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Ranking the best bitcoin wallets of 2019

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If you’ve heard about Bitcoin, you almost certainly heard of Bitcoin wallets.

Bitcoin wallets are computer files that can hold an infinite amount of Bitcoin. Wallets are necessary for storing Bitcoin as well as transferring it to other users.

Each Bitcoin wallet has a unique wallet address, a random string of numbers and letters that identify the wallet on the Bitcoin blockchain. To send Bitcoin to another user, you need to know their wallet address and vice versa.

Bitcoin wallets are broadly separated into two categories: software wallets and hardware wallets. Software wallets are digital applications that you access via a mobile device or computer, while hardware wallets (sometimes known as “cold storage”) are physical devices on which you store your Bitcoin.

Here’s a rundown of the best wallets for Bitcoin.

10. Wallet Generator

Wallet Generator is a simple, no-frills paper wallet system. A paper wallet is a low-tech hardware wallet that consists of a piece of paper with the wallet’s public and private keys printed on it in QR code format. You then store this piece of paper in a secure location.

The biggest advantages of Wallet Generator are that it is easy to use and gives total control to the user. Anyone can use Wallet Generator by simply filling out the web form and printing the wallet off. All you need is a computer, a printer, and a secure location to store papers. There is no learning curve at all.

Additionally, with a paper wallet, you don’t have to worry about hackers or security breaches like you would with a software wallet, nor do you have to worry about hardware failures with a hardware wallet such as Ledger or Trezor’s devices. You simply need to print off a piece of paper and securely store it.

The biggest problem with Wallet Generator is that it is ill-suited for any kind of transaction. Paper wallets are the cryptocurrency version of keeping your money under the mattress; good for absolute security, but bad if you need freedom and functionality.

Additionally, because there are no accounts or records of your paper wallet aside from the paper itself, if you lose or damage your paper wallet, you cannot recover your funds. It’s a good idea to laminate the paper wallet after printing it to secure it against water damage.

Wallet Generator is a good choice for those who don’t want to deal with the complexities of software and hardware wallets and simply want the most secure option for storing their Bitcoin. While it’s a poor choice for traders and those who need to make frequent transactions, if you have Bitcoin that you simply want to store and hold for a long time, Wallet Generator is a good option.

9. Samourai Wallet

Samourai Wallet is a mobile wallet that places specific emphasis on security and user privacy. Indeed, the wallet’s creation was designed to bring it in line with Bitcoin’s original purpose: decentralized, private transactions.

One of Samourai Wallet’s most notable features is its private transaction system. Because Bitcoin wallet addresses are publicly traceable, each time you make a transaction using Samourai Wallet, it will generate a new address in order to keep your transactions from being traced. Samourai Wallet also boasts the Ricochet feature, which is designed to confuse and misdirect anyone who is attempting to trace transactions on the network.

Adding to this, Samourai Wallet is compatible with both Tor and VPNs. This allows you to conduct transactions while keeping your true location hidden. The wallet also boasts SMS command functionality, allowing you to recover your funds if you switch mobile devices or even wipe your account clean in the event your device is stolen.

Samourai Wallet even has a “stealth mode,” which removes the app icon from your apps list unless you dial your PIN into the phone pad, allowing you to hide your Bitcoin activity from prying eyes.

One convenient feature built into Samourai Wallet is adjustable transfer fees. This allows you to speed up transactions by increasing the fee that you pay for each transaction. This is helpful if you want to make transactions quickly.

Samourai Wallet’s major downside is that it is currently only available for Android devices. Additionally, some may find its security features to be overkill. Samourai Wallet is ideally designed for those in more repressive countries, who need to keep their online activities hidden.

However, for users who need the utmost privacy in a software wallet as well as the ability to make fast and reliable transactions, Samourai Wallet is a strong choice.

8. Ledger

Ledger is recognized as one of the world’s leaders in reliable hardware wallets. The Ledger Nano S in particular is a compact, USB drive-sized wallet that is compatible with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It uses PIN codes for security and also features a private key system, as well as a recovery sheet in case you lose or break the device.

In addition to its security features, Ledger wallets are compatible with a number of software wallets and also allow the installation of third-party apps. It also has a straightforward installation process and its recovery process can be completed using the device itself without having to connect it to a computer.

