Business

The best bitcoin wallets for storing and securing your cryptocurrency

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective. Terms apply to offers listed on this page. Read our editorial standards.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have been around for more than a decade, but in the past few years they’ve moved beyond a niche investment to the mainstream. Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Paypal now accept bitcoin and other virtual assets as forms of payment, and — despite several price fluctuations in 2021 — bitcoin’s price currently sits at more than $37,024 as of May 5, 2022.

If you’re looking to invest in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency like ethereum or litecoin, you’ll need to pick an exchange (e.g., Coinbase or Kraken) that offers such assets, as well as a “wallet” to store and secure your private key code for accessing your assets. But crypto exchanges aren’t your only option; some investment apps let you buy crypto (SoFi Invest, Webull, and Robinhood all let you trade cryptocurrencies).

Crypto wallets are usually available in the form of “hot” wallets or “cold” wallets. (Hot wallets are used for online storage, while cold wallets provide offline storage through hardware and external devices).

We’ve compiled some of the best bitcoin wallets for storing your private key code below. Bitcoin is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, but note that many of these bitcoin wallet picks also support ethereum, litecoin, and multiple other cryptocurrencies.

Best overall: Exodus crypto wallet

Why it stands out: Exodus crypto wallet offers cryptocurrency exchange services for desktop, mobile, and hardware crypto wallets. Exodus’ account features also include live charts and portfolio data, 24/7 customer support, a built-in exchange, and more than 150 cryptocurrency assets.

If you want, you can also manage your assets using both Exodus and Trezor, another popular bitcoin wallet. You don’t need to use multiple wallets, but some users might prefer having multiple wallets as an additional security measure for their assets. 

Exodus and Trezor’s partnership caters to those who prefer hardware security since you’d be able to securely manage your assets offline while simultaneously using the Exodus platform. Exodus typically receives 2-5% on each asset exchange, but the firm generally doesn’t charge you any fees to use its software.

What to look out for: Exodus crypto wallet mainly caters to hot wallet (software) users. It may not be suitable for the hardware-minded traders, unless you plan to use a Trezor device with the app. 

Best for advanced users: Electrum crypto wallet

Why it stands out: Launched just two years after bitcoin was created, Electrum crypto wallet specializes in private key encryption and two-factor authentication. Like Exodus, Electrum is a hot wallet that gives you online encryption for your crypto information. 

Electrum crypto wallet verifies that all of your bitcoin transactions are in the bitcoin blockchain, and its Multisig feature allows you to spend bitcoin between multiple wallets. Electrum also supports other wallets, including Ledger, Trezor, and Keepkey. 

In addition, Electrum says it offers several interfaces that you can use on mobile, desktop, or with its command line interface. However, with its cold storage offering, you can sign transactions from an offline computer, according to its website.

What to look out for: Electrum crypto wallet doesn’t offer traditional phone customer support. However, the company provides helpful information in its documentation and FAQ sections, it offers a Reddit support page, and it allows you to ask questions on bitcointalk.org. Another thing to note is that, while Electrum supports other wallets, it only allows for bitcoin transactions. This may be a downside for those interested in exploring other cryptocurrencies.

Best for Android users: OPOLO crypto wallet

Why it stands out: Based in Luxembourg, OPOLO crypto wallet provides its own free and encrypted hardware wallets that utilize EAL 6+ rated secure chips (EAL certifications are security certifications used for hardware wallets). This means you’ll be able to store any crypto assets offline. OPOLO also says it offers genuine device check, USB encryption, anti-theft protection, PCB encapsulation, randomized keyboard access, and virus-free usage.

You can set up bitcoin wallets, ethereum wallets, or take advantage of more than 120 other coins. As for tokens (these are also virtual assets, but unlike coins, they’re formed through blockchains that have already been created), OPOLO crypto wallet currently offers more than 280,260. Thanks to the company’s security measures, its bitcoin hardware wallet allows you to backup and recover any assets.

OPOLO’s mobile app is only available on Android devices, but the wallet is also available on Mac, Windows, and Linux for users with desktops or laptops. 

What to look out for: Keep in mind that the OPOLO crypto wallet mobile app is best for Android users. If you don’t have an Android phone, you can still download the OPOLO hardwallet on your desktop or laptop. With Android app, however, you’ll be able to exchange cryptocurrencies from your phone. 

Best for mobile users: Mycelium crypto wallet

Why it stands out: Formed in 2008, Mycelium crypto wallet is another popular bitcoin wallet that offers a wide range of storage services. Among these are advanced cold storage, spending and savings accounts for bitcoin investors, and inter-wallet operability. The Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) created inter-wallet operability to make it easier for crypto holders to send or receive coins across different blockchains or wallets). You can download Mycelium for free.

