How to Choose a Bitcoin Wallet?



How do I choose a bitcoin wallet?

You will need a wallet to work with bitcoin: it’s impossible to send or receive cryptocurrency without it. First of all, you have to know for which purpose you are going to use bitcoin. Your aims will dictate the type of wallet you choose.


What types of bitcoin wallets there are?

Bitcoin clients are available for most popular operating systems: Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone and those compatible with them. You can choose between different types of wallets: desktop, mobile, online wallets, or hardware wallets. Some wallets are multiplatform, i.e. available for and synchronizable across different operating systems.


Desktop wallets

You should opt for installing wallet software on your desktop or laptop if you’re going to work with significant amounts of money and seriously care about its safety and security.

There are two kinds of bitcoin clients for desktop computers: heavy and light. The former download the entire blockchain that your computer will later store. This copy takes a great deal of space on your HDD. A light client works with blockchain via third-party services and thus doesn’t require you to download and keep the entire blockchain.

Arguably the most well-known heavy client is Bitcoin Core: it’s an original client based on the original design by Satoshi Nakamoto. It is considered the official client of the bitcoin network. It is highly secure, stable, and confidential. Additionally, there is Armory, another wallet working on top of Bitcoin Core to expand its functionality.

Amongst the light clients, Electrum is worth mentioning: its mission is to make the network operations as fast and easy as possible. There are separate versions of Electrum for altcoins, such as Litecoin and DASH, as well.


Mobile wallets

They are to be installed on iOS and Android smartphones. They are focused on users who are usually away from their desktops or laptops. Such wallets offer access to your bitcoins anytime and anywhere. For that reason, they are a great fit for payments in stores or restaurants.

The most popular clients like Jaxx, Mycelium, Electrum, Bread, Edge, Blocktrail etc usually have the option of payments via QR codes or NFC.


Online wallets

Online wallets are considered a good way for rookie users to try their hand at working with bitcoin. They don’t require any downloads and are accessible through any internet-connected device. Such wallets offer somewhat standard functionality: sending and receiving funds, contacts, notifications, etc.

Even though they are somewhat superior to mobile or desktop wallets in terms of functionality, online wallets are inferior when it comes to security. Using them, you actually hand your money to a third party, so if someone hacks them, chances are you will lose all your funds.


Hardware wallets

Hardware wallets (or HD wallets) are a separate kind of bitcoin wallets. They are external devices you connect to your computer or mobile gadgets via USB or Bluetooth. Such a wallet may be fully autonomous. This way you can stash your bitcoins in some safe physical space where no hacker can access them. HD wallets are generally superior to their traditional peers: they are easy to use and offer security levels that no software wallet can possibly reach.

This comes at a price, however. Hardware wallets are no good for routine use or microtransactions. They are more suitable for long-term investors who own large amounts of cryptocurrency.

Trezor, Ledger Nano S, and KeepKey are the most renowned hardware wallets.

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