One of Ledger’s biggest selling points is cost, with Ledger devices priced more inexpensively compared to Trezor wallets. This makes Ledger a good choice for those who want to keep their Bitcoin in cold storage without breaking the bank. Ledger devices are compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers.

One minor problem with Ledger is that it does not use open-source software. Additionally, if your recovery sheet is stolen, whoever takes it will be able to gain access to your funds.

However, if you can overcome these hurdles, Ledger’s hardware wallets are a good, budget-conscious option for keeping your Bitcoin safe.

7. Mycelium

Mycelium is a mobile-only Bitcoin wallet that boasts “bank-grade security” and a clean, user-friendly interface. In contrast to many other wallets, Mycelium is anonymous, allowing you to trade Bitcoin in privacy. In addition to this, Mycelium is integrated with Trezor, allowing you to easily keep track of your crypto holdings.

Among Mycelium’s other security features, it offers PIN security and multiple accounts, and it also does not reuse wallet addresses, making it far more difficult for third-parties to follow your transactions, since wallet addresses can be publicly tracked on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Mycelium is noted for its speed, as it allows you to make transactions and use your Bitcoin without having to download the entire blockchain onto your device. Aside from mining fees, it is also free to use.

As a bonus, it has a Local Trader feature, which allows you to find people in your local area to trade Bitcoins with, a good option for those who want to make in-person transactions.

Mycelium’s lack of a desktop interface may be a deal-breaker for some users, and the app also has a steep learning curve. However, if you’re experienced with Bitcoin and want a wallet that affords you total privacy, Mycelium is a strong choice.

6. Exodus

Exodus is a software wallet similar to Electrum but offering a cleaner, more graphically-enticing interface. More than a wallet, Exodus acts as a crypto portfolio, allowing you to see all of your crypto holdings and their value over time in U.S. dollars or your preferred currency.

One of Exodus’ biggest selling points is that it has a peer-to-peer exchange system built in. This allows you to directly exchange one type of cryptocurrency for another without having to go through a middleman such as Coinbase. This is a great feature for those who want to acquire certain types of altcoins more easily. This is aided by Exodus’ automatic fee adjustments, allowing for speedy transactions.

As a software wallet, any cryptocurrency you add to Exodus is stored locally on your computer or other device. There’s no login required, though Exodus has support for passphrases and passwords, though it currently lacks two-factor authentication. Exodus also boasts some of the best customer support among Bitcoin wallets, with extensive documentation on their website, allowing anyone to start using the software.

Exodus is also integrated with Trezor, allowing for easy transfers to and from your hardware wallet. Unlike other wallets, Exodus is explicitly designed for newbies, meaning even those without extensive experience in using Bitcoin can easily get a handle on it.

One major downside with Exodus is that its mobile app is underdeveloped compared to its competitors and is not usable on older smartphones and tablets. However, Exodus is a good option for those who want an all-in-one wallet that can help them track the value of Bitcoin and their other crypto holdings.

Exodus is also useful for those who want to easily purchase other cryptocurrencies without having to go through the extra step of using an exchange. Because of its built-in portfolio system, it is also a strong choice for those who don’t want to deal with dedicated portfolio apps.

5. Robinhood

Originally created as a stock trading platform, Robinhood has recently begun offering cryptocurrency wallets and trading. Its biggest selling point is that buying and selling cryptocurrencies on the platform is 100 percent free, with no added fees or commissions.

As an officially-licensed stock trading platform, Robinhood offers extensive security in compliance with U.S. financial laws. While designed for mobile use, the site also has a robust online platform for trading and selling. For stock traders who also want to diversify their holdings into Bitcoin, Robinhood allows you to do so without having to sign up for a dedicated crypto exchange.

One major downside of using Robinhood is that Bitcoin you store in its wallets cannot currently be transferred to other wallets, nor can you transfer Bitcoin into a Robinhood wallet. It also lacks a number of features that are common to dedicated Bitcoin wallets and cryptocurrency trading platforms, making it a hard sell for experienced users.

However, for those who want an all-in-one wallet and trading platform with the security of a stock trading service, Robinhood is a good option.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain is an online wallet that allows users to store Bitcoin, as well as send and receive it for a small fee. While not a full-fledged exchange, it offers peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading through both its online portal and its mobile apps. In addition to Bitcoin, Blockchain supports Ethereum, Stellar Lumens, and a number of other cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain touts its security features as “best in class,” and their suite of offerings lives up to the hype. In addition to two-factor authentication and email authentication, Blockchain also supports recovery phrases. Additionally, Blockchain regularly backs up its users’ wallets and other data in the event of system failure.

