What is a cryptocurrency wallet?
Crypto wallets are software programs that interact with blockchain and allow users to send, receive and monitor their digital currency.
While called ‘wallets”, they don’t really store your coins. It’s because blocks – data structures that make up the blockchain – can’t be removed and stored separately from the blockchain. That is, you can’t take your crypto-money out of the blockchain and put it away, in your wallet.
So, instead of storing coins, wallets are used to store users’ access to the blockchain, known as public and private keys. When used, these keys demonstrate a person’s ownership of crypto money and enable users to operate with it.
There are various types of crypto wallets – here’s our top 10:
Best Hardware Cryptocurrency Wallets
Hardware wallets are the best option if you’re storing large amounts of cryptocurrency and/or for a long time. These crypto wallets allow you to keep your coins offline, so they’re safe and can’t get hacked.
As of today, there has been no reported theft or loss of Bitcoins from a hardware wallet, so this is the safest cryptocurrency wallet. That, however, doesn’t apply if you buy a used one.
Here are the most popular hardware wallets for your digital assets:
Praised for its safety features and user-friendliness, Trezor is one of the most popular hardware wallets for bitcoins and 10+ other coins.
From the outside, Trezor looks like a small digital calculator. From the inside, the device is completely isolated, which means your keys never leave the device and therefore are safe. To spend coins from your wallet, just connect it to a computer via USB, and it’s good to go.
Passphrase protection – a chance to create a second hidden wallet within your Trezor wallet for extra safety.
Ledger is another popular brand that offers hardware wallets for cryptocurrencies. It holds your secret keys, supports different coins, and in case you lose it – there’s a backup key that will let you fully restore your wallet.
The Ledger’s safety features are nothing extraordinary when compared to other devices in the market. That being said, this hardware wallet stands out with its sleek design, affordable price, and beginner-friendliness.
A unique operating system (OS) for developers, called BOLOS. Users can install third-party apps to add new privacy features on top of the shared set of cryptographic material.
Best Desktop Crypto Wallets
Desktop cryptocurrency wallets are software that you can download on your laptop, and that store your private keys on your computer’s hard drive.
Remember that as soon as your computer is connected to the Internet, your coins may be at risk. Other than that, desktop wallets are a safe way to store your digital assets…unless you accidentally throw your old hard drive out and lose everything, like this guy did and lost $108 million worth of Bitcoins.
Here are the best desktop crypto wallets available in 2018:
Electrum is a safe and stable desktop crypto wallet for Bitcoins that doesn’t take big storage space on your computer.
This may not be the most beautiful wallet in terms of design – it’s rather ”vintage” and looks a bit like the 90’s. With all that, Electrum has gained trust in the Bitcoin Reddit community and is often named one of the best desktop wallets available.
You can use Electrum with major hardware wallets, including Trezor or Ledger. It lets you store your funds offline in a hardware wallet, and send Bitcoins to your Electrum wallet whenever necessary.
Jaxx is a desktop crypto wallet that was created by Anthony Diiorio, the co-founder of Ethereum – the second most popular cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.
The Jaxx desktop wallet has become one of the top choices for cryptocurrency traders worldwide thanks to its powerful set of features and security. That being said, Jaxx has had a case of being hacked, which only confirms that desktop wallets are convenient for small amounts and everyday use, but not for long-term storage.
Jaxx supports 13 crypto coins, which makes it the perfect choice for people using multiple cryptocurrencies.
Best Mobile Cryptowallets
Mobile crypto wallets are similar to desktop wallets, but – you guessed it – for mobile devices. Most desktop cryptocurrency wallets, including the already mentioned Electrum and Jaxx, offer their wallets as mobile apps as well.
The fact that the crypto wallet is on one’s mobile device allows users to receive coins, make payments and see the balance on the go. That makes mobile wallets very handy and easy to use.
On the other hand, there’s a significant downside of mobile wallets – they’re almost always connected to the Internet, and that comes with the risk of getting hacked.
Here are some reliable mobile cryptocurrency wallets:
Named the ”Best Mobile App” in 2014 by Blockchain.info, Mycelium has gained great reputation and users’ trust. This mobile wallet was made for Android users, it has a user-friendly interface and PIN protection.
