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There is often a lot of focus on how to buy Bitcoin and where the price is going to move. It is easy to overlook one of the most important aspects when buying Bitcoin. If users and investors do not store their Bitcoin in high-quality wallets, there is the risk that they could lose their funds forever. On this page, we will guide you in choosing the best and safest Bitcoin wallets for you.
There is always the issue that if you don’t control your Bitcoin in your own wallet, it is not really your Bitcoin. You may believe that the Bitcoin you leave on an exchange is yours but if the exchange gets hacked, the Bitcoin will likely not be retrieved. In this article, we analyse the top wallets to store and secure Bitcoin.
Hardware wallets are the safest Bitcoin wallets for several reasons. The Ledger Nano S, along with its younger brother, the Nano X, has support for the widest number of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin Gold. Hardware wallets leverage the benefits of both cold and hot storage. This means that they are offline most of the time but can connect to transfer and receive funds when required.
Hot storage devices are ones where funds are connected to the internet continuously and enable the user to send and receive transactions. The wallet can connect to the Internet via connection to a computer or mobile phone. The Nano S can connect via USB, however, the Nano X also features Bluetooth connectivity. The private key for the wallet is stored on the device itself so that the wallet is secure even if it is used on a compromised computer.
Ledger Nano S comes in a sealed package so that users know if the device has been tampered with. There is a clear recovery process when users are setting up the device. If the user loses their device or it gets stolen, the recovery seed can be easily used on another device to recover the funds.
When users want to send transactions or monitor their account balance, they can easily connect their device to the computer and access an interface Ledger provides, through its Chrome application. Users can generate their addresses or a QR code to receive transactions.
There are also mobile wallets which support importing Ledger Nano S. This means that users can generate a watch-only wallet where they can monitor changes in the wallet and also receive transactions via a QR code on their mobile. Users will still have to plug their device in to send transactions.
The list of reasons why the Nano S is one of the safest Bitcoin wallets around is surprisingly long. This physical device is continually updated by the manufacturers to resist new threats and attacks. The easiest way to check for firmware updates is through the Ledger Live app. In this way, you will first be able to confirm a new update before needing to connect your wallet.
Ledger wallets have long been considered to be the most secure Bitcoin wallets around, but they have recently managed to further improve their devices with the introduction of multi-signature access. Through a seamless partnership linking the Ledger API with Coinkite, you are now able to add an extra layer of protection for your funds. In addition, should either Ledger or Coinkite go out of business, you would still be able to recover your funds through BIP39 backups and simple scripting tools.
Having a backup device is an important part of protecting your funds whilst also gaining access in case you lose your primary access. When you purchase the Nano S or Nano X, you will have an opportunity to buy a second device at a discounted price. This second device can act as your Bitcoin wallet backup, ensuring that should you lose access to your primary device, a redundancy one is ready to step in.
As a result of all of these measures, Ledger continues to top the charts of the safest Bitcoin wallet in the world.
Trezor is another leading hardware device and the longest operating one out of the three safest Bitcoin wallets. The Trezor hardware wallet, which was developed by SatoshiLabs, was initially released in 2014. The private key for the wallet is stored on the device itself making it highly secure. Trezor applies a high level of encryption to secure funds stored in the wallet. Even if the device is used on a compromised computer, sensitive details will not be leaked due to this encryption.
The Trezor wallet arrives in a sealed package. Users can know if the package has been tampered with based on if the seal is broken or not. Clear set-up instructions are provided in the package which makes the set-up process straightforward for beginners.
It is important to take careful note of the recovery seed provided and the instructions will also emphasize this. This can be used to recover funds in the event that the device is lost or stolen. If the device is stolen, no-one will be able to access it due to the high level of encryption. It is important to carefully store the recovery seed as if it is accessed by someone else, they will be able to access the funds on another device.
Trezor also has extra applications and features. The Trezor password manager applies the high level of encryption of the Trezor device to manage passwords so they are protected. Overall, hardware wallets such as Trezor and Ledger Nano S are the best option for users who take their security seriously. They require an initial investment but when users hold a significant amount of cryptocurrencies, it’s worth securing them.
Trezor has two different models. The initial Trezor Model One was the device released in 2014. In 2017, Trezor released the Model T. The key difference with the newer model is that it has a colour touchscreen and no buttons.
There are several steps you can take to protect your cryptocurrencies on a Trezor wallet. A simple, yet effective step is to continually update your firmware as new software becomes available. Use your Android or iOS Trezor app to check for new updates. If an update is available, connect the device in bootloader mode. It is important to note that if a bootloader is genuine it should not prompt a warning on your device.
Another way of ensuring that you have the safest Bitcoin wallet around is to activate the Trezor multi-sig feature. Requiring multiple access codes in order to process transactions is one of the best ways to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your funds. Trezor has partnered with Electrum in order to offer this feature, and you can find more details on this from the Trezor official website.
