Amidst the excitement among Bitcoin users, there is always a stomach churn in most users when news about hacked exchanges hit the headlines.
The mere thought of our coins being whizzed away by hackers right under our noses sometimes ends up influencing our choice in whether or not to invest in cryptocurrency. In fact, this is the one thing that keeps risk-averse investors from diving into this lucrative space.
However, crypto burglars are not the only threat you need to deal with – there’s a tale of an investor who once lost his hard disk containing 150 Bitcoins (worth about $955,350 today).
So, how exactly can we protect our coins from hackers and ourselves?
The point is you have got to understand the threats you are shielding yourself from for you to select the best wallet for yourself. If for instance, you do not look after your items, you might consider getting a web-based wallet, which is a wallet that cannot be misplaced or forgotten at your favorite coffee shop.
As such, you can adopt a top-level Bitcoin wallet, one that’s been tested and proven by millions of users. This guide will take you through some of the best industry wallets that have worked for a lot of other users.
Before discussing the various wallets, you might first all want to scratch these two things off your learning list
- What exactly a Bitcoin wallet is and
- The types of Bitcoin wallets.
This Bitcoin wallet reviews will help you understand the different types of wallets, who they are meant for, and why you should go for wallet X over wallet Y or Z.
Ready for all these and more? Here we go.
What is a Bitcoin Wallet?
Generally, a cryptocurrency wallet is the equivalent of a bank account; it enables you to send, receive, and store Bitcoins and other altcoins.
You can think of your wallet as your interface to the Bitcoin network, just like your online bank account acts as your fiat currency system.
With every Bitcoin wallet comes private keys and secret codes to enable you access your digital currency at all times.
In essence, it is not Bitcoin you ultimately store and secure but rather the secret codes.
To cut the long story short, a Bitcoin wallet is a website, an application, or a device that manages a user’s Bitcoin private keys.
Now that you know what a Bitcoin wallet is, let us move on to the next important section of this review.
Types of Bitcoin Wallets
From this point on, I will take you through brief Bitcoin wallet comparisons, their features, and some of the pros and cons.
The wallets will basically be classified into three: web wallets, software wallets, and hardware wallets.
A good number of cryptocurrency users prefer going for web-based wallets since they do not require executable downloads, they have relatively simple interfaces, and they can be accessed from any place with an internet connection.
All these are great attributes, but security is perhaps the most important thing in the crypto space.
Let us look straightaway at our two top-rated Bitcoin wallets in the web category.
BTC.com is an open source Bitcoin wallet established by Bitmain – the company behind Antminer Mining Rigs.
This web-based wallet allows users to store, send, and receive Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash on the web, as well as iOS and Android devices.
BTC.com is hybrid wallet; this means that you get to access the wallet via the web but store your keys on your machine so that BTC.com staff cannot have access to them.
The wallet lets you sign transactions on your device to ensure your private keys remain secure.
BTC.com offers a number of exciting features including:
- Two-factor authentication to provide maximum security for your coins.
- The wallet has the ability to create unlimited Bitcoin addresses for your safe use when sending or receiving funds.
- Users can quickly push priority transactions directly to the BTC mining pool.
- Users of this tool can easily customize their wallets together with their personal profile pictures.
- BTC.com wallet supports multiples currencies: USD, EUR, CNY, PAG, INR, ARS, CRC, GBP, PEN, BOB, NGN, YEN, and UYU.
- Extremely user-friendly
- Top-level security standards
- Open source application
- Provides private storage of user keys
- Prone to hacking since it is web-based
If you have been trading cryptocurrencies for some time, it is possible that you might have come across this Coinbase product. It provides its users with a web-based wallet where they can safely store their coins.
This wallet is similar to BTC.com in the sense that you can store your funds online but maintain your private keys offline on your computer.
- Coinbase contains vault protection, which allows its users to trade their coins with time-delayed withdrawals.
- Users of this wallet can benefit from the insurance policy that the company enjoys.
- The wallet is an all-in-one platform; this means that you can store, buy, and sell popular digital currencies on the platform.
- It contains a mobile application that enables its users to stay on top of the market using the Android or iOS Coinbase app.
