet, choose Mycelium. Users like to have a visually pleasing android wallet like Electrum but Mycelium supports your Trezor wallet from your phone. All you need to do is use a micro USB to your USB adapter and move your funds from your hardware wallet with your phone. This unique feature sets Mycelium apart from other Android wallets by allowing you to move funds from your hardware anytime, anywhere without having to pull out your laptop.
- The Electrum app for Android gets the job done as fast as possible. The good thing about the Electrum App is that all the core functionalities on the Electrum desktop application can also be found in the android version. The Electrum app has only one setback when it comes to monitoring your change addresses and specifying settings for your fees so it becomes a lot easier to lose oversight of what you are doing on the android app because the user interface looks unpolished.
- Lots of IOS users love Breadwallet because of its minimalism. With Breadwallet, you will be able to make transactions without incurring extra fees from using the wallets. You can also buy bitcoin with fiat just like you would buy over Coinbase directly from the app. Also, you can even store your bitcoins safely without having deep knowledge of bitcoin technology. The unique feature that sets the Breadwallet apart from the competition is the slick implementation of a mobile bitcoin wallet. So it is fair to say that Breadwallet is a perfect wallet for newbies in Bitcoin
- The Coinbase iPhone app comes with a satisfying clean design that sets a high bar for user interface quality of touchscreen devices. It also connects directly with the online exchange features that are available on the Coinbase website platform. Coinbase gives you the option to buy bitcoin with fiat directly from your phone: a feature which most wallets don’t over.
Since we have discussed all we can about software wallets, let’s move on to the last wallet we have – the hardware wallet. Hardware wallets solve a particular problem. Since all bitcoin transactions require the internet to take place, there has always been a high-security risk connected to using bitcoin. There are lots of security measures to stop hackers from stealing your bitcoin but a computer with little security flaws will lead to an insecure bitcoin wallet. This problem sparked the need for hardware wallets (also called cold storage) where we store bitcoin on a device that is totally disconnected from the internet. This way we can rest assured that our wallet won’t be empty the next day.
Types of Hardware Wallets
- Paper Wallet – Looking at the name paper wallet, you should be able to imagine what it means. Just as the name implies, a paper wallet ensures physical storage of the key to your bitcoins on a piece of paper. The paper wallet is the safest way to store your coins especially if you generate your wallet offline.
- Digital Hardware Wallet – Digital hardware wallets act like a self-contained mini computer that can communicate with your desktop or laptop via USB. A digital hardware wallet is convenient because you can move your Bitcoin from your software wallet to your hardware wallet. By doing this, you automatically disconnect your private key from a digital device that is connected online, which reduces the chance of a hacker stealing control of your bitcoins. And while protecting your bitcoins, your bitcoin access still stays on a computer, so if you choose to liquidate your funds, you don’t have to spend precious time at the bank trying to grab a piece of paper.
There are many types of bitcoin wallets on the market. Many of these wallets can now be used with several other cryptocurrencies and many more start to gain attention. There are still discrepanices among some of the wallets because they are still undergoing development. As the cryptocurrency market starts to mature, we will see many more implementations of better wallets. As for now, one of the safest ways to store your currency is either a paper wallet or digital hardware wallet. These are the best types of wallets if you truly need a secure source. Thanks for reading and please share if this helps!