Blockchain is available in many countries around the world, making it a good option for those whose local crypto exchange options are limited.

3. Electrum

Electrum is viewed by Bitcoin users as one of the best software wallets. Launched in 2011, Electrum is a software program that stores your Bitcoin on your computer or other device. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers, as well as iPhones and Android devices.

One of Electrum’s selling points is that it offers some of the security of a hardware wallet with the flexibility of a digital wallet. Electrum boasts two-step authentication, recovery phrases, and a number of standard security features, and it stores your Bitcoin locally instead of on an exchange. You can also move Bitcoin in and out of your Electrum wallet with the click of a button, and it is compatible with a number of hardware wallets, including Trezor, Ledger, and KeepKey.

Electrum is one of the fastest software wallets on the market, offering quick transactions without the need to download the Bitcoin blockchain to your device. It also offers automatic synchronization across all devices, allowing you to access your funds whether you’re on your computer or mobile device.

An important downside to using Electrum is that it is tied to a certain extent with the device that you install it on. If your computer or other device breaks or otherwise becomes inoperable, you may lose your Bitcoin. Fortunately, Electrum supports a physical “cold storage” process where you can recover your coins with a printed or handwritten key phrase.

Additionally, unlike Exodus, Electrum does not support any cryptocurrencies aside from Bitcoin. Its Android app is also buggy and generally inferior to the desktop app, which may be a deal breaker for those who need a software wallet with mobile functionality.

If you are looking for a wallet that gives you both security and freedom, Electrum is worth considering.

2. Trezor

Trezor is recognized as one of the world’s best hardware wallet manufacturers. Trezor wallets are small physical devices that you can plug into a computer like a USB drive. By keeping your Bitcoin on a hardware wallet that is only connected to the Internet when you choose to plug it in, you can keep it as secure as possible.

Trezor wallets are inexpensive, easy to use, and support multiple cryptocurrencies. They also feature password protection, recovery phrases, and a number of other security features that can protect you from having the device hacked or stolen. Trezor devices are also compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers.

One of the most notable features of Trezor wallets is their random PIN system. Each time you plug in your wallet, you will be required to generate a new PIN. This protects your Bitcoin from keyloggers, since the constantly changing PIN means they will not be able to gain access to your wallet even if they have gained access to your computer.

One downside to Trezor wallets is that because they need to be plugged into a computer, tablet, or phone, they aren’t a good option if you need to access your Bitcoin quickly. Additionally, you are responsible for safeguarding your wallet and preventing it from being lost or damaged.

Trezor wallets are also considerably more expensive than other hardware wallets and their design is somewhat conspicuous. This is in contrast to Ledger wallets, which are designed to resemble USB drives and don’t draw as much attention.

However, if you’re looking for maximum security for your Bitcoin and aren’t too concerned about cost, Trezor’s hardware wallets are one of your best options.

1. Coinbase

Coinbase is one of the U.S.’ top cryptocurrency exchanges, offering unparalleled security and ease of use along with low costs. In contrast to many exchanges, Coinbase allows users to directly buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with a credit/debit card, PayPal, or direct bank transfer. In addition to Bitcoin, Coinbase offers Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and a number of other currencies.

In addition to its normal wallet options, Coinbase offers “vaults,” which are super-secure cryptocurrency wallets that utilize additional security features, such as two-step verification. If you have Bitcoin that you want to be as secure as possible but don’t want to go to the expense and hassle of purchasing a hardware wallet, Coinbase’s “vaults” are a good choice.

Coinbase is free to use and features a robust web interface as well as a mobile app, allowing you to easily access your funds no matter where you are. It is also in full compliance with U.S. law and boasts robust security options to keep its users’ money safe.

One downside to Coinbase is that they charge relatively high fees compared to other wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges. Additionally, due to legal issues, Coinbase is not available in many places, and some customers may not have access to certain features. For example, New York residents cannot trade certain coins on Coinbase due to regulatory hurdles.

Coinbase’s sleek design, security-conscious approach, and legal compliance has made it one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. If you are looking for a service that allows you to both buy and sell Bitcoin easily as well as store it securely, Coinbase is one of the best options out there.