- Insures users funds
- Contains an instant buy feature
- Great wallet interface for beginners
- Close monitoring of user accounts
- Credit card transactions are not allowed for US nationals.
Sometimes this group of wallets is considered to be rather ambiguous, perhaps due to its versatility. Software wallets can be used on desktops or laptops.
In a way, web wallets are part of software wallets, since after all, a website or an application is just a piece of software.
Whatever the case, a software wallet is an application that users run on their mobile devices or computers.
Here are two examples of software wallets we highly recommend in this Bitcoin wallet reviews.
Bitcoin Core started off simply as “Bitcoin” when it was first established by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2009.
It was later on renamed Bitcoin-Qt; today, the wallet is known as Bitcoin Core or sometimes as the “Satoshi Client”.
This is native Bitcoin software and it comes with a core node and grants you a number of awesome features.
- It connects to the Bitcoin network as a full node.
- Like most popular wallets, Bitcoin Core can generate QR codes for receiving and sending money.
- The wallet contains Bitcoin-Cli, which users can use to send RPC commands to Bitcoin.
- Bitcoin Core contains a transaction verification engine, which enhances extra security when transacting on the platform.
- The control and autonomy of the crypto assets lies with the user
- Contains stellar security to keep your funds safe
- Not very beginner friendly
Bread, also known as BRD, is a standalone digital currency wallet for iOS and Android users.
Bread connects users directly to the Bitcoin network to grant them quicker access to their crypto assets.
Established in 2015, the wallet’s slick implementation of a mobile Bitcoin wallet is one of its key components.
- Bread wallet incorporates some of the best encryption techniques to provide adequate security to its users.
- The wallet was designed with beginners in mind.
- Being an open source application makes it easy to be acquired by any user.
- It is easy to start using the platform since it does not require registration or signing up.
- The presence of help buttons on all screens makes it easy for users to find solutions to most of the challenges they may face on the platform.
- Easy to use
- Supports Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
- Provides excellent backup recovery options
- Available only on Android and iOS devices
If you think about it, a lot of threats in the cryptocurrency industry can be solved using hardware wallets.
There have always been inherent security risks connected to using Bitcoin since all transactions are conducted on the internet.
Hardware wallets are by far the most secure option for users to store their Bitcoins.
However, hardware wallets cost money.
And we understand…paying for stuff sometimes really sucks, but these wallets enhance unrivaled security compared to their software counterparts.
In this category, I will list the best of them all because you deserve nothing less.
Ledger Nano S Wallet
One of the main reasons why Ledger Nano S is a top-rated wallet is due to its ability to function on any computer using any operating system.
It is compatible with Mac or Linux, as well as Windows operating systems.
Most online Bitcoin wallet ratings seem to place this wallet as the best in existence today. Well, let us find out why.
- The wallet is protected using a secure chip that is locked using a PIN code; the chip is similar to those used for credit cards and passports.
- Ledger Nano S supports over thirty cryptocurrencies, including BTC, Ether, and Litecoin among other coins.
- The wallet contains a backup and a restore feature just in case you lose your wallet or its credentials.
- The wallet has two buttons for executing commands, and all the transactions can be viewed from its screen.
- The wallet is quite affordable
- Supports multiple digital currencies
- Simple and easy-to-use
- None that I know of
The Ledger Nano S is the hardware wallet we highly recommend to Bitcoin and other altcoins users. However, if you need to shop for other hardware wallets, you can check out Trezor and KeepKey. We will be doing a review on these two soon, so be sure to stay tuned.
By now, you probably know that no wallet is truly ever 100% secure.
A number of software and hardware wallets offer close to perfect functionalities, but none is wholly perfect.
One thing all these wallets cannot shield you against is human error. Such errors include online scammers who trick you into sending them your coins or forgetting your account credentials.
Keep in mind that wallets only house your funds and they can only do so much.
Bad things, they say, happen to good people. But I just think that bad things tend to happen to careless good people. No matter how good your wallet may be, you must always play your role in keeping your funds safe.
And if you play it well, everyone should be happy.
There you have it, Bitcoiners!