Best Bitcoin Wallet? The Best Cryptocurrency Wallets 2018
Because cryptocurrency allows to take full ownership of our money and banking, it should come as no surprise (but often will!) that you need somewhere to store it.
Bitcoin wallets, or cryptocurrency wallets in general, are — putting it bluntly — a slightly awkward and longwinded process…
…But they’re also an extremely important part of the crypto world.
It’s an area that will likely be improved and made more efficient and accessible in years to come, but for now we have to make do with what we have.
It is absolutely essential that you secure your cryptocurrency — buying it is one thing, but storing it away will ensure you have total control over it.
Total control may not sound like much, but it crucially means that you keep it out of the hands of intruders, like hackers.
You have to get yourself a bitcoin or altcoin wallet (for cryptocurrencies that aren’t bitcoin) in order to store, control and transact with your cryptocurrency.
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A bitcoin wallet is essentially a bank account that you fully own and control. The type of wallet you have will vary in level of security, but the aim is to achieve 100% security and privacy for you and your funds. The majority of wallets are suitable for other cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple.
A hardware wallet is widely considered as by far the most secure form of cryptocurrency storage. They are physical items, much smaller than smart phones, but have small screens and buttons that allow you to navigate menus and control what you wish to do with your stored funds.
At its most simple, a hardware wallet is a bank account in your pocket…
…But it’s a bank account that no-one else can access, or even see, except for you.
They are decentralised, meaning there is no central server to attack or hack like you’d find with a bank. It also means that your crypto is not at risk if there’s another banking crisis, whereas your regular money (held in the bank) could be.
They are also immune to computer viruses; something that has been known to steal cryptocurrency from software wallets — we’ll discuss these shortly.
Our number one hardware wallet recommendation (and our overall number one recommendation too) is the Ledger Nano S — available here. Keep reading to find out our other favourites!
You may think that if you ever lose your hardware wallet then you may have lost all of your money, but there are precautions to take in order to prevent this.
Whilst it’s highly recommended that you purchase a physical wallet, it’s vital to emphasise how important it is to make sure you properly make note of, and store, your recovery codes in case you did ever lose your wallet — or if it was stolen.
Remember: if your wallet did ever get stolen, no-one could access your funds unless they also had your PIN and/or recovery answers.
Because your recovery answers are nothing personal to you — they’re randomly generated — there’s no way that someone could access your funds unless they also found your recovery answers and PIN.
To date, there is no verifiable incidents of BTC being stolen from hardware wallets — compare this with 650,000 BTC stolen and never recovered from the online exchange Mt. Gox, and numerous other online wallets have been attacked too.
|Ledger Nano S||10/10||Shop Now|
Let’s take a look at our favourite hardware wallets in slightly more detail:
The Ledger Nano S is what we’ve picked as our best value-for-money hardware wallet for bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.
It comes with Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets pre-installed, but it’s incredibly easy to add the likes of Litecoin, Ripple and more via a simple Chrome app. All of the apps are free and readily available via the Ledger website, too.
The design is incredibly sleek and sophisticated, and their packaging is clearly inspired by Apple.
As well as being useful, they really appeal to those that like their purchases to make them feel good about themselves too — Ledger have really nailed this in their branding, particularly with the Nano S.
The TREZOR is very similar to the Nano S, although slightly more expensive.
We’d say that the overall look of the TREZOR is not quite as appealing as the Nano S, but the two buttons used to navigate menus are in slightly better positioning — on the front of the device, rather than the edge.
We can absolutely recommend the TREZOR from a security perspective and we’re excited for the release of the next generation of the device, the TREZOR Model T.
The KeepKey is another alternative to both of the above.
Again, it is slightly more expensive in price. Originally, it was a lot more expensive, but the price has been dropped significantly so that it now really competes with the others.
You’ll still be spending a little more than on those above — not by lots — and for this you do get what feels like a really nice bump in build quality.
The device is larger, so perhaps slightly less portable than the Nano S or TRAZOR, but with that comes a sleek looking screen that bests the competition in our opinion.
The KeepKey is compatible with a wide range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Dash and more.
A software wallet — much like the name suggests — is a cryptocurrency wallet that is downloaded and/or installed onto your computer. They’re also known as desktop wallets.
The great thing about software wallets is that they never need to be connected to the internet unless you wish to send funds. This gives you much-improved security when compared to a hot wallet (discussed next), although they’re less secure than a hardware wallet.
You can still receive and store cryptocurrency without needing any internet connection — known as cold storage.
There are a huge variety of different desktop wallets.
A little later in this post we’ll be looking at the best cryptocurrency software wallets for storing the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, NEO & more.
Many smaller cryptocurrencies, and newer cryptos too, will not be supported by the wallets that we recommend.
Instead, the teams behind each crypto tend to develop their own wallets for you to store them in.
This leads to you having multiple wallets on your computer to manage. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s certainly much nicer when they earn a place on the leading hardware and software wallets.
|Copay||Desktop & Mobile||8/10||Download|
|Coinomi||Desktop & Mobile||8/10||Download|
We’ve picked Exodus as our number one recommended software wallet for bitcoin and altcoins because it is easy to pick up and use for beginners, and has wallets for a large number of different cryptos too.
A hot wallet is a web-based wallet to store your cryptocurrencies.
The biggest example of a hot wallet is Coinbase, and they’re incredibly good at what they do.
But whilst Coinbase make it easy to buy bitcoin and store it too, it is for the reasons that we’ve discussed previously that make hot wallets a not-so-satisfactory form of storage.
Other examples include the vast majority of the big trading exchanges.
Hot wallets are subject to hack and phishing attempts, amongst many other issues that stem from being a centralised service.
Another common problem with hot wallets is that you do not control your private keys; we won’t go into this here, but it’s really important to control these if you wish to retain full control of your crypto.
Coinbase is currently our number one recommended hot wallet.
We recommend that if you’re new to the cryptocurrency space, or if you’ve never purchased crypto before, that you do so via Coinbase. They just make it incredibly easy for beginners.
Their fees are a little expensive which is why we’ve not given them a full 10/10 rating, but there’s almost no competition meaning that there’s few options for consumers.
If you’ve not bought via Coinbase before, you can get £7/$10 worth of free bitcoin should you sign up and purchase £78/$100 worth via this link.
We recommend that you make use of the introductory offer, but also ensure that you transfer your cryptocurrency out of Coinbase and store it in one of the aforementioned hardware or software wallets.
A paper wallet is exactly what the name suggests; a paper-based form of storing your cryptocurrency. This may sound bemusing, but it’s entirely possible.
However, creating paper wallets securely can be tough.
You should never use an internet-enabled computer or printer when printing off paper wallet information.
You would also need to lock away any paper-based cryptocurrency in a safe, or even more secure than that. They should be treated like gold, or extremely valuable jewellery.
They may sound useless, but paper wallets do have a time and a place.
For instance, if you wished to give someone a gift of cryptocurrency, paper-based form could be the most appropriate — you can put them inside a greetings card, for instance. The recipient would then scan a QR card on the wallet, or use information from it, to get the funds into a more secure storage area.
If you’re a total beginner, or if you’re accident-prone, we would not recommend using paper wallets.
If you did wish to look into creating paper wallets, we’d recommend using the Bitcoin Wiki guide.