A cryptocurrency wallet is just like a regular wallet. It can be used to store and protect Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. A crypto exchange may offer a basic wallet but a specialized wallet will provide extra security and reduce the chance of them being stolen.

These are the top crypto wallets, as well as the basics of how they work.

Best Bitcoin wallets or crypto wallets

These are the most popular digital wallets:

  • Exodus Bitcoin & Crypto Wallet
  • Trezor T
  • Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet
  • Ledger Nano X
  • Edge
  • Wasabi Wallet

What is a cryptocurrency wallet?

A digital wallet is similar to a physical wallet. It can store your currency, in this instance cryptocurrency. Your digital currency is only accessible through the electronic network that tracks and manages it. Therefore, your digital wallet should be able interact with this network.

Experts use the term “wallet” to describe your crypto assets. However, it is more accurate to consider it a (heavily fortified address) to which your money has been accounted. A wallet is a distributed ledger that records crypto transactions. It acts as a long-running receipt for all currency transactions.

A wallet is essential for crypto coins. There is no safe place to keep your cash. Even though it may not be sufficient for heavy users, exchanges like Coinbase and payment apps like CashApp and PayPal offer a basic wallet that can handle transactions.

There are two types of crypto investing: the exchange holds and moves the asset and the actual transaction in cryptocurrency where a wallet is required to send and receive money. The custodian is responsible for maintaining the asset, while the user of a specialized wallet has the ability and responsibility to protect the asset.

Crypto wallets have many advantages

You can use a digital wallet to receive payments, as well as store your payment keys to send crypto coins to other people. It’s very similar to other digital wallets like CashApp or PayPal, which you might already use for regular currency.

Users can take control of their coins by using a specialized wallet. A wallet at an exchange can be compared to having your money in a bank. However, having your own wallet would be like having your currency in your possession.

The specialized wallets are distinguished from the more common ones by their higher security level and other features that attract users who have greater expectations (or fear). These wallets do not have the control of a third party, so they are not vulnerable to large-scale hacking or fraudulent custodians absconding with clients’ assets.

This arrangement means that only you, and you alone, will be responsible for your holdings. This is a positive feature that many see as it doesn’t require you to rely on another person for custody.

Crypto wallets have their disadvantages

However, the absence of a third party is a knife which cuts both ways, at most when it comes accessibility.

The wallet metaphor is still useful, at most partially. If your real wallet is lost, the money could disappear, possibly due to theft. If you have a crypto wallet you might lose the wallet (which may be a physical item) or your password. This will make it impossible to claim ownership of your stored currency. You could lose your crypto in any way.

Hardware wallets can be susceptible to physical problems, including degradation, destruction, or incapacitation via other means.

Depending on the type of crypto wallet you have, it may cause friction when you actually use your cryptocurrency. Some wallets are not able to handle certain types of coins. Others may not be physically offline. This makes coins nearly impervious to electronic theft and renders them useless as a way to exchange. However, they can be transferred to a wallet later for future use.

Mobile wallets are more convenient for making actual payments while desktop wallets are less suitable for paying for merchandise at home.

The convenience issue when it comes payment is also a concern. A wallet may not be as useful if it is unable to accept credit cards or swipe them.

What are the types of crypto wallets available?

Generally speaking, there are two main types of crypto wallets: cold wallets or hardware wallets and hot wallets or software wallets.

Hardware wallets

physical wallet protects your cryptocurrency with a physical device. It is a physical wallet that looks a lot like a USB thumb drive. It holds your crypto keys, which allow you to transact with the currency and effectively to own it.

This wallet has the advantage that it can be disconnected from the internet, but not connected to it. Your coins are safe from electronic theft since they don’t require an internet connection. They are still susceptible to theft, loss of the password and physical theft. You can connect the wallet to your computer to transfer money.

A hardware wallet is intended for safekeeping, not for transactions. It’s also known as a cold wallet. Trezor T, Ledger NanoX and Ledger NanoX are two of the most popular manufacturers of hardware wallets.

Software wallets

software wallet, on the other hand, relies on software to protect your cryptocurrency. Because they are connected to the internet, software wallets are generally less secure than hardware wallets. They are also intended to be used as you pay for items, so they are called hot wallets. You might not want to keep more than you plan to spend, just like you would with a physical wallet.

There are many hot wallets to choose from, depending on how they interface with you.

  • Desktop walletsYou can download software to manage your crypto holdings directly from your desktop wallet. This wallet offers security and convenience in a sensible balance. You can use your wallet to make purchases, but you can also withdraw it offline, making your wallet unaccessible to potential thieves.
  • Web walletsA web wallet is a plug-in for your browser that connects to the Blockchain to complete a transaction. Although it is easy to connect to the blockchain quickly, it is less secure than cold wallets.
  • Mobile walletsIf you use your smartphone, usually Android or iOS, to pay someone, a mobile wallet is a great payment option.

Software providers may offer multiple types of hot wallets so that you have one solution for multiple devices. Many top hot wallets integrate with major hardware wallets like Trezor or Ledger. So make sure to use wallets that work together.

Exodus Bitcoin & Crypto Wallet (available on desktop and mobile), Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet(mobile), Edge (mobile), and Wasabi Wallet ($desktop) are some of the most popular hot wallets.

There are other things you should consider

You should consider other factors when making your decision, besides the wallet type and brand.

  • Your needsWhat are you looking for in a wallet Do you plan to transact or just keep your cryptocurrency? A hot wallet is better for regular transactions, but long-term investors who buy and hold will find a cold wallet more convenient. You may prefer to keep the majority of your cash in a cold wallet while you make a few transactions via a hot wallet.
  • Cost:Hardware wallets typically require an upfront payment of $60 to $120. Software wallets can be downloaded for free, but there is a fixed per-transaction fee.
  • Support for certain currenciesIt is important to make sure that your wallet supports the cryptocurrency you are dealing with. Bitcoin is a common cryptocurrency, but it may not be the most widely used digital currency. Make sure you check.
  • ConvenienceYou should make sure your wallet can be used for its intended purpose and is easy to use if you carry it around. If not, it’s useless.
  • Feature setTo ensure that the wallet you are considering buying has all of the features you require, not just currency specific ones, double-check it. Is your software wallet compatible with the hardware wallet you want to use?

You’ll need to ensure that it suits your needs, just like any product. You might have the most beautiful wallet, but it won’t be the best for you if you don’t need the features.

Bottom line

The world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is wild and new. When you are looking for a digital wallet make sure you know what you want. You have a lot at stake and you want to feel confident with the solution you choose. It must also meet your needs.