In the surge of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin rose to popularity which earned the attention of many people and encouraged them to invest in it. Like any cryptocurrency, you need to have a place or an app where you can safely store them and easily get back to them when you need to – here come the different Bitcoin wallets that are readily available in the market today.
A bitcoin wallet could be an app on your phone or a program in your computer that allows you to store your Bitcoin cash (BCH) or Bitcoin core (BTC). This means you can send and receive BCH or BTC through this wallet. With most people who are not as technical, choosing a wallet that is easy to use and manage is sure a priority.
These wallets will keep records of all the transactions you have with your Bitcoin cash (BCH).
What is a Bitcoin Wallet?
Let us assume that you have learned enough about this cryptocurrency system that allows transactions between users in a decentralized fashion which means, it is not regulated by a bank or any payment gateway. Bitcoins are not printed like regular money, instead, they are created and held electronically. This digital currency maximizes a peer-to-peer technology and operates independently from a regulating central bank.
However, before you can own any bitcoin, you must have someplace where you can store them. These are what we call Bitcoin wallets. Instead of holding your bitcoin, the Bitcoin wallet holds a private key that will allow you to have access to your Bitcoin address. You can’t store or put your Bitcoin anywhere. The aforementioned private key has a corresponding address. A Bitcoin wallet is a software program where your Bitcoins will be stored and there are several forms that you can choose from.
Since Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency, a Bitcoin wallet can be regarded as digital wallet. If cash is stored in a physical wallet, Bitcoin is stored in the Bitcoin wallet. However, unlike physical cash, what you store are important information like the private key to access Bitcoin addresses and this is where you may complete transactions.
Types of Bitcoin Wallets
Some of the more common types of wallets are paper, desktop, mobile, web, and hardware.
Paper wallets are resistant to hackers because it is a document that can be used to receive Bitcoins and a private key. This allows the user to use or send Bitcoins that are stored at the said address. Paper wallets are usually in the form of QR codes that you can scan and you may add the private keys to a software wallet in order to make a transaction. Paper wallets are a good option for those who want to own their own private wallets without handing out cash which you would do for other types of wallets. You need to be knowledgeable to set-up your paper wallets properly.
Desktop wallets are installed on a desktop computer where the owner has a control over the Bitcoin wallet. The user who uses desktop wallets can create a Bitcoin address that he or she can use to send or receive Bitcoins.
On the contrary, while desktop apps are usually fixed in one place, mobile wallets overcome this problem. These are mobile applications that you can run on your smartphone and take with you wherever you go. These perform the same functions as a desktop wallet but you can perform similar functions and help you pay using your mobile app. You can make payments in physical stores using your mobile wallet.
Web wallets are online wallets so caution must be taken when accessing or using these especially because these will store private keys online. These are web wallets and can be accessed on your browser or mobile.
Hardware wallets are considered as the most secure among the available Bitcoin wallets. These store Bitcoins on a physical piece of equipment that can be plugged into a USB port on a computer.
Hardware wallets are secure and these are the wallets that you can physically keep. These, as the name suggests, are hardware devices or physical pieces of equipment where the user can keep their private keys. As far as Bitcoin wallets are concerned, there have been no confirmed cases of money being stolen from a hardware wallet and hardware wallets are also immune to computer viruses and the funds which are stored inside the hardware cannot easily be transferred out of the device.
These electronic devices are made for securing your crypto cash or crypto coins and these must be connected to your device like a laptop computer or a gadget before you can use your Bitcoins. Hardware wallets are very reliable and these can provide you with the accessibility and security that you need. Your private keys are secure in your hardware wallet and they are fully protected even in cases where you have to insert it in a computer that is filled with viruses and malware.
Hardware wallets are secure because they are an offline wallet where you store your cryptocurrency. Unlike the other wallets that are connected to the internet, hardware wallets have less potential of being accessed or hacked by cyber-criminals who may be able to access private keys and software wallets or those other Bitcoin wallets that are connected on the web.
Here are some of hardware wallets available in the market:
Ledger Nano S – these usually costs around 60 to 80 Euros and has a screen. You have to press two buttons simultaneously to confirm a transaction and this prevents hackers from hacking into your device and authorizing transactions. The Ledger Nano S has a PIN code. Nano Ledger S is more portable and easier to carry compared to some hardware wallets.
TREZOR – The original TREZOR One costs around 89-99 Euros but the new Model T costs around 120 Euros. Trezor has a screen as well as two buttons that you have to press simultaneously. The wallet can be backed up with up to 24 words and a passphrase. This hardware wallet also uses a PIN Code. Trezor is famed for their reputable security that boasts protection from both physical and virtual theft.