The company says its wallets are 100% secure and allow for open-source, incognito use. Mycelium’s wallets are also reproducible, and the platform is compatible with Trezor, Ledger, and KeepKey hardware wallets. 

Though Mycelium crypto wallet is mainly a bitcoin-focused wallet, it also supports ethereum and other ERC-20 tokens. Additional features include in-app exchange, trading, and educational resources. 

What to look out for: Mycelium’s customer support is primarily available through email.

Best for digital storage: Cobo crypto wallet

Why it stands out: Though it formerly offerd hardware wallets through Cobo Vault, Cobo crypto wallet transitioned to provide a digital Cloud wallet for its users. The app offers support for more than 40 coins and more than 180 tokens, and iOS and Android users can take advantage of these perks.

Cobo also offers features like multi-factor authentication, hot-cold storage, and multi-signature storage for private keys. And institutions can utilize its Cobo Custody crypto services.

What to look out for: Cobo crypto wallet isn’t best choice if you’re solely in search of hardware crypto storage. 

Best for software storage: Wasabi crypto wallet

Why it stands out: Available on Mac, Windows, and Linux desktop devices, Wasabi crypto wallet is a free hot wallet that offers open-source, non-custodial storage for bitcoin investors. Wasabi also offers trustless CoinJoin transactions that allow you to merge your coins with other users in one transaction to prevent third-parties or hackers from tracing where each coin came from, according to its wesbite.

This feature doesn’t compromise you coins’ security, though. Neither you nor the other users will be able to trace where each coin came from. Wasabi crypto wallet says this eliminates the risk of stolen funds because — unlike regular transactions where there’s one sender and one receiver — it’s more difficult for outside parties to trace.

What to look out for: Wasabi crypto wallet is available on multiple desktop devices, but you won’t be able to access it on iOS or Android mobile phones.

Best for beginners: Shift Crypto wallet

Why it stands out: With Shift Crypto wallet‘s BitBox02 hardware wallet, you can store your crypto private key and manage any assets offline through an external chip. The first version of the BitBox02 wallet supports bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, and more than 1,500 other cryptocurrencies. 

But Shift Crypto wallet also provides a bitcoin-only edition. This version could be a great fit for you if you’re only looking to store bitcoin. It relies on bitcoin-only firmware and offers compatibility with the BitBoxApp, Electrum, Specter, and Sparrow. 

The BitBoxApp gives you desktop access. Shift Crypto wallet stopped selling its other product — BitBox01 — in 2019. 

What to look out for: If you’re a fan of mobile access, you’ll only be able to use Shift Crypto on Android devices. 

Best for Bitcoin-only investors: CoinKite crypto wallet

Why it stands out: CoinKite crypto wallet makes several crypto hardware wallets that offer external security for crypto investors, but its coldcard wallet could be particularly suitable for bitcoin-focused traders. Its bitcoin-only coldcard wallet signs your crypto transactions to keep your private key offline. 

The wallet — which is available as a specialized chip and numeric keypad — is also compatible with the following crypto wallets: Bitcoin Core, Electrum, BTCPay, Specter-Desktop, Wasabi, Fully Noded, Unchained Capital, Casa, BlueWallet, Coldcore, Sparrow, and many more.

CoinKite crypto wallet‘s other offerings include Opendime, BlockClock Mini, Seedplate, Coldpower, Coinkite terminal, and Bitcoin server.

What to look out for: Keep in mind that the coldcard wallet is an external, offline crypto storage device. If you’re looking for online storage, you’ll need to consider other options.