While great for receiving and sending crypto money on the go, Mycelium can’t compete with offline wallets in terms of security. Therefore, it’s not advised to keep large funds on your mobile wallet, and use a hardware wallet for that purpose – Mycelium is compatible with already mentioned Trezor and Ledger wallets.
The Local Trader function allows users to buy and sell coins locally in person using cash or bitcoin.
imToken is a lightweight crypto wallet (read: doesn’t take up much of your phone’s storage space) that’s available for Android and iOS. Being decently safe, simple and convenient, this mobile wallet has secured its place among the top mobile cryptowallets in the market.
When it comes to security, imToken has the flaws every mobile wallet does – as long as it’s online (which is almost always), the wallet is vulnerable.
imToken 2.0 features the decentralized exchange (DEX) Tokenlon – a collection of currency exchange functions. Tokelon allows rapid exchange of tokens and makes assets transaction more convenient.
Best Online Wallets for Cryptocurrency
Online wallets are considered the least secure wallets for your cryptocurrency, and for a good reason – there are countless cases when digital assets worth millions have been stolen from online wallets. Just in the beginning of 2018, hackers stole $500 million in cryptocurrencies from the online wallet Coincheck.
Online wallets are cloud-based, which means your private keys are stored in the cloud. These wallets come with desktop and mobile apps, are accessible from anywhere and are great for day-to-day spending.
While online wallets are not for large amounts and long-term cryptocurrency storage, they’re handy for those users who’re frequently trading or moving their coins. Here are the best online wallets:
Coinbase is the world’s largest Bitcoin broker and online wallet based in the USA. With users in 30+ countries, it’s one of the most trustworthy web wallets available, known for its simple and intuitive interface and attention to security.
To secure your account, Coinbase offers various safety features. For example, it offers multiple 2-factor authentication methods and notifies you when a new device or IP address tries to access your account.
Coinbase insures your cryptocurrency. That is, if Coinbase suffered a breach of its online storage, the insurance policy would cover the lost funds.
Blockchain.info is a web crypto wallet with an easy to understand interface, two-factor authentication, and a built-in trading feature for easy conversion of several cryptocurrencies.
While Blockchain.info is one of the most popular online wallets, over the time it has experienced various server issues and wallet accessibility issues – just something to keep in mind if you choose Blockchain.info as your wallet.
Other than that, Blockchain.info is a good enough wallet for small balances and everyday transactions that’s easy to get started with.
Allows you to explore and keep an eye on Bitcoin’s blockchain in 20+ different languages and national currencies.
Best Paper Crypto Wallets
Paper wallets are another type of offline wallets for storing your cryptocurrency. It’s basically a piece of paper that you can generate online, and that includes your public and private keys. The keys are printed as QR codes that you can scan for transactions.
Storing millions of dollars worth of crypto money on a piece of paper may not sound very secure, but paper wallets are, in fact, one of the best ways to protect your funds. Paper wallets allow you to store your money offline and prevent hacking. Keep in mind, though, that when using a paper wallet, the security of your money is entirely in your hands – you lose the wallet, you lose your money. So make sure you take care of your piece of paper.
Here are the most popular paper wallets for cryptocurrencies:
BitcoinPaperWallet is a trusted site to generate your paper wallet online. By generating your crypto wallet through BitcoinPaperWallet, your information is not transmitted or stored on the actual website.
This paper wallet has a tri-fold design to keep your private information hidden. It’s great not only for storing your coins but also for gifting.
Generating a paper wallet is free but for extra security, it’s possible to purchase hologram tape to seal up your wallet and protect your private key against “candling” – using a super-bright light to see through the folds.
MyEtherWallet is another trusted paper wallet generator. It won’t store or transmit your private information, but for extra precautions, you can download it from GitHub and run it offline.
By using a paper wallet generated through MyEtherWallet, you’ll be able to interact with the blockchain directly, while remaining in full control of your keys and funds.
Generating a paper wallet with MyEtherWallet is really easy, even for beginners.
Is this list incomplete? If you’ve discovered a good crypto wallet that should be included in this top, let us know in the comments below!