KeepKey – at around 114 Euros, KeepKey can support multi-currencies and not just Bitcoin. You are allowed a one-time chance to write down a twelve-word recovery sentence. It also has a screen which will display each transaction that has to be reviewed and confirmed. KeepKey is also virus and malware-proof.
Hot wallets are Bitcoin wallets that need the internet to run. Your computer, mobile phone, or tablet has to be connected to the internet to work. Private keys have to be secure because these are your secret codes that you need to access your Bitcoin addresses. Your private keys also are what you need to make transactions. Since hot wallets produce your private keys on a device or gadget that is accessible through the internet, these types of wallets are not assured to be completely secure as compared to some other wallets in the market.
Hot wallets are a good and easy way to store small amounts of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. These are also considered to be convenient and an easy way to transact like spending and receiving payments because it is fast.
An example of a hot wallet is called Coinbase which is an online web-based wallet. It is user-friendly and beginner-friendly. 100% of your crypto holdings in Coinbase are also insured which is definitely a plus. For an added layer of security, Coinbase also has an available vault.
Online Bitcoin Wallets
Few sites come to mind when we talk about online Bitcoin wallets since there are only a few options for online wallets compared to that of Android or iOS devices. According to a popular survey, Blockchain.info is the best online wallet because it has the technology that allows BTC and other cryptocurrencies to exist.
This is very similar to Coinbase but the only difference is that you can’t buy and sell through Blockchain; this means that you should have another wallet or means of buying and selling since Blockchain is basically BTC storage.
As previously discussed, mobile wallets overcome the handicap of a desktop wallet which you cannot bring with you and access immediately when you need to. Mobile wallets may be available in your gadget like a mobile or smartphone or tablet. Mobile wallets are very appealing to a lot of people because of its convenience and the fast process it involves. You only need to download an application and follow its sign-up or registration requirements.
If you have a lot of Bitcoin cash or a large amount of crypto holdings, it is not very safe for you to use mobile wallets as these wallets are prone to a possible hacking attack and so hardware and paper wallets are more advisable for those who are into bigger Bitcoin investments as these other wallets provide additional security for the user.
There are however very reliable mobile wallets. One of these is Bitcoin Wallet available on Android. It is easy to pay using Bitcoin Wallet since you pay quickly by scanning a QR-Code. For merchants and entrepreneurs, you will receive payments in an instant. This mobile wallet is reliable and one of the most secure.
Airbitz is another mobile wallet available for both iOS and Android users. The interface of Airbitz is nice and the wallet is user-friendly. It is as familiar and comfortable as other banking apps. In this wallet, only you have access to your Bitcoin funds as well as the data related to your transactions.
Coinomi maybe the oldest multi-asset wallet available in the market today. Used by millions of active users, Coinomi was founded five years ago and was said to have never been hacked or compromised as claimed by their happy customers according to posts in Reddit or other platforms where this wallet has been reviewed.
Before you download the Coinomi app, you will be able to see the multiple digital coins it is supportin – from Bitcoin to Ethereum, Komodo, Litecoin to even onG; name it and most likely, Coinomi supports it.
This wallet has superb security which assures users that your private keys never leave your device; they have a strong wallet encryption and cryptography guarantee that your cryptocurrency funds will remain safe and always in your control. With its enhanced privacy and anonymity, no KYC bureaucracy will access your funds, no IP address association, linking or transaction tracking – ever.
Jaxx is one of the most popular digital wallet downloaded in the market today. Jaxx Liberty is a cross-platform built for Android and iOS devices; even Windows and even as a Chrome browser extension.
Like most cryptocurrency wallets, Jaxx Liberty is a multi-asset wallet. Jaxx supports over 70 digital assets and cryptocurrencies and some fiat reference points.
Jaxx has a unified dashboard that allows you to view your assets in a streamlined and easy-to-use interface; a new feature to this cryptocurrency wallet. It also promises that sensitive information like your backup phrase and private keys are never stored in their system which assures each user that they control their information and no one else.
‘Better than a bank’ – is Bread’s slogan; with the promise of sending and receiving any amount of bitcoin anywhere in the world – instantly. This company is inviting every bitcoin user the liberty to take part in the global economy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are a beginner, Bread can give you a convenient and secure way of using a bitcoin wallet.
A company based and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, Bread boasts a robust security infrastructure built-into the app to protect each user’s personal information and privacy.
Bread, previously known as Bread Wallet is said to be a great iPhone Bitcoin wallet. It recently released an Android wallet which made their probable users excited. This bitcoin wallet offers a user-friendly control of private keys; an easy interface and passcode support. Now, available for iOS and Android, Bread showcase a streamlined, highly-intuitive design for a faster transaction with bitcoin.