Losing access to the primary Trezor device is a concern shared by most users. Fortunately, the device manufacturer offers a convenient way to create a backup. You can choose between a simple or Shamir backup. The simple version is just a 12 – 24 word phrase which you must re-enter in its entirety, whereas the Shamir version lets you input 20 words whilst only requiring a share of these words to access your funds. The advantage of the Shamir version is that it offers a possible remedy if you happen to lose or forget part of your passphrase.
Mycelium is a highly regarded mobile wallet that focuses solely on Bitcoin. Users can use it to secure, send, and receive Bitcoin easily through their phone as is the case with most wallets. The private key is stored by Mycelium but advanced encryption is applied making it accessible to only the wallet user.
The high level of security along with potential integrations is what makes Mycelium stand above other mobile wallets. The wallet is hierarchical deterministic which enables users of the wallet to generate multiple public and private key pairs.
With hardware wallets such as Trezor and Ledger Nano S, the device needs to be connected to a computer to monitor the account balance. Mycelium enables the Ledger Nano S and Trezor wallets to be imported so that users can monitor the account balances from their mobile. Other integrations enable users to hedge investments against fiat currency and to pay their bills within the SEPA region.
As an online wallet, Mycelium is not as safe as cold storage alternatives. However, the iPhone-friendly mobile wallet is considered to be one of the safest Bitcoin wallets due to the advanced security features it provides.
Mycelium is continually updated to tackle the latest security vulnerabilities and threats. Carrying out an update is very simple, and you are usually prompted to do so directly from the app. Moreover, you can protect your funds by creating a strong, 12-word paraphrase in order to recover your funds should you lose primary access to your Mycelium app.
Desktop & Mobile Wallet
Electrum is a desktop wallet that only supports Bitcoin. The wallet is compatible with Windows, OSX, and Linux. There is also a version available for Android. The wallet has a high standard of security and is considered to be amongst the safest Bitcoin wallets for computers. The private keys are encrypted and stored on the user’s device and kept offline. Users can also keep the wallet itself offline so that the funds are in cold storage.
This means that wallet users would not be able to send any transactions as the wallet would not be connected to the internet but the funds would benefit from a greater level of security. Users setting up the Electrum wallet will be taken through a clear recovery process. They also have the option to enable two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.
It can also be integrated with hardware devices so that users can monitor the balance of their hardware wallet and also accept transactions via the QR which can be generated. The wallet was created in 2011 giving it a long history and strong reputation. The code for the wallet is also open source which has enabled numerous developers to contribute to the project and to also assess the security of the project.
Electrum has partnered with manufacturers of the safest Bitcoin wallets, namely Ledger and Trezor, to offer a multi-signature option to its users. Activating this feature will add multiple additional layers of protection since you can even set three signatures if you own enough devices. In this way, your Bitcoin will be protected even if one of your devices falls in the wrong hands.
The desktop wallet is constantly updated and you should always accept official security updates to keep your Bitcoin protected. Updates are normally very quick but remain one of the best defences against cyber attacks.
Electrum’s backup process is centred around the 12-word passphrase which you are required to set up on initiation. Should you lose access to your computer, this passphrase it the only way for you to regain access to your funds.
On Paper Based Wallet
Paper wallets are another option for storing and securing Bitcoin. It makes it more difficult to send transactions but users can easily receive transactions and secure them offline. Paper wallets provide both a public and private key on paper. Users can use the public key to receive transactions which will be stored offline in cold storage.
To send transactions, users import the private key into services which enable users to import paper wallets such as blockchain.com. Paper wallet providers such as bitcoinpaperwallet.com and walletgenerator.net enable users to easily generate paper wallets for Bitcoin.
At first glance, paper wallets might appear insecure, but in fact, they can be considered to be one of the safest Bitcoin wallets around. This is mainly due to the fact that they have no Internet access and cannot be tampered with remotely. As such, paper wallets do not need any updates or additional protection, such as multi-signature.
The main vulnerability of paper wallets is that all their security keys are available to the naked eye. Should you lose your paper wallet there is no way to recover it, unless you have a backup. In the case of such wallets, a backup can be as simple as a photocopy or photo. However, should the paper wallet or its backup get into the wrong hands, your funds can be lost very easily. You should therefore store paper wallets and backups in secure locations.
Mobile & Web Wallet
Although web-based wallets typically have a poor level of security, Blockchain has built a considerable reputation as a wallet provider. It has provided over 31 Million wallets and its wallets are available in both the web browser and on Android and iOS. One of the key benefits of the wallet is the ease of use.
The wallet is extremely straightforward for a user to set-up and use. The wallet is available in 25 languages and in countries around the world, including the US, UK, and Australia. One of the main drawbacks is that the private key of the wallet is stored by Blockchain. Encryption is applied so that the private key can only be accessed with a password.