Other Bitcoin wallets we considered

  • Ledger: Ledger is a popular hardware wallet that launched in 2014. The company offers two different types of Ledger wallets — Ledger Nano S and Ledger Nano X — and a Crypto Starter pack that helps beginner crypto users enhance their knowledge. But be prepared to pay a fee for each hardware chip.
  • Metamask: Metamask is available both on mobile devices and as a browser extension. The company offers private key storage, a secure login, a token wallet, and a token exchange that allows you to buy, send, or swap tokens. However, Metamask mainly supports ethereum (ETH) and ERC tokens. 
  • Trezor: Trezor is considered a cold wallet since it primarily offers offline storage through an external USB-like device. As with Ledger, Trezor offers two storage options: Trezor One and Trezor Model T. Both options offer Bitcoin-only firmware and more than 1,600 cryptocurrencies. However, some of Trezor’s advanced products can be pricey.
  • Guarda: Available on desktop and mobile devices, Guarda is a non-custodial (meaning you, and only you, retain complete ownership over your private key and crypto assets) crypto wallet that gives users access to several competitive features. These include instant crypto exchanges on more than 50 coins, staking with up to 40% annual yield, and Ethereum staking rewards up to 4%. If you plan to exchange assets, though, be prepared for small service fees.
  • Trust Wallet: Unlike the other wallets mentioned above, Trust is solely for mobile storage. If you’ve got a smartphone, you can download the wallet on iOS or Android devices. While Trust lets you store, purchase and exchange crypto, it also allows you to earn up to 11% APR through crypto staking. But the wallet may not be the best choice for desktop-minded users.
  • Blockchain: Blockchain is a hot wallet that let offers online encryption and gives you complete custody over your crypto assets. The wallet also offers a Blockchain data API, crypto data charts, interest-bearing accounts, and real-time crypto prices. You can hold or exchange bitcoin, ethereum, and others, but the company’s total number of tradeable assets is limited. 
  • Edge: Edge allows client-side encryption, meaning that your data and information are completely encrypted on your end, and Edge doesn’t have access to any of it, according to its website. Along with the fact that it lets you buy, store, or trade bitcoin, ethereum, and other coins, Edge says it relies on a zero-knowledge security architecture. The company doesn’t ask for your email, phone number, or other personal info when creating an account. Similar to Trust, Edge is primarily for mobile users.

How we determined the winners

We reviewed several crypto wallets to find the best options for low fees, safe (and secure) storage, cryptocurrency asset choices, and user interfaces.

We also considered a number of other factors, including customer support access, wallet custody, educational resources, and wallet compatibility. Some crypto wallets are compatible with other storage platforms. For instance, Mycelium currently supports Trezor, Ledger, and KeepKey hardware wallets. 

Frequently asked questions

Why trust us?

Our mission at Personal Finance Insider is to help smart people make the wisest decisions with their money. Since the word “best” can be subjective, we highlight both the benefits and the limitations of crypto wallets.

We spent hours comparing and contrasting the features and offerings of various bitcoin and crypto wallets so you don’t have to. 

What is a bitcoin wallet?

Bitcoin and crypto wallets are essentially online — and sometimes offline — storage platforms that provide encryption for your private key and give you custody over your cryptocurrency assets. When you first purchase crypto, you receive both a public key and a private key. 

Typically available as a set of numbers, you can think of public keys as publicly available email addresses that are used to verify your identity when you exchange crypto assets. However, private keys are secret codes that give you access to your cryptocurrencies. These codes hold the key to your money, which is why traders turn to wallets for safe storage.

But remember the difference between cold wallets and hot wallets. Cold wallets are crypto platforms that offer offline storage, and hot wallets are platforms that provide online storage. 

Are bitcoin wallets worth it?

This depends on how much security you’re looking for. Crypto wallets were created to protect your private key and crypto assets against security breaches. While most wallets give you complete custody over your assets, not all cryptocurrency exchanges and investment platforms do (and custody doesn’t always guarantee complete security).

And some platforms may have limits when it comes to transferring existing crypto balances. For instance, though it currently has a crypto wallet waitlist, Robinhood has long prevented users from transfering crypto into or out of their accounts. If you’re planning to use an exchange’s built-in wallet, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with its storage and/or crypto transfer capabilities.

If you’re looking for external storage for your assets, cold wallets (offline storage chips) are probably the best option for you. Hot wallets could be a better fit if you prefer online software storage.

How do I use a bitcoin wallet?

If you’re interested in securing your cryptocurrencies with a Bitcoin wallet, you’ll first need to create an account with your desired platform. Most non-custodial wallets (wallets that you hold complete custody over) offer downloadable software that you can use to secure your private key and crypto assets.

However, if you’re using a hardware wallet, you’ll likely need a USB cable to connect to your platform’s external storage chip. Once you’ve created your account, connected the necessary devices or downloaded any required software, you’ll be able to transfer over any existing crypto assets.

Do I need a crypto wallet to buy bitcoin?

You don’t necessarily have to set up your own Bitcoin wallet to store your assets. Some crypto exchanges — like Kraken, Coinbase, and CEX.IO — offer their own wallets to users. The difference between these platforms, though, and the Bitcoin wallets mentioned above, is mainly one of security and custody.

If you’d prefer to have complete custody or control over your money, you’ll probably need a non-custodial bitcoin wallet. Unlike most crypto exchanges, these stand-alone wallets give you absolute control and security over your crypto assets. With the crypto exchange wallet, the exchange itself would still have some level of control over your assets.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Powered by WPeMatico

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Popular

To Top