This wallet is free; easy to use; does not need registration to get started; does not collect client information and provides a new wallet address for every transaction which improves privacy and security for the clientele. And because this wallet is new, you would expect some disadvantages with it – there had been numerous reported issues related with the app lagging and freezing; also, it does not offer two-factor authentication; some of its features require the use of third-party services and it does not currently include replay protection for potential forks in the Blockchain.
Edge is a cryptocurrency wallet for both Android and iOS devices. This was created by the former Airbitz tea, and released last February 2018. In 2014, the development team of Airbitz worked on the user-friendly security solutions for this wallet. In October 2017, Airbotz rebranded to Edge.
Edge is an easy-to-use cryptocurrency wallet that allows users to control and manage their information – like their private keys with ease like using their regular banking apps. Like all wallets that we have just talked about, Edge assures their users that they do not keep your information and that you alone have access to them.
What are Bitcoin wallets?
These are where you store your Bitcoins. Instead of actual or physical cash, these wallets are where your private keys are stored.
What are these private keys?
These private keys will give you access to your Bitcoin address. Private keys are also a way to communicate even in unsecure networks.
What is a Bitcoin address?
A Bitcoin address is much like your bank account number where the Bitcoins would be sent. But in this case, a Bitcoin wallet can have multiple addresses. These are strings of letters and numbers that are used to send you funds. For security and privacy purposes, there is a new Bitcoin address that is generated or produced for every transaction.
How should addresses be written?
Bitcoin addresses are case sensitive so precaution must be taken when choosing the characters. These addresses usually have around 34 characters and numbers and lowercase letter. You may opt to start with 1 or 3 and because you have to be as clear as possible, avoid confusing characters like 0 and O or l and I.
Can I have more than one Bitcoin address?
Yes, you can. The safest and most private way to use Bitcoin is to never recycle an address, but your Bitcoin wallet will be the one to take care of this for you. Once you have reused an address, your wallet software or app will tell you that there is an error or that it is invalid.
What are desirable characteristics of a wallet?
Some of the considerations when choosing a cryptocurrency wallet are the following: cost, security, mobility, convenience. You should ask yourself too whether the wallet is user-friendly and whether you want a certain style or design that you would prefer (if physical Bitcoin wallets). The aforementioned traits are some of the considerations you have to keep in mind when choosing which wallet to choose.
Where do I get this wallet software?
Bitcoin is available everywhere, for everyone. You will be able to find Bitcoin wallets build or created for Android, iPhone, Mac, Windows, Linux and pretty much everything else.
Most of these Bitcoin wallets are ‘open source’ which means that developers can check on how they work and validate if something is suspicious about it.
If Bitcoin does not keep our information, why do we have to sign up?
Some providers will require you to sign up, while others don’t.
It’s not a requirement for Bitcoin for you to disclose your personal information. One of the main goals of Bitcoin is to avoid exposing your identity to anyone but still be able to conduct a transaction.
If a finite amount of Bitcoins gets lost, would it cause excessive deflation, therefore destroy Bitcoin?
Unlike most currencies, Bitcoin will only experience gradual deflation throughout its lifetime. It is so unique that only a small amount of units will ever be produced. This amount has been known since the creation of this cryptocurrency.
If a Bitcoin user loses its wallet, the money is gone from him and in circulation, unless found again. This was designed like this, so as not to be accessed by other Bitcoin users.
The mechanism that Bitcoin has is so special that problems like inflation has been thought of beforehand. Bitcoin offers a simple but very practical solution – infinite divisibility; meaning, it can be divided up and traded into small amounts.
What is a ‘Blockchain’?
Originally called block chain, a blockchain is a large database with all the transactions ever done using Bitcoin. Every transaction is gathered to create a block and every block is gathered to create a chain.
Bitcoin is managed by its network, and not anyone specifically. Decentralization is the opposite, it means that the network is operated through peer-to-peer.
Do I have to download Block chain?
As a normal user of Bitcoin, you don’t have to. You only have to download the parts of the block chain with your transactions on it.
Please explain ‘double spends’
This happens when you get to spend the same money twice with different people. It was a common problem with cryptocurrency until Bitcoin solved it.
Is Bitcoin like BitTorrent?
Yes, it uses a very similar approach in sharing a big database file that is the block chain.
Is Bitcoin legal?
Bitcoin has not been made illegal by legislation in most jurisdictions. Although there are some jurisdictions like Argentina and Russia that bans foreign currency and others (Thailand), limit them to regulate it.
Regulators are into allowing individuals and businesses to be integrated with this new technology in a formal and regulated way.