The mobile support makes it easy for users to integrate Bitcoin into their day-to-day life. Users can easily send, receive, and store Bitcoin with the Blockchain wallet. A QR code can be generated to easily receive Bitcoin. The wallet also provides exchange services enabling users to exchange between cryptocurrencies. Other supported cryptocurrencies include Ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Stellar Lumens.
Blockchain is one of the safest Bitcoin wallets to offer direct currency conversion. The wallet has several useful features and benefits, including being hierarchical deterministic and having multi-sig functionality. In its effort to be transparent, the wallet is open-source, allowing developers to assess its level of security.
This wallet has many safety features which have already been mentioned on this guide of the safest Bitcoin wallets. Updates are automatic and can be downloaded with a click. Similarly, your funds can be backed up using a unique passphrase you input upon signing up.
Exchange Platform-Based Wallet
Kraken is a safe and reliable cryptocurrency exchange which offers a free, multi-currency wallet. It is generally not a good idea to keep a significant amount of funds in such a wallet since these are considered to be less secure than other alternatives mentioned on this page. However, the Kraken wallet can provide a convenient way to exchange funds quickly, especially if you are trading Bitcoin.
Kraken was the first exchange to conduct a proof of reserves audit. Users can independently verify that the exchange holds each users funds by providing a way for users to cryptographically check that the exchange holds their balance. Kraken also holds the vast majority of users funds in cold storage.
Storing your funds in a Kraken wallet means that you are protected by the security features of the exchange. These include constant updates and powerful firewalls that protect both data and funds. Kraken lets you activate a multi-sig log in option which is an important way to protect your funds. The exchange wallet also offers a backup in case you forget your primary password.
The Coinbase exchange platform offers an excellent wallet service especially for beginners. Wallets can be confusing at the start. If overwhelmed with the different options and features, it is sometimes better to use an exchange. If a wallet is being used and the user does not understand how to operate it, there is the possibility that the user could make a mistake and risk losing the funds.
The most well-known exchange for simplifying the process of buying and storing Bitcoin is Coinbase. It enables users to purchase Bitcoin with their fiat currency by either depositing to their account through a wire or SEPA transfer or purchasing immediately via prepaid card.
Coinbase has simplified the wallet so that is understandable for the everyday beginner. When depositing, users will have a wallet for their fiat currencies and they will have a separate wallet for their cryptocurrency once it is purchased.
Users can also easily send and receive from the cryptocurrency wallet. A QR code or address can be used to receive cryptocurrency. The security of the wallet is not optimal as it places Coinbase in control of the funds but it is easily understandable to those with little experience.
Coinbase is available across the world, including the US, UK, and Australia. It supports a diverse selection of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ripple, and Stellar. It is important to note, however, that whilst the exchange offers an in-built wallet as part of its package, the company also offers a separate one, Coinbase Wallet with different features.
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Coinbase is considered to be one of the safest Bitcoin wallets due to the fact that it insures funds against loss from fraud. In addition, the world’s largest broker protects users, funds and transactions through constant security updates and screening. Moreover, you can activate 2-FA to further protect your account from any potential cyberattack.
Each wallet has its own benefits and drawbacks. The additional wallets noted below are worth strong consideration and may even cater better for some specific needs you may have when securing Bitcoin.
If users are willing to invest in a hardware wallet, there are other options apart from Trezor and Ledger Nano S. KeepKey is the other major hardware wallet provider. Blockchain has also recently released their own hardware wallet which may become a major provider going forward.
If supporting multiple cryptocurrencies and the ability to exchange between them is what users are seeking, Exodus provides a strong desktop wallet. The wallet supports almost 100 cryptocurrencies and users can easily exchange between them via an integration with ShapeShift. The interface is professionally designed as well and enables users to view their cryptocurrency holdings at one glance.
BTC.com operate a wallet similar to Blockchain. They have a strong focus on making it easy for users to set up and operate the wallet. The wallet is supported in the web browser, and on the Mobile in both Android and iOS. Private keys are stored by BTC.com but are encrypted with users’ passwords. The wallet also has two-factor authentication if users wish to add an extra layer of security and supports multisig transactions.
There are hundreds of different Bitcoin wallets out there, but the best ones are listed in this page.
Bitcoin wallets work like any other cryptocurrency wallet. The wallet stores your Bitcoin until you need to move them.
Yes, depending on the type of Bitcoin wallet you choose, hackers might gain access to your funds. The safest way to prevent hacking is to invest in a cold storage or hardware wallet.
You can have as many Bitcoin wallets as you wish but it is recommended to have at least two as a backup.
In order to transfer Bitcoin between wallets you will need to provide the wallet sending the coins with the address of the wallet receiving them.
Whilst the majority of hot Bitcoin wallets are free to use, the safer, cold Bitcoin wallets range from around $45 to $200 and more.