Best Bitcoin wallets for cryptocurrency storage
Keeping your Bitcoins and altcoins safe is essential. Your broker surely has a lot of security features, however there have been cases of security breach, so you might want to consider a wallet for an extra layer of security.
A wallet is an online or offline place to store your digital currencies, like a bank account. Thanks to your public and private keys, it will enable you to send and receive Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies. Think of the public key as your bank account number, and the private key as your password to access that account.
Wallets come in two different types:
Hot storage wallets
As the name suggests, a hot storage wallet is permanently connected to the internet, leaving the coins ready for transactions at any time. But that also means they can be accessed and hacked because they are readily available online. For that, reason, you should only store minimal amounts of coins using that solution.
Cold storage wallets
On the other hand cold wallets store bitcoins and cryptocurrencies offline. That way, hackers cannot steal the coins because the wallet is not connected to the network. This is why cold wallets are preferable when you want to store large amounts of Bitcoin or Altcoins, or if you want enhanced security.
There are basically five categories of hot or cold wallets
Hardware bitcoin wallets are probably the best solution to store your bitcoins and cryptocurrencies. They are easy to use, portable, and offer all the advantages of cold storage. Hardware wallets usually come in the form of a USB key. Top notch cryptography is usually built-in to these devices.
Your top 3 choices for Hardware Wallets
As the name suggests, desktop bitcoin wallets come as a software that you download and install on your desktop. These are among the most secure, and can be used when your computer is not connected to the internet.
To use them, you have to transfer your coins from your online wallet to your desktop wallet.
Desktop wallets are available for most operating systems (Windows, mac, linux).
Your top 3 choices for Desktop Wallets
Online bitcoin wallets are basically a website where you will store your coins, with a public and private key to access them.
They will remain permanently available, making this solution easy to use, but also as vulnerable as the website they are hosted on. The issues faced by certain prominent exchanges (Bitfinex, Mt Gox) have made people cautious.
Transactions are easy and convenient with online wallets because they are always available.
As for all other hot storage devices, we recommend keeping a limited volume of coins in these types of wallets. Brokers such as Coinbase all offer online wallets.
Your top 3 choices for Online Wallets
- Very popular (8m wallets)
- Mobile and web versions
- Clean User Interface
- Multi-country support
- For individuals & businesses
- Enhanced security features
- Quite easy to use
- A leader in Bitcoin security
- Available as mobile app, online or desktop
- Very easy to use
- One of the best options for beginners
Bitcoin mobile wallets are available for Android and iOS phone users, usually in the form of an app. They are very convenient and easy to use, but their presence on a mobile phone makes them slightly vulnerable. Only keep a small amount of Bitcoin on them.
A useful feature of mobile wallets is the use of QR code to either transfer coins in a peer to peer mode or to make instant purchases.
Your top 3 choices for Mobile Wallets
Paper Bitcoin wallets are an entirely cold storage system, making it very safe because coins are taken offline.
Private keys are printed on paper, giving their user full control over their storage. However the risks with paper are numerous: it can get lost, torn, ink can fade,… causing a fatal loss of Bitcoins. No recovery is possible, so you need to think carefully before opting form that system.
Your top 2 choices for Paper Wallets
The bottom line
When it comes to storing your precious coins, you might be confused by the variety of wallet systems available.
The best recommendation is to opt for a cold storage system, either hardware or paper. If you have few Bitcoins to store an online solution is fine, you can decide for example to mitigate the risk by going with both a mobile wallet and a online wallet.