FAQ

1. What is a Bitcoin wallet? A Bitcoin wallet is a digital file that can store an unlimited amount of Bitcoin. Bitcoin wallets can come in hardware or software forms.

2. Why do I need a Bitcoin wallet? Wallets are the only means by which Bitcoin can be stored and used in transactions. All Bitcoin in existence is held in a wallet of some kind.

3. How does a Bitcoin wallet work? Each Bitcoin wallet is assigned a wallet address, a means of identifying the wallet on the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin wallet addresses appear as a string of random numbers and letters; they can also be generated as QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone or other mobile device. In order to send Bitcoin to another individual, such as when making a purchase, you must know that individual’s wallet address; the reverse is true if you need someone to send you Bitcoin. To send Bitcoin, you simply input the amount you want to send and the wallet address of whom you want to send it to.

4. What is the difference between hardware and software wallets? Software wallets are websites or apps that store your Bitcoin on the Internet or on your computer or other device. Hardware wallets are physical objects similar to USB drives onto which you download your Bitcoin. The primary differences between them are security and convenience. Hardware wallets are the most secure means of storing Bitcoin because they are only connected to the blockchain whenever you physically plug them into your computer or mobile device. However, software wallets allow you to more easily spend or receive Bitcoin since they allow you to access your Bitcoin with less hassle.

5. If hardware wallets are more secure than software wallets, why not use them instead? As mentioned above, hardware wallets are more cumbersome when it comes to making transactions because they must be plugged into a computer or other device in order to be used. For anyone who uses Bitcoin to make purchases, hardware wallets are a poor option due to the lack of convenience. Additionally, if you lose the hardware wallet or damage it somehow, you can potentially lose all of your Bitcoin. Hardware wallets are best for those who have a large quantity of Bitcoin and want to store it securely, without using it to make frequent transactions.

6. What is a paper wallet? A paper wallet is a low-tech type of hardware wallet consisting of a piece of paper on which the Bitcoin wallet’s public and private keys are written in QR code format. Unlike other hardware wallets, they don’t consist of electronics and are easy to use and store. They are also impossible to hack. However, transferring Bitcoin from a paper wallet is extremely cumbersome, and if you lose the paper wallet or it is damaged, your Bitcoin is lost forever. For best results when using a paper wallet, laminate it to protect against the elements and store it in a secure location.

7. Are software wallets safe? While no computer system is 100 percent hack-proof, most credible software wallets have a number of security systems built in. These include two-factor authentication, PIN codes, passphrases, email verification, and more. Many software wallets also perform regular backups, and a number keep their Bitcoin in “cold storage” for added security. These features make the chance of your Bitcoin being hacked or stolen extremely small, and you should look for these security measures when choosing a software wallet.

8. Is it safe to keep Bitcoin on exchanges? Many Bitcoin users remember the collapse of Mt. Gox, one of the earliest Bitcoin exchanges and the largest by volume until it ended operations in 2014, with roughly 850,000 Bitcoins (valued at $450 million at the time) stolen from its users. Since then, Bitcoin exchanges have greatly improved their security and integrity, in large part by complying with national and international regulations. Major exchanges such as Coinbase are fully licensed by the U.S. and other national governments and adhere to the law, meaning the chance of a Mt. Gox-like collapse happening again are remote. They also boast standard security features such as two-factor authentication. That said, you should always review a potential exchange carefully before using it to store or buy Bitcoin.

Recap

If you want to buy, sell, trade, or hold Bitcoin, you need a wallet. What type of wallet is best for you depends on what you need.

If you’re planning on holding your Bitcoin and want to keep it as secure as possible, a hardware wallet will provide you with unparalleled security. If you want to trade Bitcoin and use it in transactions, you’ll want a software wallet that can connect to the Internet easily and is accessible on multiple types of devices.

Choosing a Bitcoin wallet is an important decision because many users have lost Bitcoin due to hacks, security breaches, or carelessness. You want a wallet that can keep your investments secure in the face of online threats.

Additionally, if you want to keep your Bitcoin transactions away from the public eye, you’ll want a wallet that offers privacy and anonymity features.

There are many types of Bitcoin wallets available on the Internet, each designed with a particular type of user in mind. Before choosing to invest in a wallet (particularly a hardware wallet), ask yourself what you need before you make the leap.

Whether you want to trade Bitcoin, use it to buy and sell things, or simply hold on to it for the future, there is a wallet out there that will serve your needs.

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